By Kay Wilson-Bolton
January 15, 2010
Every industry is compelled to look itself in the eye and rely on our legislators to craft news laws that make sense while they protect the consumer. This year is no exception. Consider the following new laws.
Advertisng. Solicitation materials that must contain the agnets license identification number issued by the Departmetn of Real Estate on business cards, stationery, web sites and other marketing or promotional materials designed to solicit the creation of a professional relationship between the licensee and a consumer, or intended to induce a consumer to contact the licensee about any licensed services. It must also be on any purchase contracts signed by the agents.
Not included are advertisements in electronic media, print advertising or “For Sale” signs.
SB 234 This law requires appraisal management companies, as defined, to register with the Office of Real Estate Appraisers, and subjects them to the provisions of the Real Estate Appraisers’ Licensing and Certification Law
A regularly controversial aspect of real estate practice is the use of handymen to completle simple tasks in preparing or repairing property.
SB 370 states it is a misdemeanor for a person to engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor without having a license. This new law increases the penalties for acting as a contractor without a license.
A person who used the services of an unlicensed contractor is a victim of crime and eligible for restitution for economic losses, regardless of whether that person had knowledge that the contractor was unlicensed.
SB 367 The California Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibits arbitrary discrimination in providing accommodations, advantages, faciities, privileges, or services by business establishments. This law states that any discount or benefit given to a consumer who has lost a job or has suffered reduced wages is not considered arbitrary discrimination
SB306 Previously the law required that, upon a breach of the obligation of a mortgage or transfer of an interest in property, the trustee, mortgagee, or beneficiary record a notice of default in the office of the county recorder where the mortgaged or trust property is situated and mail the notice of default to the mortgagor or trustor.
Furthermore, until January 1, 2013, the prior law prohibited a mortgagee, trustee, beneficiary, or authorized agent from filing a notice of default for an additional 30 days on loans made between January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2007, that secures residential real property.
This portion of the law is now limited to owner-occupied residential real property containing no more than 4 dwelling units.
Previously the law required a trustee or authorized agent, upon posting a notice of sale, to post and mail a specified notice addressed to residents of property subject to foreclosure upon posting a notice of sale. Existing law required a notice of sale to be recorded in the county in which the property, or some part of it, is situated at least 14 days prior to the date of sale.
The new law specifies how and when this notice is to be mailed. It also extends the time from 14 to 20 days prior to the date of sale.
The California Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibits arbitrary discrimination in providing accommodations, advantages, faciities, privileges, or services by business establishments.
AB 367 states that any discount or benefit given to a consumer who has lost a job or has suffered reduced wages is not considered arbitrary discrimination.
AB 1061 makes any provision of the governing documents of a common interest development void and unenforceable if it prohibits the use of low water-using plants as a group, or if it has the effect of prohibiting or restricting compliance with a local water-efficient landscape ordinance or water conservation measure. In other words, HOAs can no longer force homeowners to maintain lush green lawns if the homeowners prefer other low water-using plants.
AB 313 prohibits an HOA from making assessments on separate interests within the common interest development based on the taxable value of the separate interests according to the local assessor’s office, unless the association was already doing so on or before December 31, 2009, in accordance with its governing documents. An association that is responsible for paying taxes on the separate interests within the common interest development is not subject to this prohibition.
AB 899 requires an HOA to include in the Assessment and Reserve Funding Disclosure Summary a specified statement regarding the interest rate earned on reserve funds and the assumed inflation rate applied to major component repair and replacement costs. The HOA must also provide, at an owner’s request, a new Disclosure Document Index. Furthermore, all the disclosure documents on this Index can be provided electronically (e-mail, fax, etc.).
AB 1046 changes the statutory homestead exemptions. Previously the base exemption was $50,000 for a single person, $75,000 for a member of a family unit and there is at least one member of the family unit who owns no interest in the homestead or whose only interest is a community property interest in the homestead, $150,000 for a person who is (1) 65 years of age or older, (2) physically or mentally disabled and unable to work, or (3) 55 years of age or older and has a gross annual income of $15,000 or less (or $20,000 or less if married).
This law increases the homestead exemptions to $75,000, $100,000, and $175,000, respectively.
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista in Ventura and Santa Paula. She always brings a regional perspective to local issues. She can be reached at 805.340.5025. Her web address is www.realestatemagic.com