Legislative Update February 24, 2017
NHAR septic bill, lead paint, commercial property tax exemption
By Bob Quinn
Government Affairs Director, NH REALTORS®
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:
The Senate has passed legislation pushed by NHAR which prevents the NH Department of Environmental Services from requiring new septic plans, specifications, or additional load requirements whenever an existing bedroom in a single-family residence is converted to an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). DES currently requires an additional 250 gallons on a one-bedroom conversion and 1,250 gallons on a two-bedroom conversion. This bill would eliminate those added capacity requirements.
The bill will now move to the House of Representatives next month for a hearing and vote. Both the DES and Septic Designers and Installers opposed the bill in the Senate hearing and we expect similar opposition in the House.
SB 247 would make various changes to New Hampshire’s lead paint laws. Among other things, the bill seeks to change the blood levels for investigations of cases of lead poisoning in children, establishes a remediation of lead in water and multifamily housing fund, establishes an essential maintenance practices program, and requires a new notification on lead for the purchase and sale of real estate.
NHAR supports attempts to provide landlords with funding to replace windows, doors and other items with lead paint but is concerned that costs to landlords for water tests and repairs could lead to less affordable housing options for many families. Final action is not expected on the bill for several weeks.
Currently, only municipalities in Coos County are permitted to grant a property tax exemption for new construction on a commercial project. HB 316 would expand that authority statewide and allow all towns to adopt a new construction property tax exemption for commercial or industrial uses.
The intent of the exemption is to provide incentives to businesses to build, rebuild, modernize, or enlarge within the municipality. The bill stipulates that the exemption may run for a maximum period of 10 years following the new construction. Once adopted by the local legislative body, the percentage rate and duration of the exemption must be granted uniformly within that municipality to all projects for which a proper application is filed. The bill has passed out of committee. NHAR supports the bill.