A LEGISLATIVE UPDATE from the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS covering…
DESIGNATED AGENCY, UNLICENSED PRACTICE, CE CREDIT HOURS,
AND DREDGE AND FILL IMPACTS
(This is one in a series of New Hampshire Association of REALTORS® Legislative Updates that will run throughout the 2008 legislative session. For more information, call Chris Nicolopoulos at 603-225-5549 or e-mail him by clicking here.)
House Bill 1384 is a proactive piece of legislation NHAR created in order to permit Designated Agency in offices that opt to practice it. Designated Agency is an alternative business model that reduces the occurrence of Dual Agency where it is implemented.
On February 12, after considerable discussion among its members, the House Commerce Committee voted 15-1 that the legislation Ought To Pass, meaning the bill now has a strong Committee endorsement as it goes to a vote on the House Floor, as part of the consent calendar, on March 5. If it is approved in the House, it will next be on to the Senate, and NHAR will continue to follow this important piece of legislation and testify on its behalf when appropriate.
Among the other legislative highlights relevant to the real estate industry:
House Bill 544 would have provided a broad exemption from the statue requiring an auctioneer’s license for any person selling property (including real property) for another through the internet. NHAR opposed the legislation, arguing that it would have unfairly provided a loophole allowing for persons to act as an agent for the sale of real estate without the required license. Without that license, both sellers and consumers of property would be without the protection normally afforded by the Board of Auctioneers. The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee originally voted that the bill Ought To Pass, but after considerable concern voiced by interested parties, including auctioneers and REALTORS®, it was recommitted to the committee, which ultimately voted that the bill was Inexpedient To Legislate (ITL).
Senate Bill 142, an act relative to the regulation of real estate brokers and salespersons by the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission, was introduced in the 2007 session and held over in the Senate to be worked on over the summer. In early 2008, the Senate passed an amended version of bill that provides numerous technical changes to the Real Estate Practice Act, most notably increasing the minimum required Continuing Education elective hours from 6 to 9. Additionally, we are happy to report that the Senate has removed language that would have limited a minority owner’s ability to sell their own real estate without obtaining a license. This bill should see action in a house committee within the next month, and NHAR will continue to monitor its progress.
Senate Bill 435 would have required the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) to consider not only direct but also indirect impacts of a project proposal on wetlands before granting a dredge and fill permit. The Commissioner of DES objected, as did the REALTORS®, who argued that the legislation, if passed into law, would: increase review time for all wetland approvals; constitute the start of statewide zoning; and reduce the number of individual lots in any potential subdivision, thereby driving up the cost of construction. Despite the original 4-1 vote in favor of the legislation, NHAR, DES and other stakeholders shared their concerns with Senators prior to a floor vote, and ultimately the Senate unanimously agreed that the bill needed additional work. It was sent to interim study, which will allow the Senate to look at the i ssue over the summer and, if deemed appropriate, introduce new legislation for the 2009 session.
For more information, call Chris Nicolopoulos at 603-225-5549 or e-mail him by clicking here.