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Summary of New Laws Affecting Real Estate Agents

SB837 - Transfer Disclosure Statement:  The TDS has been revised to include a check box for a seller to disclose whether the property has water-conserving plumbing fixtures.

SB110 - NHD Disclosure:  A natural hazard disclosure company must now disclose whether a property is located within one mile of a mining operation.

SB559 - Discrimination:  Genetic information is now a protected class under the discrimination laws.

AB887 - Discrimination:  Parties may not discriminate against someone based on gender identity and gender-related appearances and behavior, including transsexual and transgender.

SB57 - Escrow Activities:  A broker/owner escrow must file with the DRE an annual report of escrow activity, including the number of escrows in dollar value.

SB4 - Foreclosure:  A notice of trustee sale for non-judicial foreclosure of one to four residential units must contain specific notices to the owner as to how to seek a postponement of the trustee's sale and to potential bidders on the risk involved in bidding at trustee auctions.

AB771 - Homeowners' Association:  Upon request, an HOA must provide a cover sheet itemizing the following:  HOA sales disclosures; and estimated fee for providing HOA disclosures as distinguished from other fees.  The fee for providing the HOA disclosures must be reasonable and based on the actual cost of procuring, preparing, reproducing and delivering the HOA documents.

SB150 - Homeowners' Association:  A unit owner in a common interest development is exempt from any prohibition in a governing document against leasing the unit, unless the prohibition was in effect prior to the owner's acquisition of the unit.

SB426 - Landlord-Tenant:  Any property used for dog fighting or cockfighting is a public nuisance.  A landlord may terminate a tenant for this nuisance.

SB 337 - Landlord-Tenant:  A landlord must generally allow a tenant to display political signs related to elections, legislative votes, initiatives and other political matters.  The landlord may make reasonable restrictions such as to the location, size and duration of the display.

SB332 - Landlord-Tenant:  Smoking ban.  A residential landlord may prohibit the smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco products anywhere on the property, including interior and exterior areas of the property.  For new tenants, the areas where smoking is prohibited must be stated in the lease.  For preexisting tenants, a new smoking ban is a change in the terms of the tenancy that requires adequate notice depending on the terms of the lease.

SB510 - Appointing Branch Managers:  An employing broker may appoint a licensee to manage or supervise licensed activities, but it does not limit the employing broker's supervisory obligations.

SB53 - Licensing DRE Fines and Cites: The DRE can issue a citation and a $2,500 fine, if, upon investigation, it has cause to believe that a licensee has violated the DRE rules, or an unlicensed person has engaged in licensed activities.

SB53 & 706 - Licensing:  The DRE's disciplinary authority includes the following:  entering into a pre-prosecution settlement; including payment of reasonable investigation and prosecution costs in a disciplinary order; requiring that a restricted licensee pay the cost of monitoring the licensee and monetary restitution to any person who has sustained damages; automatically suspending the license of anyone incarcerated after a felony conviction; conclusively presuming without a hearing that a licensee's conviction for murder or rape, lewd and lascivious acts, or a violation of  dangerous drugs or controlled substances, is substantially related to the qualifications, functions and duties of a licensee; making public information confirming an investigation or proceeding regarding a licensee; and applying for court order to enforce a subpoena.

SB706 - Licensing:  Licensees duty to report discipline.  A licensee must report to the DRE within 30 days of any of the following actions taken against the licensee:  disciplinary action taken by any Federal or State licensing entity; any felony indictment or information; or felony or misdemeanor conviction.

SB53 - Licensing:  License expiration delayed pending discipline.  If the DRE delays the renewal of a license due to pending disciplinary action, the existing license will not expire until the results of the disciplinary action are final.

AB1424 - Licensing:  License suspension for tax delinquencies.  The State Tax Boards must each compile and make public lists of tax delinquencies over $100,000.  The DRE and other governmental licensing entities must suspend and refuse to issue or renew any license to anyone on the tax delinquency list.

SB6 - Property Valuation:  Proper valuation of property.  A licensee cannot knowingly or intentionally misrepresent the value of real property when preparing an opinion of value.

SB227 - Small Claims:  Small Claims Court has increased for actions brought against individuals to $10,000.  However, the increase for a claim of injury for a car accident will not occur until 2015.  The dollar limits for small claims brought against a corporation or other entity remains at $5,000.

AB261 - Tax Sales:  Prescriptive easements will survive a foreclosure sale by a tax assessor.

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