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What Is “Is”?

Mike Belote, Esq.

By Michael Belote, Esq., California Advocates, UTA California Lobbyist

What is summer? Turns out it depends on who you ask.  “Meteorological summer” always occurs on June 1, which commences the three warmest months of the year.  But “astrological summer”, when the summer solstice gives us the longest day of the year, changes every year; this year the date is June 21.  Similar but much less momentous is the concept of the “year” in Sacramento’s Capitol. Obviously the calendar year is January 1-December 31, but the “legislative year” changes every session.   This year the legislature departs the Capitol for the fall recess on Friday, September 15.

More than three dozen bills were introduced this year of interest to UTA.  Some rather provocative issues have been raised this year.  Among them:

  • – Foreign ownership of property:  Two bills were introduced which would have prohibited ownership by foreign governments or entities controlled by foreign governments, of certain real property in California.  AB 475 would have prohibited such ownership within 50 miles of a military base, while SB 224 would have similarly prohibited ownership of agricultural land anywhere in the state.  Obviously if the underlying lien is invalid, foreclosures would be affected. Both bills are dead and will not be enacted this year.

  • – Homeowner’s association assessments:  AB 572 would have prohibited increases in regular assessments exceeding 5%.  The bill was later amended to apply only to deed-restricted properties within HOAs, and only to declarations recorded after January 1, 2024.  As such, the bill has passed the Assembly and is presently in the Senate.

  • – Remote Online Notarization:  Two bills were introduced this year to authorize “RONs” in California, joining the approximately 45 other states already permitting the technology. The first, AB 743, was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and will not be enacted this year.  The second bill, SB 696, began in the Senate, was passed by that house and is now pending in the Assembly.  Because the bill requires the Secretary of State to develop a system to store for safekeeping all of the RON data from notary platforms, the bill comes with a very large fiscal impact, making the chances for ultimate passage uncertain.

  • – Separate conveyances of accessory dwelling units: “ADUs” are considered an important  component of increasing the housing stock in California; surprisingly ADUs constituted 17% of California housing starts last year.  AB 1033 proposes to permit separate conveyances of ADUs, by creating a condominium on the affected parcel. For example, the ADU might be “Unit A” on the condominium map, and the primary resident would be “Unit B”.  The bill has now been amended to require either that all liens be extinguished before recording the map, or that all lienholders consent to the creation of the condominium.  The bill has passed the Assembly and is pending in the Senate.

  • – “Bundling”: AB 1333 would have prohibited the “bundling” of two or more residential properties for sale.  For some reason the language would have been inserted in the nonjudicial foreclosure sections of the Civil Code.  The intent of the bill was not to address the foreclosure context in anyway; rather the idea was to discourage the sale of new houses to institutional landlords.  In any event, the bill died in the Assembly and will not be enacted this year.

Finally, we are pleased to note that UTA-sponsored AB 1043 (Essayli) has been approved by the Assembly and will next be considered by the Senate. This bill makes a number of clarifications to the SB 1079 process, relating to SB 1079 declarations required to record trustee’s deeds, the obligation to forward documents to the Attorney General’s office, and corrections to the “step bid” prohibition.  Also included in the bill are provisions relating to recording fees for notices of rescission, and protecting against liability for errors in payoff demand and reinstatement quotes provided by beneficiaries. Other provisions are being evaluated for inclusion in the bill on the Senate side, and will be covered in the next UTA News.

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