Legislative Update April 23, 2019

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Legislative Update
April 23, 2019

Appeals change could save time, money

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:

New appeals process on building code disputes.

Currently, a property owner may appeal decisions made by a local building code official or fire official to that municipality’s building code board of appeals. Under existing statute, the only appeal beyond the municipality is to Superior Court.

Under House Bill 710, once all municipal appeals have been exhausted, the decisions of any local building code board of appeals could then be appealed to the state building code review board. A similar appeals process already exists to the state fire code board.

The intent is to ensure that local municipalities are not incorrectly interpreting the current building or fire code. Codes do change relatively frequently and are complex, and many building inspectors may not be aware of the all the changes. The current international building code is over 700 pages.

This legislation would give property owners a faster, less expensive process to appeal building and fire code decisions than if they had to go to court.

The legislation has passed out of the House and is currently being debated in the Senate.

Certification for building code officials?

House Bill 303 would require that any person appointed as the municipal code enforcement official for inspections and enforcement of the state building code would be required to show sufficient knowledge of the code and become state certified. Even the building code officials acknowledged that some inspectors have no training or expertise.

While all stakeholders agreed that a new certification is needed, there was no such agreement on how to make it happen. Questions regarding cost, grandfathering existing inspectors and whether or not some small towns would be forced to stop building inspections altogether were debated.

The legislation has passed out of the House and is in the Senate.

New rules proposed by the Real Estate Commission

The Real Estate Commission will be holding a public comment hearing on proposed rule changes on May 16, 2019, at 9 a.m. at the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification, 121 South Fruit Street, Concord, NH 03301.

Written testimony on this proposal will be accepted starting now and through May 15 and may be submitted through mail at the address listed above, or via email to Thomas.Broderick@oplc.nh.gov.

To view the most recent legislative chart, click here. 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 bob@nhar.com or 603-225-5549.

 

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