Legislative Update: May 7, 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:
Senate passes NHAR legislation on commission payments
NHAR-sponsored legislation to allow a principal broker to pay a commission to an unlicensed partnership, association, limited liability company, limited liability partnership or a corporation has passed the Senate. The bill makes it clear that all members of any business entity receiving such a commission must hold a valid and active real estate license.
In 2018, the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission issued a declaratory ruling indicating such payments were not allowed by statute – even though it had become a long-term and frequent practice. NHAR worked with the Real Estate Commission to craft HB 268.
A principal broker is required to keep records for three years of which business entities received the commission and how much. The New Hampshire legislation is similar to twenty-eight other states which also permit a principal broker to pay commissions to an unlicensed business entity.
HB 268 makes it clear that the provision does not relieve the broker of any supervisory responsibilities nor does it provide a broker or agent with any immunity from liability.
The legislation is now on its way to the Governor’s desk where he is expected to sign it into law.
Deed recording fees to increase; study land conservation impact on housing costs
SB 74, which increases the deed recording fee from $25 to $35, has now passed out of both the Senate and House of Representatives. All proceeds are earmarked for the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), which provides grants to NH communities and non-profits to conserve natural, cultural and historic resources.
At NHAR’s request the Senate added an amendment which creates a legislative committee to look at the impact of conservation efforts on the affordability of housing. NHAR is concerned that neither the state nor municipalities are tracking how much land is being conserved and whether or not that conservation is contributing to issues with housing affordability.
The bill is now headed to the Governor’s office.
New fire and building codes move forward with stakeholder support
New Hampshire is about to update both its statewide building and fire codes to the 2015 versions of each. This is after NHAR, legislators and stakeholders agreed to remove a problematic provision which would have allowed certain “opt-outs” in new floor construction which would have been recorded at the Registry of Deeds.
Instead, both codes provide for an 18-month phase-in period for the “floor protection” of light-weight wood frame constructed floors.
Both bills should be on the Governor’s desk by the end of the month.
To view the most recent legislative chart, click here or view the attachment. If you have questions regarding these or any other pieces of legislation from the 2019 New Hampshire legislative session, please contact New Hampshire REALTORS 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