2015 Legislative Priorities Report

Submitted by Industry Issues Chairman Errol Champion

The members of AAR who attended the Leadership Conference in Anchorage on January 5 & 6 held a working lunch to establish the preliminary agenda for 2015.  The following are those items the committee will be addressing but anticipate other issues will be added as we start the First Session of the 29th Legislature on January 20, 2015.   During the conference we received also received a thorough update from our lobbyist on the organization of the Legislature and an overview the budget issues.

Several recently adopted statutes need to be reviewed and adjusted to correct some specific issues.

The Transfer on Death Law (HB 60) must address the timing of filing and recording the TOD plus look at the issues that will arise from properties with active mortgages who receive a TOD quit claim deed.  The Landlord Tennant Act must clarify certain definitions such as “Service Animals” and “Emotional Support Animals”. Other items include defining accepted tools for communication with tenants, definition of professional cleaning of carpets, justification for breaking leases and the affects of the newly adopted voter initiative on the use of cannabis.  That issue alone will take years to incorporate into the Landlord Tenant Act based on the experiences so far in Colorado and Washington State.

Last year, SB 193 was adopted which required contractor licenses and bonding levels for even the smallest size jobs.  This added expense gets passed on to the cost of housing and should have received closer scrutiny by our committee.  We will be meeting with the sponsor on the bill and seek a return to the prior regulation language.

We are monitoring HB 12, a bill that did not pass last year. It has been reintroduced again this year by Rep Hughes.  The bill deals with Mortgage Lending and Loan Originations.   The bill contains similar language to the HB252 from the previous session.  Other topics we are monitoring include mandating access for the public on private property near the Chugach State Park by the Anchorage Assembly, reinstatement of a brokers licenses after a lengthy period of time without a license and the disclosing of water well logs from private lots.

We are reviewing the list of pre-filed bills and will add those with specific language the affects real estate activities.  You can view the list of pre filed bills on the State of Alaska web site under the Legislature tab. The first day of the session is January 20th and will end 90 days later on April 19th.  AAR members will gather in Juneau on February 24th and 25th to make our annual contacts and interact with our statewide elected officials.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Realtors® Applaud House Passage of “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act”

WASHINGTON (February 2, 2016) — The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to advance legislation that will expand opportunities for homeownership. H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act,” includes a number of initiatives that have strong support from the National Association of Realtors®, who hailed the vote as important progress for home buyers and sellers.

“This legislation will put homeownership in reach for more families, and we applaud Congress’s work to take us there,” said NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. “We look forward to seeing it advance through the legislative process and to the President’s desk, so it can be signed into law.”

NAR testified last year in support of H.R. 3700 before the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance. In particular, NAR championed the inclusion of reforms to current Federal Housing Administration restrictions on condominium financing.

Condominiums are among the most affordable homeownership options for first-time homebuyers, as well as lower income borrowers, but barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos still exist. H.R. 3700 takes a number of steps to address those concerns.

These include efforts to make FHA’s recertification process “substantially less burdensome,” improving a process that is often costly and which condo developments must repeat every 24 months. H.R. 3700 also lowers FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50 percent to 35 percent and requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less-restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Additionally, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” streamlines the process for exemptions to FHA’s rule requiring that condominium projects have no more than 25 percent of the space dedicated to commercial use. This effort is in line with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s initiative to promote neighborhoods with a mix of residential housing, businesses and access to public transportation.

Finally, H.R. 3700 includes further support for rural housing loans and multifamily housing initiatives.

“There is tremendous demand for affordable housing, and H.R. 3700 offers fresh opportunities for creditworthy borrowers to become homeowners when they choose to,” said Salomone. “NAR thanks Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo, for introducing the bill, as well as leaders in the House for making it a priority. We look forward to working with our partners at all levels to advance this legislation in support of homeownership.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Contact Information

Alaska Association of REALTORS®
4205 Minnesota Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

Phone (907) 563-7133
FAX (907) 561-1779
Toll-Free (800) 478-3763

joinus@alaskarealtors.com