Legislative Update: May 22, 2018
By BOB QUINN
Government Affairs Director
As the 2018 Legislative Session winds down, 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:
Final nail in the coffin for first-time homebuyer credit
Earlier this session, the Senate passed a first-time homebuyer credit. The Governor had promised to sign Senate Bill 301 if the bill if it reached his desk. Unfortunately, the House balked at the legislation and decided to interim study the legislation.
Not to be deterred, the Senate tried to force the House to accept some sort of first-time homebuyer credit by attaching the language from SB 301 onto another bill the House had already passed (HB 1817). The effort proved futile, as House and Senate conferees could not come to an agreement and the homebuyer credit was removed from legislation.
Real estate exempted from licensing reciprocity law
As expected, the House and Senate agreed on a final version of Senate Bill 334, relative to licensing reciprocity, which will not alter current practice or policies of the NH Real Estate Commission nor real estate licensing procedures.
While the bill does mandate certain requirements for temporary licensure, the final language states that any commission which has, in statute or by administrative rules, a procedure for reciprocity for individuals from other states, does not have to comply with the new law. RSA 331-A:11 provides the NH Real Estate Commission with a process for reciprocity, so therefore real estate is exempted.
So after a session of raucous debate over licensing laws, nothing of any significance related to the real estate industry passed. Over 1,400 New Hampshire licensees responded to NHAR’s Call for Action in opposition to the various bills.
New law will allow for expansion of temporary seasonal docks and boat lifts
After almost 18 months of discussion, the legislature reconciled both the House and Senate versions of Senate Bill 119 and agreed to expand the permissible length of temporary seasonal docks. The original bill was introduced in 2016 in response to that year’s drought conditions, which impacted property owners' access to certain lakes.
The final version of SB 119 increases dock lengths as follows: on lakes larger than 1,000 acres from the current 40 feet to 50 feet; and on lakes smaller than 1,000 acres from the current 30 feet to 40 feet.
Additionally, a permit by notification is all that is required for a temporary seasonal boat lift installed in any lake or pond, as long as: it is installed adjacent to an existing permitted or grandfathered dock in a legally existing boat slip; no additional boat slip or dock is created; it is located at least 20 feet from the abutting property line; and it is removed during the non-boating season for a minimum of five months each year.
The bill is now heading to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
Potential new standards to arsenic in drinking water
House and Senate conferees came to an agreement on House Bill 1592, requiring the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services (DES) to review the groundwater standard for arsenic to determine whether it should be lowered.
The bill only references public groundwater standards, which are enforceable with regard to municipal water supplies and could result in costly upgrades to treatment plants. However, DES standards for public water tend to become the same standards labs use for private well water.
The House wanted the DES to study the issue and then begin rulemaking if warranted, while the Senate version of the bill required the Department to come back to the legislature with any findings and seek legislative approval before initiating rulemaking.
The Senate version won out, so DES will need to determine if the costs outweigh the benefits of dropping the arsenic standard and report back to the legislature by the first of the year.
For the most recent legislative chart, click here.
If you have questions regarding these or any other pieces of legislation from the 2018 New Hampshire legislative session, please contact Bob Quinn at email@example.com or 603-225-5549.
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