By Kay Wilson-Bolton
December 19, 2005
REALTORS® and the industry we support is an annual target for new laws, many of them pointing to consumer protection. To give you an idea of how varied these laws are, continue reading.
In 2003, a law was passed requiring landlords who want to evict tenants in periodic tenancies, where the tenant has been living in the property for over a year, to give the tenant a 60-day notice to vacate. Effective January 1, 2006 all month to month tenants may be evicted with a 30-day notice unless the property is in a rent control jurisdiction, or if the rent on the property is subsidized by the government, such as a Section 8 rental.
Homeowner Association Rules –SB 702 provides that if a homeowners association is an unincorporated association that has governing documents that are deficient, default rules will be supplied in the Civil Code that will apply automatically.
Risk Management Course – AB 223 provides that the first time a real estate licensee applies for license renewal, the licensee must complete a three-hour course on risk management that includes principles, practices and procedures calculated to avoid errors and omissions in the practice of real estate, as part of the overall required 45 hours of continuing education.
Mobile Home Parks – Effective July 1, 2006, SB 237 provides that a rental agreement in a mobile home park entered into or renewed on or after that date may not include a provision that grants the management of the park the right of first refusal to purchase a mobile home owner’s mobile home if the owner wishes to sell the mobile home to a third party. .
Small Claims Court – Effective January 1, 2006, SB 422 increases the small claims court jurisdictional amount from the existing $5,000 to $7,500.
Financial Elder Abuse Reporting –SB 1018, which will become effective January 1, 2007, makes all officers and employees of banks, federal and state credit unions and their affiliates who suspect financial elder or dependant adult abuse, as specified, to be “mandated reporters” .
Megan’s Law –AB 1323 mandates a change in the statutory notice language regarding registered sex offenders (Megan’s Law) that appears on residential purchase contracts and residential lease forms in California. The new language refers the buyer or tenant to a website that contains the database (http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov).
. Bankruptcy Law Changes – Effective October 17, 2005 the federal Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection act of 2005 permits Bankruptcy Courts to convert a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to a Chapter 11 or a Chapter 13 without the debtor’s consent. It will be easier for landlords to evict tenants who have declared bankruptcy.
Energy Efficiency Standards – Effective January 23, 2006, all new central air conditioning equipment will be required to have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) (the measurement of the efficiency of cooling devices such as air conditioners) of at least 13. The previous requirement was 10 SEER. Consumers have no duty to update or replace air conditioning units and it is not a retrofit requirement,
Notice of Supplementary Tax – Effective January 1, 2006, sellers or agents must disclose in writing to a buyer that they may have to pay a supplementary tax bill.
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner and broker of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and can be reached at 805.340.5025.