Tucked away in yesterday's San Jose Mercury News was a little item about the California Association of Realtors (CAR) 2012 Legislative Day, an annual event where Realtors™ from all over the state descend upon the state capitol to promote their own interests in the guise of consumer protection and speeding transactions. This year's took place on May 2. The good news is AB-1745, a CAR-sponsored bill that would forbid one department of a bank from foreclosing on a property with a short sale offer approved by another department of the bank. Because incredibly, at many banks foreclosures and short sales are not handled by the same departments, and the new law would require double-tracking as the transactions proceed. And while AB-1745 is not unreasonably cast as consumer-friendly, if a bank forecloses before a short sale gets finished, there's nothing in it for the realtors.
CAR has other bones to chew, among them new restrictions on robo-signed documents. The proposed laws call for civil penalties for recording documents with errors in the chain of mortgage ownership. As troubled mortgages have been traded, bought and sold over the past few years, documentation errors have multiplied– and cost many people their homes. CAR wants nothing to do with slowing down the process of reselling those properties or the potential liabilities for someone else's errors. They're also seeking to stop state adoption of the Federal rule that protects rental tenants in a foreclosed property for 90 days— claiming that owners will seize the opportunity to install bogus tenants for three months. Plus potentially slowing down the close of escrow.
We don't know what else came up during the Realtor™ onslaught, but the CAR has come out swinging against Governor Brown's budget-mandated restructuring of regulatory agencies, specifically moving state oversight of realtors to the Department of Consumer Affairs and the enforcement of regulations to the Attorney General.
Reducing the DRE to a bureau within Consumer Affairs denigrates the very substantial role the real estate industry plays in California's nascent economic recovery and creates an additional layer of distance between the department and the Governor's cabinet.We're not sure what that means, but "foxes" and "henhouses" keep popping up . As for transparency, we'd love to tell you more, but the "Government Affairs" link at the CAR website is password-protected.
· Realtors Travel To Sacramento To Meet Legislators [SJ Mercury News]
· AB 1745 Scheduled For Hearing [CAR]
[Photo Credit: California State Capitol via Wikipedia]