Tribal Housing Exemption

Low-income rental housing owned and operated by an Indian tribe or a housing entity designated by a tribe meeting certain requirements may be eligible for exemption (see Revenue and Taxation Code section 237). This exemption applies if the property and entity meet the following requirements:

  • At least 30 percent of the property's housing units are continuously available to or occupied by lower income households (as defined in Section 50079.5 of the Health and Safety Code or applicable federal, state, or local financing agreements), at rents that do not exceed those prescribed by Section 50053 of the Health and Safety Code, or rents that do not exceed those prescribed by the terms of the applicable federal, state, or local financing agreements or financial assistance agreements.
  • The housing entity is nonprofit.
  • No part of the net earnings of the housing entity benefit any private shareholder or individual.

Additionally, the property must be owned and operated by either (1) a federally recognized Indian tribe, or, (2) its tribally designated housing entity.

Federally Designated Recognized Tribes: The applicant tribe must be a federally "recognized" Indian tribe. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) maintains a list of federally recognized tribes on its website (

Tribally Designated Housing Entity: A housing entity must (1) be tribally designated by a federally recognized tribe, (2) be nonprofit, and, (3) have no part of its net earnings benefit any private shareholder or individual. An applicant that is a housing entity must provide a resolution from a federally recognized tribe designating it as a housing entity for the tribe.

To apply for the Tribal Housing Exemption, a claim must be filed each year with the assessor of the county where the property is located. The claim forms, BOE-237, Exemption of Low-Income Tribal Housing, and form BOE-237-A, Supplemental Affidavit for BOE-237 Housing-Lower Income Households are available from the county assessor. To receive the full 100 percent exemption for property owned on the January 1 lien date, the claim must be filed by February 15.

Claimants are required to submit the following information with the initial claim:

  1. Documents establishing that the designating tribe is federally recognized.
  2. Documents establishing that the housing entity has been designated by the tribe.
  3. Documents establishing that there is a deed restriction, agreement, or other legally binding document requiring that the property be used in compliance with section 237, subdivision (a), paragraph (2), subparagraph (A).

Claimants are to provide a description of the property for which exemption is claimed, including the entire project property and the portion for which the exemption is claimed (only the portion

that is occupied by qualified low-income tenants is exempt). If the property includes units that do not qualify for the exemption, the description must list the qualifying and nonqualifying units.

The following links provide additional information on the Tribal Housing Exemption: