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Bench in Palos Verdes, CA

Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to hear Gov Hutchinson (California Association of Realtors Assistant General Counsel) speak at the Palos Verdes Board of Realtors meeting.  The California Legislature passed 870 new laws in 2012 and 80 of the laws were real estate related.  I attend three or four legal updates a year to stay current on changes.  Below are some of his comments:

1) If a tenant or seller leaves their possessions worth more than $700, the landlord or new buyer must continue to store them or have a public sale (with notification) and can deduct costs and commissions before sending the balance to tenant/seller. If possessions are worth less than $700, they do not have to be stored/saved.

2) If you are renting out a room in your own house, you are exempt from Fair Housing laws.

3) Mortgage debt forgiveness (to avoid taxes) was extended one more year and it must have been your primary residence at time of sale.

4) With a judicial foreclosure, the bank can sue for the deficiency and borrower has 1 year to buy it back.  Judicial foreclosure is waived if you have refinanced after January 1, 2013.

5) A bank cannot foreclose while a  homeowner is doing a loan modification.

6) Only a Realtor or Attorney can do loan modifications for homeowners (other than homeowner working directly with lender) and may not collect a fee up front.

7) A Homeowner’s Association cannot have a “no pets” rule.  They must allow a minimum of one pet.

8) A FHA/VA buyer will not lose his deposit if property does not appraise even if the contingency is removed.

9) In a short sale, if it is owner occupied and the property is in foreclosure and the buyer is an investor, a special purchase agreement must be used.

10) If a landlord’s property is in foreclosure, he must give new tenants notice of his default and that tenant will receive a 90-day notice to vacate (instead of normal 30 or 60 day).

11) For commercial properties, if building generates more than 4 cubic feet of trash, landlord must recycle if city doesn’t require it themselves.

12) A certified Access Specialist must certify commercial property is in compliance before it may be leased out.

13) Seller of commercial properties must disclose to buyer the cost of utilities and how it compares to other similar commercial properties.

Please check with an attorney before making any decisions based on the above information.

Photo courtesy of Arvin Design


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