Legislative Priorities


Team Definition Legislation
Status: Not yet introduced
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.

Extending the Property Tax Cap
Status: Expires June 15, 2016 unless rent control is extended
Property tax relief is a top legislative priority for NYSAR.  REALTORS® strongly advocated for Governor Cuomo’s property tax cap in 2011, and will continue to support efforts to renew the program during the 2015 budget process.  Our nation-leading property tax burden is preventing too many New Yorkers from achieving the American Dream of homeownership and making it tougher for families to keep their life-long homes. New York's REALTORS are supporting the extension of the property tax cap on behalf of the state's beleaguered homeowners who continue to struggle to meet their escalating tax bills.

Transparency and Disclosure in Co-operative Housing (A.1120 – Lavine)
Status: 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.

Scaffold Law Reform (A.3209 - Morelle; S.543 - Gallivan)
Status: Assembly Judiciary/Senate 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.1435 – 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 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 this year 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)
Status: Assembly Ways and Means/Senate Investigations and Government Operations
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)
Status: Assembly Ways and Means
NYSAR supports legislation to exempt first time home buyers 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.2587 – Flanagan)
Status: Senate Investigations and Government Operations
While NYSAR agrees with the benefits provided by a fire sprinkler system it opposes any mandate to install them in 1 and 2 family homes or townhomes.  This legislation would provide an incentive to homebuyers to install a sprinkler system in their home.  The bill would an income tax credit up to 25% of the cost of labor and materials in the installation of a fire sprinkler system. 


Residential Fire Sprinklers
Status: New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council
NYSAR opposes a proposal pending before the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council which would amend the building code to mandate the installation of fire sprinklers in all new one and two-family homes and townhomes in New York.  The decision to install fire sprinklers should be a consumer choice or left to local municipalities.

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 (S.1379 – Avella)
Status: Senate 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.

Private Well Testing Act (A.2295 – Jaffee)
Status: Assembly Environmental Conservation
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)
Status: Assembly Health
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.

Expanded Agriculture Disclosure Notice (A.1030 – Gunther)
Status: Assembly Agriculture
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 500 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 500 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)
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.4222 – 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 (A.3059 – Weprin; S.151 – Squadron)
Status: Assembly Government Operations; Senate Investigations and 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.  

Citizen Suits (S.885 – Avella; S.1087 – Parker)
Status: Senate Environmental Conservation; Senate 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.3226 – 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.

Sex Offender Disclosure (S.2079 – Flanagan)
Status: Senate Judiciary
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)
Status: Assembly Housing
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.

[i] Bankrate.com, August 4, 2014, “Closing costs by state” by Bankrate.com