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Real Property Rights Matters

In May members of RAYAC and the Greater Harrisburg Association of REALTORS meet with Congressman Perry in Washington D.C. to discuss key REALTOR issues. Shown left to right are Bob Fox, Deborah Goodling, Larry Hatter, Shanna Terroso, Kim Moyer, Tamra Peroni, Lauren Gross and Congressman Scott Perry.

RAYAC provides a unified voice for the real estate industry and advocates for real property rights. We build relationships with elected officials and members invest in the Realtors® Political Action Committee to help elect candidates who will listen to our point of view and to support or oppose key issue campaigns.

RAYAC closely monitors local government activity for regulations, trends, or new legislation that could affect the real estate industry. RAYAC’s Political Affairs Committee reports back to the Association and will recommend action if a government proposal is not in the best interest of local real estate.

Current Local, State, & National Legislative Issues

Property Tax Reform Legislation Under Review by PAR
The Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® is in the process of conducting a thorough review of Senate Bill 76 to evaluate changes to the previous version.  The legislation creates the Education Stabilization Fund to fund public schools.  The fund is comprised of: the increase in the state’s Personal Income Tax from 3.07 to 4.95 percent; the increase of the state’s Sales and Use Tax from 6 to 7 percent; the expansion of the goods and services subject to the state’s Sales and Use Tax and the increase of the Hotel Occupancy Tax from 6 to 7 percent.  PAR’s Legislative Committee will review and discuss the bill in July to determine the association’s level of involvement through its established procedures.

Other Bills in the Pennsylvania General Assembly See Movement
The state legislature was busy in the month of June with budget discussion and voting on issues prior to its summer recess.  Three real estate-related bills saw movement in the month of June.

House Bill 1001 was voted out of the House Professional Licensure Committee.  The proposed legislation would set statewide standards for licensing home inspectors and standards for the home inspection report.  PAR supports this legislation since property inspections have become a critical part of the real estate transaction.  Currently, 39 other states require home inspectors to be licensed.

Senate Bill 354 passed out of the Senate Professional Licensure Committee with an amendment.  The original bill would require all licensees to report any arrest within 90 days.  The amendment would eliminate that provision and instead require licensees to report only convictions to the licensing board.  This new language exists in RELRA, but would bring all 29 licensed professions to the same standards.  PAR is monitoring this bill.

House Bill 863 passed out of the House of Representatives.  The bill would amend the Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act to require additional pre-licensure education to increase the level of professionalism of new licensees. In addition, the bill would allow agents to conduct broker price opinions if permitted by their brokers. The required pre-licensure education would be increased from 60 hours to 75 hours. The average pre-licensure requirement in the U.S. is 79 hours and 26 states already require more than 60 hours of pre-licensure education.

In addition to these requirements, HB 863 would allow licensees to conduct broker price opinions, or BPOs, with restrictive use. The amendment allows BPOs only for an entity or financial institution. The association recognizes that BPOs are not certified appraisals, nor do they take the place of one.

HB 863 would require that a BPO fee be paid directly to a broker. In addition, it will require agents to take a valuation certification course, be licensed for at least three years and take valuation continuing education each two-year cycle.

NAR Praises Flood Insurance Cooperation
The latest Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR looks at close cooperation between House Financial Services Committee members and NAR in getting improvements made to flood insurance reauthorization. The insurance program expires at the end of September, and lawmakers took an important step toward renewing it by protecting homeowners from big rate increases should the flood map in their area change. They also capped how much rates can go up at any one time. The bill still needs to be taken up on the House floor. The video also looks at NAR’s sustainability summit, the latest home sales figures, NAR’s commercial member profile, and a call by new NAR CEO Bob Goldberg to get member input as he leads the association into the future.

NAR: Permit Private Flood Insurance
The latest Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR looks at close cooperation between House Financial Services Committee members and NAR in getting improvements made to flood insurance reauthorization. The insurance program expires at the end of September, and lawmakers took an important step toward renewing it by protecting homeowners from big rate increases should the flood map in their area change. They also capped how much rates can go up at any one time. The bill still needs to be taken up on the House floor. The video also looks at NAR’s sustainability summit, the latest home sales figures, NAR’s commercial member profile, and a call by new NAR CEO Bob Goldberg to get member input as he leads the association into the future.

Proposal to Rescind Water Rule Released
The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have released a proposal to rescind a controversial rule that expanded federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The next step in the process is a reevaluation by the agencies of the way they define “waters of the United States.” Details.

NAR Stays Vigilant on Health Care Reform
Following the Senate’s July 28 vote to not advance legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, NAR will continue to monitor the health care reform landscape with a particular focus on provisions that impact the self-employed and small businesses. More.