Legislative Update Feb. 5, 2019 More Options for Property Owners?

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February 5, 2019

More options for property owners?

By BOB QUINN
Government Affairs Director

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 Housing Appeals Board could give property owners more options

Senate Bill 306 would create a Housing Appeals Board to hear appeals of decisions of municipal land use boards. The intent is to provide property owners with an alternative to the Superior Court, which can be expensive and time-consuming. NHAR supports this bill.

A similar bill was heard last year but stalled out late in the session. SB 306 is significantly different from last year’s bill and will only allow an appeal to the Housing Board after all local remedies have been exhausted. The three-member board, members of which would be required to have expertise in land use law or housing development, will be appointed by the Supreme Court. The Board would be required to hear appeals within 90 days of filing and rule within 60 days after hearing the appeal.

The fee to file an appeal with the board would be $250. The initial Senate hearing will be held this week.

Real Estate Transfer Tax revenue to be used for housing

Senate Bill 15 would require that on an annual basis, $5,000,000 in revenue derived from the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) is allocated to the NH affordable housing fund. New Hampshire contributes far fewer dollars to affordable housing programs than most of our neighboring states.

NHAR supports SB 15 since it does not increase tax rates but redirects existing revenue, which would normally go to New Hampshire’s general fund, to a program designed to make housing more affordable. The bill will have its initial hearing this week.

Creation of a capital gains tax heard in House committee

House Bill 686 would expand New Hampshire’s 5 percent tax on interest and dividends to include capital gains. The bill is written a such a way that if a resident does not pay federal capital gains, he or she would not pay the state tax, either. The sale of real estate in New Hampshire already contributes significant dollars to the Real Estate Transfer Tax as well as the Business Profits Tax, and another tax could create a lock-in effect where owners would be less likely to transfer property.

NHAR is opposed to the bill. The House Ways and Means Committee is currently debating the legislation. The bill could generate well over $100 million per year and is therefore enticing to legislators looking for ways to increase revenue.

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 2018 New Hampshire legislative session, please contact Bob Quinn at bob@nhar.com or 603-225-5549.

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