Tax Implications Of Assisting Your Kids With Mortgage Payment

Some parents want to help their kids any way they can, including by helping them pay their mortgage. Or perhaps they’ve suggested that their inheritance be used for this purpose. Others want to instill the importance of financial responsibility or independence. Some simply can’t afford to help. But if you do want to help your kids with their mortgage, there is some important tax information you should be aware of.

One very common way for parents to assist their kids is with a financial gift. This isn’t just as simple as giving them money. Financial gifts above a certain amount per year do need to be recorded, and may be subject to a gift tax. In 2023, this amount is anything over $17,000 annually, but this value could change each year. Income tax could come into play if instead of gifting your child money, you provide them with a loan. The interest you receive on the loan must be reported as income and may be subject to income tax, and may also be deductible for your child. Capital gains tax is relevant if your kid inherits a property from you or you gift them a property. In the case of a gift, when your kid sells the home, they will need to pay capital gains tax if the home appreciated in value. In the case of inheritance, the capital gains tax amount is based only on the amount of appreciation and not the total value of the home.

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New FHFA Schedule Sparks Controversy

At the start of May, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) modified the fee structure for loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The goal of the change was to increase the accessibility of homeownership to disadvantaged groups. In order to achieve this, fees were reduced for low-income borrowers, first-time homebuyers, and those with credit scores below 680.

However, reducing some fees meant needing to increase fees elsewhere. Fees increased significantly for middle income earners, those making larger down payments, cash-out refinance applicants, and second-home buyers. Critics argue this is a bad idea, since middle-income earners are more ready to buy and less risky to lend to. But despite the fee increases for middle-income earners, fees are still lower the higher your credit score — that hasn’t changed. If the changes push middle-income earners away, the effect is probably psychological, not necessarily financial.

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Transfer Taxes Increased For Ultra-High-End Homes In LA And Santa Monica

Two measures went into effect this spring, Measure GS in Santa Monica on March 1st and Measure ULA in Los Angeles on April 1st, both of which enact an additional transfer tax on the sale of very expensive homes, dubbed the Mansion Tax. Measure GS affects properties sold at over $8 million and Measure ULA has two tiers, one affecting properties sold at over $5 million and another affecting properties sold at over $10 million.

Prior to these measures, the transfer tax in both cities was a small dollar value per $1000 of purchase price regardless of property value. Including county taxes, this value is $5.60 in Los Angeles, and Santa Monica has two tiers, one at $4.10 per $1000 and another at $7.10 per $1000. Measure GS added a third tier to the Santa Monica system, which is a significantly higher $56 per $1000 value for homes over $8 million. Los Angeles still only has one base value of $5.60 per $1000, but with an additional tax of 4% for homes between $5 million and $10 million, and 5.5% for homes over $10 million.

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The Bills That The Business Lobby Doesn’t Want Passing

The business lobby in California, and in particular the California Chamber of Commerce, has had quite a lot of success taking down bills that they deem “job killers.” Many of these bills are not at all designed to kill jobs, but rather to improve conditions for employees. To the business lobby, these are the same thing, but these are often the types of bills that the majority of the populace in California would tend to support.

One of the bills the California Chamber of Commerce is targeting is a bill to tax total wealth on individuals with a net worth of $50 million or more. Introduced by Milpitas Democratic Assemblymember Alex Lee, the bill would be the first of its kind if it passes. Obviously, there have been taxes on income, but so far, none on net worth. Lee’s argument is that the stocks and properties owned by the ultra-wealthy allow them to legally borrow and transfer funds in a way that avoids a significant percentage of income taxes. According to the chamber, this would simply convince the ultra-wealthy to leave California, rather than increase tax revenues.

The second bill was proposed by Los Angeles Democratic Senator María Elena Durazo. The bill would increase the minimum wage for health care workers to $25 per hour. According to Durazo, health care workers — especially whose who are women or people of color — frequently take home poverty wages, despite working multiple shifts due to being understaffed. The chamber argues that increased payroll costs for health care facilities would simply be passed onto patients, reducing health care affordability.

The chamber has a similar argument against the proposal to increase the required minimum paid sick days offered per year from three to seven, claiming that either the costs will be passed to consumers or the employers will cut benefits or lay off workers. Long Beach Democratic Senator Lena Gonzalez, who introduced the bill, says that the current sick leave is not adequate and forces employees to either forego pay to stay home or risk infecting coworkers.

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Huntington Beach Adamant About Anti-ADU Stance

SB 9, also called the HOME Act of 2021, is a California law requiring cities to allow homeowners to subdivide lots into potentially up to 4 units. This law makes it significantly easier to built accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Huntington Beach has decided it doesn’t like this, and is willfully ignoring the law, stating that they won’t process ADU applications. The City Council has even gone as far as to enact an ordinance declaring that they are exempt from some of the requirements of the Housing Accountability Act (HAA). The HAA streamlines the approval process for low- and moderate-income housing. Huntington Beach is not compliant with HAA requirements, and so the city is attempting to declare that the regulations simply don’t apply to them.

This is entirely illegal on the part of Huntington Beach, and so naturally, it hasn’t gone over well. The city has received letters from the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and has been sued by the California Office of the Attorney General (OAG). Knowing that the state does have authority in this regard, the Huntington Beach City Council is starting to backpedal. But this probably isn’t the end, nor was it the beginning. Huntington Beach has already been sued previously by the state for housing law violations, settling in 2020 and losing millions of dollars in state funding.

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LA City Eviction Moratorium Ends; Now Under County Moratorium

Until the end of January 2023, the City of Los Angeles has been under its own eviction moratorium laws, separate from those of the county as a whole. The city’s moratorium has ended. However, the county’s moratorium isn’t over yet. Every city in LA County is now under the county’s moratorium rules.

With the LA City rules gone, tenants are no longer able to defer rent payments. But note that the rent freeze is separate and not part of the eviction moratorium. Rents still cannot be raised on rent-controlled properties in Los Angeles until January 31, 2024. Under the county eviction moratorium, evictions are allowed only under certain circumstances. If the circumstances are related to COVID, it’s very likely that the landlord cannot legally evict. Also, use of the Ellis Act to evict tenants by removing the property from the rental market is still not permissible until April 1, 2023. If the tenant breached the rental contract, though, the landlord is probably able to evict, with a few exceptions.

See here for more specifics about the LA County moratorium regulations:

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Surrender Versus Forfeiture In Lease Agreements

A little known fact is that lease agreements actually establish two entirely separate legal relationships between the landlord and tenant. The first is a right of possession granted to the tenant, and the second is a list of contract rights, which is what allows the landlord to collect rent. Though the lease agreement establishes both of these, they can be cancelled separately and through different means, though certain actions can cause both to be cancelled simultaneously. Cancellation of the right of possession is termed a forfeiture, and cancellation of the contract rights is called a surrender.

Because a tenant can’t unilaterally forfeit their right to possession or have the landlord surrender their contract rights, it falls on landlords to follow the proper procedures when a tenant chooses to vacate the property or stop payments. A savvy tenant could escape paying missed rents if the landlord unwittingly cancels the contract rights. On the other hand, a savvy landlord could put a former tenant on the hook for missed rent payments if they follow all the legal procedures, though one of the legal procedures involves notifying the former tenant, so this isn’t necessarily easy.

It’s always in a vacating tenant’s best interest for the contract rights to be surrendered. Landlords need to be careful of following the law when attempting to lease a property that is legally still in a vacating tenant’s possession, but it’s not always in their best interest to initiate a forfeiture. The landlord could instead act as the tenant’s agent in subletting the property, while continuing to collect rent from the tenant for the remaining duration of the lease agreement. However, to do this, the term of the sublease must end on the same date as the existing lease agreement, otherwise the landlord is considered to have illegally given possession to a new tenant while the former tenant still retained it.

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California Pay Transparency Law Takes Effect

In recent years, a few states have created laws regarding pay transparency in an effort to reduce discriminatory wage gaps. Colorado was the first to introduce a statewide law in 2019, though it didn’t take effect until 2021. New York City’s law will soon expand to all of New York. A new law just took effect in Washington as well as our own state, California, on January 1st. California’s law requires that companies with at least 15 employees post pay ranges in their job listings, as well as requiring that current employees have access to the pay range for their current position. The penalty for violating this requirement is between $100 and $10,000 per violation. The first violation only gets a warning as long as the information is added. Some companies also don’t currently have pay bands — the new law requires them. Companies with at least 100 employees will need to provide more detailed information.

Unfortunately, the new law may have to contend with some resistance. In New York City, employers chose to display incredibly wide price ranges. This doesn’t help prospective employees at all to figure out how much they would actually be getting. In one extreme example, Citigroup claimed a range of $0-$2 million, though they later said this was a computer glitch and changed it to something more reasonable. In Colorado, employers created remote job openings — with the stipulation that they could not be in Colorado, so the state requirement didn’t apply to that listing. Colorado’s method probably wouldn’t work in California, since California has such a large population that employers would miss out on a huge segment of potential employees. But New York City’s method is actually already in use in California, even without a requirement to list pay ranges at all. This is because prospective employees tend to disregard a listing entirely if there’s no pay range provided.

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Eviction Protections In Los Angeles To End In February

The country’s longest-lasting eviction protections are due to end February 1, 2023, at least in Los Angeles, as confirmed by the City Council. The protections have been in place since March 2020, as a response to COVID-19. Despite federal and many local protections ending much earlier, the city’s tenant protections have remained in place the entire time.

The eviction moratorium was certainly financially beneficial for many people who were unable to work during lockdowns, but might otherwise have been expected to continue to pay rent. However, the actual reason for that particular moratorium was fear of the spread of the virus. The economically-motivated tenant protection is currently slated to remain in place until February 2024. This is the prohibition on raising rent for rent-controlled units, of which there are over 650,000 in Los Angeles. Some things are still in a bit of a limbo, though. There are still eviction proceedings going on as tenants are, in fact, still expected to pay at least a portion of their rent, despite the eviction moratorium. Some landlords don’t even want tenants anymore, but can’t find a legal reason to evict them, as their tenants haven’t done anything wrong. The end of the moratorium will erase some confusion. Some City Councilmembers are looking to re-implement some specific protections, but haven’t come to a consensus.

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The Rules Regarding Partial Rent Payments

With the current economic climate affecting tenants’ ability to pay rent on time, as well as increasing rent prices pushing away some prospective tenants, some landlords may want to accept partial rent payments in order to retain their tenant rather than risk vacancy. This is, in fact, something landlords are allowed to do, and there are specific laws around it. If the regulations are followed, it doesn’t need to cause a legal mess down the line when the landlord wants to recover the unpaid portion of the rent.

The mere act of accepting partial rent doesn’t actually require a form at all. Since it benefits the tenant and it’s the landlord that must agree to it, it’s not a conflict unless the landlord wants to recover the rest of it. If the landlord is feeling generous, or desperately wants to keep their tenant, they could simply accept partial rent and take no further action. But there certainly are legal avenues for the landlord to recover it. The landlord could issue a partial payment agreement which states the amount received, balance due, due date of deferred balance, the tenant’s promise to pay the deferred amount, and an explanation of the consequences of nonpayment.

If the landlord doesn’t want to use this form, the rules for any nonpayment can apply. The rules vary by property type, but regardless of property type, the landlord would issue a three-day notice. This could be a notice to pay, a notice to perform followed by a notice to quit, or a notice to pay or quit, depending on the type of property. It’s also important to note that in the case of partial payment for residential property, the landlord cannot reclaim repeated partial payments if they are using the three-day notice. If the landlord has already accepted a partial payment, then accepts another partial payment for the same rent period during the notice period, the notice is no longer valid.

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New 2023 Real Estate Laws

Six new laws affecting real estate are coming next year, and two more in 2024. The six coming next year go into effect January 1, 2023. SB 1495, going into effect January 1, 2024, modifies real estate licensing requirements. AB 2503, with a compliance date of December 31, 2024, requires a revision of the terminology used in real estate contract law to ensure consistency. In addition, SB 1005 and SB 1017 both clarify existing law, SB 1005 regarding probate code and SB 1017 regarding tenant protections against domestic violence.

AB 1410 requires homeowner’s associations (HOAs) to allow members and residents to discuss their common interest development (CID) on social media, as well as allow them to rent out a portion of owner-occupied space. HOAs also may not pursue enforcement for violations during an emergency if it is unsafe to fix it. AB 1837 and AB 2170 both modify existing laws regarding eligible bidders for foreclosed properties, making it easier for tenants, owner occupants, nonprofits, and governmental organizations to win a bid. AB 2559 defines a reusable tenant screening report, which landlords may choose to use, and which they must allow tenants free access to if they choose to use it. AB 2745 requires that experience used for a real estate broker exam be within the prior five years. AB 2960 states that disclosure requirements are set at the date of the contract, even if disclosure requirements change.

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California Limits Pet Restrictions For Low-Income Rentals

Landlords tend to have a lot of leeway in determining what kinds of pets their tenants can have. Many don’t allow pets at all, and those that do often have breed restrictions and/or additional fees. This has led many pet-owning low-income earners to give up their pets in order to secure housing. In order to combat this issue, California has decided to standardize some pet restrictions for low-income rentals.

What landlords will no longer be able to do is ban pets outright, prohibit certain breeds, impose pet weight limitations, or collect additional monthly fees for pets. Landlords can still require a security deposit for pet owners or ban specific individual pets that are vicious or dangerous. The new law also sets forth a list of some reasonable restrictions. These include policies regarding nuisance behavior, leashing, liability insurance, and number of pets. The latter should be based on the unit’s size and not personal factors.

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Income Tax Adjustments Give a Break in Light of High Inflation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced its new income tax brackets for 2023. There are some shifts designed to address the issue of bracket creep, which is when people move into a higher tax bracket despite no increase in income after accounting for inflation. The new tax brackets won’t completely solve the problem, and don’t address root causes of heavy inflation, but can provide some relief.

The IRS has done away with the 37% bracket entirely, so the most you’ll pay is 35%. For that, you’ll need a joint income of over $462,500, which is about 6.5 times the median household income in the US. Not only that, the minimum threshold has increased for every bracket, except the lowest 10% bracket which always has a minimum of $0.

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For the new tax brackets plus additional information, see here:
You can also compare to 2022’s tax brackets here:

Some Areas Now Classify Mobile Homes As Permanent Dwellings

Because of rising housing costs, even starter homes are becoming more and more inaccessible. Recent legislation aimed at streamlining processes for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) has turned ADUs into the new starter home. ADUs typically need to be permanent structures to qualify. Some cities and counties are trying to change that.

Mobile homes are often put into the category of tiny homes rather than ADUs. There is no restriction on whether or not tiny homes need to be permanent, or whether anything else needs to be on the lot. They just need to be 400 square feet or less. However, the definition of a tiny home varies, so they can be considered ADUs in some jurisdictions. And now, seven cities and three counties have decided that any tiny home that is on wheels is considered a permanent dwelling, and therefore can also qualify as an ADU. These seven cities are Fresno, San Luis Obispo, California City, Los Angeles, Richmond, San Diego, and San Jose. The three counties are Placer County, Humboldt County, and Santa Clara County.

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Los Angeles Regulations Under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance

The Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) is a section of the municipal code for the City of Los Angeles and regulates a few different aspects of renting out properties. In addition to setting the maximum allowable rent increase per year, it also requires landlords to submit proper documentation to collect rent, provides just cause evictions, and provides relocation assistance for no-fault evictions. RSO doesn’t apply to all properties. The property must have been built prior to 10/1/1978, or 7/16/2007 if it’s a replacement under the Ellis Act. If you don’t know for sure, you can enter the property’s address at There will be an RSO field under the Housing tab, which will say Yes or No. You can also text “RSO” to 855-880-7368.

Note that RSO applies exclusively to the City of Los Angeles and does not apply to commercial properties. There are a couple easy ways to tell if your property is legally within the City of Los Angeles. If your water and power company is the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), you are in the City of Los Angeles. If it’s a different company, you are not. If your area is served by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), you are in the City of Los Angeles. If you’re still unsure, you can look up the property at If your property is not found, it’s not in the City of Los Angeles. For properties not in the City of Los Angeles but in Los Angeles County, you can visit, email, or call 833-233-RENT.

Once you’ve confirmed that your property falls under RSO, your regulations are currently governed by Covid-19 protections, until February 1, 2024. Rent increases are not allowed until that date for RSO units, nor are retroactive rent increases allowed. If your tenant was negatively impacted by Covid-19, you also can’t charge interest or late fees on missed payments. After this date, the allowable increase is expected to be 7%, but this could change. In order to collect rent, you will need to complete a Rent Registry Form and pay your Annual Bill. The form is sent out in January of each year and is due by February 28th. Your Annual Bill consists of an RSO fee of $38.75 per unit and and a SCEP fee of $67.94 per unit. Part of this cost can be surcharged to your tenants, at a rate of $1.61 per month for the RSO fee and $2.83 per month for the SCEP fee. This comes out to 50% of the annual cost of each fee over 12 months.

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Newsom Signed Two More Housing Bills in September

Two more bills aimed at increasing multi-family construction go into effect July 1, 2023 after Governor Newsom signed them into law in September. These are AB 2011, called the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act of 2022, and SB 6, the Middle Class Housing Act of 2022. Both laws sunset nine and a half years later, on January 1, 2033.

AB 2011 adds a secondary review pathway for some multi-family construction projects. If the project meets affordability standards and site criteria, the review will not take into account conditional use permits or environmental impact reports. The site must be primarily commercial, and unless it’s a commercial corridor, 100% of the units must be below market rate. Even if it is on a commercial corridor, 15% of the units must be below market rate. AB 2011 also includes provisions for fair pay and additional training for construction workers. SB 6 expands the types of buildings that can be constructed in areas zoned for office, retail or parking. These buildings may be residential if they meet certain other criteria, many of which are similar to the requirements set forth in AB 2011.

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California Cities Scramble to Avoid “Builder’s Remedy”

The State of California sets housing goals for every city in the state. Many cities, particularly more affluent ones, frequently decide to simply not meet these goals, as it doesn’t really benefit them to do so. Their only incentive to follow through has been what is termed the “builder’s remedy, ” which requires cities with no plan submitted, or that fail to meet their goal, to permit any and all housing as long as at least 20% of it is affordable housing.

This law has actually been in place for about a decade, but it hasn’t been easily enforceable. Recent changes have made it more enforceable, so now cities have to start thinking about it. Not all cities have the same deadline for submitting plans, but there are already 124 cities in Southern California that are out of compliance. Northern California has until January to submit plans.

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Unlawful Evictions on the Rise

Much of the danger to tenants is being unable to pay rent, as both rental prices and cost of living continue to increase while the job market is still in recovery. However, that isn’t the only way tenants can get evicted. There are even a few ways landlords can legally evict tenants that haven’t done anything wrong. That isn’t enough for some landlords though, who are actually resorting to illegal methods of eviction instead of notifying the tenant and potentially going through the court process.

Though both are legal, the court process distinguishes at-fault and no-fault evictions. At-fault evictions are the category where failure to pay rent lies, and this category also includes various contract violations and criminal activity while on the premises. The no-fault category includes landlord’s intent to occupy the property, withdrawal from the rental market, property being deemed unfit for habitation, or landlord’s intent to demolish or substantially renovate the property. Some of these can be used misleadingly as the landlord can simply change their mind later, but the real problem is unlawful evictions. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is particularly concerned with the type known as self-help evictions. This includes the landlord shutting off utilities, changing locks, or removing the tenant’s personal belongings in order to force them out of the property. Landlords initiating a self-help eviction can get charged with a misdemeanor, and the sentence is either a fine or a jail term of a maximum of one year.

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New Real Estate Legislation This Past August

Last month saw four new legislative changes in the field of real estate. Two bills were enrolled, AB 1738 and AB 2817. AB 1738 goes into effect in 2025, and will require builders to install electric vehicle chargers in some types of buildings. This includes multi-family dwellings, hotels and motels, and some nonresidential parking facilities. AB 2817 establishes a rental aid grant program that will provide grants directly to homeless people as well as participating landlords. SB 1126 was passed in the Senate, requiring employers to set up a retirement program or CalSavers payroll deposit savings program by the end of 2025. There was an amendment to SB 897, which increases the maximum height of an ADU from 16 feet to 25 feet.

In addition, three bills were just enrolled first day of September, AB 2221, AB 2053, and SB 869. AB 2221 includes various changes to make ADUs easier to get approved. AB 2053 requires annual regional housing reports indicating progress on meeting housing needs. SB 869 requires at least 18 hours of training for managers and assistant managers of mobile home parks.

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New Federal Plan Aims to Jumpstart Construction

The Biden administration recognizes that the best way out of the current housing crisis is to bolster supply through additional construction. In order to meet this goal, the new Housing Supply Action Plan was recently unveiled in a White House press release. The five-part plan is expected to solve the crisis within five years, and mostly addresses issues of financing.

The first part of the plan is aimed at directly assisting builders with increased resources and new programs. The plan also modifies federal grant prioritizations based on a new system of scoring for zoning and land use reform. Additional financing options will be provided for manufactured housing, ADUs, and smaller multifamily properties. In addition to new financing options, the plan expands existing Fannie Mae financing programs. The last part of the plan is unrelated to financing or construction; it prevents institutional investors from purchasing REO properties in favor of allowing them to be purchased by owners intending to occupy the property.

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