New Laws for 2019

Happy New Year from College Area Realty! With the new year, comes new laws in force from Sacramento. The state legislator was busy, churning out over 1,000 new laws in 2018. I thought I would highlight for you some new real estate related laws and other laws of interest.

First of all Prop5 was sadly defeated in the November election. This would of given those 55 years and older the ability to transfer their lower property tax basis to a new property within California and allowed some homeowners to move out of their larger home and into a smaller home, while retaining property tax relief. I figured with overall taxes so high in California, that providing older residents a little bit of tax relief was probably beneficial, but it was not to be. There does however still exist some limited property tax basis transfer within certain participating counties, such as San Diego and Riverside counties. Call me for more information on that.

Prop10, the rent control measure was soundly defeated. While, rent control sounded reasonable to some voters it actually would have had significant negative ramifications, greatly slowing the construction of new rental property and taking quite a bit of existing rental property out of the market, causing rents to actually escalate.

SB721 which is being phased in over several years will require inspections of decks and balconies on some properties during a sale. I believe this is a good idea. Imagine a large balcony has undetected wood rot underneath. Then the homeowner has a party where dozens of people make their way out to the balcony during the course of the evening suddenly putting several thousand pounds of weight on the structure and causing that balcony to collapse. This has actually happened several times over the years which was probably the catalyst for this new law. A couple of new laws strengthen tenant rights when a landlord is trying to evict a tenant. AB2343, increases the number of days for a tenant to respond to legal action, AB1919 prevents significant rent increases or evictions during state of emergencies (such as wildfire zones) and AB3212 expands the ability of military members to get out of a lease when deployed. Finally, AB2219 forces landlords to accept third party rent checks.

One other real estate related law now in effect is SB695. The Department of Real Estate may no longer consider immigration status when deciding to deny a license. So if you are in this country without legal status, you can now obtain both a driver’s license and a real estate license in the State of California.

As far as some new, non-real estate related laws now in effect, adults may now ride motorized scooters without a helmet! A couple of months ago I was in Pacific Beach and I witnessed police issuing endless tickets to tourists, riding scooters with no helmet. It was like shooting fish in a barrel, easy citation money from tourists. AB2989 finally allows the no-helmet-option for those 18 and older.

In the food area, SB1192 prevents a “kid’s meal” from coming with a juice or soda, it must now contain milk or water and of course you may have heard about AB1884 which prevents a plastic straw from being given to a customer, however, a customer may still “request” a plastic straw and then be given one by the server. An interesting new law, AB626, now allows for small home-cooked food items to be publicly sold within certain limitations. So the police can no longer shut down a “bake-sale” fundraiser. I am glad they finally cleared that up!

Sacramento is really into single payer, government controlled healthcare and so passed another couple of laws towards that end. SB90 prohibits short-term health plans from being offered by insurance companies and completely blocks low-cost, bare bones health plans from being sold within the state. Sometimes young people just want a low-cost policy that only covers a serious illness or accident. That option is no longer available. And SB1375 now blocks large employers from setting up their own health plans. As a note, the Federal government is litigating to overturn California’s efforts towards single payer healthcare but of course that course will take many years to settle.

SB179 now allows a gender-neutral option on a California driver’s license in case that interests you and the general minimum wage in California is now $12 (as we march towards a government mandated $15/hour in a couple more years). A somewhat controversial law is SB826 which forces public companies within the state to now have at least one female director. While I of course celebrate ever increasing diversification among the work force, it is a slippery slope. I am not sure what comes next. Will California issue a check list for the workforce where we must have one Asian, one Hispanic, one African American, one Irishman, etc? The significant trend over the last few decades with large corporations has been to build a diversified workforce that reflects the underlying population. I am not sure this is something that can be legislated but it is an excellent goal. My attorney-friend told me that this law is expected to be overturned at some point down the road.

Lastly, SB1100 changes the age to purchase some firearms and ammunition to 21 years of age in the state. And in interest to old hippies, AB1793 allows some old marijuana convictions to now be eligible to be overturned. So, if you have an old pot bust from the 1970’s (or anytime), you can now petition to have that conviction thrown out. Probably a good idea, with marijuana now legal in the state.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in 2019, give me a call to set up a no-pressure, no-obligation meeting to answer your questions and get the ball rolling. Have a great 2019 and I hope to see you in the College Area!

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