Some housing developers in South Carolina with undeveloped building lots will get additional property tax breaks under a recently approved state law.

The change benefits builders with land that was subdivided into at least 10 building lots, which qualified for a multi-lot property tax discount by the end of 2011.

The law extends by three years the amount of time a landowner may claim the tax discount. The previous limit was three years.

The state Budget and Control Board estimated that the change will cost local governments and schools $5.2 million over the next year.

Gov. Nikki Haley and the South Carolina Home Builders Association held a ceremonial signing to celebrate the legislation Thursday at the Saluda River Club. The governor had signed the bill May 25.

The bill, H 3934, also tightens some of the rules regarding the taxation of owner-occupied properties, which are taxed at roughly one-third the rate of commercial properties, including apartments.

Under the revised regulations, no member of a household receiving the owner-occupied-property tax rate can claim another property as their legal residence.

More significantly, the bill closes a loophole involving properties that have multiple owners.

Under current law, if one of several owners lives in the property, the entire property is taxed at the low owner-occupied rate. Now, if someone owning less than 50 percent of a property is the resident, only their share of the property would be taxed at the low rate.