Legislative Update: March 16, 2022

Legislative Update: March 16, 2022

Final vote on HB 1177 this week

By BOB QUINN
Chief Executive Officer

There is still time to take action on NHAR’s Call for Action on House Bill 1177, which would allow residential lots served by municipal water and sewer to be used for up to four units, as long as they meet existing town setback and other lot requirements.

Opponents of the bill on the House Municipal and County Committee conceded that the bill would "achieve the goal of more workforce housing." However, they oppose the bill because, they said, it would “be at the cost of reduced neighborhood home values and homogeneity” – despite that the vast majority of studies have found that providing more affordable housing options does not depress neighboring property values.

The same arguments in opposition were made several years ago when the state mandated each municipality had to allow for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in residential zones. None of the claims against that legislation, such as lost property values or overburdened neighborhoods, has come to fruition.

More than 1,600 Realtors have sent emails in support of the legislation, so if you have not yet responded to the Call For Action, please do so here.

Landlord-Tenant Week on the House floor

Several bills will come to the House floor for debate this week dealing with landlord issues.

HB 1200 would require that any increase in a tenant’s rent is not enforceable unless the tenant has been made aware of the amount and effective date no less than 45 days prior to the increase. The House Judiciary Committee voted narrowly, 11-10, to kill the bill. The full House will vote on the legislation later this week. 

HB 1107 would establish a committee to study the rental or leasing of housing to a person who has pets. The House Judiciary Committee heard this bill last month and has recommended by an 11-10 vote that the bill is “Inexpedient to Legislate,” meaning it should not be approved. 

HB 1291 would prohibit “discrimination” against tenants holding Section 8 vouchers for purposes of renting dwellings. Under the bill, landlords would retain the ability to reject a voucher holder if the apartment does not meet the minimum quality standards established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Opponents of the bill testified that property owners would be required to allow inspections of their property and might mandate the landlord to accept a voucher recipient. The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 against passage of the bill.

Senate seeks to study occupational licensing requirements

Senate Bill 330, as amended, establishes a committee to study and make recommendations relative to the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC). In recognition of the workforce shortages in New Hampshire, the committee will, in part, review the license processes and identify ways for increasing licensing portability for qualified professionals licensed in other states and explore licensure barriers to attracting qualified professionals to New Hampshire. 

NHAR had testified against the original version of the bill, as it granted OPLC wide latitude to change licensing portability without input from impacted licensees. The committee members agreed with NHAR’s position, and the amended version of SB 330 removed that portion of the bill.

The bill is now expected to pass the Senate easily.

For more information, contact New Hampshire Realtors CEO Bob Quinn: bob@nhar.com.

"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."

Adam Gaudet, 2022 President, New Hampshire REALTORS