AB 5 (Gonzalez), a bill clarifying independent contractor status supported by C.A.R., passed out of the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee. 
AB 5 seeks to clarify the application of the California Supreme Court decision in the Dynamex case which applies a three-part test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. C.A.R. supports AB 5 which recognizes that real estate brokerage activity is not governed by the Dynamex test.

AB 874 (Irwin), a bill that clarifies the definition of publicly available information pursuant to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), supported by C.A.R. passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. AB 874 will clarify the definition of “personal information” as defined in the CCPA to include “publicly available” information from federal, state, or local government records. This bill removes the ambiguity in the law that specifies publicly available information is not considered “publicly available” if the information is not used for the sole purpose for which the data is maintained and made available by these government sources. This clarification provides certainty to resources used in real estate transactions where publicly available information from government sources is used every day by industry professionals. 

AB 740 (Burke), a bill that incentivizes the availability of homeowners’ insurance in high fire hazard zones supported by C.A.R., passed out of the Senate Insurance Committee.  This measure would expand the eligible areas throughout the state for insurers who voluntarily choose to write home insurance policies in very high fire severity zones and relive these insurers from proportional liability to participate in the FAIR plan. C.A.R. supports AB 740 which provides an incentive to the insurance industry to provide homeowners with options when it comes to homeowners’ insurance by encouraging competitive pricing in areas that are traditionally difficult to insure.

SB 592 (Wiener), C.A.R.’s sponsored bill which expands the Housing Accountability Act to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee.  Existing law prohibits local agencies from disapproving housing projects that are consistent with local planning and zoning requirements, unless the project adversely impacts public health or safety. Local governments failing to comply with the Housing Accountability Act are also subject to monetary fines. In 2018 C.A.R. co-sponsored SB 831 by Senator Wieckowski which, as introduced, contained a provision (that was later removed) to apply the penalties of the HAA to local governments who failed to approve ADUs. SB 592 seeks to encourage the development of vitally needed housing units throughout California by expanding the Housing Accountability Act to among other things, protect the development of an ADUs.

Regulatory Update

Permanent Local Housing Allocation Draft Guidelines released.
In 2017, the Governor signed SB 2 (Atkins) into law as a part of a 15-bill housing package aimed at addressing the state’s housing shortage and high housing costs. Specifically, SB 2 funds affordable housing programs by imposing a flat $75 per document recording fee on every real estate instrument, not part of a sales transaction. SB 2 dedicated 20% of the program funds to affordable owner-occupied workforce housing programs. In January 2019, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) released a Permanent Local Housing Allocation (PLHA) Framing Paper soliciting comments on a variety of program parameters, including a proposed definition of “affordable Owner-occupied Workforce Housing” (AOWH), which is consistent with C.A.R. policy (i.e. 120% AMI, allowing consideration of a higher AMI for “high cost areas”). In order to guarantee the judicious disbursement of SB 2 program funds, C.A.R. requested that the definition for AOWH be established by regulation rather than unenforceable guidelines. DCHD is currently reviewing comments submitted on the PLHA Draft Guidelines and should be releasing finalized PLHA Guidelines this Fall.

CalHome Draft Guidelines released.
SB 3 (Beall, 2017) placed a $4 billion general obligation bond on the November 2018 ballot (Proposition 1). $3 billion of this bond will be allocated among programs that assist affordable housing developments, like the CalHome Program. In June 2019 the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) released the CalHome Draft Guidelines (Guidelines), providing direction to local public agencies and nonprofit developers on how to allocate Proposition 1 funds. Specifically, the Guidelines expand the program to include Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) and expands access to families making up to 120% of the area median income (AMI). Expanding access of Proposition 1 bond funds will serve as a large step toward providing more affordable housing options to all Californians. C.A.R. submitted a letter in support of the CalHome Draft Guidelines which are scheduled to be finalized this Fall.