Legal Q & A: New Rules & Regs for 2009

During the last legislative cycle, a number of bills were passed that have some direct or indirect impact on real estate and the way we conduct our business. There are new disclosure requirements, including displaying your DRE license #; a number of housing relief, refinance and IRS regulations were implemented; changes were made to the way FIRPTA information is disclosed; and of course we can no longer chatter along with our cell phones up to our ears nor can we text while driving. Here’s just a few:


2009 New Federal and State Statutes and 2008 Voter-Passed Initiatives
including statutes passed the end of 2008


  • SB 1461  DRE License Number on Ads (eff. 7/1/09)  
  • AB 2881  Proximity to Farm or Ranch (eff. 1/1/09) 
  • SB 1595  Owner/Tenant Responsibilities in State Responsibility Area;¦lt;br /> Changes Criteria of High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (eff. 1/1/09) 
  • Proposition 99  Restriction on Eminent Domain in reaction to Kelo v. City of New London (passed 6/3/08) 
  • SB 1137  Notices to Tenants & Owner-Occupants; REO Lender/Trustee’s Sale Purchaser Obligations (eff. 7/8/08 and 9/9/08) 
  • SB 1511  HOAs Request/Notification of NOD  (eff. 1/1/09)
  • H.R. 3221  Housing and Economic Recovery Act/ HOPE for Homeowners Program (eff. 7/30/08)  
  • H.R. 1424 Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (eff. 10/3/08) 
  • SB 1065  Cities/Counties May Use Revenue Bonds to Make/Purchase Home Mortgages (eff. 1/1/09 thru 1/1/12) 
  • AB 2052  Victim of Domestic Violence & Termination of Tenancy (eff. 9/27/08 thru 1/1/12) 
  • AB 2949  Landlords/REO Lenders and Abandoned Animals  (eff. 1/1/09)
  • SB 28  No Text Messaging When Driving (eff. 1/1/09)  
  • H.R. 3221  “FIRPTA Fix” (eff. 7/30/08) 
  • SB 1055  Conforms California income tax law with federal law as to mortgage debt forgiveness (eff. 9/25/08)


For a complete rundown of ALL the new rules and regs please visit:


Copyright© 2008 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). Permission is granted to C.A.R. members only to reprint and use this material for non-commercial purposes provided credit is given to the C.A.R. Legal Department. Other reproduction or use is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of the C.A.R. Legal Department. All rights reserved.

Legal Q & A: Abandoned Personal Property

As our market continues to be dominated by REO properties, and will likely be for some time to come, frequent questions arise as to the appropriate way to dispose of Personal Property found on an abandoned property either by a landlord or by an REO agent . This issue is the subject of a legal Q & A on the website along with many other legal issues.


Abandoned Personal Property After Termination of a Tenancy


Table of Contents





Residential Tenancies 



A.  Landlord Request’s that Tenant Retrieve Property (Questions 1 – 18) 



B.  Tenant’s Request for Return of Property (Questions 19 – 23)



C.  Lost Property (Questions 24 – 25)



Commercial Tenancies (Questions 26 – 37)



Abandoned Vehicles (Questions 38 – 41)



Additional Information (Question 42) 


I.  Introduction

After the termination of a tenancy, a landlord may find items of personal property left on the premises by either a former tenant or other persons. This legal article discusses California law regarding the disposition of abandoned property after the end of a tenancy.

II.  Residential Tenancies

The rules that apply for personal property left behind in a residential tenancy do not apply to manufactured homes or mobilehomes (Cal. Civ. Code § 1981).

For a complete summary of Q & A’s on this topic – please visit:


Copyright© 2008 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). Permission is granted to C.A.R. members only to reprint and use this material for non-commercial purposes provided credit is given to the C.A.R. Legal Department. Other reproduction or use is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of the C.A.R. Legal Department. All rights reserved.

Fannie Mae Extends Foreclosure Sale & Eviction Suspension At Least Through Month-End

Fannie Mae Extends Foreclosure Sale and Eviction Suspension


WASHINGTON, DC — Fannie Mae (FNM/NYSE) today announced that it would extend the suspension of foreclosure sales and evictions from single-family properties through January 31, 2009.

This action will enable the company to work with mortgage servicers to further implement the Streamlined Modification Program (SMP) announced on November 11, 2008 and initiated on December 15, 2008. The extension will also provide additional time for the company to operationalize its new National REO Rental Policy, which will allow renters in company-owned foreclosed properties to stay in their homes. Details of the new policy are expected to be announced shortly.

The temporary suspension of foreclosures will allow affected borrowers facing foreclosure to retain their homes while Fannie Mae works with mortgage servicers to implement the SMP. Foreclosure attorneys and loan servicers have been instructed to use the additional time to reach out to borrowers and continue to pursue workout options. The initiative applies to loans owned or securitized by Fannie Mae.

The SMP is aimed at the borrower who has missed three payments or more, owns and occupies the primary residence, and has not filed for bankruptcy. The program creates a fast-track method for getting troubled borrowers into an affordable monthly payment through a mix of reducing the mortgage interest rate, extending the life of the loan or even deferring payments on part of the principal. Servicers have flexibility in the approach, but the objective is to create a more affordable payment for borrowers at risk of foreclosure.

Fannie Mae’s loan servicers are prepared to work with borrowers during this suspension period, even if previous workout efforts have been unsuccessful. As part of the company’s “Second Look” initiative, Fannie Mae personnel have been reviewing seriously delinquent loans to determine if the borrower has been contacted and all workout options have been exhausted.

The streamlined modification program and temporary suspension of foreclosures are two of a series of steps Fannie Mae has taken to expand its foreclosure prevention efforts, which are designed to give loan servicers and foreclosure attorneys tools to find the best solution for a borrower in financial trouble. Fannie Mae and its many partners in the housing industry urge borrowers in financial difficulty to reach out to their loan servicers, regardless of whether they are facing imminent foreclosure. Solutions may be available that could make an existing mortgage more affordable.

Fannie Mae Announces National REO Rental Policy


Renters in Fannie Mae-Owned Foreclosed Properties
Eligible to Stay in Their Homes

WASHINGTON, DC — Fannie Mae (FNM/NYSE) today announced the establishment of a new National Real Estate Owned (REO) Rental Policy that will allow qualified renters in Fannie Mae-owned foreclosed properties to stay in their homes. The company currently has an eviction suspension in place through the end of January which will allow for the new policy to be fully operationalized prior to the suspension concluding.

“Renters in foreclosed properties have often been a casualty of the foreclosure crisis the country is facing,” said Michael Williams, chief operating officer of Fannie Mae. “This policy will allow qualified renters to remain in Fannie Mae-owned properties should they choose to do so, mitigate the disruption of personal lives that foreclosures can cause, and help bring a measure of stability to communities impacted by high foreclosure rates.”

The new policy applies to renters occupying foreclosed properties at the time Fannie Mae acquires the property. Renters occupying any type of single-family property will be eligible including residents of two- to four-unit properties, condos, co-ops, single-family detached homes and manufactured housing. Eligible renters will be offered a new month-to-month lease with Fannie Mae or financial assistance for their transition to new housing should they choose to vacate the property. The properties must meet state laws and local code requirements for a rental property.

While the company markets the properties for sale, Fannie Mae will manage the properties through a real estate broker or a property management company. The company will not require security deposits to be posted in connection with this program.

Renters in the foreclosed properties will be asked to pay market rate rent under the new leases. Rates may be determined by reviewing local comparable rents, conducting a neighborhood survey, or through other relevant indicators. Rates will also be subject to any legal rent control restrictions. The company will review each instance where the market rate may require a tenant to pay additional rent and will work to reach an equitable resolution.

On behalf of the company, property managers are contacting renters in Fannie Mae-owned foreclosed properties to notify them of their options.

For more information, please review the policy FAQs at

Murrieta State of the Community Address 12/08

This morning I attended a ‘Murrieta State of the Community’ address by Mayor Rick Gibbs. Today is Mayor Gibbs last day on the job as he will hand over the gavel to Gary Thomasian at tonights City Council Meeting. Rick has done an outstanding job for us this year, bringing a high level of decorum to the office, a professional reserve and a business-like attitude. His tenure helped heal many of the remaining rifts our city suffered as the result of our council recall from a few years ago.

Rick served as my Vice-Chair a few years back when we worked on the General Plan Review Committee. With his election to the council, he has seen to the implementation and/or revision of many of the Land Use Elements of that plan, a focus on the Housing Element and especially the Economic Development Element which was then, and remains, one of the pre-eminent goals of our city. Incoming Mayor Thomasian also served on that committee as did newly elected council member Randon Lane. As such, all three probably have a better understanding of land use issues than most other citys enjoy and that’s good news for us.

Mayor Gibbs’ address this morning summarized a successful year in the life of a city. Considering that Murrieta is at the center of the foreclosure tsunami in Southern California and has attracted an outsize share of fraudsters and scam artists, the news out of Murrieta is surprisingly positive. Where other cities in the region are deciding how many people to lay off and which services to cut, Murrieta proposed a 2008 budget that took into account the declining property tax and sales tax revenues and eliminated some $5 million in spending without cutting people or essential services (are you listening Sacramento?).

Additional income from a couple of windfalls resulted in resurrection of some projects and the ability of the City to launch or complete about $112 million in infrastructure improvements, bridges, overpasses, etc. These Capitol Improvement Projects (CIP’s) are ideal targets for these windfall funds because they represent one-time expenditures and don’t commit the City to future  expenditures when the money may not be available. (Again, unlike Sacramento where one-time windfalls are used to fund jobs and projects that require future money even when none is available).

The  key question asked  by Mayor Gibbs was “Does this sound like…?” Meaning, do the plans for the future of Murrieta sound like…Irvine, Rancho Bernardo, industrial El Segundo? If you were to have a vision for the city in 5, 10, 20 years, which of those areas would Murrieta most closely resemble? Stressing the old real estate axiom – location, location, location, Gibbs suggested that Murrieta occupies an enviable place in the region with the confluence of the I-15 and I-215. There are 250,000 cars a day through that  area providing exposure and access to nearly 600,000 people in our regional trade area with that number growing to nearly 793,000 in just 3  years. Gibbs also lauded the amount of land still available in our city for development including over 650 acres of prime freeway frontage land not available elsewhere.

Gibbs believes that Southwest County will lead the economic resurgence not only in our region but in the state as well given our reputation for Safety (#1 city in Riverside County); the growth in available health care opportunities; improved infrastructure; the availability of a wide spectrum of housing from low-income to estate level; and the expansion of educational offerings from our excellent local school districts to new venues for higher education. Fueled by a 400% growth in sales tax revenue and a similar increase in property tax revenues between 2000 and 2007, prudent budgeting should enable the city to weather the current recession and emerge a stronger entity in “take you pick, 1, 2 or 3 years” down the road, according to the Mayor. But it’s inevitable.

The City will continue to do its job to keep infrastructure ahead of demand, to keep new business and development fees and rates competitive and to expand their “Red Team’ approach to constantly evaluate permitting and other requirements to try to make Murrieta more business friendly and attract quality job growth to the area.

While the presentation is not yet available on-line, I will post a link to it as soon as the City makes it available.

City of Temecula Housing Repair Program

The City has determined that many homes eligible for the First Time Homebuyer Program are in need of some repair. In the current market many of these affordable homes are Bank-Owned properties that may have suffered some distress either at the hands of former owners or through neglect and vacancy. This program is designed to work in tandem with the First Time Homebuyer Program.Single Family detached homes, condominiums, townhouses and manufactured homes on a 433 permanent foundation.

Property Location:
Within Temecula City Limits

Maximum Amount:

Loan Terms:
A ten year loan at 5% interest. The loan is forgiven on the maturity date if the terms have not been breached. If title to the property is transferred, the borrower ceases to occupy the property or the first mortgage is refinanced with cash taken out the loan becomes due and payable immediately.

The application must be processed concurrently with the First Time Homebuyer Program.

Eligible Repairs:
Housing staff will perform a pre-inspection of all work to be done to determine eligibility. Eligible repairs include, but are not limited to:

Property Type:

  • Code items
  • Deterioration of structure or fencing
  • Repair or replacement of roof
  • HVAC systems, wall heater or evaporative coolers
  • Windows, Screens, Garage Doors & Entry Doors
  • Exterior Painting
  • Electrical
  • Non-working or missing major appliances
  • Repair items damaged by neglect, vandalism or theft

Participant must obtain a minimum of 2 bids from licensed contractors. All work must be inspected by housing staff or building inspectors prior to payment. Payment may be made directly to the approved contractor or to the homeowner as reimbursement.

Qualifying Income:

Family Size /
Income            1 / $52,100 2 / $59,500 3 / $67,000 4 / $74,400 5 / $80,400 6 / $86,300 7 / $92,300 8 / $98,200

For more program information please contact The City of Temecula Redevelopment Agency, Emery Papp @ 951-693-3966,

City of Temecula 1st Time Homebuyer Program

The City of Temecula FTHB Program is designed to provide loan assistance to lower income persons in the purchase of their first home. The amount of assistance available depends on the buyers qualifications and the price of the home. The maximum amount of assistance is 20% of the purchase price plus closing costs up to a total of $65,000.

Loan Terms:
This is a 30 year 2nd mortgage loan at 5% interest. The loan is deferred for the first 5 years, then fully amortized in years 6 – 30. If the borrower transfers title, ceases to occupy the property as his or her principle residence, or refinances with cash taken out, the loan becomes due and payable.

To Qualify:
The purchased cannot have owned a home for the previous three years. Tax returns will be reviewed and the buyer must sign a sworn affidavit that they have not owned a home.

Buyer Requirements:
The buyer must have sufficient income and credit-worthiness to qualify for a first mortgage through a participating lender. In addition, the buyer must provide a minimum of 3% of the purchase price as a down payment from their own funds and must accept the highest loan-to-value ratio first loan for which they qualify.

Maximum Home Price:
The purchase price of the home is limited only by the applicants ability to qualify for financing. The purchase price shall not exceed fair market value indicated by a property appraisal.

Eligible Properties:
The FTHB Program may be used to purchase any new or resale home that is 1) in the City Limits; 2) Permanently affixed to a permanent foundation; 3) has a minimum of 2 bedrooms; and is 4) currently occupied by the Seller or vacant (tenant occupied homes are not eligible). The purchaser MUST reside within the home within 60 days of purchase.
The home must be in sound condition and meet housing quality standards as determined by the RDA and building and safety standards. The borrower shall agree to maintain the home in good condition and shall be required to obtain a one-year home warranty as part of the home purchase.

Qualifying Incomes:

Family Size/       ¦lt;br /> Max Income        1 / $52,100 2 / $59,500 3 / $67,000 4 / $74,000 5/ $80,400 6 / $86,300 7 / $92,300 8 / $98,200

Information valid as of 10/09. For current information on fund availability, contact The City of Temecula Redevelopment Agency, Emery Papp @ 951-693-3955.

What’s a GAD? Why now?

What is a GAD and why has our Association chosen to hire one now?

Now that your Association has hired one, many of you are probably wondering – what the heck is a GAD and why do we need one?

Well, the first part is easy. A GAD is your Government Affairs Director. Simply put, a GAD is like a local lobbyist for the Association who works with city, county and state legislators to make sure LOCAL Realtors interests are represented. A GAD tries to make sure local private property rights are not trampled through a citys use of eminent domain, for example, or that punitive business license fees are not placed on Realtors or that sign ordinances are fair and provide our clients with the opportunity to have their homes marketed effectively.

And if that’s all a GAD did it would still be important to have one. In my case, I will be going beyond the simple definition of a GAD, as many GAD’s throughout the state do, to provide outreach to our members as well as members of the community. I’ll be providing updates to our Board of Directors on a regular basis, updating members at our Tuesday morning marketing meeting, keeping our Brokers apprised of new issues that could impact them and attending office meetings to answer questions when invited. I’ll also be doing more community outreach by writing pieces for local newspapers about LOCAL market conditions, LOCAL opportunities, LOCAL news & views, not that canned national A/P crap that bums everybody out. If you’re interested in more detail I’ve got a nifty PowerPoint presentation I’ll be happy to forward to you summarizing an array of services that will be provided.

The next part of the question is – why do we need one or why do we need one now? With our housing market in the tank and many local businesses tightening their belts or going under, why has the Association chosen to expand their presence now? Precisely because now is the time we need it most. We’ve actually budgeted for this position in each of the past two years but never got around to hiring one. We decided the timing was critical this year. 

The coverage region of our Association has grown to include 5 cities. Of those, two of our cities are approaching build-out. That means they will be doing final tweaks to zoning and land-use regulation that will have lasting impact on the remaining property. They will be deciding on in-fill projects, making ‘smart-growth’ decisions and other density and mixed-use rulings. Because our cities are also facing significant revenue impacts from the downturn in taxable revenue from housing, they will be looking at ways to improve their revenue flow. In spite of our current depressed status, the housing market and Realtors in particular remain an easy target for these schemes.

Our region is also home to the two newest cities in California. They will be looking at putting General Plans in place that address land use and zoning, they will be evaluating point-of-sale mandates, green building codes and transfer taxes. They will also be looking at ways to increase their coffers at a time when the existing residential and commercial markets are not providing the revenue the city may have planned for during their incorporation. New revenue sources will be identified and it’s important again that private property, housing and Realtor interests are represented in those discussions. 

If those brief explanations answered your what and why questions, you may still be asking who? Why Gene Wunderlich? If you’ve been active in real estate in the Valley for any length of time you already know my passion for politics. You may have heard me speak during your Realtor orientation, as I have done for more than a decade. You may have read my rants in the Realtor Report Newspaper or one of the other local papers over the years. You may have caught my act before one or another of the local city councils or known that I have the majority of local legislators phone numbers in my speed dial. As a long-time state and national director of your Association, I have also been very involved in committees for Local Government Awareness, Legislation and Land Use, Property Rights and Environment. And I’m not just involved in those things – I’m passionate about them.

So when you hear me say, as I frequently do, that as a Realtor if you’re not involved in politics you may as well get out of the business – I mean it. When I claim that if we’re not at the table when these decisions are made, we’ll be on the menu – I believe that with all my heart. I will do my best to represent the interests of our Association and our Members throughout Southwest Riverside County and as you have questions or concerns, my mailbox is always open.   

Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. (Pericles  500 B.C.)


NAR Thanks Realtors For 4 Point Plan Support

NAR President McMillan thanks Realtors for support in recent Call to Action.

Realtor Action Center

Members recently received a ‘thank you’ from NAR President Charles McMillan for our support of NAR’s Four Point Plan to Congress. The two week effort generated over 330,000 letters to Congress, one of the highest percentages of participation ever logged for an NAR Red Alert.

“On behalf of NAR, I want to thank you for being engaged in our legislative efforts to offer solutions to turn the current economic climate around and get things back on track,” stated McMillan. “I know many of our members are struggling to handle the current economic challenges. NAR will continue to work hard to ensure the right housing stimulus measures will be included in any ongoing legislation being considered by Congress and the new administation.”

This response was especially timely since there are many new members of Congress just starting their jobs on Capitol Hill this week who may not be familiar with the Realtor Grassroots organization or have an appreciation for the power of over 1 million strong. This serves as an introduction to them as well as a wake up call to some of the existing members who may have misplaced their priorities. 

There was an article in the paper today about the National Association of Homebuilders, who are requesting some of the bail-out money on behalf of their beleaguered industry. In it the statement was made that the NAHB is hoping Congress will lower mortgage interest rates to as low as 3% this year for a fixed rate as part of a housing market stimulus.

The NAHB had initially wanted an interest rate in the 4.5% range but the Four Point Plan discussed and voted on at our NAR Mid-winter meetings set a target rate of 2.99% for the first year (fixed) followed by a 3.9% rate for a second year (fixed). We felt that while a rate of 4.5% was certainly attractive and might stimulate some buyer activity, a tipping point would definitely be reached at 3% to would act as a catalyst to get the market moving again, increase absorption of excess inventory and speed our return to more normal market conditions. 

By the way, if you haven’t yet let YOUR voice be heard by Darryl Issa, Mary Bono, Ken Calvert, Barbara Boxer or Dianne Feinstein, you can follow this link to the a description of the Four Point Plan and the Realtor Action Center. It’s never too late to make the call – and it’s never too late to make YOUR $49 investment in the Realtor Action Center. At the federal, state and local level this will be a challenging year for Realtors trying to avoid becoming the target of revenue enhancement schemes by legislators. Invest $49 to help us protect the rest of your income.

Remember – If you’re not at the table, you’ll probably be on the menu.

Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors hires Government Affairs Director

Gene Wunderlich

The Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors is pleased to announce they have retained Gene Wunderlich as Government Affairs Director. “Our Region now encompasses 5 cities in Southwest California with over 3,000 Realtor members,” according to SRCAR CEO Connie Lynch. “Our need to be represented at all levels of city, county, state and federal decision making has grown increasingly critical, especially given the challenges our housing market has faced during the past 18 months. Having Gene in this position will ensure that our Realtor members have a voice in the communities they serve.”

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