Legislative Update: March 27, 2018
By BOB QUINN
Government Affairs Director
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:
NHAR testifies against unlicensed practice of real estate; Senate committee agrees
Last week, House Bill 1685, which would create an Oversight Commission to review occupational licensing, suffered a big setback after NHAR and others testified in opposition. The Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee voted 4-0 to recommend to the full Senate that the bill should be killed.
NHAR argued that the bill’s language would predetermine the outcome of the Oversight Commission even before any business, consumer or licensee could weigh in. The bill mandates that the Commission would, “Develop a mechanism for mandatory disclosure to consumers when a practitioner has chosen not to be licensed,” as well as a utilize a “rebuttable presumption that market competition and private remedies are sufficient to protect consumers.” One proponent argued that social media reviews was sufficient substitute for licensing.
While the unanimous vote out of committee is important, the full Senate can vote to ignore that recommendation and pass the bill. A final vote is expected in early April.
Please, if you have not already, participate in NHAR’s Call for Action against these efforts to erode or eliminate licensing. To do so, please find an email from New Hampshire REALTORS sent Monday at 2 p.m. We are turning the tide, but we still have a long way to go.
Senate unanimously supports NHAR bill on Fannie Mae provision; House refuses to even hear the bill
The House leadership used a seldom-used rule to block NHAR’s effort to provide homeowners living on a private road access to Fannie Mae mortgages, even though the Senate had unanimously supported the bill.
Senate Bill 401 would have met Fannie Mae appraisal guidelines that a residence on a private road must have a maintenance agreement. The intent is to ensure New Hampshire property owners have access to affordable mortgage products.
A similar bill was defeated by the House in 2017. However, the Senate made several important changes to that bill (House Bill 181), including excluding Class VI roads, allowing so-called “handshake agreements,” and eliminating “repairing and restoring” private roads, which some felt went beyond just maintaining them.
The House leadership ruled the bill was “substantially similar” to the bill from last year, despite the fact that the House allowed another bill, which had the exact same language as a bill defeated last year, a hearing this year. We suspect this legislative maneuver had less to do with House rules and more to do with behind-the-scene politics.
NHAR will be prepared to take up the fight next year.
Senate approves increases to continuing education requirements
Last week, the Senate voted to approve Senate Bill 461, which is intended to increase professional knowledge for real estate licensees. Among other things, SB 461 would require a real estate licensee to take a core course twice in a two-period, as opposed to the current one-time three-hour course.
The concern is that licensees may not learn about critical state and federal, statutory and regulatory, changes in a timely manner.
NHAR supports the legislation. The bill is now headed to the House.
For the most recent legislative chart, click here.
For more information, please contact Bob Quinn at 603-225-5549 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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