OPLC Moves Bill Forward

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February 20, 2024

Senate Bill 480 was introduced at the request of NHAR to improve customer service at the Office of Professional Licensing and Certification (OPLC). 

It would require any occupational board or commission whose total number of active licensees exceeds 7,000 to have a dedicated, trained, and knowledgeable customer service administrator that works for the administrative section of the OPLC to respond to inquiries from the public and licensees. The bill also makes various amendments to allow for inactive real estate licenses and amends the education approval process for the Real Estate Commission.

Last week, the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee unanimously approved the legislation. Since the legislation would require new paid staff at the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC), the bill will next be heard at the Senate Finance Committee to review the necessary appropriation.

Shoreland Protection notification requirement halted

House Bill 1229 would have required that prior to the transfer of shoreland protected property, a seller would need to provide a one-page “minimum standards” document to the buyer, as published by the Department of Environmental Services (DES). The buyer would have needed to acknowledge by signature that they had read and understood the document.

NHAR testified in opposition. No other state document is mandated to be provided to the buyer prior to closing (the Lead Paint form is mandated by the federal government). NHAR also suggested the DES or municipalities mail the document to all shoreland property owners as a faster process to inform them of the Shoreland Protection Act, rather than having to wait for the property to sell.

The House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee agreed, and it voted unanimously to interim study the bill, meaning it will not be voted on this legislative year.

Municipal authority to adopt building or fire codes

Currently, RSA 155-A:2-X requires that any municipal amendments to the statewide building or fire code be reviewed and approved by the NH Building Code Review Board (BCRB).  Senate Bill 437 clarifies that amendments proposed by a municipality to its local building code must be submitted for review by the state building code review board, and that the BCRD will then post those local changes to its website.

The concern raised at the committee hearing was that some communities have attempted to adopt entirely different codes than those allowed in state statute – particularly energy codes. If a town can simply ignore the statewide codes without state review and approval, it would undermine the intent of having statewide codes. 

The Senate passed the bill, and it will be taken up by the House later this spring.

Lead paint requirement on rental conversions to go in effect this summer

In 2018, the legislature passed Senate Bill 247 which made several important changes to the Lead Paint Prevention Act (RSA 130-A), including lowering the blood lead levels in children which require an investigation by the NH Department of Health and Human Services in rental property.

That bill went in effect in 2018 with one exception, which will become effective this summer. After July 1, 2024, newly-constructed rental units within buildings erected prior to January 1, 1978, will need certification of lead safety. 

“Newly-constructed rental units” means rental units being converted from a use other than residential rental housing – for instance, a commercial unit being converted into rental housing. It does not require pre-1978 properties that are already being used as rental housing to have a Lead-Safe Certificate.

To obtain a Lead-Safe Certificate, properties need to be free of lead exposure hazards, including lead-based paint that is peeling, chipping, flaking, on a friction or impact surface, such as windows or doors, or on a chewable surface, such as a windowsill.  

For more information, click here.

Quote of the Week

“Businesses can’t be successful without the workforce, and there won’t be a workforce unless we have the housing. Families and workers are the backbone of a strong, thriving state, and without housing our economic opportunity suffers.”

Governor Chris Sununu, State of the State Speech, February 15, 2024, discussing the success of the InvestNH Housing program and the need for more housing in New Hampshire.

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

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