Legislative Update: license reciprocity;
short-term rentals; condo associations
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:
House Committee rejects license reciprocity legislation
Last week, a House Committee overwhelmingly rejected a legislative effort to grant automatic licensure, including a real estate agent or broker license, to any out-of-state licensee. NHAR testified against the bill.
An amendment to House Bill 1732 was put forward by both House leadership and the Governor, which would have allowed licensees from other jurisdictions to work in New Hampshire for up to 30 days without having to apply for a license. NHAR testified that such exemption would undermine New Hampshire brokerages while putting consumers at risk since the out-of-state licensee would not need to demonstrate any knowledge of state real estate laws or regulations.
While this was a win for NHAR, the concept of license reciprocity is far from over. Senate Bill 334, which passed out of the Senate despite not having a public hearing, is heading to the House for hearing sometime next month. NHAR will once again be at the State House to oppose.
Short-Term rental restrictions beaten back
The legislature made relatively quick work of legislative efforts to limit a homeowner’s ability to rent their home on a short-term basis. NHAR led the charge against these bills.
House Bill 1635 would have allowed a municipality to issue a license for the operation of a short term-rental and establishing a fee for such license. NHAR testified that this would have fundamentally altered how rental property is treated in New Hampshire, denying a property owners ability to use residential property for rental purposes. The House will study the issue this summer – the fourth such study in as many years.
Meanwhile, House Bill 1634 would have allowed municipalities to regulate “disorderly houses,” even thought there was no definition of what a disorderly house is so, once again, towns could create a definition that targets short-term rentals or landlords. The House Municipal and County Committee voted unanimously to kill the bill.
Carve out for smaller condo associations
House Bill 1781 creates a definition of a “small condominium” under RSA 356-B, the Condominium Act, as meaning limited to 10 or fewer residential units. The bill then establishes unique meeting and insurance requirements for small condominiums. The intent is to make it easier to for smaller condominium associations to operate.
The bill passed unanimously out of the House Commerce Committee. NHAR supports the bill.