Proposed real estate fees could cost families hundreds more


State’s counties call fees unfair to the average family, individual

A bill that could cost anyone who refinances their property hundreds of dollars more in recording fees goes before the state legislature next week, but it is meeting strong resistance from counties across the state, including both Mono and Inyo counties.

Top officials at both counties state that the bill will unfairly target the average family or individual trying to refinance a home.

“If passed, the bill would add a $75 fee to documents recorded in connection with real estate transactions, except for transactions involving a real estate purchase or transfer since those transactions are already taxed,” said Mono County Clerk Recorder Lynda Roberts on Tuesday, May 7. 

“For example, a million-dollar property purchase would be exempt from paying the $75 fee per document recorded; however, a family refinancing a home loan would pay $75 for every document recorded.”

The bill is for a good cause, she said—to provide an affordable housing fund for the state—but Roberts believes it is unfair to some groups.

At a minimum, she said, a real estate transaction like refinancing a home includes four documents (a Deed of Trust, Subordination, Substitution of Trustee and Reconveyance), which would add $300 in recording fees for a single transaction.

That is in strong contrast to the current cost of such a transaction, she said. 

“In Mono County, the fee to record a document is $8 for the first page and $3 for each additional page, so a typical refinancing transaction costs approximately $101 (now), although this would vary depending on the number of pages recorded,” she said.

Roberts is not the only clerk-recorder in the state to oppose the bill.

In Inyo County, Clerk-Recorder Kammi Foote, serving as co-chair of the California Clerk-Recorders Legislative Committee, has been working to prevent the passage of the bill, also called the California Homes and Jobs Act.

“This is huge,” Foote said.

 “It’s going to have a huge impact on Californians and we (the California Clerk-Recorders Legislative Committee) see it as blind-siding Californians because it will increase the fee so drastically.”

Inyo Register staff writer Mike Gervais contributed to this report.


Citizens who are concerned about this bill should contact:

  • Senator Mark DeSaulnier, the bill’s author (State Capitol, Room 5035,Sacramento, Calif., 95814), as well as Mono County’s legislative representatives:
  • Assembly Member Frank Bigelow (State Capitol, Room 4116, Sacramento, Calif., 94249)
  • State Senator Tom Berryhill (State Capitol, Room 3076, Sacramento, CA 95814).