MALIBU—On Monday, October 16, Matt Myerhoff, Media Information Officer for the city of Malibu indicated in an email to Canyon News that the state of California passed a law expanding support for Californians whose properties have been damaged or destroyed by wildfires by allowing them three additional years to rebuild before a full reassessment of their property value is initiated. The bill was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 8, covers properties destroyed or damaged from the 2018 Woolsey Fire.
“Malibu is still recovering from the devastating 2018 Woolsey Fire, the worst natural disaster in the City’s history, and AB 1500 will offer substantial help and additional time to help property owners whose homes were damaged or destroyed to get through the rebuilding process,” said Major Steve Uhring. “I am grateful for the hard work and leadership of our State lawmakers and Governor who fought to get this protection for fire survivors.”
Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (District 42, Thousand Oaks), whose District includes Malibu, co-authored the Bill with Assemblymember James Gallagher (District 3, Yuba City), and the city of Malibu initiated the legislation.
“Californians who have had their homes significantly damaged or destroyed by wildfires should not be made to suffer more as a result of circumstances outside their control,” said Assemblymember Irwin. “Assembly Bill 1500 provides victims of the Woolsey and Camp fires with the additional time needed to complete reconstruction and retain their base-year property tax values. Today I join with the residents of the cities of Malibu and Paradise in thanking the Governor for signing this legislation into law so the rebuilding of our communities can continue.”
Current law allows California residents whose property was damaged or destroyed by a disaster to apply the base-year value of that property to the home or structure rebuilt on the same site within five years after the disaster, if the rebuilt property is comparable to the damaged or destroyed property. With the extension, specifically for the reconstruction of properties damaged or destroyed in wildfires, it will help homeowners facing difficulty with permitting and construction delays.
Reconstructing a home or business raises additional costs including debris removal, permits, contractors, materials, etc. As a result of COVID-19, owners faced hurdles with the rebuilding process.
For residents of Malibu, the courts were less capable of processing the claims on liability for the Woolsey Fire and to come to a settlement with Southern California Edison, delaying compensation to residents, many of whom relied on that compensation to rebuild.
Malibu homeowners working on Woolsey Fire rebuild projects and need help or information related to the protections that AB 1500 offers can contact the Fire Rebuild Team at 310-456-2489 or email email@example.com.