Legislative Update May 14, 2024

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Return of ‘Post-Licensing’

Senate Bill 480, among other things, is intended to reinstate the “post-licensing” continuing education requirement for first-time license renewals. That requirement originally passed in 2018, but the Office of Professional Licensing (OPLC) ceased enforcing it in 2022 after determining the statutory definition of “post-licensing” was insufficient.

Starting with licenses issued after February 2024, the initial 12 hours of continuing education for salespersons prior to their first license renewal will be established by the Commission in specified topics or courses related to the salesperson’s practice (RSA 331-A:25, IX).

Real Estate Commission Rea 302.03 is entitled, “Required Post-Licensing Continuing Education Course Learning Objectives,” and it outlines the specific requirements for compliance. The approved courses must have at least one of the following learning objectives: Purchase & Sales Agreements, Ethics, Disclosure Requirements, or Agency.

The bill has passed both the Senate and House – although the House Finance Committee has to review any fiscal impact before it heads to the Governor’s desk. 

Scanning driver’s licenses

Senate Bill 502, an NHAR initiative, clarifies that licensed real estate brokers may scan, record, retain, or store electronic information collected with a New Hampshire driver’s license holder’s consent for a period lasting until the closing date or upon the license holder’s request.

Currently, such electronic transfers of a NH license via email are a misdemeanor. It is important to note that electronic transfers of out-of-state licenses are currently not prohibited.

Fraudulent real estate sales are on the rise, and numerous real estate offices in New Hampshire have been scammed. While real estate agents asking for identification is not a foolproof method, this legislation would be one way to prevent fraud in real estate transactions.

The bill has passed the Senate and is currently in the House Commerce Committee. A subcommittee has unanimously recommended passage of the bill, with the full committee expected to act on the bill this week.

New law will impact transfers with septic on waterfront

Last week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 4–0 to recommend passage of House Bill 1113, relative to septic on the developed waterfront. NHAR opposed the original version of the bill but worked for several months with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and House members on a completely redrafted version of the bill.

The redrafted bill does several things:

  • It eliminates the current requirement for a seller to perform a septic site assessment performed by a septic designer if the property line is within 200 feet of the reference line  (RSA 485-A:39).

  • Instead, the buyer would be required to have a licensed septic evaluator perform an evaluation of the system if any part of the septic system is within 250 feet of the reference line prior to transfer. (Septic Evaluations are defined in Sep 603-01.)

  • If the septic system was never approved or the approval was prior to September 1, 1989, the buyer would also need to hire a septic system designer to determine the elevation of the bottom of the effluent disposal area relative to the elevation of the seasonal high-water table. Based on this information, the designer would determine if the system is in failure.

  • If the system is deemed to show signs of failure by the evaluator or designer, then the system must be repaired or replaced within 180 days of transfer – although they can petition for an extension of up to another 180 days.

  • The buyer will need to provide the NH Department of Environmental Services as well as the town health officer with a copy of the evaluation report.

  • The buyer is not required to conduct an evaluation, or any other requirement, if they plan to replace or repair the septic system within 180 days of the transfer of the property.

The Senate will take final action this week.

Quote of the Week No. 1

We are trying to get them here. … The problem is we do not have a place for them to live.”

–Dean Kamen, Chairman of the Board of the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute in Manchester, discussing the challenge of recruiting engineers due to the lack of housing. (WMUR-TV, “Growth of biotech industry in NH brings housing challenges, May 9, 2024)

Quote of the Week No. 2

“A bipartisan group of lawmakers, with support from both the New Hampshire Realtors … and the New Hampshire Municipal Association, had advocated for a so-called ‘HOMEnibus’ bill to help cities and towns spur development. The Senate passed the bill unanimously, but the House killed it this week.”

–Boston Globe, “Home Prices in NH set yet another record in April,” May 10, 2024. (To learn how your representative voted on the pro-housing HOMEnibus bill (SB 538), click here. A pro-housing vote was “Nay” to the motion.)

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

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