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IMPORTANT THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW!   (Updated: August 2015)
Postponement of Property Taxes for Senior and Disabled Citizens (eff. July. 1, 2016) This law revives a modified version of a similar law that expired in 2009 which allowed income-eligible seniors and disabled citi-zens to defer payment of their property taxes. Senior and disa-bled citizens may file a claim with the Controller to postpone the payment of ad valorem property taxes if household income does not exceed specified amounts. The Controller, upon ap-proval of the claim, may either make a payment directly to the county tax collector, or issue the claimant a certificate of eligibil-ity that constitutes a written promise of the state to pay the amount specified on the certificate. All sums paid by the Con-troller for postponed property taxes are to be secured by a lien in favor of the State of California with limited priority equal to that of a judgment lien. The Controller may accept applications for postponement un-der the program as of July 1, 2016. This bill would limit the household income amount of a claimant to $35,500 and would exclude losses and nonexpenses from "income" for purposes of these provisions. This bill would also exclude mobilehomes and houseboats.

Property tax exclusion for solar energy system is extended (extension) This law extends a solar tax exemption for new active solar en-ergy systems until 2025. An existing law, set to expire in 2017, bars property tax increases based upon the construction or addition of a solar system. (Without this exemption, such an improvement would add value to the property and thus result in an increase in the property taxes assessed.) California Solar Initiative (CSI)'s rebates are still available. click here for details
FHFA to retain higher loan limits for 2015 (eff. January 2015 ) Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) announced that it would keep the 2015 maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at $417,000 on one-unit properties in most areas and a cap of $625,500 in high-cost areas like Los Angeles County.

HOA Document Fees (eff. January 2015 ) This law will also require a seller to provide a prospective pur-chaser with all mandated CID (Common Interest Develop-ment) documents that the seller possesses -- free of charge. Moreover, if a seller confirms in writing that the document is a current document then the HOA may not bill for it. Lastly, the association may collect a reasonable fee based upon the asso-ciation's actual cost for the procurement, preparation, repro-duction and delivery of the documents - but only from the sell-er. It is the responsibility of the seller to pay the association, person, or entity that provides the mandated CID disclosures.

HOA Must Allow Personal Agriculture (eff. January 2015 ) This law requires a landlord to permit a tenant to participate in "personal agriculture" in portable containers approved by the landlord in the tenant's outdoor backyard area. It must be on the ground level of the rental unit; for planting edible fruits or vegetables; for personal use or donation; and cannot include marijuana or any unlawful crops, among other conditions. This law also affects HOAs. It would make void any provision of a governing document of a common interest development that effectively prohibits or unreasonably restricts the use of a homeowner's backyard for personal agriculture as described above.

The Buyer's Choice Act now Permanent (eff. January 2015 ) This law presently prohibits a lender of REO directly or indirect-ly that the buyer purchase title insurance or escrow services from a particular title insurer or escrow agent. This law applies to residential property of four units or fewer. A seller (lender) who violates these provisions is liable for an amount equal to three times all the charges made for the title insurance or es-crow services. This existing law was due to sunset in 2015. Now however, the law will continue indefinitely.

 

 

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