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

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 but they will only be able to receive up to 80% of unpaid back rent and must forgo the remaining 20%
  • Tenants of housing providers who do not opt into 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 is expected to be finalized shortly and will begin accepting applications in late March or early April.

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).

 

By Johnny Khamis

Covid has not only had devastating effects on our health, but it has also wreaked havoc on our economy. Our favorite restaurants and retailers are going out of business and taking their jobs and tax revenues with them. Unfortunately, we know that lost jobs lead to other issues like the inability of renters to pay their rents and homelessness. What people don’t understand is that many of the mom-and-pop owners of rental properties are also struggling to stay afloat. 

In the past 8 years, many new laws and regulations have reduced housing providers’ ability to raise rents and remove problem tenants through eviction and rent increase moratoriums. New regulations have also forced them to respond to time-consuming bureaucratic requirements like rent registries. Many mom-and-pop housing providers have had to hire staff and expensive lawyers just to keep up with the ever changing government regulations. A new survey from the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) shows that nearly half are ready to sell and get out of the business altogether.

Thankfully the state has started to recognize that local and state laws are putting hard-working housing providers out of business. Recently, California passed SB91 which reimburses housing providers up to 80% of their unpaid rents as long as renters meet certain qualifications.  

  • The program is voluntary for housing providers to participate and apply but they will only be able to receive up to 80% of unpaid back rent and must forgo the remaining 20%.
  • Tenants of housing providers who do not opt in to the program will be eligible to apply for 25% payment of unpaid rent so they receive monthly protection from the statewide eviction moratorium.

The bill prioritizes households with the highest need for rent relief, targeting lower Area Median Income (AMI) categories first.

  • 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.

But is SB91 really going to help renters and struggling property owners? 

SCCAOR interviewed several owners and found that in some cases, tenants making more than 80% of the AMI are still struggling financially and not paying rent. This leaves housing providers and tenants alike in a tough spot as they have no path to receive assistance through SB91.

Owners are also worried that the paperwork will be overwhelming to tenants and owners alike and require a lot of time and effort to fill out. They also fear that the $2.6 billion will not be enough to even cover the promised 80% of unpaid rents. In fact, over 45% of the small property owners we surveyed did not receive their full rent.  

In the meantime, SCCAOR’s survey shows that 70% of the owners have mortgages, property taxes, and other expenses that must be paid even if they are not receiving rent or aid. Owners like Carlos Padilla have worked hard to find resources for tenants who can’t pay their rent and to protect his lifetime investment. When asked about his tenants who lost their jobs, Carlos said that “they have filled out numerous forms from nonprofits and other non-government organizations with no results and no feedback.”

Owners are now questioning how much longer they can hold on to their investments with all the new levels of bureaucracy and moratoriums. They hope that SB91 can help them and their tenants avoid selling and leaving California or going bankrupt.

In order to preserve their rights to seek damages and pursue unlawful detainer lawsuits against non-paying tenants after the expiration of the eviction moratorium on June 30, 2021, and their rights to apply for missed rent assistance, landlords must follow these procedures:

  • No later than February 28, 2021: Provide tenants who missed rent payments between April 1, 2020 through February 1, 2021 with an informational notice of the extension of the Act and the establishment of the rental assistance program. An example of this notice prepared by the California Department of Real Estate is available here. Landlords who do not timely provide this notice cannot serve tenants with a 15-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit (described below).
  • Each time a tenant fails to pay the rent due for a rental period (typically the first of the month), serve the tenant with:
  • (1) a “Notice from the State of California” – An example of this notice prepared by the California Department of Real Estate is available at this link.
  • (2) a blank “Declaration of COVID-19-Related Financial Distress” – An example of this notice prepared by the California Department of Real Estate is available at this link.
  • (3) a “15-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit” – An example of this notice prepared by the California Department of Real Estate is available at this link.
  • If the landlord has information on file that the tenant is a “high-income tenant” who makes over 130% of the median income in that county, they may request additional information proving the hardship. An example of this notice to be used in this circumstance prepared by the California Department of Real Estate is available at this link.

The California Association of REALTORS recently hosted a webinar on SB 91, which can be viewed here (required C.A.R. login).

The SCCAOR General Membership Meeting was held on Thursday, February 18, 2021. It featured guest speakers Tommy Choi and Kristian Hoysradt from the National Association of REALTORS®. We also heard state updates from Sean Bellach,  Government Affairs Field Representative from the California Association of REALTORS®.

Mark Messimer from MLSListings, Inc., gave an industry update and a preview of his upcoming MLS Monday session. Finally, we heard a report from Gustavo Gonzalez on the recent C.A.R. Winter meetings and a quick SCCAOR update from Spencer High.

Watch the recording here:

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) has hired Johnny Khamis as a Public Relations Consultant. In this role, Khamis will write housing related content and develop strategies to help SCCAOR expand its reach with the general public.

Johnny Khamis Headshot

Johnny Khamis, SCCAOR’s new Public Relations Consultant

“I am so excited to help SCCAOR build on their goals to increase home ownership opportunities in Santa Clara County and beyond,” Khamis said. “I want to help create possibilities for people to build their nest egg and participate in the American Dream.”

Khamis brings with him extensive experience as a Santa Clara County homeowner, housing provider, and small business owner. He recently finished his second term on the San Jose City Council, where he represented District 10.

“SCCAOR has always endorsed Johnny during his time on the city council and we are happy to get a chance to work with him to help spread our message,” said Association President Doug Goss.

Throughout his time as a San Jose Councilmember, Johnny fought for policies aimed at expanding housing while also reducing bureaucracy. He supported the simplification of the laws and procedures for residents to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on their property. He also helped dramatically reduce the permitting fees for ADUs and home additions. Additionally, he supported many low-income housing projects and introduced new strategies to invest in workforce housing.

“Over the last 8 years of working as a Councilmember I got a deep understanding of the housing issues that we face in this area,” Khamis said. “At the end of the day, we are simply not building enough housing to keep up with the demand.”

Neil Collins, SCCAOR’s CEO, said that his Association works hard to support housing opportunities and protect private property rights in the community.

“We haven’t always been the best at telling our story. With his housing policy background and years of public service, Johnny will be a tremendous help on improving our public outreach,” Collins said.

Khamis immigrated to the United States from war-torn Beirut, Lebanon in 1976. For many years he and his family struggled to make ends meet. Even during turbulent times, he always aspired to become a homeowner. Like many other immigrants, this American Dream became a reality.

“That is why I’ve decided to lend my voice to the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors,” he said. “I want to work on issues that can make the American Dream more achievable locally.”

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) installed Doug as its President during a virtual ceremony on January 7, 2021. He will serve as the 2021 President of SCCAOR, a real estate trade organization that represents over 6,400 REALTOR® and Affiliate members in Santa Clara County.

“I am honored to represent the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® this year for their 125th Anniversary,” said Goss. “I look forward to working with our leadership team and serving our 6,000+ members to ensure that SCCAOR has the resources needed to provide our members ‘best in class’ resources and services. I also aim to strengthen and expand our relationships with our Broker community and create high-quality career-advancing educational course content for our members. Lastly, I plan to promote the role SCCAOR plays in protecting private property rights and increasing opportunities for homeownership.”  

Doug Goss, 2021 SCCAOR President

Goss has been a licensed REALTOR®  since 1994. He is a Principal of Keller Williams Bay Area Estates, Keller Williams Coastal Estates and Keller Williams Commercial South Bay with offices in Carmel, Los Gatos, Pacific Grove, Saratoga and Salinas. 

“We are so fortunate to have a REALTOR® of Doug’s caliber as our president,” said SCCAOR CEO Neil Collins. “He is a true professional that holds himself to the highest standards.”

In addition to serving his clients, he is a very active leader at SCCAOR, serving on the Board of Directors since 2015. He also served on the Education Committee, the Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation, Finance Committee, Executive Committee, Chair of the Grievance Committee in 2016, Vice President in 2018, and President-Elect in 2020. Doug also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the California Association of REALTORS®.

Other 2021 SCCAOR Officers that were installed at the event include Lisa Faria (President-Elect), Don Jessup (Vice President), and William Chea (Treasurer/Secretary). They will be joined by SCCAOR Board of Directors, which includes: Ryan Alter, Kip Barnard, Jen Beehler, Kevin Cole, Kraig Constantino, Gustavo Gonzalez, Gene Hunt, Sandy Jamison, DeVonna Meyer, Elizabeth Monley, William Rehbock, John Scaglione, Rick Smith, and Jenny Zhao.

Watch the video recording of the SCCAOR Inaugural: