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Legislative Update

Tuesday, September 12, 2017  
Posted by: Lisa Keelan
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C.A.R. Sponsored Bills:

 

AB 448 (Daly) Parcel Tax Vote Notification - This measure is a follow up to last year’s C.A.R.-sponsored AB 2476 (Daly) which requires that a postcard notice be sent to property owners who reside outside of the jurisdiction after the approval of a parcel tax by the voters. This measure would require the notice to be mailed within 30 days of certification of the election results. AB 448 will not move forward this year.

 

AB 690 (Quirk-Silva) Homeowners Association (HOA) Management Company Disclosures: Fees & Conflicts of Interest - AB 690, among other things, requires HOAs to deliver, within the annual budget report, an itemized estimate of fees that may be charged by a professional management company for documents necessary to facilitate a real estate transaction. The bill also clarifies that sellers may request to purchase some or all of these documents, but shall not be required to purchase ALL of the documents listed on this form. Management companies will also be required to disclose any conflicts of interest when initiating a management contract or presenting bids for service to the HOA board. C.A.R. is sponsoring AB 690 to help unit owners prepare for costs associated with the transfer of real property and to ensure that the board of directors has the tools necessary to make informed decisions regarding proposed service providers. AB 690 was signed into law by the Governor.

 

AB 749 (Irwin) and AB 1289 (Arambula) Real Estate Law Cleanup - In 2016, C.A.R. successfully sponsored AB 685 (Irwin), which made some necessary technical corrections to the Real Estate Law including changing outdated terminology. These measures make additional changes in the Real Estate Law to update and conform it to current practice. AB 749 and AB 1289 are comprehensive efforts opposed by the consumer attorneys who argue the bills do more than simply “clean up and conform to current practice.” The Judiciary chair has requested that stakeholder meetings take place to sort out the details of the bills. The bills will not move forward this year: AB 749 is pending in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee; AB 1289 is pending in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

 

AB 1139 (Reyes) Private Transfer Fee Disclosure Update - Private Transfer Fees (PTFs) are fees imposed by a seller requiring the buyer and any subsequent purchaser to pay a fee upon the transfer. In 2012, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) adopted a rule for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed mortgages requiring that the funds generated by any PTF provide a “direct benefit” to the encumbered property (PTFs established prior to the date of the rule are “grandfathered”). Federal law now requires the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to adopt the same rule regarding PTFs. Current California law on PTF disclosures only provides the “particulars” of the fee (i.e., amount, fee recipient, etc.). This bill updates the PTF disclosure law to inform homebuyers of the FHA and FHFA regulations relating to PTFs and how those regulations may impact the ability to obtain financing. AB 1139 was signed into law by the Governor.

 

AB 1333 (Dababneh) Property Owner Notification: Proposed Taxes and Bonds - Under current law, resident property owners receive notice of proposed taxes and bonds with receipt of their ballot pamphlet while non-resident property owners do not receive any notice whatsoever. This bill requires a city, county or special district (e.g., hospital district) to provide notice to all property owners within 10 days of a proposed tax or bond qualifying for the ballot. AB 1333 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and will not move forward this year.

 

AB 1569 (Caballero) Rental Housing: Support/Companion Animal Certifications - Housing providers must make a “reasonable accommodation” for a tenant’s disability. “Reasonableness” for support (sometimes referred to as companion) animals is, based on federal guidance, determined on a case-by-case basis. Unlike service animals, support animals are not trained to perform specific tasks. Support animals are not afforded the same protections under the ADA or California state law, causing confusion for housing providers. This bill, among other things, clarifies the right of landlords to request reliable third-party verification to show the need for a support/companion animal in a rental unit, and clarifies that ID cards or online services providing “ESA prescription” letters for sale are not sufficient verification. C.A.R. has been testifying before the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) on proposed regulations that would achieve the same objective as AB 1569. Opponents, in strong opposition, are making the argument that AB 1569 is not necessary, or at best premature, and that the legislature should wait to see if DFEH "fixes the problem.” C.A.R. is holding the bill this year pending regulatory action by DFEH.

 

SB 173 (Dodd) CalBRE “Department” Status Restoration - In 2012, the Brown Administration made changes to the state's organizational structure in an effort to streamline government practices. These changes included moving the Department of Real Estate to the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency (BCSH) to function under the Department of Consumer Affairs as a Bureau. This bill returns CalBRE to its standing as the Department of Real Estate within BCSH. SB 173 is pending on the Assembly Floor.

 

SB 348 (Leyva) Ballot Pamphlet Notification: Challenging New Taxes - Current law allows taxpayers to challenge new taxes typically within 60 days of approval by voters. However, most taxpayers are unaware of the time restrictions imposed on their ability to challenge new taxes. This bill requires the ballot pamphlet notify voters that new taxes can only be challenged within 60 days of voter approval. SB 348 will not move forward this year.

 

Bills of Others:

 

SB 649 (Hueso) Wireless Telecommunications Facilities - This bill would establish a ministerial permitting process for local governments for siting small cell wireless facilities. C.A.R. has received concerns from citizen activists claiming that SB 649 is real-estate related and urging REALTORS® to oppose the bill. C.A.R. is neutral on SB 649: the proposed ministerial permitting process only applies to the siting of small cell wireless facilities located in a public right-of-way or in a commercial or industrial zone. SB 649 is pending on the Assembly Floor.

 

On the Regulatory Front:

 

Residential Adaptation Policy Guidance Document - In August 2017, the California Coastal Commission (Commission) released draft guidelines for addressing sea level rise in Local Coastal Programs (LCPs). These guidelines are intended as a companion to the Commission’s 2015 Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance, which provided direction for incorporating sea-level rise projects into planning and land use decisions. The guidelines offer model strategies and policies that local governments may adopt for use in their communities to regulate and control housing in the coastal zone. C.A.R. submitted comprehensive comments this week addressing several concerns with the proposed guidelines. These concerns included opposing the Commission’s definitions for “redevelopment” and “existing structures,” condemnation, disclosures, private property rights and liability. Additionally, C.A.R. recommended utilization of the universally accepted Geographical Information Systems for mapping and disclosure purposes. The Commission anticipates revising the document for possible action later this year.

 

Opportunity Map Methodology - The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee recently proposed a methodology to identify “high resource” and “low resource” communities. The methodology will be used to dedicate funding to site low-income housing units in “high resource” communities. C.A.R. is concerned that the map could stigmatize “low resource” communities and submitted comments last week opposing the methodology’s sole reliance on American Community Survey (ACS) data. ACS has inadequate sample sizes and relies on CalEnviroScreen 3.0, which was never intended to be used for land use planning purposes.

 

NAR Call-for-Action:

 

NAR’s Call-for-Action on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) - NAR’s Call-for-Action urging Congress to reauthorize NFIP ended recently after a three-month extension of the program was approved. The deal struck between the White House and Congress will allow NFIP to continue issuing/renewing flood insurance policies for homeowners until December 8, 2017. C.A.R. urges REALTORS® to continue to stay engaged on this issue by signing up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts by visiting realtoractioncenter.com/realtors/fpc/mobile.html.

 


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