No Short Sale Deficiencies -
•A seller's first trust deed lender cannot obtain a deficiency judgment against the seller after a short sale. Providing written consent to a short sale shall obligate the first trust deed lender to accept the sales proceeds as full payment and discharge of the remaining amount owed on the loan. This applies to first trust deeds secured by one-to-four residential units, but it does not limit the lender from seeking damages for fraud or waste by the borrower. Senate Bill 931, effective January 1, 2011.
Energy Audit in Home Inspection Report -
•A home inspection and inspection report may, upon a client's request, include an audit of the energy efficiency of a home, according to the standards of the Home Energy Rating Systems (HERS). REALTORs® are encouraged to provide new HERS booklet to residential buyers, and delivery of this booklet will be adequate to inform the buyer about statewide HERS program. Assembly Bill 1809 and California Civil Code section 2079.10, effective January 2, 2011.
Restriction on Adverse Possession Claim -
•A claim for adverse possession requires, among other things, certified records of the county tax collector showing that all state, county, or municipal taxes have been timely paid for the five-year period the property has been occupied and claimed. Existing law merely requires proof that taxes have been paid for the five-year period, not certified proof of timely payments. Assembly Bill 1684, effective January 1, 2011.
Enforcement of Mortgage Loan Originator Requirements -
•Anyone acting as a mortgage loan originator (MLO) without an MLO license endorsement will be guilty of a crime punishable by six months imprisonment plus a $20,000 fine. And a broker cannot employ or compensate a real estate licensee for MLO activities unless that licensee has a license endorsement. This law has also given the Department of Real Estate (DRE) the authority to deny or revoke a MLO license endorsement or take other action. This amends the MLO requirements for finance lenders and residential mortgage lenders under the Department of Corporation. Senate Bill 1137, effective January 1, 2011.
Protections Against Real Estate Fraud - new laws protecting consumers from real estate fraud include:
•Expanding the foreclosure consultant law to include someone who performs a forensic audit of a residential mortgage loan (Assembly Bill 2325)
•Requiring any mailed solicitation that offers to provide a copy of an owner's grant deed or other title records for a fee to include a prominent statutory disclosure that the copy service is not associated with any governmental agency and that the homeowner can obtain such records from the county recorder (Assembly Bill 1373).
•Increasing the criminal punishment for renting out a residential dwelling without the owner's consent from six months imprisonment plus a $1,000 fine, to one year imprisonment, plus a $2,500 fine (Assembly Bill 1800, effective January 1, 2011).
Other new California laws impacting real estate and real estate professionals -
•Post-foreclosure protection for tenants (Senate Bill 1149)
•Tenant protection for domestic violence victims (Sentate Bill 782)
•Changes to the mechanics' lien law (Senate Bill 189)
•Clarification that prohibition against discrimination of tenants based on source of income pertains to lawful and verifiable income (Senate Bill 1252)
•Extension of CalVet Home Loan program to include 2-to-4 residential units (Assembly Bill 2087)
•Lien enforcement by a municipal utility district for a tenant's delinquent charges (Senate Bill 1035).