(a) It is unlawful for any person to make any untrue or misleading statements in any manner in connection with the offering or performance of a homestead filing service. For the purpose of this section, an “untrue or misleading statement” means and includes any representation that any of the following is true:
(1) The preparation or recordation of a homestead declaration will in any manner prevent the forced sale of a judgment debtor’s dwelling.
(2) The preparation or recordation of a homestead declaration will prevent the foreclosure of a mortgage, deed of trust, or mechanic’s lien.
(3) Any of the provisions relating to the homestead exemption set forth in Article 4 (commencing with Section 704.710) of Chapter 4 of Division 2 of Title 9 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure are available only to persons who prepare or record a homestead declaration.
(4) A homestead declaration is in any way related to the obtaining of any applicable homeowner’s exemption to real property taxes.
(5) The preparation or recordation of a homestead declaration is required by law in any manner.
(6) The offeror of the homestead filing service has a file or record covering a person to whom a solicitation is made.
(7) The offeror of the homestead filing service is, or is affiliated with, any charitable or public service entity unless the offeror is, or is affiliated with, a charitable organization which has qualified for a tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(8) The offeror of the homestead filing service is, or is affiliated with, any governmental entity. A violation of this paragraph includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(A) The misleading use of any governmental seal, emblem, or other similar symbol.
(B) The use of a business name including the word “homestead” and the word “agency,” “bureau,” “department,” “division,” “federal,” “state,” “county,” “city,” “municipal,” “California,” or “United States,” or the name of any city, county, city and county, or any governmental entity.
(C) The use of an envelope that simulates an envelope containing a government check, tax bill, or government notice or an envelope which otherwise has the capacity to be confused with, or mistaken for, an envelope sent by a governmental entity.
(b) (1) It is unlawful to offer to perform a homestead filing service without making the following disclosure:
THIS HOMESTEAD FILING SERVICE IS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO RECORD A HOMESTEAD DECLARATION.
RECORDING A HOMESTEAD DECLARATION DOES NOT PROTECT YOUR HOME AGAINST FORCED SALE BY A CREDITOR. YOU MAY WISH TO CONSULT A LAWYER ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF RECORDING A HOMESTEAD DECLARATION.
IF YOU WANT TO RECORD A HOMESTEAD, YOU CAN FILL OUT A HOMESTEAD DECLARATION FORM BY YOURSELF, HAVE YOUR SIGNATURE NOTARIZED, AND HAVE THE FORM RECORDED BY THE COUNTY RECORDER.
(2) The disclosure specified in paragraph (1) shall be placed at the top of each page of every advertisement or promotional material disseminated by an offeror of a homestead filing service and shall be printed in 12-point boldface type enclosed in a box formed by a heavy line.
(3) The disclosure specified in paragraph (1) shall be recited at the beginning of every oral solicitation and every broadcast advertisement and shall be delivered in printed form as prescribed by paragraph (2) before the time each person who responds to the oral solicitation or broadcast advertisement is obligated to pay for any service.
(c) In addition to any other service, every offeror of a homestead filing service shall deliver each notarized homestead declaration to the appropriate county recorder for recordation as soon as needed or required by a homestead declarant, but no later than 10 days after the homestead declaration is notarized. The offeror of the homestead filing service shall pay all fees charged in connection with the notarization and recordation of the homestead declaration.
(d) No offeror of a homestead filing service shall charge, demand, or collect any money until after the homestead declaration is recorded. The total amount charged, demanded, or collected by an offeror of a homestead filing service, including all fees for notarization and recordation, shall not exceed twenty-five dollars ($25).
(e) For the purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Homestead filing service” means any service performed or offered to be performed for compensation in connection with the preparation or completion of a homestead declaration or in connection with the assistance in any manner of another person to prepare or complete a homestead declaration. “Homestead filing service” does not include any service performed by an attorney at law authorized to practice in this state for a client who has retained that attorney or an employee of that attorney acting under the attorney’s direction and supervision.
(2) A “homestead declaration” has the meaning described in Article 5 (commencing with Section 704.910) of Chapter 4 of Division 2 of Title 9 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(Added by Stats. 1987, Ch. 974, Sec. 1.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018