On October 10, The California Association of Realtors in it’s 526th session, brought forward a number of ‘Action Items’ that will result in forward progress and, in some cases, calls on C.A.R. to sponsor and/or support legislative action.
C.A.R.’s legislative agenda contains several ways to address issues. The call to ‘SPONSOR‘ legislation is our highest level of action requiring a significant commitment of time and resources to accomplishing our goal. This generally means drafting a bill, finding a legislator to carry it on our behalf, and involves significant efforts by our lobbyists and members to ensure the success of the resulting bill. After a year where C.A.R. played a very successful defensive game, we are again going on the offensive in 2010 on behalf or Realtors® and our clients.
Additional levels of legislative involvement include ‘SUPPORTING’ a bill that has been drafted by others, ‘OPPOSING’ a bill, taking a ‘NEUTRAL’ stance, taking a ‘WATCH’ status on a bill, ‘SUPPORTING OR OPPOSING PENDING AMENDMENT’ or just deciding a bill is not real estate related.
From the Legislative Committee:
AA#1 calls on C.A.R. to ‘SPONSOR‘ legislation to subject Appraisal Management Companies to increased regulatory control by the Office of Real Estate Appraisers (OREA). They currently appear to operate outside of any regulatory control. Further, while the stated goal was to keep appraisers and lenders at arms length (the purported cause of the housing meltdown, according to NY AG Cuomo), in fact most of the largest AMC’s are owned by lenders. The HVCC accord between Cuomo and Fannie & Freddie is wreaking havoc on the industry, delaying or canceling sales and increasing costs for homebuyers and has interjected another level of bureaucracy and inefficiency into the process..
AA#2 calls on C.A.R. to ‘SPONSOR‘ legislation to require lenders to accept a ‘portable’ appraisal at the request of the borrower. If your customer obtains an appraisal from one lender but wants to shop the loan, or want to switch to or from a lender mandated lender, they don’t have to keep dropping $450 for another appraisal.
AA#3 calls on C.A.R. to ‘SUPPORT‘ legislation setting up a program to use electronic scanning technology to filter title records for unconstitutional transfer restrictions and redact the illegal covenants in a way that does not destroy the original and does not add prohibitive costs to the process. A bill currently in process ignores the advancement of modern technology, would require all pages to be scanned visually for these covenants, and then would remove the offending passage permanently at some undefined cost to the customer. This is revisionist history applied to the housing market saying, in effect, no those restrictive covenants never existed. Yes they did and we’ve come a long way toward addressing the issues – let’s not forget where we came from and who fought for those changes on homeowners behalf.
AA#4 calls on C.A.R. to ‘SPONSOR‘ legislation to apply the so-called ‘poison pill’ of business and professional code section 10226.5 to ‘loans’ from DRE to other special funds. This provision, which has existed for years, triggers an automatic roll-back of DRE fees to 1982 levels if the state ‘takes‘ or ‘borrows‘ money from the DRE reserve. This year the state came up with a new euphemism for this theft calling it simply a ‘loan‘ from one department to another. So we have to come up with a new response to their creative pilferage.
AA#5 calls on C.A.R. to ‘SPONSOR‘ legislation to redraft the existing ‘advance fee’ statute contained in SB94. While we support SB94, the language defining ‘advance fees’ could be construed to apply to all manners of receiving or even contracting for payment before a service is performed. Under the current wording, even a listing agreement could be interpreted as running afoul of the law as it contracts for payment in advance of services being performed.
All of these activities come with a cost – your basic cost of political survival. When your dues billing statement comes out next month, please be sure to include your investment of $49 in the Realtor Action Fund. We’re either at the table on these issues or we’ll be on the menu. A seat at the table costs money.