Legislative Update Jan 25, 2019: Private Roads, Commissions to Business Entities, Destruction of Wood Stoves

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January 25, 2019

Legislative Update: private roads;
commissions to business entities;
destruction of wood stoves

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:

NHAR takes another swing to ensure VA and Fannie Mae loans available

When trying buy a home on a private road, veterans, active service military, seniors and families are often in for a rude awakening as they approach the closing. Both the Veterans Administration and Fannie Mae require a written road maintenance agreement for the property to appraise. Many private roads, if not most, do not.

However, both the VA and Fannie Mae will take the loan if there is a statutory requirement that simply states that each property owner must pay their fair share toward maintenance – basically taking a court-tested common law requirement and putting it into statute. NHAR is trying to do just that with Senate Bill 39.

Some house members have claimed that the legislation would force property owners into written agreements, even though the language of SB 39 expressly states that is not required. In fact, the entire point of the legislation is to ensure that no written agreement is needed.

In the past, the legislation has sailed through the Senate but stopped in the House. NHAR hopes that the new legislature will agree that helping our military members and families gain access to cheaper mortgages is more important than vague claims and unsubstantiated concerns.

Both Vermont and Connecticut have had the same statute on their books for over four years, and it has created no problems for farmers, timber owners or owners of residential property. It has helped service members and families access to cheaper mortgages and closing costs.

The bill will be voted on in committee next week.

NHAR seeks to allow licensees to accept commissions through business entity

This past summer, the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission ruled that the NH Real Estate Act (RSA 331-a) prevents a licensed broker from paying a commission to a business entity, even if it is operated by real estate licensee.

NHAR worked with the Real Estate Commission to craft legislation which creates an opportunity to pay a commission to an LLC or other business entity, as long as all members of that entity are licensed by the Commission. House Bill 268 was heard in the House Commerce Committee last week, and NHAR pushed for its passage.

Many New Hampshire Realtors are paying more in federal taxes then their counterparts in other states due to this glitch in our statute.

The Committee agreed and unanimously recommended to the full House of Representatives that the bill should pass. A final vote on the House floor could come as early as next week.

NHAR opposes bill to require certain wood stoves to be destroyed upon transfer

House Bill 290 would mandate that all wood stoves made prior to July 1, 1986 must be removed and destroyed upon the sale of a home in certain areas of the state.

NHAR was the only voice to testify in opposition. The problems with the bill are numerous, not the least of which is that it is virtually impossible to know when an older wood stove was manufactured. Of course, the few 30-plus-year-old units which exist are likely to be in homes owned by those least likely to be able to afford their removal, destruction and replacement.

Members of the House Science and Technology Committee appeared to agree with NHAR’s position, although a final vote will not happen until next week.

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 603-554-7855.

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