Legislative Update April 30 2019

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April 30, 2019

‘Tiny homes’ get their close-up

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:

Bill to study ‘tiny homes’ moves forward

House Bill 312 creates a legislative study committee to look at issues associated with state and local permitting of tiny houses, including both tiny houses on permanent foundations and on wheels. The committee will look at issues in building codes, fire codes, as well as prohibitions in local land use ordinances and regulations. Finally, the committee is charged with determining what constitutes a “tiny house.”

The legislation is expected to be on the Governor’s desk for his signature next month. If it is signed into law, the first meeting of the committee should occur around Labor Day. A final report must be completed by the end of November.

Amendment to arsenic bill would provide state funding

House Bill 261 would alter the maximum contaminant limit for arsenic levels in both groundwater and public water systems from the current EPA recommendation of 10 micrograms per liter down to 5 micrograms per liter. The statewide cost to municipalities and some homeowners’ associations to comply with this new standard is estimated by the Department of Environmental Services (DES) to be nearly $4 million in initial capital costs and $4.5 million in annual maintenance costs.

The NH Municipal Association has asked the Senate to amend the bill to require the state to pay for 50 percent of both capital and annual expenses to all public water systems. NHAR has voiced its support for that amendment to provide state funding.

The DES has traditionally adhered to US EPA guidance on water quality, and HB 261 breaks with that precedent. NHAR believes it is therefore appropriate for the state to provide financial assistance to towns and homeowner associations to comply.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is expected to act on the bill in the next week.

Foreclosure notification bill killed in Senate

House Bill 309 would have required that a notice of foreclosure be hand-delivered by a sheriff. Currently, such notice must only be sent by registered or certified mail. The legislation also mandates that a court must grant an injunction if the property owner files a complaint and that injunction could only be lifted by the Superior Court. The bill easily passed out of the House of Representatives last month, but last week it was killed in the Senate.

The banking industry testified that delays in foreclosure result in higher costs. In New Hampshire, foreclosures generally take 480 days, while other states can take three times longer.

The bill is now dead for the session.

To view the most recent legislative chart, click here or view the attachment. 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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