california assembly bills
This year is shaping up to be an interesting year for new 2014 California real estate laws, which will affect us in Sacramento. For so many years the new laws have been more narrow, but this year will be different. In some ways, you’ve got to wonder why our California Assembly members had to propose some of these new real estate laws, and the answer is because they don’t (shudder) exist or our present laws are unclear. It’s enough to make some of us feel like dropping out and engaging our brains elsewhere such as searching for a Pinata Party during Plants vs. Zombies, or throwing a sheet around our waist and dancing through the house yelling toga, toga.
Let’s look at AB 1513, the so-called Squatter’s Bill. This is a piece of legislation that will allow law enforcement officials to remove unwanted persons from your vacant property. That’s right, under current law, a vagrant can break into your home, set up shop and you can’t immediately throw them out. They can party away like in Animal House for 30 to 60 days while you helplessly look on, dangling a piece of paper that says you’re entitled to an unlawful detainer. Well, I probably could get them out. As a Sacramento real estate agent, I have once resorted to banging loudly on the door and screaming FBI, I hate to admit, and then listening for the back door to slam as the squatters scatter like rats.
Another is AB 2039, targeting auction companies such as Auction.com, which is owned in part by a former third-party vendor company that processed short sales. This company has partnered with bad-mortgage purchasing companies such as Nationstar and forces real estate agents to allow this company to take over the transaction — kind of like a squatter, you don’t want them but you can’t get rid of them. This legislation would at least hold the real estate agent harmless from the actions of the auction company.
It boggles my mind as to how these auction companies are successful anyway. Because a buyer must pay a 5% premium to the auction company (on top of the commission) to buy the home as a short sale, and the bank wants market value. Seems to be a conflict of interest in that area, plus, how does the buyer obtain an over-market loan when it won’t appraise? Fortunately, I have been successful at not having to deal with Auction.com in any of my hundreds of Sacramento short sales, knock on wood.
My favorite newly proposed real estate law is AB 2136, which would clarify that a real estate agent is not required to keep a record of Tweets and Texts pursuant to a real estate transaction because those forms of communication are not considered a document. This means when I’ve receive a text message during sex, I can safely answer it in the throes of passion and not worry if it’s later deleted. I like that.
See, all good things coming out of our California Assembly, designed to improve our lives. Now, if they could just pass the mortgage forgiveness extension, we’d be well on our way to recovery. As it stands now, all of those poor homeowners who have successfully completed a principal mortgage reduction through a loan modification are positioned to get hammered on taxes. We have an exemption for short sales, but not loan modifications. Oy.