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Department of Real Estate Restoration Bill Moves Forward
The effort to reestablish the Department of Real Estate moved forward last week as C.A.R.-sponsored SB 173 (Dodd) has passed the legislature.
In 2012, the Brown Administration made changes to the state's organizational structure in an effort to streamline government practices. These changes included moving the Department of Real Estate to the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency (BCSH) to function under the Department of Consumer Affairs as a Bureau. SB 173 would return CalBRE to its standing as the Department of Real Estate within BCSH.
Despite the Administration's intention to save the state money and improve operational efficiencies; under the Department of Consumer Affairs, the cost to operate the CalBRE has increased. $3.5 million of CalBRE's budget is diverted through a "pro-rata assessment" (administrative overhead) to the Department of Consumer Affairs. It is estimated that by returning BRE to its former status as a department, the Bureau would save about $3.5 million, all collected through fees paid by licensees. This "pro-rata assessment" is essentially a subsidy of licensees' fees to the DCA. SB 173 passed the legislature with unanimous floor votes in both houses and has been sent to the Governor for signature.
HOA Disclosures – CAR Sponsored Law
This new law holds down the costs that an HOA may charge a seller for the HOA documents by requiring a clear statement on the billing form (C.A.R. Form HOA2) that the seller is not required to purchase all of the listed documents, but may provide the buyer, at no cost, current copies of any of the disclosures that the seller already has in their possession. Moreover, the annual budget report must individually identify the cost of each separate disclosure document on the billing form thereby giving advance notice of and transparency to these fees.
HOA managers must disclose to the HOA whether they receive a referral fee or other benefit from a third party who provides disclosure documents, and must provide a written acknowledgement that the disclosure documents are the property of the association and not those of the manager or the manager's firm. Effective January 1, 2017.
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