A California Real Estate Update for Some 2018 Housing Laws

Senate Bill 2 became a 2018 law. Building Homes & Jobs Act.
This enacts a recording tax of a flat $75 per every document which is already required to be recorded, on every real estate instrument not part of a sales transaction, and the funds of which are allocated out largely to address the need for affordable housing, and according to one source is expected to generate $200-$300 million annually.  The good news for homebuyers is that this law does not affect owner occupied home purchases or home refinances.  There are some exemptions, and the fee is capped at $225 per transaction.  The documents that will be charged include:
"deed, grant deed, trustee’s deed, deed of trust, reconveyance, quit claim deed, fictitious deed of trust, assignment of deed of trust, request for notice of default, abstract of judgment, subordination agreement, declaration of homestead, abandonment of homestead, notice of default, release or discharge, easement, notice of trustee sale, notice of completion, UCC financing statement, mechanic’s lien, maps, and covenants, conditions, and restrictions."
The exemptions to the fee are: 1. If document is already subject to the Documentary Transfer Tax; 2. If it is real property in an owner-occupied purchase; 3. If the document is not related to real property.
The title company involved in each transaction must now attach a cover sheet to each document involved that shows a declaration of exemption for that particular document, or will get charged the fee.

Senate Bill 35 amends the Planning and Zoning law to create a streamlined approval process so that cities can meet their mandated housing goals and a stronger requirement that cities report their annual housing production to the California Department of Housing and Community Development. California has been behind for many years on building the housing needed as its population increased by birth rate alone.  But how much affordable housing will increase is unknown, as the bill addresses only local governments that have fallen behind on their state goals for homebuilding. The bill had support by many entities.

Senate Bill 229 - Accessory Dwelling Units.  Already mentioned in a previous post, these units are allowed statewide and are also under "granny flats" labeling.  This law allows units in residential areas which were not previously zoned for more than single family residential growth, in order to increase affordable housing.  Long Beach, for example, was concerned about parking issues in some areas already impacted, and in October 2017, established additional clarifications concerning construction of these units, as have other cities.  However, none are supposed to supercede the law signed by Governor Brown in 2017.  The advantage of this law for many house owners is that an existing "guest quarters" can be upgraded to a legal ADU, or a garage (with all proper permits) may be legally converted to living quarters as an ADU, or an existing room of a home may be converted (with all proper permits and inspections) to a separate legal quarters. 

If you would like additional help on resources, or discuss how they might apply to your planned home purchase, please contact me.  I'm a licensed Realtor since 1994 (also a Broker).

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