Burt Polson

J.L. Sousa/Register Burt Polson writes the Real Estate in the Napa Valley column for the Napa Valley Register.

J.L. Sousa/Register

According to Business Insider, there are some ridiculous laws on the books in states across the U.S. Here are just a few:

- It’s a misdemeanor in Iowa to try to pass off margarine as real butter.

- In Minnesota, any game in which participants attempt to capture a greased or oiled pig is illegal.

- As of 1973, it’s illegal to carry away or collect seaweed at night in New Hampshire.

- In Florida, there’s no dwarf-tossing allowed.

- If a frog dies during a frog-jumping contest in California, it can’t be eaten.

You may think some of the new California laws for 2017 fit in the same category as these ridiculous laws.

Let’s focus on a few of the new laws in real estate and how they affect you:

- Disclosing the death of an occupant — the seller or the seller’s agent is not required to disclose the death of an occupant in a home if it occurred more than three years ago.

How this affects you: not significantly as this was more of a clarification of existing law.

- Environmental hazards booklet delivery extended to landlords — the landlord and broker need provide the environmental hazards booklet to all residential and commercial leases over one year.

How this affects you: provided a landlord or broker has no material knowledge of environmental hazards, providing this booklet to a tenant ensures you were informed as required.

- FHA condo regulations of owner occupancy percentage lowered — a buyer of a condo in a condo project who is securing an FHA loan can now purchase in a project where only 35 percent of the units were owner occupied, which is down from 50 percent.

How this affects you: more condo projects could be opened up to buyers using an FHA loan.

- Creation of junior accessory dwelling units within an existing dwelling—in addition to second units or granny units (which are now called Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs, which is another new law) you can now create another unit within the main dwelling of 500 square feet or less.

How this affects you: this could be good news for both homeowners and renters as it may create more available homes to rent.

- Landlord/tenant bedbugs disclosure—a landlord cannot rent or even show a unit he knows has bedbugs, but he does not have to inspect a unit if he has no knowledge of bed bugs.

How this affects you: This is good; bed bugs are gross.

- Landlord/tenant commercial leasing disclosures of a CASp report—commercial leases require a landlord to state if the building was inspected by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) regarding Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines and if it has, provide a copy of report to tenant.

How this affects you: as a landlord this could have substantial financial implications as when a report is issued there must be a plan to implement the recommendations. Additionally, a prospective tenant could rescind the lease after reviewing report.

- Landlord/tenant unlawful detainer reporting—no public access to unlawful detainer records permitted unless the plaintiff/landlord prevails within 60 days of filing.

How this affects you: as a tenant, if you were given an unwarranted eviction notice (unlawful detainer) and the landlord did not win in court this will not show on your records.

- Landlord/tenant water submeters—requires submeters be installed on all new multifamily residential units or mixed commercial and multifamily units, and requires landlords bill residents of these new units for the water they use.

How this affects you: as a developer, it will add to the construction costs; but tenants will get a more accurate representation of their use.

Burt M. Polson, CCIM, is a local real estate broker specializing in commercial, luxury estates and wineries. Reach him at 707-254-8000, or burt@acresinfo.com. Sign up for his email newsletter at BurtPolson.com.

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