2016 Legislative Priorities

 

NYSAR SUPPORTS ENACTMENT OF THE FOLLOWING


First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Program (A.4427-B – Ramos S.7903 Little)
Status: Passed Senate, failed to advance in Assembly
The single largest inhibitor to buying a home in New York State is our highest-in-the nation closing costs. NYSAR continues to advocate for opportunities to assist first-time home buyers in their efforts to purchase a home, whether that is a single-family residence, condo, cooperative apartment or townhome. NYSAR proposes that New York State implement a program authorizing a first-time home buyer savings account that would grow tax free, similar to an individual retirement account.
 
Transparency and Disclosure in Co-operative Housing (A.1120 – Lavine; S.5644 – Hannon) and (A.6705 – Englebright; S.6439 Sanders) and (A.6395 –Perry; No Same as)
Status: (A.1120 - Lavine; S.5644 - Hannon) Passed Senate, Failed to Advance in Assembly
(A.6705 - Englebright; S.6439 Sanders) Failed to Advance
(A.6395 - Perry; No Same as) Failed to Advance
NYSAR supports legislation that would bring greater transparency to the process of considering the sale of shares in a co-operative housing corporation by requiring a timeline for cooperative boards to act on applications, as well as providing a written statement of reason when withholding consent to a purchase. 
 
Requiring “Agency Law” Education (A.9474 - Weinstein; S.7248 - Bonacic)
Status: Passed both houses
NYSAR supports legislation that would require two hours of agency related coursework in the licensee’s initial two-year licensing term as part of the 22 ½ hours of continuing education required for renewal of a real estate license in New York State. In each subsequent two-year cycle, licensees would be required to take at least one hour of agency related continuing education.  Understanding the agency relationship created between buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants, and the real estate professional representing them during the real estate transaction is essential. This legislative change would allow for a better understanding of the law of agency and foster additional consumer protection.
 
Team Definition Legislation (A.7323 – Cusick; S.3318-A – Lanza)
Status: Passed Senate, Failed to Advance in Assembly
NYSAR supports legislation to amend the real property law to define what constitutes a real estate “Team.” “Teams” have become a popular form of practice among real estate professionals in recent years and while teams have been recognized by the New York State Department of State via regulation, a formal statutory definition has not been provided. The purpose of this legislation is to amend the real property law to recognize and define real estate “teams.” Providing a clear statutory definition will benefit both real estate licensees and consumers.
 
Scaffold Law Reform (A.3209 – Morelle; S.543 – Gallivan)
Status: Failed to Advance
NYSAR supports legislation that would establish a comparative negligence standard for claims under Labor Law 240 and 241. New York’s antiquated Scaffold Law, which imposes an absolute liability standard on employers in negligence claims continues to drive up costs on endless segments of our economy including construction, insurance, farming and small business. This bill takes a limited approach at addressing the absolute liability standard in current law while not taking away any rights of an injured worker to sue.
 
Vested Rights for Property Owners (A.1435 – Paulin; S.3901 – Murphy)
Status: Failed to Advance
NYSAR supports legislation to limit municipalities’ ability to alter local codes, laws, ordinances, rules and regulations during the course of local development projects. This legislation will require municipalities to maintain a consistent set of rules and regulations throughout a construction project, except in certain reasonable instances. 
 
Mandate Relief 
NYSAR joined a coalition of 11 business, local government and education organizations to launch “Let New York Work: A Common Agenda for the Common Good.” This initiative was designed to advance significant mandate relief in New York, such as making the pension system predictable and affordable, reducing the costs of construction on public/private projects and reforming the Scaffold Law. To date, the coalition has been successful in supporting Tier VI implementation and the takeover of Medicaid growth by the state. NYSAR will continue to work with this coalition to advocate for mandate relief for New York’s local governments and school districts.
 
Increasing the Threshold for the Mansion Tax (A.79 – Buchwald; S.548 – Latimer) and (A.5885 – Kavanagh; No Same as)
Status: Failed to Advance
NYSAR supports legislation to increase the minimum price threshold at which the so-called “Mansion Tax” is triggered. The “Mansion Tax” imposes an additional one percent tax on buyers who purchase a home for $1 million or more.
 
Exemption of Mortgage Recording Tax for First Time Homebuyers (A.2989 – Weprin; S.3851 – Lanza)
Status: Failed to Advance
NYSAR supports legislation to exempt first time homebuyers from paying the municipal portion of the mortgage recording tax where the residential property being mortgaged is the mortgagor's principal place of residence. This bill will help promote first time homeownership and make the purchase of a home more affordable.
 
Tax Credit for Installation of Fire Sprinkler System (A.4227 – DenDekker; S.2587 – Flanagan)
Status: Failed to Advance
This legislation would provide an incentive to homebuyers to install a sprinkler system in their home. The bill would provide an income tax credit up to 25 percent of the cost of labor and materials in the installation of a fire sprinkler system. NYSAR supports consumer choice and incentives such as this proposal versus a statewide mandate to install sprinkler systems in one and two-family homes and townhomes.

NYSAR OPPOSES ENACTMENT OF THE FOLLOWING LEGISLATION


Increasing State and Local Mortgage Recording and Transfer Taxes
NYSAR strongly opposes legislation that to increase any state or local mortgage recording or transfer tax. Increasing real estate transaction taxes simply robs equity from homebuyers who could better use such funds towards their down payments. New York consistently ranks at or near the top of states with the highest real estate closing costs in the nation. In fact, New York had the dubious dishonor of having the 3rd highest closing costs in the country in 2014.  There is no doubt that further increases to the tax burden imposed on the real estate transaction will prevent prospective purchasers from being able to achieve the American dream of homeownership.

Expanding Cease and Desist Zones (A.7931– Weprin; S.1379-A - Avella)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR strongly opposes legislation which would make the entire borough of Queens a cease and desist zone. This legislation is unnecessary. Since 2011, the Department of State has had little or no reported violations of cease and desist zones by real estate licensees. In fact, due to the lack of complaints, the New York State Department of State opted not to renew any of the existing cease and desist zones in New York City after they expired in August of 2014.
 
Increasing the so-called “Mansion Tax” in New York City (A.7945 – Wright; No Same as)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR strongly opposes New York City Mayor de Blasio and Assemblymember Wright’s proposal to impose a “City” real estate transfer tax of an additional 1 percent on the sale of properties valued at more than $1.75 million and 1.5 percent on properties valued at more than $5 million. This increase is in addition to the current “mansion tax” which imposes an additional 1 percent tax on the transfer of a home that sells for $1 million or more.  Levying additional taxes on real estate will curb real estate transfers, reduce tax revenues and negatively impact our economy.
 
Private Well Testing Act (A.2295 – Jaffee; S.7297 - Hoylman)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR opposes legislation to require a water quality test as a condition of the transfer of any real property served by a well. This legislation will delay real estate closings and it is unnecessary, duplicative and essentially an unfunded mandate on New York State homeowners.
 
Well Water Education Act (A.804 – Jaffee; No Same as)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR opposes legislation to require home inspectors, licensed real estate brokers and salespersons to provide well water education materials to prospective buyers regarding the potential hazards of well water. This bill has very serious technical flaws that would cause a tremendous amount of confusion and uncertainty in real estate transactions across New York.
  
Imposed Real Estate Transfer Tax to Create Community Preservation Fund (S.806 – Breslin; No Same as)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR opposes real estate transfer taxes at all levels of government. This legislation in particular would allow municipalities to increase the real estate transfer tax up to 2 percent for the purpose of establishing a community preservation fund. NYSAR respects communities wishing to preserve their neighborhoods and historic buildings, however, funding for such initiatives should not rely on raising taxes, nor should it be at the sole expense of homebuyers. Additionally, NYSAR believes that any legislation pertaining to the use of transfer tax monies for the purpose of community preservation should include specific language to ensure that these revenues are utilized exclusively for the purpose of protecting community character and not abused. For these reasons, NYSAR opposes this legislation.
 
Expanded Agriculture Disclosure Notice (A.1030 – Gunther; No Same as)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR opposes legislation to expand current law by requiring sellers of property partially or wholly within five-hundred feet of an agricultural district to provide the agriculture disclosure form to prospective buyers. Most sellers do not have the ability to accurately determine where five-hundred feet beyond their entire property line extends and whether that additional five-hundred feet runs into an agricultural district. This legislation fails to provide a mechanism for sellers to definitively obtain this information. While this legislation may be well intended, the arbitrary distance of five-hundred feet will provide little to no benefit to prospective purchasers while once again placing an undue burden on sellers. While NYSAR understands and empathizes with the intent of increased disclosure that this legislation seeks, we do not believe this proposal will bring about the sought after results.
 
Requirement of License Number Disclosure (A.4126 – DenDekker; No Same as)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR strongly opposes legislation that would require every real estate salesperson and real estate broker involved in or present during a real estate transaction to include his or her license number on every document requiring a signature. This bill is unnecessary, burdensome and will not achieve its desired result.
 
Broker Signature on All Real Estate Documents (A.4222 – DenDekker, No Same as)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR strongly opposes this legislation which would require real estate brokers to sign every document that requires the signature of a salesperson during the lease, rental or sale of real property. This bill is unnecessary, impractical and overly burdensome. License law and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics already impose a duty of supervision and responsibility on brokers and their affiliated licensees.  

Source of Income (A.3059 – Weprin; No Same as) and (A.6764 – Crespo; S.151-A – Squadron)

Status: Defeated
NYSAR opposes this legislation which seeks to add “source of income” as a protected class in New York State Human Rights and Executive Law. The sweeping language of these bills would constitute a serious intrusion on the rights of property owners to conduct their own business with prospective purchasers and renters. Legislation requiring a study of the impact of source of income protections was signed into law in 2015. It would be prudent to examine the results of such a study before enacting comprehensive source of income legislation.
 
Citizen Suits (A.4949 – O’Donnell; S.885 – Avella) and (A.5802 – Kavanagh; S.1087-A – Parker)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR opposes legislation that would grant private citizens the ability to commence a civil action seeking to remedy certain violations to the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). Providing private citizens with the ability to seek judicial enforcement of the ECL carries the unintended consequence of further crippling New York State’s building and development industries. Additionally, this legislation is unnecessary as several means to remedy any violations of the ECL already exist.
 
Doubling of Fines for Violation of RE License Law (A.3226 – Weprin; No Same as)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR strongly opposes legislation to increase the fine imposed for violations of the real estate licensing laws from $1,000 to $2,000, and creating new procedures relating to cease and desist zones. This legislation is unnecessary. Since 2011 the Department of State has had little or no reported violations of cease and desist zones by real estate licensees. In fact, due to the lack of complaints, the New York State Department of State opted not to renew any of the existing cease and desist zones in New York City.
 
Sex Offender Disclosure (S.2079 – Flanagan; No Same as)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR opposes legislation to require disclosure of the availability of certain sex offender information upon the sale or lease of residential real property. While NYSAR supports disclosure of sex offender information, NYSAR is concerned about the liability created by these requirements, the necessity of including sex offender information within a real estate contract or lease, and other technical flaws contained in these bills.
 
Restrictions on Property Owners Use of Apartments (A.3812 – Wright; No Same as)
Status: Defeated
NYSAR opposes this legislation which would impose additional restrictions on property owners’ ability to reside in their own property. This bill seeks to prohibit property owners subject to rent regulation from recovering more than one apartment for their personal use. Current rent control laws already require that a property owner establish a good faith reason for seeking a tenant’s apartment for their own use and an immediate and compelling necessity for doing so.
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