The California Association of Realtors, which advised members to tell prospective buyers whether a former tenant had AIDS, has backed away from the month-old policy.

"What we're telling people is, the law isn't clear. We don't believe it AIDS disclosure is relevant," said Doug Gillies, the association's vice president for government relations.

Association President Richard Rosenthal said this week the group now is advising members to review scientific literature, which "concludes that there is no known risk of AIDS virus transmission" to people living in houses formerly occupied by AIDS victims.

He said his group is "actively pursuing all available options, including legislation" to clarify the issue.

Controversy over the policy arose earlier this week when attorneys confirmed that the organization had advised member real estate agents in December to disclose a former tenant's physical condition to protect themselves from possible legal action.

Gay activists have contended that the health of former tenants, including those afflicted with acquired immune deficiency syndrome, should have no bearing on real estate transactions.

"It reinforces misinformation. AIDS is not casually transmitted," said Holly Smith of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

"There's no way an individual would be at risk by going into a home or buying a home where a person with AIDS has lived," Smith said.

Stephen Groome, an attorney for the association, said real estate agents risk being sued if they fail to mention AIDS in connection with a vacancy because of a state law that requires the full disclosure of "material facts" affecting property values.

Groome said such facts can include faulty plumping or wiring or even the murder or suicide of former tenants.

"The real estate agent is between a rock and a hard place," Groome said.

But Per Treble, a Santa Ana attorney representing the estate of a deceased AIDS victim, said, "Realtors are erring on the side of caution."

The estate sought legal action against a real estate agent who insisted on telling prospective buyers of the former tenant's AIDS condition. Treble said the estate has taken the house off the market.

NVHomes, one of the fastest-growing home building firms in suburban Washington, has named Charles T. Langpaul as president.

Langpaul, 46, head of Mid-Atlantic region operations of Ryland Homes for 14 years, will replace Dwight Schar as NVHomes' president. Schar will become chairman and chief executive officer of NVHomes, which he founded six years ago. The company is building housing units priced from $80,000 to $250,000 in more than a dozen developments in suburban Maryland and Virginia. Schar said he will turn over day-to-day operations to Langpaul. "This will allow me to get more involved in the philosophies of the company and in the community," said Schar, who has been a major financial backer of Republican political candidates.

Langpaul said NVHomes will be expanding "our share of the housing market by building more homes in the price ranges below $150,000." Schar and Langpaul said the company would target new markets in Loudoun, Prince George's and Howard counties. NVHomes now does two-thirds of its business in Fairfax and the other one-third in Montgomery.

Schar said his firm sold 173 housing units for $9.8 million in 1980. By 1985, sales totaled 776 units, valued at more than $112 million, according to company records.

Six Washington area men were named to the National Association of Home Builders' National Housing Hall of Fame during the NAHB's annual convention in Dallas this week. They were honored for "career-long devotion to the cause of housing America," the NAHB said. They are:Stephen Yeonas, an Arlington developer who developed professional marketing techniques for the housing industry and served as past president of the Metropolitan Washington Home Builders Association and the Northern Virginia Real Estate Board. Leon Keyserling of Washington, who has played a leading role in drafting several important housing laws since the 1930s. He is a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, has served in federal housing agencies, and has written and lectured extensively on economics and housing; T. Bertram King of Washington, who played a key role in establishing the veterans home loan program after World War II and directed the VA loan guarantee agency for eight years. The Veterans Administration awarded King the agency's Exceptional Inservice Medal. William A. Molster of Annapolis, a 20-year staff member with the NAHB who formed the organization's sales and marketing council, and developed the sales managers club and many educational programs for developers. The late Carl A. S. Coan Sr. of Washington, who was a leader in framing housing legislation during the 16 years he worked as staff director of the housing and urban affairs and housing subcommittees of the Senate Banking Committee. The late John E. Horne of Alexandria, who as chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board helped to overhaul the savings and loan industry to make it a principal source of funds for housing. He framed the legislation that enables homeowners to defer paying taxes on the profit of a house if the owner buys another house within a specified time. Horne also was chairman of the Small Business Administration in the 1960s and helped draft the SBA's disaster loan program.

IN THE BUSINESS . . . Oxford has started construction on a 220-unit garden apartment project in Laurel and the same number of units in the Westridge community in Prince William County. . . . Lawyers Title Insurance Corp. has prepared a free booklet on commonly used terms in title insurance, available by writing the company at Dept. TG, P.O. Box 27567, Richmond, Va., 23261. . . . Centennial Development Corp. reports that 1985 was its best ever in terms of commercial space delivered (505,000 square feet), square footage leased (474,000) and rental income it generated ($40 million). . . . The D.C. Preservation League has received a $36,000 matching grant from the National Park Service's Historic Preservation Fund to survey apartment buildings in the District. The purpose is to inventory the estimated 4,000 apartment buildings in the city built between 1880 and 1945, in part to determine their historical significance. . . . The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority has authorized the issuance of $9.8 million in tax-exempt bonds for the construction of Paul Spring Retirement Center. . . . Ramada Inn/Seminary Plaza in Alexandria has completed a $3 million renovation. . . . Mount Vernon Realty is offering to guarantee the sale of buyers' old homes before they start to look for new ones. The firm also reports that 1985 was its best year, with sales up 56 percent over 1984, its previous best year. . . . Total construction contracts in the District through the first 11 months of 1985 amounted to $928.5 million, up 24 percent over the same period in 1984, but the November 1985 total was down to $108.1 million, off 16 percent from the same month in 1984, according to the F. W. Dodge Division of McGraw-Hill Information Systems Co. . . . Producers of manufactured homes shipped 20,927 homes in November, down 4.6 percent over the same month in 1984, marking the 15th month in the last 16 that the industry has shown either a decline or insignificant increases, according an industry trade group called the Association for Regulatory Reform.

PERSONNEL FILE . . . John A. Sargent has been elected president of Randall H. Hagner & Co., a real estate and mortgage banking firm. . . . Ronald J. Bruck, executive vice president of Alan I. Kay Cos., has been elected president of the D.C. Building Industry Association, formerly known as the D.C. Builders Association. . . . International Developers Inc. has named two vice presidents for the marketing of the Techworld high-tech trade mart, Jeffrey H. Waxman and Howard Steinhardt. . . . Developer Jay Alfandre is the new president of the Suburban Maryland Building Industry Association. John Howlin starts his second term as president of the same group's southern Maryland chapter. . . . Bruce E. Strasburg, Wayne Hallheimer, Robert Scheer, James Protos, Craig R. Burton and Richard W. Brown, all members of Shannon & Luchs commercial brokerage division, have been named vice presidents. . . . Fulton R. (Sandy) Gordon III, executive vice president of the construction firm that bears his name, is the 1986 president of the Northern Virginia Builders Association.