Low Flow Disclosures

Many REALTORS® have asked about the new law requiring that Water-Conserving Plumbing Fixtures be installed in homes by 2017.

First, some background on this issue:

In 2009 SB 407 was introduced which would have required that residential and commercial properties be retrofitted at point-of-sale with low-flow toilets, showerheads, and faucets. At the time, C.A.R. argued that the point-of-sale approach would burden escrows and have a negative impact on the already weak housing market. As a result, SB 407 was amended to remove the point-of-sale provision and instead require all properties to be retrofitted by 2017. In other words, instead of point-of-sale, a “date-certain” approach would be implemented.

In 2011, C.A.R. sponsored SB 837 to add language to the Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS) notifying the purchaser of a property of the impending requirements of SB 407. The inclusion of this information in the TDS will ensure that sellers and buyers are aware of these water efficiency retrofit requirements and provide disclosure liability protection to REALTORS®. This measure went into effect on January 1, 2012.

Do you have more questions? If so, read the C.A.R. Legal Q and A, which will answer many common questions, including:

  • Does the water conservation law create any point of sale requirements?
  • What is the significance of it NOT creating a point of sale requirement?
  • Are there any forms that allow the seller to meet their disclosure obligations?
  • Should this box on the TDS be checked if the seller is uncertain about whether there are WCP fixtures installed?
  • How should a seller answer the question on the SPQ, “Are you aware of any noncompliant plumbing fixtures?” if they are uncertain?
The full FAQ can also be found on the C.A.R. website.

Demand Changes to San Jose’s “Just Cause” Ordinance!

For the past several months, the City of San Jose has been developing two ordinances that impact the rental housing industry: An Ellis Act Ordinance and a Tenant Protection Ordinance. Both of these would have a drastic impact on how you manage your property. The public comment period for the Tenant Protection Ordinance and the Ellis Act will close this Friday, March 3rd at 5:00 p.m.

Below is a sample letter that addresses the major issues with the two ordinances. You can take this letter and send it on your behalf to the Housing Department to let the City of San Jose know that there are serious problems with these ordinances. It is important that the City hears from you and that they receive a volume of letters opposing these measures and favoring laws that do not place onerous restrictions on property owners. 
You must email the San Jose Housing Department by Friday, March 3rd at 5:00 p.m.

Sending Instructions:
1.  Copy the text of the letter below and paste it into an email
2.  Edit the “Your Name” section at the end so the letter is written on your behalf
3.  Send the letter to the following recipient: tpo@sanjoseca.gov


Dear San Jose Housing Department,
I am writing to you as a rental housing provider in the City of San Jose. I am concerned that the Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO) is overly complicated and convoluted. As someone who owns rental property, I want to urge the Housing Department to adopt changes to the TPO that would simplify it. This would eliminate the need for each property owner to require a legal interpretation for each application of the ordinance. The ordinance, as written, will have a number of unintended consequences.

 As a property owner, I have a limited awareness of the conditions inside my units unless there is an inspection or the tenant reports a code violation. Therefore, it is difficult to determine if the reports of code violations are being rationed out to extend the term of the good cause protection. The ordinance is written to allow for repeated instances of good cause protections up to 6 months at a time if used strategically. Instead, we ask that a tenant only be permitted one instance of a 6-month good cause protection per lease term.
Under TPO, owners must show that code violations have been corrected prior to beginning an eviction for just cause, such as non-payment of rent. If the tenant commits an illegal act but the code violation has not yet been corrected, then the property owner is powerless from preventing further criminal activity until the code violation is corrected. Instead, we ask that any illegal activity is exempt from the TPO. As property owners, we must provide our tenants a safe place to live. This ordinance, as written, prevents that.
Under the Ellis Act, a property owner is required to provide one year of just cause protection to the tenant prior to filing a notice of intent to withdraw. This provision requires us to know a full year in advance of our intent to utilize the Ellis Act, which is an unreasonable expectation. This ordinance would also hurt the resale ability of our buildings as this one year requirement would impact the subsequent owner. Instead we ask that you strike the requirement that good cause protection be provided to tenants for one year prior a notice to intent to withdraw the property is served.
[Your name]


You can read the full draft recommendations from the San Jose Housing Department by using the links below:

Draft Recommendations for the City of San Jose Ellis Act

Draft Recommendations for the City of San Jose Tenant Protection Ordinance

Santa Clara Impact Fees

The City of Santa Clara is considering adding additional fees to new construction of residential housing to pay for affordable housing projects. This will impact the ability of new housing to be built at prices affordable to the average family. The dream of homeownership is already difficult for many families to achieve and these new fees could push this dream completely out of reach.
Santa Clara has commissioned a nexus study, which is a specific study that legally allows the city to justify adding hidden taxes to the cost of housing; these taxes are known as impact fees. This study would justify up to $71,800 in added impact fees for the construction per single-family home and $43,400 per apartment unit. This will not make housing more affordable in Santa Clara. Additionally, these fees will hurt property values, as the study shows the fees would decrease land values by 10% to 40% depending on how high the fees are set.
What can you do?
  • Email and call the Mayor and City Council with your stories about how adding tens of thousands of dollars of new fees will hurt your clients as they try to afford the American dream of homeownership.
  • Click here to read the nexus study justifying the fee increases on homebuyers and renters.

New California Laws that will Impact your Business

The real estate business and its relevant laws are always changing. Keeping up with these new laws each year can be tough, so here are three important new laws that may affect your business:
  1. Uniform Advertising Standards
    Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, all first point of contact solicitation materials must include: the name and number of the licensee; and the responsible broker’s “identity,” meaning the name under which the broker is currently licensed by the BRE and conducts business in general or is a substantial division of the real estate firm. The broker’s license number is optional.
  2. Broker Associates Searchable Information
    Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, CalBRE’s public licensee information, as provided on CalBRE’s website, will indicate whether a licensee is an “associate licensee” and, if the associate licensee is a broker, will identify each responsible broker with whom the licensee is contractually associated. This law also requires the responsible broker to immediately notify CalBRE in writing whenever a broker-associate is hired or terminated.
  3.  Disciplinary Action Records Petition
    Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, a licensee may petition CalBRE to remove a past disciplinary action record from his or her online profile after 10 years. CalBRE retains discretion to grant the petition.

For more details on these laws, download this PDF from car.org

SCCAOR Endorsements for 2016 Election

rp_buttons_final_vote_strokeDear SCCAOR Member,

Your vote matters! As you fill out your ballots please take the time to read about candidates and measures that the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® have endorsed or opposed for the November 8, 2016 general election.

SCCAOR studies the issues and candidates and endorses those share the REALTOR® Party values of homeownership and support a friendly climate for you to operate your business.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

And remember, every vote counts. In San Jose City Council District 4 only 14 votes separated the winning and losing candidate in the June 7 election earlier this year, so get out and vote!


Trisha Motter
2016 SCCAOR President

SCCAOR Endorsements:

San Jose Endorsements
Steve Brown – District 2
Devora “Dev” Davis – District 6
Jimmy Nguyen – District 8

Santa Clara Endorsements
John McLemore – Seat 3
Mario Bouza – Seat 6

Milpitas Endorsements
Debbie Giordano – Mayor
Mark Tiernan – City Council

Campbell Endorsements
Rich Waterman

Morgan Hill Endorsements
Steve Tate – Mayor
Larry Carr – City Council

Gilroy Endorsements
Dan Harney – City Council

NO – Gilroy Measure H

There is a housing crisis and a need to spread jobs more evenly across our county and region. Measure H will make it more difficult to address either issue as each new housing or business development outside the existing city limits would need to go back to voters for approval. An urban growth boundary outlined in Measure H is not a smart growth planning tool. Instead it will make housing more expensive and jobs more scarce in Gilroy while also impacting the city budget in a negative way.

NO – Santa Clara County Measure A

SCCAOR understands the need to help those most in need of housing in Santa Clara County which Measure A purports to do. SCCAOR has worked closely with non-profit groups to help homeless families and children through our foundation. We have also helped local residents get back on their feet during the foreclosure crisis by providing them access to resources in partnership with local businesses and government. However, Measure A is not the right tool for the job at hand to solve the housing affordability crisis. It would borrow $950 million to be repaid by property owners, which after interest would cost taxpayers about twice that total. We believe this tax burden would make it even harder for first time homebuyers to afford a purchase in Santa Clara County without addressing the root causes of the affordable housing crisis.