Real Estate Round-Up: L is for lobbying (for you)
Last updated 5/5/2021 at 1:15pm
I bet when you think of Reators you don’t think of lobbying as part of our job. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Every Realtor contributes financially to the Realtor Action Fund. This fund provides the funding for the government affairs staff at the California Association of Realtors to fight to protect private property rights, promote homeownership rights, oppose point of sale mandates, and have a voice at the table on all discussions that have to do with real estate. After all, under it all, is the land.
I just spent a virtual week in Sacramento where two particularly important topics were discussed by many different committees within the CAR structure. An especially important subject that affects Fallbrook, Bonsall and many other
unincorporated areas is the ability to obtain homeowners insurance. I’m guessing that a few of you have received cancellation notices from your insurance provider over the past year.
Good news for all of us is that any cancellation notice given during COVID-19, received a moratorium. Those notices were not allowed to be processed. The thing is, if you received one, when your policy comes up for renewal, you will not be renewed. We received one, so I know that come next February, I’d better have replacement insurance in place.
CAR created a working group to evaluate the many potential bills that are at various stages of introduction in the state legislature that pertain to wildfires. CAR’s government affairs team starts working the minute something is proposed that will not be a positive for property owners. We discussed five separate bills that have been introduced regarding wildfires.
There is a push to create new fire maps that would include not only high fire zones and wildfire zones but add a new category for moderate fire zones. Any increase in the mapping for fires is not going to make it easier to get homeowners insurance. It will have the opposite effect. It will give insurance providers one more reason to deny insurance. It potentially could impose requirements on properties to install or retrofit additional building components to make your property more fire safe.
Don’t get me wrong. If I never experience another wildfire, that would be a good thing; however, the burden can’t simply be on property owners. The entire fire protection envelope needs to include land management, water availability, and
property and landscape maintenance.
The easiest fix is to go after property owners because we’re not organized, but on its own, property maintenance isn’t going to fix the problem. CAR recognizes that the burden cannot only fall on property owners and is poised to oppose any new laws that hurt property owners unfairly or that don’t evaluate the solutions based on the big picture.
Another huge topic is the electrification of all structures. This is steeped in the green movement. Again, don’t get me wrong, I want a healthy and clean world. I don’t think any initiative that imposes 100% all electric buildings is the answer,
because it’s looking at the green aspect while ignoring other components of this kind of a decision.
Let me ask you; what happens when we have high winds? The power grid gets shut down. Imagine if every structure was electric. If the grid is turned off, then no matter how hot or how cold it is, you will have no heat or cooling, no way to cook a meal, no hot water.
Last winter we had consecutive days during a very cold time of the year, that power was turned off in Fallbrook. That’s not acceptable. The power grid has also gone to brown outs when usage is too high. The electric power grid is not stable
enough to handle a full-on approach to 100% electric. Yet, that is what is being proposed.
Once again, the government affairs team at CAR is aware of this and fighting for a balanced approach to going green while not imposing unrealistic expectations on property owners. As I am writing this, it occurred to me that CAR is your lobbyist. I always thought of them as my lobbyist because I’m a Realtor, but their work isn’t just for me, it’s for all of us who live in California.
CAR’s government affairs team is fighting to retain the mortgage interest deduction, the ability to retain the 1031 exchange transaction, reject any new taxes on the financial benefit you receive when you sell your home, and working to return the ability to write off your property taxes no matter what your property’s value is.
Property owners do have higher net wealth, but what seems to be forgotten is the effort it took to acquire that property and the steadfastness required to maintain that asset and support it over the years. Unfortunately, your asset is seen as a target to offset many of the state’s management problems. I am proud to be a Realtor, with an army of government affairs members who, yes, lobby for you and for me.
Kim Murphy can be reached at [email protected] or 760-415-9292 or at 130 N Main Avenue, in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.