Late last Friday night, legislators adjourned their “short session”, holding to their previously stated goal of being done prior to the July 4th holiday. Throughout their more than four months of session, numerous pieces of important legislation were considered, with many reaching the Governor’s desk. How did our REALTOR® fare and what still needs work as we go into next year’s session?
REALTOR® Priority Legislative Victories
HB 151 Vacation Rental Act Changes [Sent to the Governor]: This bill makes much needed changes to the Vacation Rental Act by clearly delineating the role of the broker and property owner. It also includes a provision that allows military personnel who have received reassignment or deployment orders to terminate existing rental agreements.
HB 287 Amend Insurance Laws [Sent to Governor]: This bill includes changes to consent to rate and other homeowner’s insurance provisions which will provide more transparency to homeowners.
HB 728 Real Estate Commission Fees [Sent to the Governor]: Through this legislation, the Real Estate Commission was given the ability to increase application fees for new applicants. They will now charge $100 per new applicant, which is the actual cost for the NC REC. It also allows the Commission to increase new applicant fees to up to $200. Finally, the Commission was given the ability to increase the cost of renewals to $60 with future $5 increases annually by rule change.
HB 959 Map Act Changes [Sent to the Governor]: Following the court’s ruling in Kirby v. NCDOT, deeming the Map Act corridors void, this legislation prevents DOT from holding, in perpetuity, real property without paying the landowner. It also makes changes to the price to be paid to the property owners in a new corridor.
HB 1030 2016 Appropriations Act [Sent to the Governor]: This year’s budget maintained and supported all NC REALTORS® priorities, including protection of the funding for the Housing Trust Fund, Historic Preservation Tax Credits, and Film Grant program. Also, an additional $5 million was allocated for the Workforce Housing Loan Program for the next year, bringing the total appropriation to $20 million.
SB 326 Rental Registration and Inspections Changes [Sent to the Governor]: This bill limits what local governments can do in rental registration programs while continuing to allow the local governments to protect the safety and welfare of its communities.
SB 600 Appraisers Reasonable and Customary Fees [Signed by the Governor, 6/30/16]: This legislation mandates that appraisers be compensated in a customary and reasonable manner by appraisal management companies as required by the Federal Truth in Lending Act. It also requires that the NC Appraisal Board develop rules to enforce this mandate.
While we were successful in these pieces of legislation, we also unfortunately fell short in our efforts on private process servers, private road maintenance, and eminent domain. Each of these issue received significant discussion by both chambers but the differences between each proposal were not able to be resolved prior to adjournment. Going forward, your Government Affairs team will be working on each of these items to prepare for next year’s long session. We will be engaging in numerous outreach activities to show the true impact of each of these issues on REALTORS® and consumers so that we can tell these stories to legislators.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have taken part in our advocacy efforts this year. From those of you who have come to Raleigh to speak with your legislators individually or as part of Legislative Day to those who interact with them in your home communities, your advocacy is important and we could not have achieved the successes that we have without them. And just because legislative session is over doesn’t mean we don’t still need your advocacy! Keep watching your email for new opportunities to tell the REALTOR® story to elected officials.
In the coming weeks, we will be releasing our annual legislative summary video and brochure.