Legislative Update April 10, 2024

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Notification on PFAS chemicals

House Bill 398 would require that prior to the execution of any contract for the purchase and sale of a property, the seller or seller’s agent must provide notification to the buyer on poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

These chemical compounds have been detected at levels that exceed federal and/or state advisories or standards in wells throughout New Hampshire, although they are more frequently detected at elevated levels, particularly in southern New Hampshire. The notification would inform the buyer that testing of the drinking water by an accredited laboratory can measure PFAS levels and inform a home buyer’s decision regarding the need to install water treatment systems.

The notification requirement is in RSA 477:4-a, along with existing notification requirements related to Radon, Arsenic and Lead. Those notifications are included in Section 12 of NHAR’s P&S document.

NHAR worked with legislators and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to improve the language, and the bill was amended by the House of Representatives. Last week, NHAR testified in favor of the bill, which will be heard in the Senate later this spring before heading to the Governor’s desk.

Stripped-down housing bill passes Senate

As introduced, Senate Bill 538 was referred to as the HOMEnibus bill, designed to greatly increase private property rights by shrinking unnecessary government regulations which are making housing construction more expensive. NHAR supports the legislation.

Unfortunately, the bill was significantly scaled back by the Senate but still retains some important provisions. The legislation authorizes municipalities to offer property tax relief under RSA 79-E to incentivize the conversion from office, industrial, or commercial use to residential use.

The bill also mandates that a planning board must consider alternative parking solutions for a residential development. Alternative parking solutions might include existing parking nearby but off-site, an agreement with a rideshare company to provide transportation, as well as the availability of public transportation or walkability infrastructure.

The bill passed the Senate and should have a hearing in the House later this spring.

Will the end of a lease mean the lease ends?

In a 2005 landmark case, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that a New Hampshire landlord cannot evict a tenant at the end of a lease unless there is a specific reason that constitutes “good cause.” In other words, the end of the written lease is not, in fact, the end of a lease.

Several attempts have been made in the legislature over the past four years to clarify that the end of a lease constitutes “good cause.” Those efforts have fallen short at least four times, and House Bill 1115 is now on attempt number five. NHAR supports the bill.

The legislation has passed the House of Representatives and will have a hearing next week in the Senate. The Senate has killed similar legislation the past two years.

Quote of the Week

“It’s probably taboo as somebody in the Granite State to talk about anything negative about local control, but I personally feel that the term is way overused, and most people, when they throw that term around, really don’t understand the meaning behind local control. I think that people need to think about what local control means … and the impact it has on housing affordability,” 

–Robert Tourigny, executive director of NeighborWorks Southern NH. (Union Leader March 30, 2024)

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

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