Property tax reform bill could keep rent prices low
Renters could benefit from the property tax protections of House Bill 2, signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday.
"If you're a renter here in Lubbock, and your property taxes go up at that place that you're living, your landlord shares some of that burden, but also you as a renter will share some of that burden," Drew Gray, director of Stellar Family of Companies and vice president of the board for the Lubbock Apartment Association, said.
Gray said the Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act is a good step toward real property tax reform.
"I think that people here in Lubbock really won't see a drastic change or any difference, they definitely shouldn't see any increases in their taxes," Gray said.
The Lubbock Central Appraisal District plays a large role in the city's property tax base, he said.
"They assess values on the property within Lubbock," he said, "and the assessment of that value is just as important,l if not more important, than the actual tax rate that the local government votes on."
Gray commends Lubbock for keeping rental rates low, but rates in the past have been substantial.
"Being multifamily, which is apartments, and single family rentals, we've seen our income producing businesses really get hammered on more or have larger increases than just your typical home than if you'd be a homeowner here In Lubbock," he said.
A survey in July 2018 indicates there were nearly 130,000 housing units in Lubbock. Of those, more than 57,000 were rentals.
Gray does not expect rental prices to be impacted as a direct result of the bill, he said, but the automatic elections for high rates will keep people involved in the process, including renters.
"Decreasing that limit from 8 percent down to 3.5 percent makes it that much sooner before we have to have a vote on it," he said, "and so it gives voters the chance to vote yes or no on that increase."