Although the California Legislature passed at least 50 new laws in 2017 that will affect California real estate in 2018, three new laws stand out as the most important for California real estate owners and landlords.
Drowning prevention safety features for new pools: All new pools at private single-family homes must be constructed with at least two of seven drowning prevention safety devices. Previously, only one such feature was required. Home inspectors are now required to inspect and include within their inspection report which of the seven drowning prevention safety features the pool or spa has. Generally, the seven drowning prevention safety devices are an (1) enclosure, (2) removable mesh fencing, (3) safety pool cover, (4) exit alarms on doors, (5) self-closing and self-latching gate, (6) alarm that sounds upon unauthorized entrance into the pool, and (7) miscellaneous other “means of protection.”
Housing recording tax: A new fee/tax of $75 per document will be imposed at the time of recording of a real estate document. The fee is not imposed on any document recorded for a primary residence or when a property is sold for valuable consideration. The most common circumstances where this fee will be imposed are refinances and reconveyances (after payoff of a loan) of an investment property.
Landlord/tenant immigration status: This law makes it illegal to disclose information related to the immigration status of tenants in the context of residential housing. This law also prohibits any threat to disclose information relating to immigration status with the intent of harassing, intimidating, or retaliating, or influencing a tenant to vacate, unless it is required to comply with federal law. A landlord can be liable for hefty damages for violation of this law. Further, in an unlawful detainer (eviction) action, the tenant can assert an affirmative defense if the landlord acted to evict and recover possession because of immigration status. However, a landlord can still make a standard practice of verifying financial qualifications and identity of a prospective tenant. This law has many nuances, which will probably be resolved in state and federal courts.
If you have any questions regarding these new California real estate laws or any real estate laws, contact Esquire Real Estate, combining the services of a real estate attorney and real estate broker in one.