I can tell you that there is a necessary disclosure that tells you about the property in terms of earthquake zones, flood zones, fire zones, etc......and mello roos/special assessments. It should be in your paperwork.
Another necessary disclosure informs you that you will eventually have an adjustment in your taxes. "Supplimental Tax Bill". This is because you pay taxes on the former assessed value until the new sale is processed with the county assessor. This should be foreseeable.
Your question should be brought to an attorney. Agents and Brokers don't have the authority or knowledge to properly advise you on this situation. It's possible that a lawyer's assistance will not require up front out of pocket costs to you.
Your mortgage lender (especially if you used a Preferred Lender for the builder) should have known about the Mello Roos & should have included this fee ON your Good Faith Estimate which they must give you by law. Your ability to qualify for the loan includes weighing your income to debt & this Mello Roos tax IS a part of your total payment & total debt liability for a monthly mortgage payment.
It's all about what the agent "should have know, could have known" & did not tell you or make it clear to you. At the very least the onsite agent should have had you initial a paragraph specifically pertaining to Mello Roos tax & its' relation to base property tax.
I think you should hire an attorney & try to sue for Non-Disclosure. I don't think you're going to get the builder to pay your Mello Roos tax for the next 30yrs, but maybe you could win a few years worth. If the payment is too high for you, maybe you'll need to sell. I'm sorry this happened to you, I hope you win your case.
Feel free to email me directly for an attorney referral. Take my email address down anyway, I would personally be very interested to know if you do win a settlement for non-disclosure.
Realtor Since 1996
Please review your paper work and make sure you received a supplementary tax disclosure. Mello Roos and the Bond Act of 1915 should have been disclosed. Sometimes, these disclosure reports are included in the complete Natural Hazards and Geological Survey report along with other local disclosures of the city or county the property is in.
When you purchase a home, you are prorated the property tax rate of the previous owner (seller). This bill may be significantly less than what you will be assessed as the new owner based on an increase value. At closing you pay the seller's rate for the remaining tax record. Then the county re-assesses the tax rate based on purchase amount and sends you a supplemental tax bill. Although you have impounds for the initial rate, the impounds will have to be adjusted and therefore increased when the supplemental tax bills is received. This is a critical part of impounds and tax assessment that is normally explained by the escrow coordinator or the loan officer.
If you can't find your copy, your agent or the broker will most likely have a copy. The disclosure is a part of the California required and there is a formula within the disclosure for calculating the supplemental portion.
Note the following link for other California required disclosures.
I have seen this happen before. I would check back in your paperwork for something you signed about your taxes. More than likely the mello-roos was always there but your lender did not account for it in your impounds so they were not pulling enough out to put in your impound account to cover the taxes during tax season. Check with the builder, they should have copies of your file at the corporate office. You may also hire a Real Estate attorney to review the documents.