Legislative Update June 14, 2022

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Legislative Update: June 14, 2022

NHAR intervenes for property owners

The New Hampshire Association of Realtors has been granted the opportunity to file an amicus brief by the NH Supreme Court in the case of Conway v. Kudrick. The town of Conway is appealing a lower court ruling won by a private property owner, Scott Kudrick.

This case has potential statewide impact on private property owners in New Hampshire regarding the classification and regulation of short-term rentals by municipal zoning ordinances and could have a significant impact on private property rights throughout the state.

NHAR sought intervener status after the NH Municipal Association indicated it would file an amicus brief supporting Conway’s argument that short-term rentals are a prohibited commercial use in all residential zones.

In early 2021, the town of Conway sued Scott Kudrick for renting his property as a short-term rental, arguing that as commercial activity short-term rentals are prohibited under that town’s zoning ordinance. A Superior Court disagreed with Conway for a number of reasons, but most telling was the judge’s conclusion that renting out a property in a residential zone is a “residential purpose” so long as the “renters continue to relax, eat, sleep, bathe, and engage in other incidental activities” that the owner or a guest might engage in.

NHAR’s brief is due in August. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will hand down a decision before the end of the year.

Legislative committee to study ‘property blight’ established 

Senate Bill 334, which was signed into law last week by the Governor, establishes a committee to study strategies and barriers to managing real property blight in New Hampshire and establishing responsible parties for these properties. The original version of the bill established a process by which municipalities could take action against “vacant and abandoned” properties and their owners.

The challenge was producing a definition of what “vacant and abandoned” means as well as determining an appropriate town response to ensuring the health and safety of residents.

The legislative committee must make its report before November 1, 2022.

Alteration to interest owed when property tax abated

Senate Bill 317, which was signed into law by the Governor last week, states that after property taxes have been paid and either the selectmen, the board of tax and land appeals, or the superior court grant an abatement of those taxes, they must award interest on the amount of taxes abated at the rate of 4 percent per annum from the date the taxes were paid to the date of refund. The previous statutory requirement was 6 percent.

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

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