• Established in 1972 · CBPA has over four decades of service to the commercial industrial retail real estate industry

    Posted: July 7, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    After stalling a few weeks ago for lack of the needed two-thirds vote majority, a bill that will authorize a tax on almost every recorded real estate document, was brought up with no notice and passed with all Democrat Senators voting for the new tax.

    SB 2 (Atkins; D-San Diego) authorizes a county to adopt an ordinance authorizing a fee for recording and indexing every instrument, paper, or notice required or permitted by law to be recorded.

    According to the Senate Appropriations committee analysis, this bill will result in a $200 million to $300 million tax on commercial and residential property owners and tenants.  These funds will be redirected to a number of government programs at the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) focusing on affordable housing.

    Yes, upwards of a $300 million-dollar tax on real estate documents paid by you and your tenants.

    While we are sympathetic to the need for more affordable housing, and support many policies that will actually produce rooftops, we disagree with the way this bill is written.

    According to the County Recorders’ Association of California, this bill increases the minimum recording fee by 750% (i.e. from $10 to $75), which will impact small contractors recording mechanics liens or releases, customers releasing child support, tax or other liens to clear their credit; or a widow/widower recording an affidavit of their spouse’s death; building managers filing lease addendums, and many other recorded documents.

    Further, this bill creates administrative challenges for County Recorders.  The Inyo County Board of Supervisors argue that by exempting sales documents, this bill singles out those facing foreclosure and miners who are required to file annual proof of labor forms to keep their claims, but exempts the purchase of multi-million dollar homes.

    As an example, in order to address vocal opposition, this bill exempts certain transaction from the tax – if you buy a two million dollar home you don’t pay the tax; but if you record a simple lease addendum you do.

    We are asking that SB 2 be amended to focus on Governor Brown’s stated goals to address affordable housing of cutting red tape, delays, and unnecessary expenses to housing construction that would make housing more affordable to all Californians.  We also call on the legislature to address the thicket of environmental law known as CEQA which quashes many projects through cost and delays and unnecessary lawsuits, before a shovel is ever put in the ground.

    If more funds are needed, our industry is willing to accept a new tax as long as it is applied evenly, fairly, and transparently across the board and is accompanied by some of the reforms supported by Governor Brown.

    California needs more housing.  But simply creating a new tax and new government programs is not going to produce rooftops as it does not address the impediments to building more housing.

    This bill may be heard as early as Monday in the Assembly and we will keep you posted.


    Posted: July 7, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Our friends at CapitolTrack remind us that the next legislative deadline falls on July 14th and it requires all policy committees to pass fiscal bills on to their Appropriations Committees. With the Budget already enacted, the legislature is on schedule to adjourn for summer recess on July 21st.

    The next two weeks are going to be intense as many big issues including Cap-and-Trade and the Real Estate Document Tax may be taken up.


    Posted: July 7, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Our industry supports SB 564 (D-Healdsberg) a bill that allows local agencies to issue bonds to fund the purchase and distribution of drought tolerant landscapes, upgrades to hot water systems, gray water systems, high efficiency toilets, and high efficiency showerheads at private property within their jurisdictions.

    SB 564 authorizes property owners and tenants to then repay the fixture upgrades over time through utility bills.  The ability to repay bonds with customer efficiency charges enables those who receive the benefit of reduced bills to pay for efficiency and create benefits to the water system at scale.

    The Water Bill Savings Act is a voluntary program and will create another tool for local governments and property owners to respond to drought that is regionally efficient, financially sustainable, and available to all municipal utilities, large and small.

    SB 564 will help people save money on water while reducing wasted water and provide a voluntary tool to meet state conservation mandate.


    Posted: July 7, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    A bill our industry is strongly supporting that would continue the State’s reform of ADA laws in an effort to increase accessibility while decreasing frivolous lawsuits passed the Legislature on a bipartisan vote and is headed to the Governor’s Desk.

    AB 1148 (Steinorth; R-Rancho Cucamonga) passed its final vote in the Assembly 62-0. AB 1148 would clarify issues related to CASp inspection lease disclosures by defining the types of properties that must disclose. Basically, all properties that will be leased as a public accommodation must comply but certain properties that are not open to the public will be exempt.

    We will ask the Governor to sign the bill and will keep you posted.


    Posted: July 7, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The California Supreme Court, in a 6-1 decision, has held that a city or county may impose documentary transfer tax on the transfer of the ownership interests in a legal entity that owns real property located in the locality. In 926 North Ardmore Avenue, LLC v. County of Los Angeles, the court held that the documentary transfer tax applies to a written instrument conveying an interest in a legal entity that owns real property. This approach adopts the “change in ownership” regime for property tax purposes and applies it to the documentary transfer tax.

    Click here to read more about the decision, and how it may impact your tax obligations.


    Posted: July 7, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

     We are in support of SB 700 (Wiener; D-San Francisco) a bill that will establish a statewide system of rebate programs to subsidize the cost of installation of customer-sited energy storage.

    SB 700 would authorize the Investor Owned Utilities to collect revenue for the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) for the ten-year period (2018-2027) to incentivize the installation of small-scale energy storage which will complement the increasing amount of renewable energy coming on-line.

    The power output of standard rooftop solar energy systems is the greatest between the hours of 10am to 3pm.  However, as the state moves towards Time-of-Use utility rates, the renewable energy produced during the middle of the day will be at the cheapest rate when demand for power is low while power used during the late-afternoon and early-evening will be at the highest rate when demand for power surges.

    Complementing the installation of distributed renewable energy systems with on-site or near-site energy storage systems will provide significant cost savings to the utility customer while offering the added benefit of providing for improved grid harmonization.


    SB 700 will help provide incentive funding to encourage the installation of these much needed energy storage systems.


    This bill will be heard next week and we will keep you posted on its progress.


    Click here for a recent op/ed on how this bill will enable property owners to use this technology to better meet energy and ghg requirements.


    Posted: July 7, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced via video message at the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany that the State of California will convene the world’s climate leaders in San Francisco, California in September 2018 for the Global Climate Action Summit.

    According to a press release from the Governor he stated, “It’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization and join together to combat the existential threat of climate change. That is why we’re having the Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, September 2018,” said Governor Brown in his remarks. “President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris Agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America. We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act, it’s time to join together and that’s why at this Climate Action Summit we’re going to get it done.”

    The press release goes on to state, “California will convene representatives from subnational governments, businesses, investors and civil society at the Global Climate Action Summit to demonstrate the groundswell of innovative, ambitious climate action from leaders around the world, highlight the economic and environmental transition already underway and spur deeper commitment from all parties, including national governments.”

    Click here for the full statement.


    Posted: June 30, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” — President Ronald Reagan

    What started out as a celebration to mark our young nation’s independence from England more than 200 years ago, has evolved into a national holiday that celebrates the American spirit and our nation’s independent and powerful leadership in the world. Our nation was founded by recognizing a person’s inherent rights and responsibilities. We were founded on the principles of equality, religious tolerance, and opportunity. These beliefs have been challenged many times over the years, but have always been defended by men and women willing to protect these principles, sometimes by risking the ultimate sacrifice.

    As you celebrate this year take a moment to reflect on the unique and great nature of this country and to thank those who have given their lives to defend our way of life, as well as the current men and women in uniform in harm’s way. Because we have the freedom to do so, we sometimes get lost in the details of whatever societal argument we are currently in and a day like the 4th of July provides a good opportunity to spend time with family and friends, enjoy our freedoms, and reflect on what a truly great nation we live in.


    Posted: June 30, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The following is a press release by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) on recent threats of violence aimed at legislators.  The irony of the Reagan quote above and the fact that our politics has taken such a violent turn recently is not lost on us.  We are running the statement in full as we believe its importance cannot be understated:

    Assemblymember Jim Cooper Issues Statement on Adverse Reactions on Single Payer Healthcare Legislation

    Sacramento – Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) released the following statement in response to recent provocations surrounding SB 562 and single payer healthcare:

    “I would like to express my deepest condemnation of the cowardly acts being provoked by the proponents of single payer healthcare. As a 33-year law enforcement officer, I have seen first-hand how threats impact victims and their families. It is never justifiable to incite violence and threaten the lives of an elected official, their family, or any person.

    No matter how just the cause, any person that condones violence, stands in complete disdain of our democracy and the principles that we as Americans and Californians will soon be celebrating on our nation’s day of Independence.

    I am extremely disappointed and saddened that those who support an admirable cause have resorted to reckless, irresponsible and completely inexcusable actions to voice their opposition to a decision made by a leader in our state. I stand in strong solidarity with my colleague, Speaker Rendon’s decision to hold the single payer healthcare bill pending further work and discussion. He did so to address many serious issues, such as financing, delivery of care, cost controls, and the realities that the bill was immensely incomplete.

    I call on the proponents of single payer healthcare to immediately denounce the violence and threats to members of the Legislature and their families.”

    Assemblymember Cooper represents the Cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Galt, and Lodi.


    Posted: June 30, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Our good friend Joel Fox, Editor of Fox and Hounds Daily, has penned another great article about Proposition 13 and the political dynamics of property taxes.

     “My fellow Baby Boomers and I can help raise tax revenue for schools and local governments—all we have to do is die. That’s the message I got from this Bloomberg News headline: Boomers Nearing End of Life Seen Helping California Tax Revenue.

    The news story reports on a brief issued by the Legislative Analyst’s Office that examines how aging baby boomers die or move to smaller quarters freeing homes around the state for new buyers. Under the Proposition 13 tax system, the property tax cap comes off when a home is sold and taxes are set at one-percent of the new market value established by the purchase price. Given the increase in home values over the years, the LAO predicts such activity would provide a significant boost to property tax revenue.”

    Click here to read the rest of the op/ed.


    Posted: June 30, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Our friends at ICSC report that “the national retail vacancy rate rose to 10 percent in the second quarter, from 9.9 percent in the first quarter, according to real estate research firm Reis. The mall vacancy rate grew slightly, by 0.2 percent, to 8.1 percent in the quarter from the previous quarter, Reis said in its quarterly report. Net absorption, which is measured in terms of available retail space sold in the market during a certain time period, fell to 421,000 square feet in the quarter, from 2 million square feet in the first quarter, the lowest level since 2011. A spate of store closings by chains such as Payless Shoe Source and Macy’s drove the trend. Meanwhile, national asking rents grew by 0.4 percent to $20.64 per square foot, and effective rents increased by 0.4 percent from the first quarter, according to the report.”


    Posted: June 30, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    We are in support of AB 1553 (Cervantes; D-Riverside) a bill that makes changes to the Capital Access Program for Small Business to enable more businesses can access funding to make their properties into compliance with ADA codes. This bill authorizes the use of moneys in the California Americans with Disabilities Act Small Business Capital Access Loan Program (ADA program) fund for payments to borrowers to provide incentives to participate in the ADA program, which will enable more properties to make upgrades.

    AB 1553 would also expand the definition of eligible applicants for this program to include those with less than $5 million in total gross annual income, assuring that more small businesses will benefit and even more properties will become compliant.

    This bill will be heard next week and we will keep you posted on its progress.