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SB407 and CAR Meeting Update – Blaine Morris’ 2014 President of Marin Association of Realtors 02/03/14 Monday Memo

Good morning MAR members!

Last week’s memo on SB-407, the new statewide water retrofit regulation, generated a huge amount of response.  Marin officials are still formulating their oversight plan, and MAR will get clarity on the changes. We will be doing so ASAP to determine the local criteria to trigger a need to retrofit based upon permit issuance.

Again, it is not a current point-of-sale requirement.  It is triggered by the pulling of permits for other things, starting this month.  However, starting January 1, 2017 (three years from now) every homeowner in the state will be required to retrofit their homes built before 1/1/1994, regardless of point-of-sale or permits… even if it’s not part of a sale.  Thus, it will become a point of sale requirement on January 1, 2017 for homes built before 1/1/1994.  Much like the recent rollout of required carbon monoxide detectors in all homes.

Some of you asked about disclosure requirements.  The Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement was revised over a year ago to reflect this new law.  On page 2 of the RETDS, the document specifically discloses much of this, but is brief in the description.  There looks to be an upcoming “Water Conserving Fixtures Disclosure (SB407)”, and I’m seeking clarity on when this form will be available.

MAR will continue to pass along info.

I promised to report back on the developments at last week’s CAR meetings in San Diego.  The other members of our CAR team will be reporting to back to me, and I will forward other relevant items as I learn about them.

So, in no particular order:

Transaction and Regulatory

I sit on this committee.  We voted on the following action items, and we later voted as the CAR Board to approve these action items. These are NOT new regulations; CAR is simply starting the process:

  • That CAR “SPONSOR” legislation to clarify the rules for the CalBRE to regulate the use of “Team” names by licensees.  This was an extremely busy conversation, as this subject is getting a lot of attention at the CalBRE.  Currently, brokers are supposed to file a DBA to cover team names working for their brokerages…and the broker officially owns those team name DBAs.  This policy needs clarification, and an update is planned for the May meetings.
  • That CAR “SPONSOR” legislation to require an auction company to indemnify or “hold harmless” the listing broker in a transaction against liability that results from the auction company’s actions in a short sale transaction.  This was THE big issue that everyone was talking about the whole week.  There is too much on this subject for this memo, I’ll be writing more on this soon.  Also, at the CAR Board of Directors meeting, the floor voted to direct CAR legal staff to look into the whole validity of our listing agreement, as some banks are now requiring short sale transactions to go out to auction after a purchase agreement is executed…effectively ordering the listing broker to abrogate a valid contract and turn the listing over to the auction company.  Everyone is very interested in this subject, stay tuned.
  •  That CAR “SPONSOR” legislation to prohibit short-lived communications like tweets or text messages from being considered “transactional documents” that must be retained in a broker’s file.  This will be an ongoing conversation, but for now your text messages are supposed to be retained.

Taxation and Government Finance Committee

We voted to “SUPPORT” legislation to study the revenue impact of allowing homeowners to transfer their property tax basis to a home anywhere in the state.  This relates to Propositions 60 and 90, where over-age-50 homeowners can transfer their tax basis once per lifetime.  Right now, this is governed on a county-by-county basis, and Marin does not allow a new homeowner from outside the county to transfer his or her tax basis into Marin (though an intra-Marin transfer is allowed).  I tried to discern the political will for this, and the answer was “stay tuned.”

Public Policy Forum–General Home Inspectors

This forum was packed.  Believe it or not, there is no current statewide licensing requirement for general home inspectors.  We use these valued professionals in many of our transactions, and there are current industry standards in their trade associations.  But no statewide oversight.  Pest inspectors, engineers, electricians and plumbers all have a licensing requirement, and there is a discussion of creating such a licensing requirement for general home inspectors.  We voted on the Transaction and Regulatory Committee to establish a working group to explore this subject, and also to “explore options related to home inspectors contractual limitation of liability provisions…”   More on this later in the year.

Standard Forms Advisory Committee

The other big news from CAR is that there is a substantial revision of the Residential Purchase Agreement in the works.  The current draft will be available here until 2/14/2014, and there will be more revisions going forward.  Take a look, and we’d love to be able to pass along any feedback.

I wish you a safe and prosperous week ahead!