Legislative Update: February 19, 2019
By BOB QUINN
Vice President of Government Affairs
Here are a few items being explored in the New Hampshire legislature that are of potential interest to the real estate community and being watched closely by your New Hampshire REALTORS government affairs team:
Private road bill clears first hurdle
NHAR’s efforts to pass legislation which would improve a homebuyer’s access to a Veterans Administration or Fannie Mae loan on a private road has cleared the Senate. Senate Bill 39 is an attempt to meet both the VA and Fannie’s appraisal requirements that there must be a written maintenance agreement between all the owners of property on a private road or, in the absence of a written agreement, the state must have a statute indicating each owner must pay their fair share – a basic common law principal.
If Senate Bill 39 passes, no written agreement will be needed, so "hand-shake" agreements between neighbors will be sufficient. Even if there is no agreement whatsoever between property owners, both VA and Fannie will be able to accept loans on that road if this bill becomes law.
The Senate passed the bill unanimously, and the legislation will now move to the House of Representatives.
Significant change to foreclosure process passes House
House Bill 270 would require that mortgage foreclosures be commenced by civil actions brought in superior court. This would be a significant change to New Hampshire’s current non-judicial process. The legislation had been rejected in the House Judiciary Committee by a significant majority, 13 to 5. However, that recommendation was rejected by the full House, which chose to pass it on to the Senate.
In a judicial foreclosure state, the lender has to file a lawsuit in court in order to foreclose. In a nonjudicial foreclosure state, such as New Hampshire, the lender can foreclose without going through the court system.
Judicial foreclosure states generally take significantly longer to reach an outcome, and it is a more expensive process. That expense could force lenders to shift additional costs to all new mortgagers as a hedge against a foreclosure lawsuit.
On the other hand, a judicial process provides the highest level of consumer protection to the homeowner.
The Senate will take up the bill in this spring.
State takes steps to prepare for increased coastal flooding
Senate Bill 285 is in response to the 2018 Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission report, “Preparing New Hampshire for Projected Storm Surge, Sea-Level Rise, and Extreme Precipitation.” Among other items, the bill sets up a process to allow for municipal acquisition of historical or cultural significant properties as well as their removal, restoration and relocation.
The bill permits towns, regional planning commissions and state agencies to identify lands with sufficient elevation and distance from tidal waters for historic properties to be relocated. The acquisition of land and historic structures would be funded by municipalities, including bonding, private and non-profit donations, funding from the LCHIP, as well as funding from the state and federal government.
The bill is currently being debated in the Senate.
To view the most recent legislative chart, click here. If you have questions regarding these or any other pieces of legislation from the 2019 New Hampshire legislative session, please contact NHAR Vice President of Government Affairs Bob Quinn at email@example.com or 603-225-5549.
Amidst the sea of change to which the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS has played witness in its 85 years, one thing that has remained constant is the Realtor 'R' and the value we bring to every real estate transaction in which we take part. We are part of a unique community where our familial cooperation transcends our business competition. These are not mere platitudes, but our living ideals, and they are, in fact, the foundation on which we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day affairs.
Dan O'Halloran (at right), 2019 President, New Hampshire REALTORS