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Assembly Speaker Atkins Proposes Recording Fee Increase as Part of Affordable Housing Plan.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, announced a plan yesterday to increase funding for affordable housing by adding a $75 fee to recorded documents, including property refinancing, notices of default, and notices of a trustee sale. Home sales would be exempt under the plan. In her announcement, Atkins stated that "the new fees would generate $300 million to $720 million a year for the state".

CLTA, along with a coalition of other trade associations including the California Escrow Association and the California Association of Realtors, strongly opposed similar legislation in 2013 and 2014 in the form of SB 391 (DeSaulnier), which also would have added a $75 fee to many real estate documents at the time of recordation. CLTA remains firmly opposed to any exorbitant increase in recording fees, including those under Speaker Atkins’ plan.

Under the proposal, homeowners could expect to pay as much as $637 in fees for a refinance (up from approximately $102 now), $552 for a foreclosure (up from $102), $788 for a business loan (up from $131), and $440 for the death of a spouse (up from $65), among other increases. These increases stand to inflict financial harm on all California homeowners, especially the low-income homeowners who can least afford such large fee increases.

As with any proposal that looks to increase taxes or fees, the Speaker’s plan will require a two-thirds vote to pass in the Legislature. No party in either house of the Legislature has a two-thirds majority at this time.

Posted 27th Febrauary 2015