09 Feb 2017

Crucial Legal Updates for California Real Estate Professionals

Find here a summary of important legislative updates affecting California real estate professionals.

Assembly Bill 1650—Disclosure Requirements on Solicitations

New legislation has been signed into law by the governor that affects disclosure requirements on real estate solicitation materials.

A.B. 1650 is concerned with real estate licensees disclosing when they are performing a task that requires a license if it is intended as a first point of contact with a consumer. Thus any publishing or distributing of materials that advertise a product or service that requires a license must state that a license is required for that activity. For example, if a REALTOR® wants to advertise his or her listing services, their distributed material must make it clear that listing a property requires a real estate license.

All of these “first point of contact” materials are also required to include the licensees license identification number and apply to mortgage loan originators as well, not just real estate salespersons or brokers.

The new law provides examples of materials that will require this disclosure. It specifically states that covered materials “includes business cards, stationery, advertising flyers, and other materials designed to solicit the creation of a professional relationship between the licensee and a consumer”. Note that this is not an all-inclusive list and any other material intended as a first point of contact with consumers would be subject to the same requirements. The real estate commissioner has the power to define the list further.

This law’s reach does not extend, however, to “an advertisement in print or electronic media” or to for sale signs.

SB 710 Clarifies Team Name Laws

Current California law requires the listing of the company name and responsible broker’s license number on all team advertising materials, which was not the intent of legislators when they originally wrote the law.

Enter Senate Bill 710, which, effective immediately, changes the requirement from both the “name under which the responsible broker is currently licensed by the bureau and conducts business in general or is a substantial division of the real estate firm” and the associated license identification number, to that name or that name and the license identification number.

Those wishing to refrain from listing the broker’s identification number on advertising materials may now do so. Again, this law is effective immediately.

For any further information, the text of the legislation can be found here

AB 2330 Updates Broker Associates Searchable Information and Broker Notification Requirements

The California legislature has unanimously passed and Gov. Brown has signed into law AB 2330 and goes into effect January 1st, 2018. This new law requires brokers to “immediately notify the Commissioner in writing” when a new real estate salesperson hangs their license under the broker or is terminated by the broker. “Willful or knowing” violation of this provision is punishable as a misdemeanor.

Brokers must also report to CalBRE if a licensee is an “associate licensee” and if so, which broker the licensee is contractually associated with. CalBRE will be required to publish this information as well.

AB 197, SB 32: Greenhouse Gas Legislation

A seemingly unusual law for inclusion in a real estate-centered legislative update, but this law actually has the potential to be quite important.

This law requires the State Air Resources Board to “approve a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit equivalent to the statewide greenhouse gas emissions level in 1990” to be achieved by 2020. By 2030 greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced to 40% below 1990 levels. The board is also required to “protect the state’s most impacted and disadvantaged communities” while creating these regulations.

This means that more steps will be taken to lower emissions—steps that have not yet been decided. The economic impacts are not yet known. Housing is clearly an issue that disadvantaged communities are concerned with, perhaps lending strength to the argument that policies that would directly affect the housing market will not be included. Yet, there is not yet any such guarantee. Real estate professionals should watch this law and its impacts as they assess their markets. Adhi encourages our students and readers to pay attention to politics and the state of the economy as our industry is dependent upon consumer confidence and a healthy economy.

AB 73: Clarifications Upon Disclosures of Death, HIV

This law, which took effect on September 25th, 2016, updates the wording of the law to clarify required disclosures. One such clarification is the confirmation that owners and agents are not required to disclose an occupant’s death or cause of death on the property if it occurred more than three years prior “to the date the transferee offers to purchase, lease, or rent the property”. Previously the law only stated that failure to disclose under these circumstances provided no cause of action.

This law also clarifies the disclosures surrounding HIV/AIDS. Owners and agents are not required to disclose that “an occupant of the property was living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or died from AIDS-related complications” at any point.

It is of crucial importance that California real estate professionals fully understand these disclosure requirements in order to fulfill their duties to their client and not violate the law.

AB 2406, AB 2299, and SB 1069: “Accessory Dwelling Units”

These laws change some requirements for the zoning and creation of “Accessory Dwelling Units” (ABUs), formerly referred to as “Second Units”.

AB 2406 permits a “local [housing] agency” to “provide by ordinance” for the creation of ABUs in single-family or multifamily residential areas. This includes “Junior” ABUs within a single-family home. Any proposed ordinance to permit these ABUs must include “among other things”, building standards for the creation of said ABUs, “required deed restrictions, and occupancy requirements”. Additional parking requirements for the unit are prohibited by this law.

AB 2299 and SB 1069 work together to change the term “Second Unit” to “Accessory Dwelling Unit” as well as establish guidelines for ADU permit review processes and restrictions with the declared hope of increasing housing supply in the state. Cities and counties are permitted to identify and/or evaluate potential sites for the creation of ABUs. Cities and counties will be able to substitute ABUs for up to 25% of “the community’s obligation to identify sites for any income category” (meaning that communities that invest in housing may include ABUs as part of said investment, with further requirements.)

The laws also mandate that local agencies approve or disapprove applications “ministerially without discretionary review” unless they have adopted their own ordinance in accordance with this law—incentivizing local agency cooperation. Local agencies can adopt certain restrictions to accommodate other zoning laws.

For specific requirements and details of these laws, visit them here: AB 2406AB 2299, SB 1069


 

We welcome feedback and commentary from our readers on these important new laws. Do you foresee important market impacts? Will any of these laws affect your business in any way? Let us know in the comments. And as always, for any questions or clarifications feel free to reach out to cody@adhischools.com

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