Posts Tagged ‘new laws’

New Supreme Court Ruling May Impact Short Sales

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

The latest case on the Supreme Court docket could affect the number and difficulty of future short sales, so if you are short selling, purchasing/planning to purchase a short sale, or if you are an agent who may be selling one, please read on. dreamstime_6795077

In Bank of America v. Caulkett, the Supreme Court will soon rule as to whether a borrower has the right to void a second lien through bankruptcy when his home is not worth the value of the first mortgage. In simpler terms, if you have two loans and file bankruptcy, and your home is not worth the amount of the first mortgage (say you owe $500,000 on the first loan and $100,000 on a second loan, and your home is worth $450,000), filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy would allow you to void the second loan. The home could then be sold via short sale and the second lienholder would get nothing and have no rights to intervene.

Back during the short sale wave of 2008-2011 many second lienholders were successfully able to block negotiated bankruptcy settlements that benefitted the borrowers and first mortgage holders; thus many short sales fell through, and those homes eventually ended up going into foreclosure. When the economy worsened many of these foreclosure proceedings got pushed to the back burner and homeowners stayed in their homes for long periods of time, even years, without paying anything. This led to damaged and neglected homes, and in some parts of the U.S. entire neighborhoods deteriorated. This of course resulted in cost increases for taxpayers and the bank bailout.

Not long after this all started many first lienholders began to offer small sums to the second lienholders (usually about $10,000) in exchange for their blessing on the short sales, and this became standard practice. But not all second lienholders acquiesce. If they are now given the legal right to block these agreements in bankruptcy it could create problems that would be passed along to taxpayers.

Two of the Justices – Kennedy and Sotomayor – have indicated that they do not think it fair that a second lienholder would be able to hold hostage a bankruptcy settlement reached by the borrower and first lienholder.

Keep an eye on this case and the outcome, which should be decided in June, especially if you are a homeowner in this situation, a short sale buyer or an agent who sells short sales. The decision could affect short sales as we know them…stay tuned.

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New Real Estate Laws for 2012

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

With a new year there are new laws, so here is my annual list of some of the new real estate laws you may want to be aware of going into this new year:

Landlord Right to Prohibit Smoking. California Senate Bill 332 gives landlords the right to prohibit smoking in their residential rental properties, including outside areas. The non-smoking areas of the property must be designated in the lease agreement. Existing tenants must be provided 30 days notice if a landlord wishes to impose these restrictions on current leases. Law effective January 1.

Foreclosure Postponement Notice Requirement. Senate Bill 4 requires specified notices of how to postpone a foreclosure sale be provided to owners who receive foreclosure notices. Lenders seeking foreclosure are required to make a good faith effort to provide such information to those who seek it. Law effective April 1, 2012.

Owners Right to Rent Condominium. Senate Bill 150 allows an owner of a unit in a common interest development to rent or lease out the property despite homeowner rules to the contrary, as long as the rules were not in effect before the owner took title. Law effective January 1.

HOA Restrictions Against Excessive Fees. Senate Bill 771 requires HOAs (home owner associations) to limit the costs of preparing and delivering HOA documents and disclosures. Once the HOA estimates a fee for doing so, and the fee is paid, it cannot tack on unreasonable fees beyond the estimate, nor can it threaten to withhold release of the information to sellers until extra fees are paid. Law effective Januart 1.

Restricting Actions of HOA Boards. Senate bill 563 requires HOA boards to provide at least 2 days notice to owners for HOA meetings, with the exception of emergency meetings. Boards are not permitted to take action on any business items outside of a meeting, with the exception of those that have been delegated to managing personnel or others. Law effective January 1.

School Residency Attendance Can Be Established Via Parent Workplace. Under Senate bill 381, residency requirements for specific school districts may now be established by parent workplace, if at least one parent/legal guardian of the pupil is “physically employed within the boundaries of that district at least 10 hours per school week.” This is determined by the district, and “may” be allowed should the district choose to do so. This law was already in place, but is now extended through July 1, 2017.

Small Claims Court Judgment Increase. Under Senate bill 221, small claims judgments are now increased from $7500 to $10,000 if the claim was brought by a natural person (if brought by a corporation the limit is still $5,000). Law effective January 1.

Real Estate Agent Licensing/Discipline Changes. There are numerous changes to discipline in regards to real estate agents, including those related to license suspension for failure to pay taxes, and the requirement to report any disciplinary actions and escrow activities to the DRE. Senate Bills 53, 706. Laws effective January 1.

For a complete list of all new 2012 laws go to www.leginfo.ca.gov for California laws or http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/ for federal laws.

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