June 15, 2021

The Blueprint for a Safer Economy and the Stay-at-Home Order have been rescinded and California is now entering the “Beyond the Blueprint” phase, fully reopening the economy.  Effective June 15, 2021, restrictions such as physical distancing, capacity limits and the county tier system have ended.  A relaxed mask guidance for vaccinated Californians to match the CDC’s guidance has also taken effect and will supersede all prior face coverings guidance.

Guidelines and Restrictions on Face Coverings

  • Although a relaxed mask guidance for the general public has taken effect on the 15th, Cal/OSHA – the department that sets and enforces standards to protect the health and safety of working Californians – will meet on Thursday, June 17th, to determine mask guidance in the workplace.
  • SCCAOR advises all agents and members of the general public to take a cautious approach and continue to wear masks in showings and brokerage offices until Cal/OSHA meets again on Thursday, June 17th, and provides further clarity.

Guidelines and Restrictions for Open Houses and Showings

  • No physical distancing for attendees, guests, and customers
  • No capacity limits (for gatherings under 5,000 attendees)
  • No cleaning requirements (However, CalOSHA recommends cleaning high touch surfaces such as door knobs, handrails, faucets, countertops, etc…)
  • No PEADs or any type of sign-in required
  • No posted rules of entry or signage needed for listed properties
  • No one will have to attest to their current health status
  • No one will have to agree to an office prevention plan
  • No restrictions on door-knocking and distribution of promotional materials, including flyers and business cards

 

Can a seller require that everyone entering the property wear a mask or be vaccinated?

  • Yes. The selling party can set stricter requirements for showing property
  • The seller can:
    • require all visitors to wear a mask
    • require all visitors to be vaccinated or show a negative COVID test
    • implement a vaccine verification to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask.
    • provide information to all visitors regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated individuals to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry.

Contact C.A.R. Member Legal Services at (213) 739-8282 for additional guidance and visit the C.A.R. June 15th Reopening page for answers to frequently asked questions.

Brokerage Office Guidelines

  • Brokerage offices are still required to maintain a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan to identify areas and activities that could expose workers to COVID, have a process to screen workers, and train workers about COVID prevention and safety
  • Physical distancing is still required in offices
  • Santa Clara County remains under the May18th Local Health Order that requires businesses to ascertain the vaccination status of all “personnel” but will otherwise adhere to the state’s reopening guidelines

Continue to follow SCCAOR updates as guidelines continue to evolve. Updates will continue to occur and will be made real time to the Transactions Resource Center.

Click below for additional resources:

May 24, 2021 

SCCAOR-Sponsored Broker Tours Are Back!

As Santa Clara County enters the Yellow Tier under California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a new Local Health Order has been implemented on the County level, removing many previous restrictions. 

As a result of this new information, SCCAOR-sponsored Broker Tours will resume on May 25th, with certain restrictions. Please note, that similar to the beginning of the pandemic, this is a dynamic situation.  SCCAOR will continue to update you as showing rules are amended. 

Important Information Regarding Broker Tours

  • Broker Tours should be treated as “open houses” under the new C.A.R. Industry Guidelines.  Highlights include, but are not limited to, the following:  
    • A representative of the listing must be present to monitor sign-in documents, collect PEAD Forms, and follow other regulations.
    • All visitors must sign in with either a new PSI Form, PEAD-All, or PEAD-V.
    • All visitors must wear masks and comply with other sanitary protocols.
    • Capacity Limitations must be followed according to Yellow Tier specifications.
  • In alignment with the new C.A.R. Guidance on Showing Property Requirements, Brokers are required to obtain seller authorization to list the property on tour.
  • Caravans are permitted but are limited to single households in each vehicle.  Multiple families are not permitted to carpool in the same vehicle.  
  • Marketing Meetings will remain fully virtual until further notice.
  • New and updated forms are now available via zipForm

Click below for additional resources:

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® is pleased to announce the promotion of Malia Bates to Events Coordinator.

“I am so excited to take on this new position where I will have a more hands-on role with the planning process of our member events and continue to further grow and develop my skills,” said Bates. “I am especially grateful for Neil Collins and Jodee Sousa’s continuous support.”

Bates will continue to work under Jodee Sousa, our Events and Education Manager. In her new role, Malia will plan all SCCAOR Member Appreciation events and other member-facing meetings. “I am excited for Malia’s new role planning memorable events for SCCAOR members, said Sousa. She has been such a great addition to the SCCAOR Family.”

Neil Collins shared, “Malia has made an enormous impact to SCCAOR in the short time that she has been with us. I think members will really appreciate the creativity that she will bring to our events.”

In her free time, Malia said that she loves watching and playing sports as well as cooking. “I’ve always enjoyed cooking and trying out new foods,” she said. “If any SCCAOR members have restaurant recommendations, send them my way!”

 

By Johnny Khamis

While we are still battling a housing crisis in the bay area one new tool can help free up family units onto the market soon. Prop 19 passed by the voters in November 2020 allows seniors, disaster victims and the severely disabled to transfer their property tax base statewide. Now that it has fully gone into effect, many questions have been brought up about how to utilize the benefits of this new law. In this article we will take a closer look at some of the positive effects of Prop 19 and how it can help solve our need for creating more housing inventory. 

You may recall that up until Prop 19 passed, Seniors (55 and older), only had the ability to preserve their tax basis on their home when moving to a home in a county accepting the transfer of basis and were required to buy a home of equal or lesser value. Under Prop 90 Seniors only had this opportunity if they were moving to Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Tuolumne, or Ventura County. This restriction had the effect of making Seniors feel trapped in homes that no longer meet their needs and created shortages for much-needed family housing. 

Now under Prop 19, older homeowners, those who are severely disabled, or victims of wildfires or natural disasters can move anywhere in the state without location restrictions. Qualified homeowners can transfer their existing property tax base to another property regardless of the cost of the replacement home (with an adjustment upward to their tax basis if the replacement property is of greater value).

For example, If my Aunt sold her 4 bedroom home in Morgan Hill for $1 million to move to a senior living condo in San Mateo, she is able to preserve her tax basis as long as the new condo is equal to or less than the value of the home she is selling.  

Now if Aunt Lily wants a high-rise condo in San Francisco and pays $1.2 million she would still be able to preserve most of her tax basis.

The State Board of Equalization has created several new forms to enable homeowners to claim the tax savings. They have made the forms available to all county assessors, but some offices are still working on implementing them. Learn more on the Assessor’s website. You can also use SCCAOR’s Prop 19 tax basis portability calculator. The Santa Clara County Assessor’s Office has created a Prop 19 inheritance tax calculator

Now that seniors have been given the freedom to move closer to their grown children or into housing designed to cater to their needs, we can expect the inventory of 3 and 4 bedroom housing to go up.  While this is one step in increasing family housing inventory, we must continue to build more housing if we are ever going to work our way out of our housing crisis.

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® is pleased to announce the promotion of Jenny Dodgson to Accounting Systems Manager.

“I am excited to take on this new role,” said Dodgson. “I look forward to continuing to keep SCCAOR’s accounting department running smoothly while also taking on some new and exciting responsibilities.”

In her new role, Jenny will work on advancing SCCAOR’s accounting technology and systems throughout the organization.  

“Jenny has been an integral part of the team since 2012 and someone I really lean on,” said SCCAOR CEO Neil Collins. “I am very excited for her to take on this new challenge.”

Outside of work, Jenny likes to go fishing with her husband and spending time with her family. 

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® is pleased to announce the promotion of Jordan Nunes as Government Affairs Associate.

“I am excited to take on this new role,” said Nunes. “I look forward to continuing our advocacy efforts, engaging with local governments, representing our members, and championing REALTOR® Party values.”

In his new role, Jordan will take on more responsibility with the Government Affairs team. He will focus more on leading the advocacy engagement in the cities of Santa Clara, Morgan Hill, and Gilroy to protect REALTOR® Party values. In addition to leading the advocacy work in those jurisdictions, Jordan will expand on his current duties by managing SCCAOR’s consumer and community-facing Advocacy communications, supporting our Local Government Relations and Local Candidate Recommendation Committees, doing housing policy research and analysis.

“Over the last year, Jordan has become an essential part of the Government Affairs and entire SCCAOR team,” said Tim Beaubien, SCCAOR Director of Government Affairs. “He has shown incredible professional growth while working here and is very deserving of this promotion. I am so excited for Jordan to continue to excel in this new role and help the Government Affairs Department reach new heights in the future.”

Outside of work, Jordan likes to go to the beach, swim, and travel.

 

Here at SCCAOR we are profoundly shocked and saddened by the rise in racism and attacks against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. These horrific acts of violence continue to threaten our neighbors, our community, and those around our nation.

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® strives to create an inclusive environment that represents all of our members and our community in Santa Clara County. We must work together to eliminate bias and discrimination while promoting unity and social justice.

We stand in solidarity with the families of the victims, with our AAPI community and with everyone affected by these terrible acts of violence.

By Johnny Khamis

My family immigrated to the United States in 1976 seeking the American Dream. Like many families before and after us, a major component of that dream was to become a homeowner. My parents worked hard and slowly built up their savings—my Mom worked as the Avon Lady and as a hairstylist at Regis and my Dad worked as the Culligan man. Finally in 1982 they put a down payment on a fixer-upper in Blossom Valley. This was their American Dream realized. 

Homeownership is still widely considered the dream for many people today. It builds equity both literally and figuratively. According to the Federal Reserve, homeowners have an average net worth that is 40 times greater than renters. They build equity in their homes and can take advantage of tax incentives such as deducting mortgage interest and property taxes, all of which help build financial security. 

Owners are also usually able to secure a fixed monthly mortgage payment. They don’t have to worry about the uncertainty of rising rents outpacing their earnings. For many families, paying their mortgage is like forced savings. Each payment and every home improvement goes towards increasing equity in their home. Additionally, home owners tend to put down roots in the community and take pride in it. Their children thrive in a more stable housing situation.

It has always been difficult to afford a house in the Bay Area and the dream of owning is getting harder and harder to achieve. This is especially true for our hard-working teachers, nurses, and service industry workers. The current median price in Santa Clara County for a Single Family Residence is $1.49 million and a Condo/Townhouse is $850,000. 

There are many reasons for the sharp rise in the cost of housing, including the cost of labor, materials, and the often-abused state consumer protection and environmental laws. The most important factor, however, is that we are simply not producing enough housing supply. Further exacerbating the problem is the fact that what is being produced is often rental units. 

To that end, we must look for ways to make homeownership more attainable. Thankfully there is legislation being proposed at the state level that could help increase the supply of for-sale housing units. In addition to supporting this proposed legislation, we must also change current laws that make it more expensive to build for-sale units. Onerous consumer protection laws have inadvertently caused insurance rates for builders to go up astronomically. These same laws, while well intended, have made the financing of for-sale units production increasingly more difficult. 

We also need more naturally affordable ownership opportunities in suburban neighborhoods for families that don’t want to live in a downtown core. While mid-rise and high-rise for-sale developments are definitely needed, they are not the only type of naturally affordable ownership housing that can be built. Townhome communities can look and feel similar to a single-family home community and they are much cheaper. Low-rise to mid-rise condos also create opportunities for families to own properties in more suburban neighborhoods. Finally, lot splits can create a pathway for smaller, more affordable single-family homes. These additional ownership opportunities also take far less time than a high-rise development.

Taking these steps will help increase the housing supply and make the dream of homeowners more attainable for many. The Santa Clara County Association of Realtors (SCCAOR) is always looking for avenues to help bring the American Dream of ownership to Bay Area residents. These are just a few of the ideas that SCCAOR will champion in the coming year. If you are interested in learning more or would like to stay up-to-date on upcoming housing legislation, please visit www.sccaor.com/stayinformed

CA COVID-19 Rent Relief

 

UPDATE: HOUSING PROVIDERS WILL NOW RECEIVE 100% OF THE BACK RENT OWED.

 

Santa Clara County tenants and landlords, please note the following updates to the rent relief program:

  • The Santa Clara County local rent relief program is live! The program is targeted towards  Extremely Low-Income tenant households (≤30% of AMI) and will also connect eligible tenants to other programs to keep them stably housed. Visit www.sccrenthelp.org for more information and to apply for rent relief.
  • Some Santa Clara County Extremely Low-Income tenant households (≤30% of AMI) who applied on the State’s website between March 15th and May 1st, may have received an email from the program that they were “rejected” and must apply through the local program.
  • Landlords should not wait to apply. The State has represented that they are committed to funding 100% of the rental arrears and are working on making sure landlords with previously submitted applications will receive 100% of the qualifying rent arrearage.

 

As of March 15, 2021, the state has begun to accept applications to distribute the first $2.6 billion of direct rental assistance. This was allocated to California from the December 2020 federal stimulus package. Tenants and housing providers will be eligible for up to a year of unpaid back rent (April 2020 through March 2021) and allow up to three months of future rent payments (April 2021 through June 2021), depending on the availability of funds. Both tenants and housing providers are eligible to apply if certain criteria are met. 

    • The program is voluntary for housing providers to participate and apply
  • Tenants of housing providers who do not opt in to the program will be eligible to apply for a 25% payment of unpaid rent so they will be protected monthly from the eviction moratorium until it expires.

The bill prioritizes households with the highest need for rent relief, targeting households with less than 80% area median income (AMI) and utilizing rounds to prioritize those who need rent relief the most:

  • Round 1: Below 50% AMI or unemployed for 90 days.
  • Round 2: Income below 80% AMI and in a community disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
  • Round 3: Everyone below 80% AMI not addressed in round 1 or 2 above.

The state has created a housing provider checklist and a tenant checklist for the requirements to complete a rental assistance application.

The portal that you can use to apply for state rental assistance is now live.

The City of San Jose and the County of Santa Clara will receive additional funds to implement local rental assistance programs. These local programs will give first priority to extremely low-income tenants making 30% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI). Local aid has been made available and applications are accepted at the same link as above.

The most recent federal stimulus package has been signed into law (American Rescue Plan) and will allocate additional funds to these rental assistance programs, as well as a homeowner assistance fund (mortgage assistance, unpaid utilities, and more).