Legislative Update: June 7, 2022

Legislative Update: June 7, 2022

New rules at Real Estate Commission

By BOB QUINN
Chief Executive Officer

New rules approved by the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission last month increase a broker’s license from $110 per application or renewal fee to $155, an increase of $45 per fee; while the fee for the salesperson license and renewal was increased from $90 to $155, a $65 increase.

The Office of Professional Licensing (OPLC) estimates that the fee change will increase state revenue by $775,000 over the biennium. The OPLC oversees the administration of 47 occupational licensing boards in the state, including the Real Estate Commission.

Under the new rules, fees are eliminated for duplicate licenses, letters of good standing, bank fees, late fees, course accreditation or reaccreditation fees, copying fees and the fees for audio files or rosters. However, the OPLC stated there is no reduction to state revenue since they have already stopped charging those fees.

NHAR had requested the RE Commission, who had put the rule and fee increase forward, to provide licensees with more information relative to the need for the fee changes. Initially, the Commission indicated it had no authority over licensing fees and it was entirely OPLC’s decision to increase the fees. 

NHAR met subsequently with OPLC officials and were told the fee changes were requested by the RE Commission, not OPLC. In spite of the confusion, the rules are likely to go into effect later this summer.

Among other changes to the Real Estate Commission rules:

  • Changing the requirement to obtain a criminal history record report.
  • Adding provision that the commission will issue one license type per person as either a salesperson, associate broker, managing broker, or principal broker at any one time.
  • Clarifies that a salesperson, associate broker or managing broker will be affiliated with only one principal broker at a time.
  • Alters various requirements for license examinations.

Clearly, the merry-go-round and finger-pointing over fee-making is not in the best interest of licensees, nor was it the intent of the legislature when it consolidated licensing boards and commission under the OPLC.

And so …

Legislature creates committee to review authority of OPLC
and Certification to establish fees

SB 330, which has been approved by both the House and Senate, establishes a legislative committee to review the structure of occupational licensing and regulation in this state, including the licensure processes of the OPLC. The legislative committee will also review the funding sources, fee-setting authority, and fees of the various boards and commissions.

The bill also seeks to create a permanent legislative oversight commission over OPLC which will monitor the division of duties between OPLC and the various boards.

This committee will meet this fall and is required to provide a report of its findings by Nov. 1.

Legislature underscores need to acquire power of attorney 

The sponsors of House Bill 1344 stated they introduced the bill to ensure that a duly executed power of attorney was signed and authorized before an agent or broker could act on behalf of an owner in signing documents. No specific examples of an agent or broker signing listing agreement or closing documents on behalf of the client were cited during the hearing. 

NHAR, which took no position on the bill, did testify that existing statute (RSA 564-E:105already required a power of attorney to convey real estate must be properly authorized and signed by the principal.

The legislature decided to take a belt and suspenders approach, and while acknowledging the practice was already prohibited, they felt that adding the prohibition to RSA 331-A – the Real Estate Act – had merit. The Governor has signed the bill into law

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