C.A.R. Talking Points

Updated on May 21, 2020

 

During times like these, C.A.R. is working to make sure REALTORS® can continue to practice their profession as safely as possible while following all applicable rules, including finding alternative ways to assist clients virtually whenever possible.

 

On the Legislative & Political Advocacy Front

While C.A.R. continues to support a number of bills that promote a pro housing agenda, the main focus these days unfortunately is on the bills we oppose. In part this reflects that many bills, including most C.A.R.-sponsored bills, have been delayed until next year as the legislature tries to focus on bills that claim a connection to COVID relief or are otherwise urgent to pass for this year — which could include some pro housing bills.

 

There a lot of bad bills these days that C.A.R. has to mobilize against:

 

C.A.R. went into “Red Alert” status on two bills that have since been modified to remove their worst elements. While we still oppose both bills, the worst parts of them are gone.

AB 1905 (Chiu) Housing and Homeless Response Fund: Personal Income Taxation: Mortgage Interest Deduction - This measure seeks to limit mortgage interest deductibility on primary residences to bring California law into conformity with federal law and abolish the mortgage interest deduction for second homes to create a Housing and Homeless Response Fund. C.A.R. opposes this measure. After the red alert was put in place, we learned the provision that would limit mortgage interest on primary residences will be removed from the bill and then we learned that the Author was pulling the bill making it effectively “dead” this session. While it is sometimes hard to say that we were clearly the cause of a change, since there is no other opposition to the bill at present, in this case we can clearly say we made the difference! We still oppose the bill for proposing to remove the mortgage interest deduction on second homes. So thanks to everyone who tweeted and made calls on this bill.

 

AB 828 (Ting) - This bill would have allowed courts in an unlawful detainer action to cut the rents of a tenant by up to 25%. It also put various restrictions on the ability to foreclose and evict. C.A.R. strongly opposed this unconstitutional bill and went into red alert. The 25% reduction provision has now been removed from the bill. We still oppose it, as the eviction moratoriums are far too extensive and not justified by the current crisis.

 

AB 2501 (Limon) COVID-19: Homeowner, Tenant, And Consumer Relief - This measure, among other provisions, establishes a broad moratorium on foreclosure actions and mandates specific forms of extensive relief for borrowers. If enacted, AB 2501 would likely cause both conventional and private mortgages to face premiums, making them more expensive and difficult to obtain for both potential and current homeowners who may wish to refinance. The moratorium is far more extensive than that being offered by FHFA or Gov Newsom’s order. Due to the potentially damaging impact on the mortgage market, C.A.R — in coalition with a number of groups, both national and state — opposes this measure. The author has indicated she will try to address industry concerns, but let’s see.

SB 939 (Wiener) Emergencies: COVID-19: Commercial Tenancies: Evictions - In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this measure seeks to prohibit commercial evictions of certain categories of businesses, small businesses and nonprofits. C.A.R. opposes this measure as once again it goes beyond any aid measures that might be appropriate for the crisis and could create a new crisis for commercial landlords. SB 939 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. C.A.R is working against this bill in coalition with various business properties groups.

 

 

On the Relief for REALTORS® Front
 

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed by the President on March 27. The stimulus bill included relief programs that REALTORS® are eligible for to assist them through this crisis. The key provisions for REALTORS® in the CARES Act include forgivable SBA Loans via PPP and EIDL programs, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for business owners and independent contractors, and rebate checks issued by the federal government. For more information, please visit the REALTOR® Relief section on our microsite for FAQs on relief available for agents and brokers.
     

  • On May 8, C.A.R. sent a letter to the California Congressional Delegation urging Congress to extend the PPP through June 30th as well as:

    • Mandate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Enterprises) purchase conforming mortgages that were originated and underwritten to their guidelines and went into forbearance after closing but prior to the Enterprises purchasing them at no extra cost.

    • Approve temporary Remote Online Notary (RON) service for states that don’t allow it.

    • Protect against future distressed markets by prohibiting bulk sales of REOs and distressed notes and require a first look program for all homes that go into distress.

    • To read the letter sent to the California Congressional Delegation, click here.

 

On the Legal Front
 

Best Practices for Real Estate as an Essential Service:
 

  • As of March 28, residential and commercial real estate brokerage activities are now considered to be essential services. C.A.R.’s understanding of the Advisory is that real estate agents must follow best practices guidelines that C.A.R. has released (below). Further, in recent days several counties in California that previously had more restrictive orders have either declared that real estate is now an essential service as long as C.A.R.’s best practices guidelines are followed or declared it to be an essential service with different limitations.
     

  • C.A.R. has compiled a list of county and local orders relating to real estate’s status as an essential service. Many cities and counties are changing their guidance/orders based on local events. These change daily, sometimes hourly. We are working to keep this information current, but we encourage you to use these lists with caution and continue to check your local and county websites for any updated orders or guidance. Activities that can be done virtually are always permitted, however, and are preferred everywhere. REALTORS® must always comply with more restrictive local rules.
     

  • The coronavirus situation and orders restricting behavior continue to rapidly shift, so check our microsite carcovidupdates.org for any updates. We are committed to keeping you updated immediately as the situation evolves and policies change.
     

  • On May 7th, the California Public Health Office released  “Industry Guidance: Real Estate Transactions,” which requires that agents post rules on the property – with pictograms – that must be agreed to as a condition of entry by all people viewing the property. Our legal team is in the process of creating a comprehensive approach that will allow any brokerage to comply with all aspects of the new industry guidance. We are waiting to hear back from the governor’s office to update our Best Practices and hope to have something to you all early next week. In the meantime, posting both this new form (attached) and the PEAD form together at the entrance to a property will assist agents and brokers in complying with the new industry guidance until the comprehensive approach is released.
     

    • This week, we will be updating our Best Practices Guidelines that enable REALTORS® to demonstrate care for the health and well-being of clients, colleagues and the greater public welfare in reducing the risk of exposure to, and spread of, COVID-19, while providing the essential services of residential and commercial real estate.
       

  • Reopening Real Estate Offices: The Public Health guidelines include steps on reopening your real estate offices. Please proceed with EXTREME caution when doing so. Every real estate office must complete these steps prior to reopening:
     

    • Establish a written, worksite-specific COVID-19 prevention plan at every facility, perform a comprehensive risk assessment of all work areas, and designate a person at each facility to implement the plan.
       

      • To assist you with developing your own worksite-specific written plan, we have created a Sample COVID-19 Prevention Plan, which you can modify for your office. Keep in mind that having a written prevention plan is just one of many benchmarks you will need to meet before being able to reopen your office.
         

    • Identify contact information for the local health department where the facility is located for communicating information about COVID-19 outbreaks among employees.
       

    • Train and communicate with employees and employee representatives on the plan.
       

    • Regularly evaluate the workplace for compliance with the plan and document and correct deficiencies identified.
       

    • Investigate any COVID-19 illness and determine if any work-related factors could have contributed to risk of infection. Update the plan as needed to prevent further cases.
       

    •  Identify close contacts (within six feet for 10 minutes or more) of an infected employee and take steps to isolate COVID-19 positive employee(s) and close contacts.
       

    •  Adhere to additional guidelines listed in the document regarding employee training, individual employee control and screening measures, cleaning and disinfecting protocols and physical distancing.
       

    • We are currently creating an FAQ for all of your questions which will be found here: https://www.carcovidupdates.org/brokers-reopening-offices
       

  • Please remember that the health and safety of human lives is of the utmost importance as you are continuing to conduct business as safely as possible.
     

Updates to Forms:
 

  • C.A.R. has developed several new standard forms that deal with the coronavirus and enable REALTORS® to comply with these Best Practices Guidelines, currently available in zipForm®. Here is a list of what we are updating based on the Public Health Office Industry Guidelines for Real Estate Transactions:
     

    • Updated Best Practices Guidelines and Prevention Plan for Showings

    • Updated PEAD-V form (Property Entry Advisory and Declaration for Visitors)

    • Updated PEAD-S  form (Property Entry Advisory and Declaration for Sellers)

    • Updated RLA-CAA form  (Coronavirus Listing Addendum)

    • Posted Rules for Entry  (new document, replacing the existing Pictogram document)

    • New Quick Guide called “Complying With the Industry Guidance Showing Rules”

    • For more information on all the new forms related to the coronavirus pandemic, please visit: https://www.car.org/riskmanagement/covidlegaldocs

 

 

Resources for Members - C.A.R. is working around the clock to help members during this crisis:
 

COVID Relief Hotline
 

  • One-on-one assistance to guide REALTORS® and broker/owners through applying for various relief efforts currently available.

  • Call the COVID Relief Hotline at (213) 351-8450

  • For more information on programs available visit REALTOR® Relief section on our microsite here: https://www.carcovidupdates.org/realtor-relief
     

Legal Hotline & Legal Webinars
 

  • Call the Legal Hotline: 213-739-8282. 

  • View recorded webinars on the coronavirus addendum and more here https://www.car.org/riskmanagement/live

  • The latest Legal webinar was on March 23rd and discussed the Coronavirus Addendum/Amendment.
     

Transaction Rescue™ Hotline
 

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing a huge rise in issues related to closing and appraisal timelines, County Recorder’s office closures, concerns around rate locks and change in employment status. C.A.R.’s Transaction Rescue™ is a free member benefit providing one-on-one assistance with these as well as any other finance related issues in the transaction. Call 213-739-8383.
     

Ombudsman Hotline
 

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, many real estate disputes are likely to arise as Californians adjust to the “new normal.” The C.A.R. Ombudsman Hotline is a free service that C.A.R. offers to assist both the public and REALTORS®. C.A.R. ombudsmen are REALTORS® who volunteer their time to answer non-legal questions and resolve non-legal disputes. Call 213-739-7227.
     

Coronavirus Microsite/Weekly Newsletter – up-to-the-minute updates on resources for REALTORS®
 

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