Legislative Update: March 30, 2022
Condo bill gets a Senate overhaul
Senate Bill 324 as introduced would have created a statewide condominium, homeowners’ association, and cooperative dispute resolution board.
The board was designed to hear and determine matters involving condominium unit owner, homeowners’ association owner, and cooperative owner complaints related association or cooperatives failure to follow its bylaws or New Hampshire law. After a lengthy hearing, even the prime sponsor admitted that the legislative language was problematic.
The Senate drastically amended the bill to require that both Association and Cooperative bylaws must contain a dispute resolution procedure for unit owners who wish to appeal the assessment of a fine or who wish to discuss an alleged failure by the governing board to abide by the governing instruments.
The process would have to allow the unit owner to meet with the board within 30 days of a written request, after which the board would have 30 days of such meeting to issue a decision. Nothing in the bill would remove a unit owner’s ultimate authority to take the case to Superior Court.
The Senate has passed the amended version of the bill, so the House will likely take it up next month.
Manufactured housing parks legislation amended
Currently under state law, residents of manufactured home parks have 60 days to match any purchase offer if an existing owner agrees to sell the property to another buyer. The owners looking to sell such parks must provide to the tenants the price, terms and conditions of an acceptable offer the park owner has received to sell the park. There are over 100 so-called Resident Owned Cooperatives (ROC) in New Hampshire.
Senate Bill 210 would have made it more difficult for tenants to match the purchase offer by requiring 50 percent of all residents of the park to vote in-person at a meeting. Opponents argued that getting 50 percent of residents to simply show up at a meeting is virtually impossible.
A compromise resulted in an amended version of SB 210 which strengthens the tenant notification and voting requirements. The amendment would keep in place the existing requirement that approval needs 50 percent of all tenants casting a ballot, as opposed to 50 percent of all tenants in the park, before a ROC could execute a contract with the existing owner.
The Senate unanimously passed the bill, and the House is expected to hold a hearing next month.
NHAR President argues for compromise on short-term rental issue
2022 NHAR President Adam Gaudet recently penned an op-ed arguing that Senate Bill 249, relative to short-term rentals, is a “reasonable compromise … balancing the private property rights of owners with a town’s right to ensure the safety and quality of life of its residents and visitors.”
As Gaudent writes, the bill has something for both property owners and aggrieved neighbors: “For those property owners who have legitimate grievances against neighbors, SB 249 provides the additional tools to help. In fact, it may be their only chance to ensure a disorderly property complies with town regulations.”
For more information, contact New Hampshire Realtors CEO Bob Quinn: firstname.lastname@example.org.