What is Mello-Roos? What is it for? Can it be imposed after you have purchased a property? Does it ever end?

Asked by Jean Shepherd, 85749 Thu Aug 19, 2010

I am looking at properties in Hamilton in Novato, CA. The HOA refused to answer my questions and said I would have to ask which ever seller whose home I might purchase. WHAT???

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Tristan Celayeta’s answer
Tristan Cela…, , Marin County, CA
Thu Aug 19, 2010
Hey Jean,

The Mello-Roos Act enabled “Community Facilities Districts” (CFDs) to be established by local government agencies as a means of obtaining community funding after the imposition of Prop 13. The Mello-Roos Act is NECESSARY to fund local projects until property tax laws are changed so don't expect it to change soon.

http://homebuying.about.com/od/buyingahome/u/Buyers.htm should help answer questions about the homebuying process. Don't expect answers from the HOA. They will provide complete financial disclosure as required by law when any particular property changes hands but are NOT a source of real estate transaction information.

Expect your agent or broker to answer all your questions.
0 votes
Ted Erickson, , Novato, CA
Thu Aug 19, 2010
Mello-Roos is simply a special tax assessed to homeowners in a community as repayment for bonds used to fund the infrastructure within their community. You cant get away from them if you are buying that house as they are attached to that property.

The length of the Mello-Roos tax varies from subdivision to subdivision. Fifteen years from the original build date is about average. The payment very rarely extends beyond 30 years or is shorter than 7 years.

These are the short answers to your question. You can call me at 415-92-1516 if you need more help. I am located very close in the Bel Marin Keys office park.
1 vote
Jola Jankows…, Agent, San Rafael, CA
Sat Sep 11, 2010
Jean, I am new to Trulia (but not new to Real Estate) and wanted to add to the answers already posted. You can search County records for a Mello Roos amount assesed to the property. You can go to the County (in San Rafael) or you can search their Website. Besides Hamilton, you will also find a Mello Roos tax in Pointe Marin. There are other areas of Novato with newer construction and no Mello Roos. Call me if you still need help
0 votes
Liz Williams…, Agent, Mill Valley, CA
Thu Aug 19, 2010
To make you feel a little more at ease about the Mello-Roos, when you get into contract with a home any home, be it condo or a home, The title company will provide you with a Preliminary Title Report. In the Title Report, there will be a section on what the current owner is paying in taxes along with any Mello Roos payments that are required for that particular property. It will also state what the Mello Roos is for. I.e. schools, repaving of roads, etc... Sometimes but not usally, The seller might include a Preliminary Title Report in the disclosure packet that the seller's agent has made to give to potential buyers. But more often then not Preliminary Title Reports are done right after the opening of escrow. There is one more place that you can see a Mello Roos and that is in the Natural Hazards Report which the seller can provide in the disclosure packet as well. Home Owners Associations do not have anything to do with Mellow Roos, they have more to do with the city or county.
Good Luck! Hamilton is a great place to buy right now.
0 votes
Greg Corvi, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Thu Aug 19, 2010
Just a follow up to my prior message. The Mello-Roos amount will be stated in the Natural Hazard Report which the seller must provide to you. Again, this will typically be after you are in contract. You can ask the agent representing the seller if he has this document already and he may provide it to you before you write an offer. -Greg
0 votes
Greg Corvi, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Thu Aug 19, 2010
Hi Jean,
Most HOA's will not answer questions unless there is a formal written request usually with a fee. The listing agent and seller are required to provide the Home Owner Association documents to you, typically after you have a ratified contract. You should have a inspection contingency in your offer that allows you time to review these documents and then if you do not like what you see, you can then cancel the contract as long as you have not removed that contingency. You should have an agent representing you that is helping you and explaining all of this. Let me know if you have any other questions, you can send me an email if that works for you. Good Luck. -Greg
0 votes
Amy E Glaser, Agent, San Rafael, CA
Thu Aug 19, 2010
Often found in newer communities, Mello-Roos is a fee (actually principal and interest payments made on public bonds) assessed by the state of California to maintain community infrastructure such as schools, streets and parks. The tax may be phased in over time, paid separate from your regular tax bill, or be included in your regular property tax bill. If it exists in an area the seller is required to disclose this information to a potential buyer.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Buying in Novato Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more