Legislative Update March 8, 2022

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Legislative Update: March 8, 2022

Tiny home bill proves a big problem

A statewide statute on how “tiny homes” can or should be allowed in New Hampshire has been studied and debated for over three years at the State House, and it looks like proponents of tiny homes will have to wait at least another year.

House Bill 1068, relative to building codes for tiny houses, was unanimously voted down by the House Municipal and County Government.  A “tiny home” is defined in Appendix Q of the 2018 International Building Code as less than 400 square feet and constructed on a foundation. However, there are no acceptable standards for “tiny homes” on wheels. The Committee felt that those standards are still being formulated and will be incorporated into the next International Building Code.

While most of the discussion surrounded building codes, the real intent behind the legislation was to mandate that municipal zoning ordinances make provisions for locating tiny homes in park settings of at least four units. The final House vote on the bill will occur later this week.

Don’t like your clients’ political beliefs? 
Bill would require you to work with them anyway.

House Bill 1469 would prohibit any licensed professional who is subject to the Consumer Protection Act (RSA 358-A), which includes real estate licensees, to discriminate against or cause adverse treatment of any person, business, or organization based on their political views or ideology. Meaning if a REALTOR chose not to work with a client due to their support of a candidate or an ideological cause, including if that the person is a white supremacist, communist or anarchist, the Realtor could potentially be sued under the Consumer Protection Act, which requires treble damages. NHAR is opposed to the bill.

The NH Department of Justice indicated that the bill is unenforceable however it would provide cause for civil litigation, whether justified or not.  HB 1469 has passed the House of Representatives. It will be taken up in the Senate in the next several weeks.

Bill attempts to clarify when licensee needs to gain power of attorney

House Bill 1344 is intended to clarify that any provision in a real estate listing agreement or listing contract for the sale of real property granting to the real estate broker or agent the power to execute contracts are null and void and of no legal effect unless the broker or agent have been properly granted a power of attorney. NHAR believes signing such contracts without a duly executed power of attorney is already prohibited under state law, and the sponsor of the bill provided no specific instance that the bill is intended to rectify.

Nevertheless, the House Executive and Administration Committee thought that HB 1353 would at least clarify a licensee’s obligations when utilizing a power of attorney to sign on behalf of a client. The bill will go to the House floor before the end of the month.

Update on Call for Action on HB 1177

Last week, NHAR sent out a Call for Action on House Bill 1177, which would grant a property owner, as a matter of right, on any single-family lot in a residential zoning district served by water and sewer, to be allowed to construct up to four residential dwelling units. Other existing lot and town setback requirements would remain in place.

REALTORS have sent out over 1,200 emails to state representatives encouraging them to support the bill.

The full House will now take up the bill next week, so NHAR will resend the CFA to those who have not yet responded later this week. It takes less than a minute, with two clicks, to respond to the Call for Action, so please join your fellow REALTORS in helping to expand housing opportunities in New Hampshire while protecting private property rights.

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

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