Photo By: courtesy of SILVAR
Silicon Valley Association of Realtors members visit Sacramento May 1 to discuss issues impacting their industry.
Members of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors (SILVAR) journeyed to Sacramento May 1 for the California Association of Realtors’ 2013 Legislative Day.
The realtors met with legislators to discuss issues affecting their clients and the industry. Realtors are the largest group that visits Sacramento each year.
SILVAR members met with state Sen. Jerry Hill, the staff of state Sen. Jim Beall, Assemblyman Paul Fong and Assemblyman Rich Gordon, who represents the 24th District, which includes Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View.
The following issues were discussed.
• Senate Bill 30 and Assembly Bill 42 call for conforming California law to federal tax law to make clear that debt forgiven in a short sale is not income. The bills were placed on “suspense files” because their costs were deemed to exceed a certain threshold. They will eventually be considered once the state budget has passed. Realtors told the representatives that state law must conform to federal tax law and that taxpayers “shouldn’t be held in suspense.”
• Realtors relayed their opposition to AB 905, a private transfer tax to fund environmental improvements to a property, which forces a financial burden on future property owners with no oversight, no accountability and no limit on how long the tax could be imposed, even years after the improvement has been paid for or the usual life of the improvement has been exhausted.
• Realtors also voiced opposition to AB 1164, which creates a super-lien for wage claim disputes. Under existing law, tradespeople and others who work to improve a property can record a mechanics lien against the property for payment. The measure would allow an employee in a wage dispute to record a lien against any property owned by the employer, even property that has no connection to the dispute. Realtors told legislators that legal remedies for wage disputes already exist. This measure denies property owners due process because the lien can be filed without notice or opportunity to contest the claim. The lien would increase the cost of loans and reduce the availability of lending options for borrowers and allows an employee’s wage dispute to cloud title on all property owned by the owner.
• The realtors opposed AB 1229, which would weaken rent-control limitations contained in the landmark “Costa-Hawkins” law. Under the law, new construction of rental units is not subject to local rent-control ordinances. The measure would use inclusionary zoning to allow local governments to create zones in which certain mandates are placed on builders. Realtors said the bill would discourage the creation of new rental housing at a time when it is most needed.
Gordon told SILVAR members he understands their issues and that he is glad the market is improving. He noted that legislators continue to work to set the fiscal house in order and pay down the state’s debt.