Legislative Update: license reciprocity;
first-time buyer relief; private road maintenance
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:
Out-of-state licensees getting a free pass?
The political momentum in the legislature to grant automatic licensure for a NH professional license to any out-of-state licensee, including a real estate agent or broker, is growing. NHAR is opposed to both the House and Senate versions of the bills.
This past week the Senate passed Senate Bill 334, which would mandate that all state boards or commissions must grant occupational or professional licenses to any out-of-state licensee while they have “a pending application for licensure” for 120 days. That means an out-of-state licensee could practice in New Hampshire for 120 days while they complete their application. The bill never had a public hearing and was tacked onto an unrelated bill.
The Governor has made reciprocity for licensed occupations a priority as a means to alleviate a perceived New Hampshire workforce problem. Unfortunately, the one-size-fits-all solution does not work for real estate licensees. NH brokers and agents would be put at a severe disadvantage, as Massachusetts or Maine real estate licensees would have access to our markets while NHAR members would not have similar access to those markets.
NHAR has sent a letter to the Governor as well as House and Senate leadership. You can view that letter here.
Senate votes to give tax relief to first-time buyers
Senate Bill 301 would temporarily reduce the Real Estate Transfer Tax for first-time buyers from $0.75 per $100 down to $0.50 per $100, translating to approximately a $500 savings on a $200,000 home. The bill has passed the Senate unanimously.
The tax reduction would apply to sales through December 31, 2019. The price of the home cannot exceed $300,000.
The legislature will attempt to track the increase or decrease of first-time buyers entering the market as a result of the tax decrease. NHAR supports the legislation but would prefer to see a larger tax reduction. The bill now will move to the House.
REALTORS score victory on private road maintenance legislation
New Hampshire property owners who live on private roads often find it harder to gain access to affordable financing due to Fannie Mae’s requirement that an adequate, enforceable agreement must exist for the maintenance of the street.
However, if there is no such agreement between the property owners, Fannie does allow purchase of the mortgage if there are statutory provisions that define the responsibilities of property owners for the maintenance and repair of a private street.
NHAR worked with legislators to introduce Senate Bill 401, an attempt to meet Fannie Mae’s requirement and place minimum requirements on the maintenance of a private road. This past week, the Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously to support passage of the bill. NHAR has worked to alleviate some of the concerns brought forward by timber and farm interests. REALTORS will need to work hard to explain the need for the bill to the House, where similar legislation has failed in the past.