California Legislature laws for realtors

California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan - Your Last Resort Insurance Plan

Is your home hard to insure?

Don’t fret! Your home is not uninsurable.

wildfire_californiaThe California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plan is your insurer of last resort. You have to exhaust all efforts to benefit from this.

The California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plan is an insurance pool established to guarantee the availability of basic property insurance to those who have been unable to obtain insurance through the voluntary insurance market.

firefighters_fighting_wildfire_californiaHomeowners in wildfire-prone regions may need to turn to the FAIR Plan if they cannot find insurance elsewhere.  You should exhaust all other avenues before going with a FAIR Plan policy, which should only be considered a last resort.

A FAIR Plan policy is pretty bar bones: it will cover losses due to fire and smoke and it will satisfy a mortgage company’s requirement that a home be insured, but it will not cover damages from earthquake, theft, vandalism or personal liability.  As of April 1, 2020, the FAIR plan’s combined dwelling coverage limit is $3 million, up from $1.5 million.  For more information visit cfpnet.com

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Consumer Protection: PACE Liens C.A.R. sponsored law mandating a paper copy of the PACE disclosure, prohibits prepayment penalties, and prohibits PACE assessments when a reverse mortgage is in place.

PACE disclosure Assembly Bill 1551This law mandates a paper copy of the PACE disclosure be given to potential customers. Also, prohibits prepayment penalties for those who wish to pay off their assessment (commonly done at the time of the transaction) and prohibits PACE assessments when a reverse mortgage is in place.

BACKGROUND:
PACE programs enable home owners to finance energy and water efficient home upgrades such as solar panels, landscaping, new windows, new HVAC systems, new roofs and energy efficient appliances. It also allows for home mprovements that "harden" a home against wildfire danger.

The financing requires no money up front and is repaid through an additional assessment on the property owner's property tax bill. The loan is secured to the property through a super-priority lien that takes rest in line status over all other claims to the property. Despite the low risk for the lender of such financing, PACE financing typically carries rates of 6.5 to 8.5 percent, higher than the average for a home equity loan.

Some PACE administrator companies also have prepayment penalties associated with their products. Although PACE financing must be sanctioned through a local government entity, the financing is conducted entirely through private enterprise. "Homeowners are sometimes told they are not responsible for the assessment if they sell the property and that it will carry over to the new homeowner. While technically accurate, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not purchase a mortgage with a lien that has higher priority than theirs. Thus,...

Law that Authorizes Common Interest Developments (CID) to Impose Rental Restrictions

Common Interest Developments:
Law on Common Interest Development (CID)Requires common interest developments (CIDs) to allow at least 25% of owners to rent or lease out their units starting January 1, 2021, regardless of whether the HOA has formally amended their governing documents.

This law:

1) Authorizes a CID to impose reasonable rental restrictions that have the effect of limiting the total number of rentals to 25% or higher of the individual dwelling units in the CID. Provides that ADUs and junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs) must not be counted toward this cap. Provides that such a cap must not change the right of an individual owner who was renting their unit out prior to the effective date of this law, to continue renting out their unit.

2) Requires CIDs to follow the requirements of this law on January 1, 2021 and requires amendments of governing documents to be completed by CIDs by December 31, 2021. Requires CIDs to comply with this law regardless of whether the governing documents have been amended.

3) Provides that a CID that violates the provisions of this law must be liable for a civil penalty of up to $1,000.

Assembly Bill 3182 is codified as Civil Code Sections 4740 and 4741, and Government Code Sections 65852.2.

Effective January 1, 2021.

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Real Estate Returns VS. Stock Market Returns

real estate returnTruth be told, comparing historical stock market returns with real estate returns is an apple to oranges affair but it is still possible to get a general idea of how each one fared over a specific time-period through Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and their historical returns in asset value.

First, let us define what an ETF is:

An ETF is a security that holds and tracks a collection or group of securities (i.e., stocks). ETFs are listed on an exchange just like a stock and therefore trade just like stocks.

For this particular example, the following ETFs will be compared as they give a good indication of the overall results of the U.S. Stock Market and U.S. Real Estate over a 10-year period. :

  • S&P 500 ETF Total Return (SPY)
  • Vanguard Real Estate ETF Total Return (VNQ)

At the time of this writing, the 10-year average return for SPY was 11.39% while the average return during the same period for VNQ was 8.68%.

This, of course, does not include the dividend yield or even rent paid to the investor during the given period.

Again, measuring stock market returns to real estate investment returns does not give a clear indication of which one offers the investor a better absolute return but it does help to show that both their asset values do increase at a decent rate over time.

If there were a way that rental income could be averaged and factored in alongside real estate asset values during a given time frame, there would more...

What's the Better Investment : Real Estate or Stocks?

stock marketAn investment portfolio of a mix of stocks and real estate is always ideal but what if owning both were not possible?

 What if you could only choose one of them and had to stick with it for the rest of your investing life?

 Which one would be the better choice?

 While stocks have been a traditional mainstay for investors for over two centuries within the U.S. - the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) began in 1817 - many would-be investors have not considered the benefits of using real estate as an investment vehicle instead of just a place to lay one’s head.

 Real estate can offer lower risk, higher returns, and more diversification than stocks if invested correctly.

 That is not to say that stocks do not offer benefits to investors, it is just that real estate has many more practical applications that can translate into real-world value - value that a stock certificate can not achieve outside of the investment arena it is traded in.

 So, which one is the better investment vehicle?

 Each investor’s financial situation and goals are different which makes the final decision an individual one.

 However, sound investing information can go a long way to helping investors make a decision that is right for them.

 By no means is this article trying to negate investing in one asset class over the other. Its main objective is to ...

For Purposes of Improving Landscape Water Use and Irrigation Efficiency

...a home inspection report on a dwelling unit on a parcel containing an in-ground landscape irrigation system, the operation of which is under the exclusive control of the owner or occupant of the dwelling, may include an irrigation system inspection report, prepared by either a home inspector or certified landscape irrigation auditor, that contains all of the following:

(1)  Examination of the irrigation system controller noting observable defects in installation or operation.
home inspection
(2)  Activation of each zone or circuit providing irrigation water to turf grass, noting malfunctions observed in the operation of (A)The irrigation valve (B)Visible irrigation supply piping and (C)Sprinkler heads and stems.

(3)  During activation of the system, observation of (A)Irrigation spray being directed to hardscape  

     (B)  Irrigation water leaving the irrigated area as surface runoff (C)Ponding of irrigation water on   the surface of the irrigated area.

Assembly Bill 2371 codified as Business and Professions Code §§ 7065.06 and 7195.5, and Government Code §§ 65592, 65596, 65596.5 and 65596.7. Effective January 1, 2019. READ MORE





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HOA's Financial Accountability Update: Changes the frequency of review required by law

homeowners association The Homeowners Association (HOA) existing law is for its board to review financial documents and statements related to the HOA's accounts on at least a quarterly basis, unless the HOA's governing documents require more frequent review. Updated Assembly Bill 2901 law changes the frequency of review required by law from at least once a quarter to once a month, and adds a requirement to review the check register, monthly general ledger, and delinquent assessment receivable reports. But it also provides some flexibility in this monthly review requirement by allowing an individual board member—for example, the treasurer—to review these financial documents so long as the board ratifies that review at the next board meeting.

This law requires the HOA to maintain fidelity bond coverage for its directors, officers, and employees in an amount equal to or more than the combined amount of the reserves of the HOA and total assessments for three months, unless the governing documents require greater coverage amounts.

This law prohibits a managing agent from transferring from a bank trust funds greater than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or 5 percent of an association’s total combined reserve and operating account deposits, whichever is lower, without prior written approval from the board of the association.

Assembly Bill 2912 codified as Civil Code No. 5501, 5502, 5380, 5500 and...

Why Building Permits Will Make You Question Everything?

So you've been issued a building permit for your soon-to-be constructed dream home. Its been months, so you'll ask, is my building permit still valid?

A building permit remains valid despite changes in the building code as long as work is commenced within 12 months after issuance.

building construction permit A provision of the California Building Standards Law specifies that a local ordinance adding or modifying building standards for residential occupancies, published in the California Building Standards Code, applies only to an application for a building permit submitted after the effective date of the ordinance and to plans and specifications for, and the construction performed under, that permit, unless, among other reasons, the permit is subsequently deemed expired because the building or work authorized by the permit is not commenced within 180 days from the date of the permit, or the permittee has suspended or abandoned the work authorized by the permit at any time after the work is commenced.

This new law instead provides that a permit would remain valid for purposes of the California Building Standards Law if the work on the site authorized by that permit is commenced within 12 months after its issuance, unless the permittee has abandoned the work authorized by the permit. The law also authorizes a permittee to request and the building official to grant, in writing, one or more extensions of time for periods of not more than 180 days per extension. It requires that the permittee request the extension in writing and demonstrate justifiable cause for the extension. Read More Here

An act to amend Section 18938.5 of,...

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