Assemblyman Rudy Salas offers bill to uncover hidden housing fees

By The Leader Staff
Rudy Salas
Rudy Salas

Kings County’s assemblyman, Rudy Salas, has introduced legislation – ​Assembly Bill (AB) 119​ – designed to increase transparency around direct fees often revealed late in the homebuying process, fees that can create economic barriers for hard-working families who are looking to purchase a house.

“Owning a home is a part of the American Dream, and the process to buy a home should be as transparent and honest as possible,” said Salas. “AB 119 will help reveal hidden fees so that families can better gauge housing affordability and increase successful homeownership.”

Direct fees have been a growing local government finance tool, allowing special taxes to be imposed on property owners to finance public improvements like park maintenance, water, electricity, sewage and drainage, infrastructure, and more. Oftentimes, prospective homebuyers cannot access information about these fees until they have already entered into a transaction, one of the worst times to be presented with additional costs.

“California’s realtors offered thanks to Salas for introducing AB 119, which will make publicly available those fees, assessments, and other charges that appear on a county’s annual property tax bill so that potential homebuyers can accurately estimate a property’s affordability,” said Dave Walsh, president of the California Association of REALTORS®, the bill’s co-sponsor. “If California is to tackle its housing affordability crisis, homebuyers should have all the information on the true costs impacting a home purchase.”

With California homebuyers already wrestling with exorbitant housing costs, more transparency is needed around local fees that might pose long-term affordability issues for working families looking to buy a home. Such fees must be publicly accessible online to homebuyers so that families can properly plan and assess the affordability of the property they might purchase.

AB 119 addresses these issues by requiring counties to publicly make those fees visibly available on their websites, direct levy fee information, similar to information already provided for each tax rate area within the county.

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