Legislative Update Feb. 22, 2022

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Legislative Update: Feb. 22, 2022

Unanimous support for licensing bill

By an 18-0 vote, the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommended final passage of House Bill 1354. The bill would allow a person who holds an active real estate license in another state to apply for a New Hampshire license by taking the New Hampshire portion of the licensing exam, provided that other requirements of the Real Estate Commission have been met.

New Hampshire currently has reciprocity agreements with a few states. However, HB 1354 would “recognize” licenses in any state and provide an expedited process for those out-of-state licensees to seek licensure in NH.

The bill applies to salesperson and broker applicants only when such applicants are applying for a New Hampshire license with equivalent status as currently licensed in the qualifying jurisdiction.

The final House floor vote will occur next month.

Senate overwhelmingly passes right-to-rent legislation

Last week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 249 with broad bipartisan support. It is rare these days when both Democrats and Republicans can agree on legislation at the State House, but an overwhelming majority of both caucuses voted for the legislation. The bill would prevent municipalities from outright banning residential one- and two-family buildings from being used for short-term rentals.

Opponents claimed that residences being used as short-term rentals have exacerbated the housing crunch. However, those claims do not hold up under scrutiny. Portsmouth, for example, has about 120 short-term rentals out of a housing stock of 10,000 units. That is less than a tenth of a percent of the total housing stock used for short-term rentals. And less than a dozen of those short-term rentals were rented out for more than nine months last year.

A recent Harvard study on short-term rentals in New York could easily apply in New Hampshire. The author summarized her findings by stating that “…banning or greatly restricting Airbnb rentals would not have a major impact on housing affordability … because it would not address the fundamental challenge faced by the city: a lack of overall housing supply.”

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for a hearing.

Governor proposes using $100 million in federal funds on housing

Gov. Sununu announced last week the creation of InvestNH Housing Incentive Fund, utilizing unencumbered federal American Rescue Plan dollars.

The Governor proposes utilizing $100 million in federal funds to provide:

  • gap funding for new multifamily housing developments;
  • per-housing unit “bonus” incentive payments to municipalities that build multifamily developments to reinvest back in their communities;
  • millions in funding to help municipalities demolish old and dilapidated buildings that are costly to clear; and
  • millions to cities and towns to aid in modernizing and updating town zoning rules.

Expect more details on the program in the weeks ahead.

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

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