Musings of a Career Consultant

SoCal Texan in Bmore Leading Rock Stars

New California Laws for 2013 Affecting REALTORS® October 18, 2012

The ink may not yet be dry on some of the legislative bills that Governor Brown signed into law yesterday, as the 2011-12 legislative session drew to an end. A summary of over 60 new laws that may be of interest to REALTORS® is available to our members in the 2013 Laws section on the legal page of our website. The full text of each legislative bill is available at www.leginfo.ca.gov.

Many of the significant upcoming laws are in the landlord-tenant arena, but other new laws involve foreclosures, HOAs, settlement agreements, smoke alarms, mobilehome parks, and much more. Some of the highlights of the new laws that may affect REALTORS® are as follows:

Landlord Must Disclose Notice of Default to Prospective Tenants: Starting January 1, 2013, every landlord who offers for rent a residential property containing one-to-four units must disclose in writing to any prospective tenant the receipt of a notice of default that has not been rescinded. This disclosure must be made before executing a lease agreement. If a landlord violates this law, the tenant can elect to void the lease and recover one month’s rent or twice the amount of actual damages, whichever is greater, plus all prepaid rent. If the lease is not voided and the foreclosure sale has not occurred, the tenant may deduct one month’s rent from future amounts owed. The written disclosure notice as provided by statute must be in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. A property manager will not be held liable for failing to provide the written disclosure notice unless the landlord has given the property manager written instructions to deliver the written disclosure to the tenant. This law will expire on January 1, 2018. Senate Bill 1191.

Restrictions Against Cancellation Fees for HOA Documents: Beginning January 1, 2013, an HOA cannot collect a cancellation fee for HOA sales disclosure documents in either of two situations: (1) a request is cancelled in writing by the party who placed the order and work had not yet been performed on the order; or (2) a request is cancelled in writing and the HOA had been compensated for any work performed. Moreover, an HOA must refund all fees collected for HOA documents if a request is cancelled in writing and work had not yet been performed on the order. Additionally under this new law, the HOA cover sheet itemizing the HOA sales disclosures must be in at least 10-point type. Our C.A.R. standard form Homeowner Association Information Request (Form HOA) complies with this requirement. Assembly Bill 1838.

Landlord May Dispose Abandoned Personal Property Less Than $700: Commencing January 1, 2013, the total resale value of personal property left behind by a tenant after termination of a tenancy that the landlord must sell at a public auction (rather than dispose of or retain for his or her own use), has been increased from $300 to $700, if certain procedures are followed. This law, however, also prohibits a landlord from assessing any storage cost if the tenant reclaims personal property within 2 days of vacating the premises. The statutory notices of Right to Reclaim Abandoned Property have been revised to reflect these changes. Furthermore, a landlord’s notices of termination of tenancy and pre-move out inspection must contain specified language that former tenants may reclaim abandoned personal property left on the premises, subject to certain conditions. Assembly Bill 2303.

Tenant Entitled to a 90-Day Notice to Terminate After Foreclosure: Effective January 1, 2013, a month-to-month tenant in possession of a rental housing unit at the time the property is foreclosed must be given a 90-day written notice to terminate under California law. For a fixed-term residential lease, the tenant can generally remain until the end of the lease term, and all rights and obligations under the lease shall survive foreclosure, including the tenant’s obligation to pay rent. However, the landlord can give a 90-day written notice to terminate a fixed-term lease after foreclosure under any of the following four circumstances: (1) the purchaser or successor-in-interest will occupy the property as a primary residence; (2) the tenant is the borrower or the borrower’s child, spouse, or parent; (3) the lease was not the result of an arms’ length transaction; or (4) the lease requires rent that is substantially below fair market rent (except if under rent control or government subsidy). The purchaser or successor-in-interest bears the burden of proving that one of the four exceptions has been met. This law does not apply if a borrower stays in the property as a tenant, subtenant, or occupant, or if the property is subject to just cause rent control. This law will expire on December 31, 2019. This new California law is similar, but not identical, to the 90-day termination notice requirement under the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (12 U.S.C. § 5201, et seq.) (as extended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act), which is set to expire on December 31, 2014. Assembly Bill 2610.

Smoke Alarm Requirements for Home Improvers and Landlords: Starting not next year but January 1, 2014, for all dwelling units intended for human occupancy for which a building permit is issued for alterations, repairs, or additions for more than $1,000, the issuer of the building permit will not sign off on the completion of work unless the owner demonstrates that all smoke alarms (previously “smoke detectors”) required for the dwelling unit are devices approved by the State Fire Marshal. Also starting January 1, 2014, to be approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal, a smoke alarm must display the date of manufacture, allow a place for the date of installation to be written, incorporate a hush feature, incorporate an end-of-life warning, and, for battery-operated devices, contain a non-removable 10-year battery. These rules may be superseded by a local rule or ordinance that is more stringent than state law. For properties rented or leased, an owner is generally responsible for testing and maintaining smoke alarms in an apartment complex or other building starting January 1, 2013 and in a single-family residence starting January 1, 2014, and also responsible for installing additional smoke alarms as needed to comply with building standards starting January 1, 2016. Senate Bill 1394.

Lender Must Provide Summary for Foreclosure Notices: A lender must provide a borrower with a specified summary of information attached to a copy of a notice of default and notice of sale for any property containing one-to-four residential units. The summary must be in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. The beginning of the notice of default and notice of sale must also state in these 6 languages that the summary is attached. The attached summary does not need to be recorded or published. The Department of Corporation (DOC) must provide a standard translation of the statement free-of-charge on its website atwww.corp.ca.gov. This requirement takes effect on April 1, 2013 or 90 days after the DOC issues the summary translations, whichever is later. Under existing foreclosure procedures, notices of default and notices of sale must be mailed to borrowers by registered or certified mail as specified. Assembly Bill 1599.

Anti-Discrimination Protections For Religious Grooming and Breastfeeding: Commencing January 1, 2013, the protection against religious discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) has been expressly expanded to require an employer or other covered entity to make reasonable accommodations for an individual’s religious grooming or dress practice. Religious grooming or dress is to be broadly construed, and includes head, facial, and body hair, head or face coverings, religious clothing, jewelry, artifacts, or other items that are part of the observance of a religious creed. Segregating an individual is not a reasonable accommodation of someone’s religious grooming or dress practice. No accommodation for religious grooming or dress is required if it violates another law that protects civil rights. Additionally, the FEHA protection against sex discrimination has been expanded by way of a declaration, not a change in existing law, that requires an employer or other covered entity to make reasonable accommodations for breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding. Senate Bill 1964 and Assembly Bill 2386.

Courtesy of Realegal® which is published by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a trade association representing more than 160,000 REALTORS® statewide. Edited by: Stella Ling, stellal@car.org

 

I was on the radio… Again! :) July 5, 2011

I love doing these radio shows for the Real Cents Radio Network on KTIE 590 in San Bernardino County! It’s so awesome to send out so much good information! We talked about “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” in today’s real estate market. I just wanted to jot down a few of my thoughts should you have missed the show:

The Good? Affordability is at an all-time high. Home prices have declined month over month since July ’06 and rents have increased month over month since then. Also, interest rates are super low (even though they’ve started a small creep that will turn into a steady walk by the fall). And, with 35% of Buyers being 1st-timers, it’s good to know you’re not the minority!

The Bad? Last year’s appreciation is gone. Real prices are still high in some areas and condo sales decreased 8% last month but I know we’ll post a bigger decrease  due to the expiration of FHA Approval on a lot of complexes. We’re at 2000 prices per Case-Shiller and the higher end could still see a hit as we roll into the 2nd half of the year.

The Ugly? The percentage of homeowners that are underwater has stayed the same since the 1st quarter of ’09. What’s that mean? Even with all of the REO and Short Sale homes that have been bought up, we’re still seeing a steady stream feeding the market i.e. we’re not done yet. (Personal opinion: We won’t be for another 3 years.) Experts think it could take us 5-6 years to fully pull out of this. Inflation will then happen at a slow 2% and unemployment will remain high (which is why our recovery will be so slow).

What can you do to help me help you? Click this link and take a few seconds to fill this in and fight for your right to Affordable Mortgages. The government is considering making the minimum down payment 20% which would cripple our already fragile housing market (especially in areas like SoCal). They’re also talking about pulling out of the mortgage market. Privatization wouldn’t be good for anyone involved.

Should you have any questions about anything you’ve read here or if you’re interested in any city in Southern California (particularly the San Gabriel Valley or Inland Empire), please feel free to call your favorite REALTOR Smile

And, I can always send you a FREE Market Analysis on your home, just ask.

 

Wait, What’s a Short Sale? April 5, 2011

You’ve probably gotten a LOT of mixed messages about what a Short Sale is or isn’t. Well, the California Association of REALTORS would like to help however we can. Check out this link to get lots of valuable information on Short Sales. As you’ll read on the website:

A short sale is a sales transaction for which a seller’s mortgage lender voluntarily agrees to accept a loan payoff of less money than what is owed on the mortgage loan.  In a short sale, the property may or may not be in foreclosure.  However, homeowners may consider short sales as a viable option for avoiding foreclosure.

What you might also be wondering is “What will Melissa need to Help me?” I won’t need much but I will need the following:

  • Last 2 Months Pay Stubs
  • Last 2 Months Bank Statements
  • Last 2 Years Tax Returns
  • List of Monthly Expenses

The following will still be needed but others will help or provide these things:

  • Hardship Letter (I’ll help with this)
  • Authorization Letter (I’ll provide this)
  • Date Listed and Price (via MLS print-out and Listing Agreement that I’ll provide)
  • Fair Market Value (via Comparative Market Analysis that I’ll provide)
  • Purchase Contract (from the Buyer you choose)
  • HUD-1 (from the Escrow Co. we choose)
  • Buyer’s Pre-Qualification Letter (from the Buyer)

See, that’s not so bad for you, now is it? I think Short Sales seem scary because you don’t know what they entail. Educate yourself and I suggest you talk to your Tax guy and Attorney to make sure it’s a good idea for you (because everyone’s situation is different). Don’t be scared of Short Sales.

My Closing Rate on Short Sales is 100% but more important than that is the process we’ll take to move your family into the next chapter of ya’ll’s life. I will do everything in my power to make it as seamless a process as I can.

 

Back from the Capitol June 16, 2010

The 5th Annual HAF Golf Tournament was Tuesday and even though I missed it, I’m still a Housing Affordability Fund contributor. I heard that everyone had a good time and we raised a good amount of money!

Legislative Day was on Wednesday and at Region 16’s Legislative Luncheon we got a surprise visit from the Governor himself! Very exciting to see that entourage pull up! Then at the Capital Reception everyone had the opportunity to network with our Assemblymembers and Senators as well as REALTORS involved in RAF (with at least $197 contribution). What a great night!

Also, the YPN had a mixer at the Mix (seriously, not joking) and it was such a fun event. We had speakers from RAF and Tim Smith from Inman News. It was so nice to relax and mingle after a long day!

We (the Board of Directors) voted to approve the merging  of calREDD® with the Multi-Regional Multiple Listing Service Inc. (MRMLS). Since I’m already a MRMLS user, I love the idea, and since it was voted and approved, the majority of our Directors agree!

Also, we adopted a special purpose political assessment of $49 per member for 2011. This special assessment is for the California Real Estate Political Action Committee or, if the C.A.R. member chooses, to direct the funds to the C.A.R. general fund for non-candidate political purposes. Since I’m a $197 RAF contributor, this isn’t a huge change but for those REALTORS that haven’t been contributing, they now will. It’s exciting because this money will help us lobby for consumer rights (which is especially nice when we’re up against some strong opposition).

Also, we elected our 2011 President-Elect, LeFrancis Arnold. He’s ready to start work next year but I’m excited to see what he’ll do as President in 2012!

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions about anything.

 

Wow, 2010! February 16, 2010

There are a TON of events coming up that are going to be entertaining and/or educational so there is going to be plenty for everyone!

March 4th Jared James (who was one of REALTOR Magazine’s  last year’s top 30 Under 30 last year) will be doing a FREE Webinar courtesy of CVAR’s YPN! Email me for more information!

Also, that day TIGAR (a neighboring association of REALTORS) will be having their 1st YPN event! CVAR’s YPN is so excited for them!

March 11th I’ll be watching Brian Buffini and many others talk about the current market and what to expect in the future. That’ll be fun because I’ll be watching at The Bridge in LA!

March 13-14 is the Home Buyers Fair at the LA Convention Center! It’s FREE courtesy of the LA Times and California Association of REALTORS. Let me know if you need any more info!

April 8th the CVAR is having a Casino Night at Vista Manor to raise money for our brand new building on Route 66! It’s going to be a really fun night and we’re looking forward to REALTORS supporting our new home!

This doesn’t EVEN cover the whole 1st half of the year but I’ll keep ya’ll posted about more events as they get closer!