Welcome to the Real Estate Legal News and Tips Page!

1879- The Preamble to the Constitution of the State of CALIFORNIA

We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.

Periodically we have a Legal Update from Real Estate Attorneys covering current Real Estate topics that keep you informed of new legal cases, new tax law, help you avoid the pitfalls of liability and make more money. We welcome all contributions.

Pete Wittlin RIAOC is pleased to have a new contributor to our Legal Page from a long time friend, Pete Wittlin, Attorney, who has been a regular speaker at our weekly meetings for many years. Pete is a 35 - year practicing real estate, business, and bankruptcy lawyer who assists real estate agents and their clients in both transactional and litigation matters. He can be contacted for inquiries or comments at 949-262-3280, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

RIAOC's Legal Page is starting a new feature called "ASK ATTORNEY PETE". Members are encouraged to contact Pete with their questions and he will answer directly and in general terms in his Ask Attorney Pete articles. You can read or down load any of the following articles below.

March 19,2013

New Laws for 2013 Affecting Real Estate. - Pete Wittlin

1. Bankruptcy/Homestead Exemption Increases.
2. Common Interest Communities - Parking Lots & Facilities - Electric Vehicles.
3. Contractors - Consultants - Licenses & Permits.
4. Construction - Handicapped Persons - Disability Access.
5. Deficiency Judgments.
6. Easements - Actions for Cost of Repairs.
7. Foreclosure - Rental Property - Notice.
8. Landlord-tenant - Termination - Personal Property - Notice.
9. Landlord-tenant - Pets.
10. Landlord-tenant - Notice of Foreclosure.
11. Military Forces - Mortgages - Interest.
12. Mobile Homes & Mobile Home Parks - Leases - Notice.
13. Mortgage Brokers, Lenders & Servicers - Foreclosure - Records & Recordation - Notice.
14. Mortgage Loan Modifications.
15. Mortgage Loan Originators.
16. Mortgages - Foreclosure - Notice - Languages.
17. Pipes & Pipelines - Real Estate Disclosure.
18. Real Estate - Foreclosure - Veterans.
19. Service of Process - Private Investigators - Gated Communities.

A complete description for each is listed in Annual California Legislative Digest for Year 2013. (Read/Download)

2013 New Laws Affecting REALTORS® (from C.A.R.)

1. Landlord Must Disclose Notice of Default to Prospective Tenants: Every landlord who offers a (one to four unit) residential property for rent must disclose (in writing) the receipt of a notice of default to any prospective tenant. This disclosure must be made before executing a lease agreement.
2. Tenant Entitled to a 90-Day Notice to Terminate After Foreclosure: A month-to-month tenant in possession of a rental housing unit at the time the property is foreclosed must be given a 90-day written notice to terminate. For a fixed-term residential lease, the tenant can generally remain until the end of the lease term and all rights and obligations under the lease shall survive foreclosure, including the tenant’s obligation to pay rent.
3. Protecting Pets from Being De-clawed or De-vocalized: A landlord or other person or corporation that occupies, owns, manages, or provides services in connection with any real property that allows an animal on the premises, cannot require that the animal be de-clawed or de-vocalized. The landlord or other person also can’t refuse to allow occupancy based on someone’s refusal to de-claw or de-vocalize any animal.
4. Restrictions Against Cancellation Fees for HOA Documents: An HOA cannot collect a cancellation fee for HOA sales disclosure documents in either of two situations: (1) a request is cancelled in writing by the party who placed the order and work had not yet been performed on the order; or (2) a request is cancelled in writing and the HOA had been compensated for any work performed.
5. Landlord May Dispose Abandoned Personal Property Less Than $700: After termination of a tenancy, the total resale value of personal property left behind by a tenant that the landlord must sell at a public auction (rather than dispose of or retain for his or her own use), has been increased from $300 to $700, if certain procedures are followed. This law, however, also prohibits a landlord from assessing any storage cost if the tenant reclaims personal property within 2 days of vacating the premises.

Source C.A.R. Legal Page. There are many more, too many to list here. The C.A.R. Legal page is the best source which can be accessed here. This is a C.A.R. member benefit so you will need to sign in to their site. Also C.A.R. Legal Hotline is available to members at (213) 739-8282.

2012 Law Report - DW Duke, Attorney

The laws concerning California real estate are constantly changing. Feel free to download this complimentary Duke Law Report which summarizes the latest changes. DW Duke is an experienced trial attorney, writer and noted lecturer who has authored four published books and dozens of articles on various legal topics ranging from real estate and insurance law to human rights. DW is also a member of the California Association of REALTORS® Strategic Defense Panel, and lectures regularly to members of the real estate industry. DW manages the Inland Empire office of Spile, Leff & Goor, LLP, serving clients in Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. For questions DW may be reached at 951-265-1756. DW Duke, SBN: 120529


Senate Bill 53, codified as B&P; Code Section 10141.6, effective July 1, 2012, provides that a threshold owned broker must file an annual report of escrow activity to the Department of Real Estate. (

Senate Bill 4, codified as Civil Code 2924f, effective April 1, 2012, requires that a notice of trustee sale of a residential property, consisting of one to four residential dwelling units, must include certain notices to the homeowner advising how to postpone the sale of the property. (more...)

Senate Bill 150, codified as Civil Code Section 1360.2, effective January 1, 2012, exempts condominium owners from prohibitions in a governing document against renting or leasing the unit, unless that prohibition was in effect at the time he purchased the property. (more...)

A qualified licensee may be appointed to serve as the branch manager to supervise licensed activities, clerical staff and daily operations of a branch office or division. See: Senate Bill 510, codified as Cal. B&P; Code § 10164, effective July 1, 2012. (more...)

The DRE is authorized by Senate Bill 53, codified as Cal. B&P; Code § 10080.9, effective January 1, 2012, to issue a citation and a fine of up to $2,500 based upon investigation resulting in a determination that a licensee has violated the rules of the Department of Real Estate, or that an unlicensed person has engaged in licensed real estate activities. (more...)

Senate Bill 706, codified as Cal. B&P; Code § 10186.2, effective January 1, 2012, requires DRE licensees to report any of the following actions:
1. Any disciplinary action taken by a federal or state licensing entity, including action by states other than California,
2. Any felony indictment or information, or
3. Any conviction whether felony or misdemeanor

Attorney General Kamala Harris, in cooperation with a number of legislators, has introduced the Homeowner Bill of Rights. The Homeowner Bill of Rights is sweeping legislation modeled from the Nationwide Mortgage Settlement in which Ms. Harris was a primary catalyst. In recent years, California courts have generally not been sympathetic to homeowners seeking to prevent or set aside foreclosures. Commonly cases that have challenged foreclosures have been predicated upon causes of action for wrongful foreclosure, promissory estoppel, breach of contract, violation of workout or foreclosure statutes, void foreclosure and unfair business practices. Most of these cases have been eliminated by demurrer and those that pass the pleading stage are often dismissed by motion for summary judgment. (more...)

RIAOC provides the following information through the courtesy of the California Association of Realtors. For the latest in real estate legal information please check the C.A.R. web site (http://www.car.org/legal).

July 15, 2011

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® applauds Gov. Brown on signing SB 458 into law

LOS ANGELES (July 15) – The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) applauds Gov. Jerry Brown on signing SB 458 (Corbett) into law. SB 458 extends the protections of SB 931 (2010), to ensure that any lender that agrees to a short sale must accept the agreed upon short sale payment as payment in full of the outstanding balance of all loans.

Under previous law (SB 931 of 2010), a first mortgage holder could accept an agreed-upon short sale payment as full payment for the outstanding balance of the loan, but unfortunately, the rule did not apply to junior lien holders. SB 458 extends the protections of SB 931 to junior liens.

“The signing of this bill is a victory for California homeowners who have been forced to short sell their home only to find that the lender will pursue them after the short sale closes, and demand an additional payment to subsidize the difference,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce. “SB 458 brings closure and certainty to the short sale process and ensures that once a lender has agreed to accept a short sale payment on a property, all lienholders – those in first position and in junior positions – will consider the outstanding balance as paid in full and the homeowner will not be held responsible for any additional payments on the property.”

SB 458 contains an urgency clause making it effective upon signing.

Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with nearly 160,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.


New California Laws for 2011:

The recent end of the 2009-10 legislative session has brought the end of short sale deficiency judgments for first loans, and other new laws affecting REALTORS® and their clients. To view the full text of the following bills, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov


  • No Short Sale Deficiencies: Starting January 1, 2011, a seller's first trust deed lender cannot obtain a deficiency judgment against the seller after a short sale. Providing written consent to a short sale shall obligate the first trust deed lender to accept the sales proceeds as full payment and discharge of the remaining amount owed on the loan. This law applies to first trust deeds secured by one-to-four residential units, but does not limit the lender from seeking damages for fraud or waste by the borrower. Senate Bill 931. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed Senate Bill 1178, our sponsored bill, which would have extended California's anti-deficiency protection to refinance loans.Energy Audit in Home Inspection Report: Beginning January 1, 2011, a home inspection and inspection report may, upon a client's request, include an audit of the energy efficiency of a home, according to the standards of the Home Energy Rating Systems (HERS). REALTORS® are also strongly encouraged to give the newly released HERS booklet to residential buyers, because doing so provides a valuable shield from liability. Delivery of the booklet will be deemed to be adequate to inform the buyer about the statewide HERS program. Assembly Bill 1809 and California Civil Code section 2079.10.Restriction on Adverse Possession Claim: Effective January 1, 2011, a claim for adverse possession county tax collector showing that all state, county, or municipal taxes have been timely paid for the five-year period the property has been occupied and claimed. Existing law merely requires proof that taxes have been paid for the five-year period, not certified proof of timely payments. Assembly Bill 1684.Enforcement of MLO Requirements: Effective January 1, 2011, anyone acting as a mortgage loan originator (MLO) without an MLO license endorsement will be guilty of a crime punishable by six months imprisonment, plus a $20,000 fine. Furthermore, a broker cannot employ or compensate a real estate licensee for MLO activities unless that licensee has a license endorsement. This law has also given the Department of Real Estate (DRE) the authority to deny or revoke a MLO license endorsement or take other action. This law also amends the MLO requirements for finance lenders and residential mortgage lendersCorporation. Senate Bill 1137.Post-Foreclosure Protection for Tenants: Commencing January 1, 2011, a notice to terminate a residential tenant who remains after a foreclosure sale must generally include a statutory notice of the tenant's rights. This requirement, which sunsets on January 1, 2013, applies to an immediate successor-in-interest for one year after a foreclosure sale. The tenant's rights must be on a separate cover sheet or, for a 90-day termination, incorporated into the notice to terminate. Another provision of this bill protects a residential tenant's credit by generally prohibiting the court clerk from revealing unlawful detainer court records unless the plaintiff prevails at trial. Senate Bill 1149.Tenant Protection for Domestic Violence Victims: Starting January 1, 2011, a residential landlord cannot terminate or fail to renew a tenancy based on domestic violence against the tenant or tenant's household members as specified. This law applies if the person restrained from contact with the tenant by court order or named in a police report is not also a tenant of the same dwelling unit. If the protected tenant subsequently allows the person restrained to visit the property, or the landlord reasonably believes the person restrained poses a physical threat to others or to quiet possession by other tenants, the landlord may serve a three-day notice to correct or quit. To further ensure safe housing for domestic violence victims, this law also requires that, for leases entered into after January 1, 2011, a landlord changes the exterior locks of a protected tenant's dwelling unit within 24 hours after the tenant provides a written request and supporting court or police documentation as specified. Senate Bill 782.Protections Against Real Estate Fraud: Effective January 1, 2011, new laws protecting consumers from real estate fraud include, without limitation, the following: (1) Expanding the foreclosure consultant law to include someone who performs a forensic audit of a residential mortgage loan (Assembly Bill 2325); (2) Requiring any mailed solicitation that offers to provide a copy of an owner's grant deed or other title records for a fee to include a prominent statutory disclosure that the copy service is not associated with any governmental agency and that the homeowner can obtain such records from the county recorderOther Laws: Some of the other laws that may interest REALTORS® include, but are not limited to, revisions to the mechanics' lien law (Senate Bill 189); clarification that the prohibition against discrimination of tenants based on source of income pertains to lawful and verifiable income (Senate Bill 1252); extension of the CalVet Home Loan program to include 2-to-4 residential units (Assembly Bill 2087); and lien enforcement by a municipal utility district for a tenant's delinquent charges (Senate Bill 1035)

Any opinions or suggestions herein contained are not intended to represent those of RIAOC .This Update is intended to be for general educational purposes only. One should not consider relying upon anything in this Update or on this website without the advice of legal counsel or your C.P.A.

Go to Top
Template by JoomlaShine