Legislative Update: April 24, 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:
Debate to alter occupational licensing seems to finally be coming to an end
The debate over occupation licensing at the State House appears to be coming to an acceptable conclusion. Senate Bill 334, which would have allowed an out-of-state licensee to practice in New Hampshire for up to 120 days, appears to headed in a good direction.
Last week, a House subcommittee unanimously voted for an amendment to SB 334, which significantly alters the version passed by the Senate. If adopted, the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission would not have to alter its current process for granting reciprocity, nor would it have to create or grant a temporary license to an out-of-state licensee. Clearly, NHAR supported the amendment. A final vote on the amended version of the bill is expected next week.
Meanwhile, House Bill 1310 has been amended by the Senate to create a study commission to review all occupational licensing laws and regulations. The bill appears likely to pass out of the Senate. NHAR has no position on the amendment, as it does not prejudge the need for licensing. The five-member committee, made up of legislators, will need to spend this summer and fall reviewing 48 boards and commissions and report their findings in November.
House Finance Committee recommends to study Housing Appeal Board
Senate Bill 557, which seeks to create a three-person Housing Appeals Board to hear appeals from municipal land use boards involving questions of housing and housing development, was not met favorably by the House Finance Committee. Concerns arose over costs of operating the new board as well as some legislators' concerns that the bill would unduly benefit developers and property owners over municipalities. The committee voted 16 to 10 to study the bill this summer. NHAR testified in favor of the bill.
The full House will have a final vote on the bill this week. The Governor and Senate are strongly supportive of creating a Housing Appeals Board, so regardless of the House vote on SB 557, this debate may only be just beginning.
The return of the first-time homebuyer credit?
While the House voted last week to reject Senate Bill 301, which would have provided a reduction to the Real Estate Transfer Tax for first-time homebuyers, the Senate may not be ready to take “no” for an answer.
Senators are trying to attach the first-time homebuyer credit to House Bill 1251, an unrelated bill dealing with the elimination of the actual, physical tax stamps indicating payment of the tax on transfers of property. Senate Bill 301 is a priority of Governor Sununu, so the effort to force a House vote on the bill might succeed. Stay tuned.
Legislators authorize real estate professionals to sell tax lien property
Senate Bill 504 authorizes municipalities to dispose of property obtained through a tax lien to engage a real estate agent to market and sell the property. The bill has passed both the Senate and House and is headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
Currently, such property must be sold only through a sealed bid or auction. The bill also allows for towns to sell undeveloped parcels to abutters for consolidation into adjoining lots for the purpose of affordable housing development, preserving open space, or reducing development density.
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."
Jim Lee, 2021 President, New Hampshire REALTORS