Recent Changes in California Law Effecting Real Estate

California’s full-time legislature is constantly passing and modifying legislation. Sometimes, more obscure changes go unnoticed. The following laws have been passed this calendar year. Each touches real estate and can potentially effect buyers, sellers, or sales agents.  
 
Accessory Dwelling Units – SB 1069

On September 27, 2016, SB 1069 renames “second units” (in-law units) as “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs) and authorizes local government to provide by ordinance for the creation of AUDs regardless of whether the local government has an ADU ordinance or not. The bill further speeds up the approval process for ADU construction, removes secondary utility hookup fees already paid by the primary unit, and eliminates parking requirements if the ADU is near public transit. The bill aims to ease the rental housing crisis and increase the supply of affordable housing in California. It will give owners more ability to build, permit, and rent out legal ADUs on their properties.
 
Advertising – AB 1650
Beginning January 1, 2018, AB 1650 would “revise the disclosure requirements with regard to solicitation materials to require the inclusion of the name of the licensee and the responsible broker’s identity and description of solicitation materials.”
 
Existing law only requires an agent to include their own license number on first point of contact solicitation materials, and also provides several exclusions to solicitation materials, such as advertisements in electronic media, print advertisements in any newspaper or other periodicals, “for sale” signs place on or around a property and classified rental advertisements.
 
The new law broadens first point of contact solicitation materials to include business cards, stationery, advertising flyers, advertisements on television, in print, or electronic media, “for sale,” rent, lease, “open house,” and directional signs, and other materials designed to solicit the creation of a professional relationship between the licensee and a consumer. It will require all those first point of contact solicitation materials to include the name and number of the licensee and the responsible broker’s identity. Further, there is no longer an exception for electronic media or print advertisements for newspapers and other periodicals. However, “for sale,” “open house,” rent, lease, and directional signs that contain no licensee information are permissible.
 
Disclosure of Death – AB 73
 
Effective September 25, 2016, AB 73 provides that “the owner of real property, his or her agent, or an agent of a transferee of real property is not required to disclose the occurrence or manner of death of an occupant, as specified, or that an occupant of the property was living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or died from AIDS-related complications.” This law clarifies that an owner or his or her agent, or the selling agent are not required to disclose the death of an occupant upon the real property or the manner of death where it occurred more than three years prior to the offer to purchase a property. The previous law only provided that no cause of action arises against owner or agent for failing to disclose such.
 
Licensee and Broker Information - AB 2330
Beginning January 1, 2018, AB 2330 requires the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) to include in the online public information whether a licensee is an associate licensee and, if the associate licensee is a broker, and identification of any employing brokers the associate broker is contractually associated with. This bill also requires a broker to immediately notify CalBRE in writing when the broker employs an associate broker or terminates an associate broker's employment. At present, the BRE’s online licensing look-up service displays the affiliation of licensed salespersons, but not “broker associates.” This will change.
 
Petition Process to Remove Disciplinary Action Records – AB1807
Beginning January 1, 2018, AB 1807 would “authorize the commissioner, upon petition by a licensee accompanied by a specified fee, to remove from the posting of discipline an item that has been posted on the bureau’s Internet Web site for at least 10 years and for which the licensee provides evidence of rehabilitation indicating that the notice is no longer required to prevent a credible risk to members of the public utilizing licensed activity of the licensee.” The petition will be considered on a case-by-case basis and the commissioner would be required to take into consideration other violations that present a “credible risk to the members of the public”.