Wood Smoke Reduction Incentive Program

The Wood Smoke Reduction Incentive Program was developed by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to improve local air quality and reduce wintertime particulate matter pollution by helping Bay Area homeowners and landlords replace their wood-burning heating devices with cleaner options.

To be eligible, applicants must own a property that (1) is a residential unit located within the Air District’s jurisdiction, and (2) contains an operational wood-burning stove or fireplace, used for heating purposes. Qualifying wood-burning devices do not include those meant for cooking purposes.

Applicants may apply for one project option per property. Project options and base award for each project option are listed below:

In addition to the base funding shown above, applicants may be eligible to receive additional funding if they or their property meet one or more of the following Highly Impacted Resident conditions shown below:

For more information and to learn how to apply, visit the Bay Area Air Quality Management District website.

Heather Wills joins SCCAOR as Events Coordinator

Heather Wills has joined SCCAOR as our new Events Coordinator. She will handle the planning, promotion, and execution of SCCAOR’s many well-known events.

“I am very excited to be joining SCCAOR,” she said. “I look forward to using my previous experience to excel in this role and add value to all the Association’s events.”

Some of the events that Heather will manage include SCCAOR’s Installation event each January, the Member Appreciation Baseball game, the Golf Tournament, the Member Appreciation BBQ, the Convention & Trade Show, the Holiday Member Appreciation Party, and all the General Membership Meetings throughout the year.

She will work directly with Hilda Ramirez, SCCAOR’s Director of PR, Education, and Events. “Heather is a great addition to the team,” said Ramirez. “Her vast knowledge of the real estate industry coupled with her drive and determination make her the ideal person for this role.”

Wills is joining SCCAOR after working for Coldwell Banker as a Marketing Coordinator for the last ten years. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and spending time with her family.

Broker Tip: New California Supreme Court Ruling and the Implications for Dual Agency


by Tony Ventura and Alexandria Kavalaris

A recent California Supreme Court ruling has potentially far-reaching implications for brokers acting as dual agents in a real estate transaction. On November 21, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling in Horiike v. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Company, holding that a real estate agent representing a seller owes a fiduciary duty to a buyer in the transaction when the listing and buying agents are licensed under the same broker.

The genesis of the lawsuit was the purchase of a Malibu mansion in which Coldwell Banker acted as a dual agent. The buyer, Hiroshi Horiike, was represented by a Coldwell Banker agent in Beverly Hills. The property was listed by a Coldwell Banker agent from another office. Before completing the purchase, Mr. Horiike signed two agency disclosure forms required by California law (See Civ. Code §§2079.14; 2079.16; 2079.17), as well as the “Consent for Representation of More Than One Buyer or Seller” form.

The dispute arose after Mr. Horiike purchased the property and discovered that the property’s living area was actually 9,434 square feet, as opposed to the “approximately 15,000 square feet of living area” represented in the listing agent’s marketing materials for the property. Mr. Horiike sued the listing agent on the basis that both the agent and the broker Coldwell Banker breached their fiduciary duty by failing to advise him to hire a third party to verify the actual square footage.

The case was tried before a jury and at the close of the case, the listing agent moved for nonsuit as to the breach of fiduciary duty cause of action on the basis that the listing agent exclusively represented the seller in the transaction and therefore did not owe a fiduciary duty to Mr. Horiike. The trial court granted the motion for nonsuit as to the listing agent, and instructed the jury that, in order to find Coldwell Banker liable for breach of fiduciary duty, the jury had to find that a Coldwell Banker agent other than the listing agent (who the trial court found did not owe a fiduciary duty) or the buyer’s own agent (who was never sued) had breached a fiduciary duty to Mr. Horiike. The jury then returned a special verdict in favor of Coldwell Banker on all causes of action.

The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment on the breach of fiduciary claim against the listing agent and Coldwell Banker, concluding that the listing agent, as a salesperson working under Coldwell Banker’s license, owed a duty to Mr. Horiike “equivalent” to the duty owed to him by Coldwell Banker. The court reasoned that because Coldwell banker acted as the dual agent of the buyer and seller in the transaction, it owed a “fiduciary duty of utmost care, integrity, honesty, and loyalty in dealings with either the seller or the buyer.” Observing that the listing agent executed the forms on behalf of Coldwell Banker as its associate licensee, the court held that the listing agent owed the same duty to Mr. Horiike and had breached that duty by failing to communicate all of the material information he knew about the square footage, including the apparent contradiction between the marketing materials and the square footage in the public record documents.

Upon appeal to the California Supreme Court, the sole question before the Court was whether the listing agent, as an associate licensee for Coldwell Banker in the sale of the Malibu residence, owed a duty to Mr. Horiike to take certain measures to inform him about the property’s square footage: specifically, to investigate and disclose all facts materially affecting the property’s value or desirability, regardless of whether those facts could have been discovered by Mr. Horiike and his agent.

The Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s ruling, finding that listing agents owe fiduciary duties to the buyer when both buyers and sellers are represented by agents from the same brokerage. The Court reasoned that an agent’s relationship is derived from the agency relationship between the broker and the client. As such, the relationship between the broker and agent cannot be uncoupled.

This ruling further complicates the controversial real estate practice of dual agency, which is allowed by California law, but creates a situation in which one person must act as the agent of two parties whose interests inherently conflict. While this inherent conflict cannot fully be resolved, the take-away from the Supreme Court’s ruling in Horiike is as follows: the primary difference between the disclosure obligations of an exclusive representative of a seller and a dual agent is the dual agent has a duty to learn and disclose facts material to the property’s price or desirability, including those facts that might reasonably be discovered by the buyer.

That said, the Court acknowledged that more difficult questions about the scope of a real estate salesperson’s fiduciary duties when functioning as a dual agent may be raised in future litigation. For example, does the dual agent need to disclose confidential information obtained from the seller or otherwise compromise the agent’s ability to fulfill obligations to the seller? These are questions for another day. At present, the Supreme Court ruling underlines the fact that real estate agents in a dual agency transaction must be careful to observe their fiduciary duties to both the buyer and the seller and must carefully consider the risks of dual agency transactions in general.

If you have further questions regarding copyright issues, please feel free to contact either Tony Ventura or Alexandria Kavalaris at Ventura Rossi Hersey & Muller, LLP.

Call for Action — Tell the San Jose City Council: Don’t Impose Expensive New Mandates on Rental Property Owners

In the City of San Jose REALTORS® and their clients own many rental properties and play a vital role in providing safe well-maintained housing. On Tuesday, April 18th the San Jose City Council will consider new measures that attempt to make housing more affordable; instead, the proposals make the costs of maintaining and managing rental property more uncertain and expensive for good tenants and landlords alike, while giving bad actors the tools to abuse the new laws. SCCAOR supports efforts to help renters in San Jose, but does not believe costly mandates make housing more affordable for all.

The Ellis Act Ordinance:

  • Under the Ellis Act, if you choose to redevelop your property but continue to operate it as a rental property, all the replaced units and any additional units you might add will be subjected to rent control. Tell the Council to support policies that add more housing not limit it. Ask them to exempt new units from the rent control law.
  • If you choose to redevelop your rent controlled property as for sale housing you will be required to pay out each tenant thousands of dollars. This is on top of other development fees and costs the city already imposes.
  • Read the proposed Ellis Act Ordinance by clicking here.
The Tenant Protection Ordinance:
  • Tenants have the ability to file frivolous claims for repair because the City does NOT require verification that the claims are legitimate. This will grant tenants the ability to file frivolous claims to extend their just cause protection endlessly.
  • Tenants have no responsibility to prove that any claims they make are true, they are essentially given unlimited protection under this new law. The burden of proof is on the landlords to prove the tenants are being truthful.
  • Under this law, a landlord would have to provide evidence of a lease violation or proof that an illegal act was committed to evict a tenant. This harms a landlord’s ability to keep their good tenants safe from their bad ones.
  • Read the proposed Tenant Protection Ordinance by clicking here.

How Can You Help?

Attend the San Jose City Council Meeting on April 18th
Where: 
200 E Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113
When: Tuesday, April 18th at 1:30 PM

Sign the Petition: Say NO to the proposed Ellis Act and Tenant Protection Ordinance by Clicking Here.

Contact the Mayor and City Council:

Mayor Sam Liccardo (408) 535-4800 mayoremail@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D1 Chappie Jones (408) 535-4901 District1@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D2 Sergio Jimenez (408) 535-4902 District2@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D3 Raul Peralez (408) 535-4903 District3@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D4 Lan Diep (408) 535-4904 District4@sanjoseca.gov
Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco (408) 535-4905 District5@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D6 Dev Davis (408) 535-4906 District6@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D7 Tam Nguyen (408) 535-4907 District7@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D8 Syliva Arenas (408) 535-4908 District8@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D9 Don Rocha (408) 535-4909 District9@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D10 Johnny Khamis (408) 535-4910 District10@sanjoseca.gov

2017 Involvement Opportunities

No single person can lead SCCAOR.  It takes a group of very talented individuals provide their time and perspectives to guide this organization.  If you want to contribute to the continued success of SCCAOR please consider signing up for one or more of the opportunities listed in this form: 2017 Involvement Opportunities.

2017 Legislative Day

Join us on May 3rd for Legislative Day! This is your chance to travel to our State Capital with your fellow SCCAOR Members. We will be briefed on top issues currently facing the real estate industry and meet with our state legislators. The $20 registration includes a special luncheon with a guest speaker on state politics — and 100% of your registration fee will go towards the REALTOR® Action Fund.

 

New MLSListings Data Share Agreement: Connecting Your Business to the East Bay

On April 3rd, MLSListings launced another data share agreement that connects your business to the East Bay through the MLSListings platform as your single point of entry. You now have access to data from all the East Bay MLSs, including Bay East Association of REALTORS®, Contra Costa County Association of REALTORS, and East Bay Regional MLS (Oakland/Berkeley) — all without having to connect to separate MLS platforms.

“I am so excited to bring ‘full’ data share to our members. Business today has no borders, nor should the data,” said Neil Collins, CEO of SCCAOR. “Credit really needs to go to the MLS Listings Leadership Team that has been working on this tirelessly for the past several years.”

This agreement brings your listings to more than 30,000 additional real estate professionals in northern California. And with the added 80,000 brokers and agents in our current data share with CRMLS of Southern California, more than 125,000 California real estate professionals can view your listings just as you will have access to their property listings for your clients.

You can now enjoy barrier-free listing information that mirrors the information consumers have without having to log into multiple MLSs. The combined listing data will be in the MLSListings Matrix system and mobile products. This will allow your tools to work better when your business has you on the border of the various MLS market areas.

Please visit the Pro portal for more information about this data share and to see a user guide on how to find and list East Bay properties. MLSListings will continue bringing you listings access and exposure throughout the state of California in their mission to build additional data share agreements.

For additional information, read this article on the Data Share Agreement by Quincy Virgilio, Chairman, MLSListings Board of Directors.

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Broker Tip: Advising Buyers — How to Hold Legal Title when Purchasing a Home

By Nick and Barbara Lymberis

Once you are in contract with your buyers, just prior to preparing the deed in your buyers’ names in preparation for Close of Escrow (COE), the escrow officer will want to know how they wish to hold title.

It is important that, before letting the escrow officer know, your buyers contact a lawyer or other legal source to determine how best to hold title given their particular circumstances. The decision could have major ramifications, so it is usually a tax advisor that can best help, together with a legal opinion.

These are the following ways to hold title (Note: the legal ramifications of each way will not be addressed):

  1. Tenancy in Common
  2. Joint Tenancy
  3. Community Property
  4. Community Property with Right of Survivorship

As soon as your buyers are in contract, and substantially before COE occurs, we recommend your buyers contact a knowledgeable person to review financial status and personal wishes regarding holding title.

A common question is: “But Mr./Ms. REALTOR®, can’t we pick one and decide later how best to do it?”

Answer: Yes, of course. But we know from experience that making an appointment with the proper person is usually postponed and many times forgotten. With Nick’s background as an attorney and Barbara being a paralegal, we know that when decisions are postponed, life intervenes and it can trigger unintended results. At some later date, what the intentions were are irrelevant, or at least substantially altered by life, in almost all cases. (It’s complicated.)

So, we reiterate that it is best to handle it “on the spot” while everything is fresh in the buyers’ minds and their motivation is current with the purchase of their new home.

If circumstances change after COE,  when the choice has been made and the deed recorded, then a review can take place with an advisor and, if necessary, changes can be made. In fact, Trusts and Wills attorneys suggest reviewing your trust and will at least every 5 years. And with the laws changing from time to time and courts making interpretations of what the law is supposed to say, what was intended 5 years ago may not apply in today’s world.

 


Barabara and Nick are REALTORS® for Coldwell Banker. Visit their website at www.nickandbarbara.com

Copyright © 2017 by Nick and Barbara Lymberis

Note: This article is not intended or offered as legal advice. It has been prepared for educational and informational purposes only.