2017 Legislative Priorities

 

NYSAR SUPPORTS ENACTMENT OF THE FOLLOWING


NY First Home (First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Program) (S.4058 – Little/A.5616 - Ramos)
Status: Senate Finance/Assembly Ways and Means

New Yorkers across the state struggle to save for the down payment and closing costs necessary for the purchase of their first home.  NYSAR supports legislation that would allow New Yorkers to save for the down payment and closing costs of their first-home purchase, whether it be a 1-4 family residence, condo, coop or townhome, by providing a tax deduction of up to $5,000 per year ($10,000 for couples).  Providing this tax incentive would encourage savings for a first home purchase and help reduce the barriers to homeownership.  

Transparency and Disclosure in Co-operative Housing (S.2540 – Hannon/A.7111 -Lavine); (S.4551 – Sanders) and (A.3813 – Perry) 
Status: Senate Judiciary/Assembly Housing
Senate Codes
Assembly Housing
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. 

Reinstate the STAR Exemption Program (S.4733 – Murphy/A.5969 – Galef)
Status: Senate Local Government, Passed Assembly

NYSAR supports legislation that would repeal sections of Part A of Chapter 17 of the Laws of 2016 which converted the STAR benefit to a credit instead of an up-front savings for new homeowners.  This legislation would sunset the STAR Credit program and replace it with the STAR Exemption program for new homeowners affected by the change.

Team Definition Legislation (S.3537 – Lanza/A.6540 - Cusick)
Status:Calendar No. 331/Assembly Judiciary

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 (S.2795 – Gallivan/A.2148 – Morelle)
Status: Senate Judiciary/Assembly Judiciary
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.69 – Paulin)
Status: Assembly Local Governments
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. 

Increasing the Threshold for the Mansion Tax (S.1962 – Latimer/A.2194 – Buchwald)
Status: Senate Investigations & Government Operations/Assembly Ways and Means
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.5520 – Weprin)
Status: Assembly Ways and Means
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 (S.3519 – Flanagan/A.3885 – DenDekker)
Status: Senate Investigations & Government Operations/Assembly Ways and Means
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

Wetlands Oversight (S.1749 – Latimer/A.6282 – Englebright)
Status: Senate Environmental Conservation/Passed Assembly
NYSAR opposes this unnecessary legislation that will increase the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s oversight of wetlands from the current threshold of 12.4 acres or more to wetlands as small as one acre. The DEC already has authority over all wetlands determined to be of “unusual local importance” and local municipalities have the authority to regulate wetlands.  The significant expansion of the state’s regulatory authority, as proposed by this legislation, will create an unnecessary imbalance with significant negative ramifications for homebuyers, developers and the overall economic health of New York State.

Increasing the so-called “Mansion Tax” in New York City (S.5336 - Savino/A.6584 - Cymbrowitz) 
Status: Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development/Assembly Ways and Means from Assembly Codes
NYSAR strongly opposes a proposal by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York State Legislature to impose a “New York City” real estate transfer tax of an additional 2.5 percent on the sale of properties valued at more than $2 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.

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 2nd highest closing costs in the country in 2016. 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 (S.1895 – Avella/A.5565 – Weprin)
Status: Senate Judiciary/Assembly Judiciary

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.

Well Water Education Act (S.5031 - Hoylman/A.310 – Jaffee)
Status: Senate Health/Assembly Ways and Means

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.3526-A – Breslin/A.3028-A – Fahy), (S.2686 – Breslin) and (A.3990 – Thiele)
Status: Advanced to third reading/Assembly Local Government
Senate Environmental Conservation
Assembly Local Governments

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.

Expanded Agriculture Disclosure Notice (S.1507 – Avella)
Status: Enacting Clause Stricken
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.2715 – DenDekker)
Status: Assembly Judiciary

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.3323 – DenDekker)
Status: Assembly Judiciary

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 (S.1898 Comrie/A.5431 – Weprin) and (S.149 – Squadron)
Status: Senate Investigations & Government Operations/Assembly Governmental Operations
Senate Investigations & Government Operations
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 (S.1540 – Avella/A.3386 – O’Donnell) and (S.3269 – Parker/A.1811 – Kavanagh)
Status: Senate Environmental Conservation/Assembly Environmental Conservation
Senate Environmental Conservation/Assembly Environmental Conservation

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.5517 – Weprin)
Status: Assembly Judiciary

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.


Restrictions on Property Owners Use of Apartments (S.1792 – Squadron)
Status: Senate Housing and Construction

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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