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There are some new upcoming laws related to real estate. Here are some of them (from the California Association of REALTORS).

Notice of Agenda for HOA Meeting: Under existing provisions of the Common Interest Development Open Meeting Act, a homeowner’s association (HOA) must not only allow members to attend HOA meetings as specified, but also provide members with at least 4 days notice of the time and place of a meeting. Effective January 1, 2008, such notice must contain the agenda for the upcoming meeting. At the meeting, the board of directors cannot discuss or take action on any item not on the agenda. Exceptions apply as specified for brief statements, exigent circumstances, and continuances from last month’s meeting. This law does not prohibit a resident, who is not a member of the board, from speaking at a meeting about issues not on the agenda. (Source: Senate Bill 528.)

Escrow Cancellation and Postponement Fees: Beginning January 1, 2008, an escrow company licensed by the California Department of Corporations (DOC) may charge a fee for cancellation or postponement resulting from the acts or omissions of the parties to an escrow transaction. The fee must be in not less than 8-point bold type on the front page of the escrow instructions signed by the principals. A postponement fee can only be charged for a postponement of at least two months after the most recent closing date in the agreed-upon written instructions. This legislative bill also requires an escrow company licensed by the DOC, and any of its directors, stockholders, trustees, officers, agents, or employees, to comply with the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). (Source: Assembly Bill 804.)

Real Estate Appraisers: Starting October 5, 2007, a licensed appraiser’s compensation cannot be dependent upon, or affected by, the value conclusion generated by an appraisal for a real property purchase, sale, transfer, financing, or development. Also starting October 5, 2007, anyone with an interest in a real estate transaction is prohibited from improperly influencing, or attempting to improperly influence, through coercion, extortion, or bribery, the appraisal process for a mortgage loan. An interested party may, however, ask the appraiser to do any of the following:
– Consider additional, appropriate property information;
– Provide substantiation or explanation for the appraiser’s value conclusion; or
– Correct errors in the appraisal report.(Source: Senate Bill 223.)

Mortgage Lenders and Brokers Regulated: Commencing January 1, 2008, anyone who makes eight or more loans to the public in a calendar year using that person’s own funds must be licensed as a real estate broker. (Source: Senate Bill 385.)

Anti-Discrimination of Tenants’ Immigration Status: Beginning January 1, 2008, a landlord or landlord’s agent cannot inquire into the immigration or citizenship status of an existing or prospective tenant or occupant. A landlord may, however, request information or documentation necessary to determine or verify the financial qualifications of a prospective tenant, or to identify a prospective tenant or occupant. This law also prohibits any city or county from requiring a landlord or landlord’s agent of residential rental property to inquire into, or take any action based upon, the immigration or citizenship status of an existing or prospective tenant or occupant. (Source: Assembly Bill 976.)

Manufactured Homes and Mobilehomes Distinguished: This new law provides a bright-line distinction between “manufactured homes” and “mobilehomes” to clarify the confusion surrounding these two terms. Starting January 1, 2008, both a manufactured home and mobilehome are generally defined as transportable structures of certain specifications, with or without foundations, but a manufactured home is constructed on or after June 15, 1976, whereas a mobilehome is constructed before June 15, 1976. (Source: Senate Bill 538.)

Written by Keith Byrd - Go to Keith's Website/Profile