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C.A.R. unveils package of fair housing bills

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For release:
March 8, 2021   

California REALTORS® Unveil Fair Housing and Equity Legislative Package to Address Housing Barriers Facing Communities of Color

LOS ANGELES (March 8) – The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) today unveiled a Fair Housing and Equity legislative package designed to help address ongoing fair housing and equity issues that persist, especially for communities of color. The package is part of C.A.R.’s Californians Need Housing Now initiative, which urges the Legislature to enact policies that address California’s worsening housing affordability and availability crisis with increased housing supply and fair housing reforms. Specifically, the bills address the historic and ongoing inequities facing Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) that have made it harder for these communities to access and afford housing in California.

“REALTORS® are on the front lines fighting to overcome California’s housing supply and affordability crisis, which includes ensuring fair housing opportunities for all people,” said C.A.R. President Dave Walsh. “This CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® legislative package is a critical first step in what must be an ongoing effort to eliminate discrimination and other barriers that have historically prevented so many families from realizing the economic and societal benefits that housing provides.”

Fair Housing and Equity legislative solutions include requiring California real estate professionals to take implicit bias training, removing discriminatory language in property records, prohibiting discrimination against people living in affordable housing and repealing Article 34 of the California Constitution.

“We hope to see Gov. Gavin Newsom address the critical issue of fair housing during his State of the State Address this week. Californians need housing now, and our solutions to our state’s affordability crisis must be rooted in equity,” Walsh said.

C.A.R. recently released a report showing that less than half of Black households earned the minimum income needed to purchase a home as compared to whites, illustrating the homeownership gap and wealth disparity for people of color, women, people with disabilities, indigenous people and members of the LGBTQ community.

C.A.R.’s Fair Housing and Equity Legislative Package:

Prohibiting Discrimination Against Residents in Affordable Housing

Assembly Bill 491 (Gonzalez): This bill will ensure that multifamily properties provide the occupants of affordable units the same access to common entrances, common areas, and amenities that are available to the occupants of market-rate units and do not isolate affordable units to a specific floor or area.

“Imagine being a parent and having to tell your child that they can’t swim in the pool or enter through the same door as their neighbors,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said. “As we push for more inclusionary housing throughout California, we need to make sure affordable housing residents aren’t treated as second-class.”

Implicit Bias Training for Real Estate Professionals

Senate Bill 263 (Rubio): This bill now requires a licensee’s continuing education requirement to include a two-hour course on implicit bias training for real estate licensees, including actionable steps licensees can take to prevent implicit bias. It also requires the current fair housing training to include participation in interactive training where roleplay scenarios are used to illustrate live-experiences from the perspective of both a consumer and a licensee.

“As the representative of a large minority community, I know how systemic racism and biases can make it even more difficult for a family trying to achieve the American Dream of homeownership,” Sen. Susan Rubio said. “In California, the homeownership gap for people of color is increasing and needs to be closed. This bill is an important step towards ending the disparity.”

Repealing Article 34

SCA 2 (Wiener, Allen): Enacted by voters in 1950, Article 34 of the California Constitution requires that any development comprised of “low-rent”, i.e. affordable dwellings, financed in whole or in part by federal, state or local government, be approved by a vote of the people in the jurisdiction where the project is located. The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is co-sponsoring SCA 2, which seeks to repeal Article 34 in its entirety.

Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA)

AB 633 (Calderon): This bill adds California to the list of states that utilize the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA), an act promoted by the Uniform Law Commission. Under current law, if several heirs jointly inherit a property and there is no will, trust or other method of conveying the property at the time of the owner’s death, one heir can go to court to force the sale of the entire property, often at below-market rates. Furthermore, heirs who may be in an immediate need of money have been taken advantage of by predatory persons who buy small shares and then force these below-market sales at which they purchase the property. These forced partition sales have had an outsized negative impact on those in financially disadvantaged groups, more of whom tend not to have wills or trusts.

Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with more than 200,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

 

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