2017 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 4 - Counties
CHAPTER 9 - COUNTY GOVERNMENT
Section 4-9-195. Grant of special property tax assessments to "rehabilitated historic property" or "low and moderate income rental property".

Universal Citation: SC Code § 4-9-195 (2017)

(A) The governing body of any county by ordinance may grant the special property tax assessments authorized by this section to real property which qualifies as either "rehabilitated historic property" or as "low and moderate income rental property" in the manner provided in this section. A county governing body may designate, in its discretion, an agency or a department to perform its functions and duties pursuant to the provisions of this section in its discretion.

(1) All qualifying property may receive preliminary certification from the county governing body and upon this preliminary certification, the property must be assessed for two years on the fair market value of the property at the time the preliminary certification was made. If the project is not complete after two years, but the minimum expenditures for rehabilitation have been incurred, the property continues to receive the special assessment until the project is completed.

(2) Upon completion of a project, the project must receive final certification from the county governing body in order to be eligible for the special assessment. Upon final certification, the property must be assessed for the remainder of the special assessment period on the fair market value of the property at the time the preliminary certification was made or the final certification was made, whichever occurred earlier. If a completed project does not comply with all requirements for final certification, final certification must not be granted and any monies not collected by the county due to the special assessment must be returned to the county.

(3) The special assessment only begins in the current or future tax years as provided for in this section. In no instance may the special assessment be applied retroactively.

(B) As used in this section:

(1) "Historic designation" means the owner of the property applies for and is granted historic designation by the county governing body for the purpose of the special property tax assessment based on one or more of the following reasons:

(a) the property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places;

(b) the property is designated as a historic property by the county governing body based upon criteria established by the county governing body and is at least fifty years old; or

(c) the property is at least fifty years old and is located in a historic district designated by the county governing body at any location within the geographical area of the county.

(2) "Approval of rehabilitation work" means the proposed and completed rehabilitation work is approved by the reviewing authority as appropriate for the historic building and the historic district in which it is located.

(3) "Minimum expenditures for rehabilitation" means the owner or his estate rehabilitates the building, with expenditures for rehabilitation exceeding the minimum percentage of the fair market value of the building established by the county in its ordinance. The county governing body may set different minimum percentages for owner-occupied property and income producing real property, between twenty percent and one hundred percent.

(4) "Special assessment period" means the county governing body shall set the length of the special assessment in its ordinance of not more than twenty years.

(5) "Preliminary certification" means a property has met the following conditions:

(a) the owner of the property applies for and is granted historic designation by the county governing body; and

(b) the proposed rehabilitation receives approval of rehabilitation work from the reviewing authority.

A county governing body may require that an owner applies for preliminary certification before any project work begins.

(6) "Final certification" means a property has met the following conditions:

(a) the owner of the property applies for and is granted historic designation by the county governing body;

(b) the completed rehabilitation receives approval of rehabilitation work from the reviewing authority; and

(c) the minimum expenditures for rehabilitation were incurred and paid.

(7) "Reviewing authority" for approval of rehabilitation work pursuant to this section is defined as:

(a) the board of architectural review in counties with a board of architectural review with jurisdiction over historic properties operating pursuant to Section 6-29-870;

(b) in counties without a board of architectural review with jurisdiction over historic properties, the county governing body may designate another qualified entity with historic preservation expertise to review the rehabilitation work; or

(c) if the county governing body does not designate another qualified entity, the Department of Archives and History shall review the rehabilitation work. No separate application to the department is required for properties receiving preliminary and final approval for the federal income tax credit allowed pursuant to Section 47 of the Internal Revenue Code or the state income tax credit allowed pursuant to Section 12-6-3535.

(8) "Rehabilitated historic property" means the property has met all the criteria for final certification.

(C) "Low and moderate income rental property" is eligible for certification if:

(1) the property provides accommodations under the Section 8 Program as defined in the United States Housing Act of 1937 and amended by the Housing and Community Act of 1974 for low and moderate income families and persons as defined by Section 31-13-170(p); or

(2) in the case of income-producing real property, the expenditures for rehabilitation exceed the appraised value of the property; and

(3) if the low and moderate income housing rehabilitation is located in an area designated by the local government as a Low and Moderate Housing Rehabilitation District; and

(4) the owner or estate of any property certified as "low and moderate income rental property" takes no actions which cause the property to be unsuitable for such a designation. The county governing body granting the initial certification has the authority to decertify property in these cases, and the property becomes immediately ineligible for the special tax assessments provided for this type of property; and

(5) if the property qualifies as "historic" as defined in subsection (B)(1), then the rehabilitation work must be approved by the appropriate reviewing authority as provided in subsections (B) and (D).

(D) The Department of Archives and History may provide training and technical assistance to counties and procedures for application, consideration, and appeal through appropriate regulations for "rehabilitated historic property" provisions of the law. The governing body may establish fees for applications for preliminary or final certification, or both, through the ordinance or regulations.

(E) When property has received final certification and is assessed as rehabilitated historic property, or low or moderate income rental property, it remains so certified and must be granted the special assessment until the property becomes disqualified by any one of the following:

(1) written notice by the owner to the county to remove the preferential assessment;

(2) removal of the historic designation by the county governing body;

(3) decertification of the property by the local governing body as low or moderate income rental property for persons and families of moderate to low income as defined by Section 31-13-170(p);

(4) rescission of the approval of rehabilitation work by the reviewing authority because of alterations or renovations by the owner or his estate which cause the property to no longer possess the qualities and features which made it eligible for final certification.

Under no circumstances shall the sale or transfer of ownership of real property certified and assessed in accordance with this section and any ordinance in effect at the time disqualify the property from receiving the special property tax assessment under this section. This provision shall be applicable and given full force and effect to any special property tax assessment granted prior to the effective date of this paragraph notwithstanding any ordinance in effect from time to time to the contrary.

Notification of any change affecting eligibility must be given immediately to the appropriate county taxing and assessing authorities.

(F) If an application for preliminary or final certification is filed by May first or the preliminary or final certification is approved by August first, the special assessment authorized by this section is effective for that year. Otherwise it is effective beginning with the following year.

(G) Once the governing body has granted the special property tax assessments authorized by this section, the owner of the property shall make application to the auditor for the special assessment provided for by this section.

(H) A property certified to receive the special property tax assessment under the existing law continues to receive the special assessment in effect at the time certification was made.

HISTORY: 1990 Act No. 474, Section 1, eff May 14, 1990; 1992 Act No. 375, Sections 1-4, eff May 19, 1992; 2004 Act No. 292, Section 1, eff August 16, 2004; 2010 Act No. 182, Section 5, eff May 28, 2010.

Effect of Amendment

The 1992 amendment revised (A)(1) and (2), (B)(4) and (5), and (C), and added subsection (H).

The 2004 amendment rewrote this section.

The 2010 amendment rewrote subsection (E).

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