affordable_housingWhen the Legislature reconvenes from Summer Recess on August 17th, they will debate a number of significant issues before adjourning. Important to REALTORS® is Assembly Bill 1335, legislation that will establish a $75 per document fee on recorded real estate instruments creating a permanent source of funding for affordable housing.

REALTORS® have significant history on this issue over the last several years. 2015 is not the first year a bill was introduced proposing a fee to fund affordable housing through real estate recorded documents. A few years ago, C.A.R. achieved amendments to exempt sales from the fee and removed their opposition on that version of the bill. A similar bill was introduced the following legislative cycle that exempted sales, and as often happens in government debates, policy and politics became fiercely intertwined and the legislation did not move forward that year.

Assembly Bill 1335 is carried by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. The Speaker carrying this legislation is significant because it is a priority of the most powerful individual in the Assembly. C.A.R. worked with the Speaker’s office and achieved amendments that will cap the fee at $225 per transaction and sales are again exempted from paying the fee. Second, a governing board for the affordable housing trust fund established in this bill will include a real estate representative. And finally, twenty percent of the trust fund will be devoted to owner–occupied housing.

At the May California Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors Meetings, Directors voted to support Assembly Bill 1335, authored by Speaker Atkins. The real estate–friendly amendments she agreed to mark the most significant of any past versions of this bill.

Leaders from SAR were influential in urging C.A.R. Directors from throughout the state to support this bill. Involvement in affordable housing issues is very important to Sacramento. Local and state political leaders from Sacramento care greatly about affordable housing, and are interested in an ongoing funding stream. Soon after C.A.R. voted to support this legislation, local REALTORS® heard from elected officials from throughout our region, thanking them for their leadership and involvement in this important issue.