Weekly Report for December 30, 2021
NYSAR to testify at Senate hearing on state good cause eviction proposal
The State Senate is planning on holding a public hearing on the state good cause eviction proposal (S.3082/A.5573) on January 7, 2022 at 11 a.m. in Albany, which will also be live streamed here. NYSAR has been invited to testify at the hearing and 2022 President Jennifer Vucetic will be presenting oral testimony on behalf of the association. NYSAR strongly opposes the legislation and continues to hold one-on-one meetings with individual lawmakers to express our concerns. Last week, NYSAR, along with local REALTOR® members met with Senator Michelle Hinchey to discuss the issue. NYSAR will continue to update members on this legislative proposal, which is a top priority heading into the new year.
Hearing on proposed Brooklyn Cease and Desist Zones: Tuesday, January 11, 2022 – REALTORS® and the public urged to testify
In November, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation requiring an investigation and public hearing into the establishment of cease and desist zones in all or parts of Brooklyn. The Department of State announced that it will hold the public hearing required by this law virtually on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. If you live or do business in Brooklyn and would like to testify at the hearing, please email [email protected] no later than January 7, 2022. More information can be found here.
DOS Issues Emergency Regulations Allowing Virtual Instruction for Approved Schools
The Department of State (DOS) issued emergency regulations, effective December 7, 2021, to allow schools already approved through the Division of Licensing Services to offer mandatory courses virtually via live remote programs. These regulations are slated to expire on March 6, 2022. The reauthorization of virtual instruction comes after its expiration on June 24, 2021, which is when Executive Order 202 on the COVID-19 state of emergency was terminated. To view the regulations, click here.
Applications being accepted Jan. 3, for 2022 for new NYS homeowner assistance fund
This month, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York State will be the first state in the country to receive U.S. Department of Treasury’s approval to launch its Homeowner Assistance Fund, which will provide up to $539 million in federal funding to help eligible homeowners avert mortgage delinquency, default, foreclosure, and displacement. Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. Read more here.
Weekly Report for December 24, 2021
Hearing on proposed Brooklyn Cease and Desist Zones: Tuesday, January 11, 2022 – REALTORS® and the public urged to testify
In November, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation requiring an investigation and public hearing into the establishment of cease and desist zones in all or parts of Brooklyn. The Department of State announced this week that it will hold the public hearing required by this law virtually on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. If you are a resident of Brooklyn and would like to testify at the hearing, please email [email protected] no later than January 7, 2022. More information can be found here.
Governor Hochul permanently authorizes e-notarization
On December 22, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law legislation permanently authorizing electronic notarization. This will play an important role in modernizing real estate closing transactions in New York State. NYSAR applauds Governor Hochul for streamlining this process, offering a practical solution for our members. To view the bill and memo, click here.
Governor Hochul signs into law statewide fair housing bills
Governor Kathy Hochul signed a legislative package late Tuesday totaling nine bills aimed at combating housing discrimination. NYSAR is proud to have worked with state lawmakers over the last two years to strengthen fair housing laws in New York State. NYSAR is committed to educating our members about these new laws and regulations. You can view Governor Hochul’s full press release by clicking here. Governor Hochul’s approval messages for the bills included a series technical amendments which the Legislature has agreed to passing early next year. NYSAR will provide updates to members on the new laws and will monitor any actions taken by the Department of State to develop new rules and regulations. The following is an initial analysis of the chapter amendments approved by the governor and legislature:
- Chap. 688 – S.979: imposes 2 additional hours of CE on cultural competency within the 22.5 hours requirement.
The Governor approved the bill but has “concerns there is no definition of cultural competency.” The approval memo states that the Governor has agreed with the legislature to pass a bill in the next session defining “cultural competency” as well as amending the effective date.
- Chap. 697 – S.2132: adds additional 30 hours to brokers qualifying course and adds 2 hours of FH education to salespersons qualifying course.
The approval memo states that the Governor and legislature have agreed to make changes to this legislation including a change in the effective date to allow the DOS more time to implement the law as well “address a technical issue relating to the provision of the CE attestation required by the bill.” This is likely in reference to the bill’s requirement of instructors to provide the DOS with a signed document under oath attesting compliance with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements pertaining to the instruction of their curriculum.
- Chap. 696 – S.2131: requires the DOS to develop regulations pertaining to requiring brokerages to institute standard operating procedures and submit them to the DOS and DOS to maintain a file of these statements.
The approval memo raises concerns about additional costs to the state per the bill’s requirement of the DOS to create and implement the Standard Operating Procedure database. As such, the Governor and legislature have agreed to make several changes to this law that will 1) require real estate brokers to institute standard operating procedures, 2) allow the DOS to supplement the standard operating procedures through the rule making process; 3) require brokers to notarize and date stamp the standard operating procedures and any revisions thereto, and post the SOP on any website and mobile device application maintained by the broker, and require brokers to make a copy of such procedures available to the public at their office, 4) require brokers to affirm compliance with these requirements when renewing their license, 5) amend the effective date to allow for a public hearing, development of regulations and give brokers time to comply with the law.
- Chap. 687 – S.945: creates a “anti-discrimination in housing” fund within the NYS Atty. General’s office; increases the max fines for license law violations by the DOS from $1,000 to $2,000; directs 50% of such fines to the new fund
The approval memo notes agreement between the Governor and legislature on several changes: 1) to clarify rules for the receipt of monies into the anti-discrimination housing fund and the scope of activities the monies can be used for, 2) authorize the AG’s office to contract with organizations that conduct fair housing testing, 3) require the AG’s office to report annually on fair housing testing activities, and 4) speed up the effective date from 60 days to 30 days once the chapter amendment is approved.
- Chap. 698 – S.2133: adds a license fee surcharge of $10 for salespersons and $30 for brokers to support fair housing testing
The approval memo affirms the executive’s support for the additional revenues going to an “anti-discrimination in housing” fund operated by the NYS Attorney General’s office as created per Chap. 687. The memo also notes an agreement by the legislature and Governor to amend the effective date to allow for the operation of the fund.
Weekly Report for December 17, 2021
NYC Council end of year legislative actions
The New York City Council concluded its legislative actions for the year on Wednesday before a new class of lawmakers take office in January with many City Council Members being term-limited, including Speaker Corey Johnson. One bill that did not get a vote was Int. 2047, which would have blocked landlords from running criminal record checks on potential tenants before leasing their units. NYSAR strongly opposed the legislation and actively engaged REALTORS®, local REALTOR® boards, and residents in New York City to contact their City Council Members expressing their opposition. It is expected that this bill will remain an issue in the City Council and NYSAR will continue to meet with lawmakers to express our concerns. Other bills that did not pass that NYSAR opposed include:
- Int. Int. 1977, which would have provided qualified organizations a first opportunity to purchase multi-family buildings when for sale and require owners to notify the city 180 days prior to any listing for sale.
- Int. 471, which would have banned the placement of A-frame signs on sidewalks and imposed fines for violations.
- Int. 1796, which would have imposed a system of commercial rent stabilization in the city.
The City Council did pass an amended bill (Int. 2317-A) that bans the use of fossil fuels such as natural gas in new buildings, which NYSAR also opposed. Lawmakers reached a deal on the bill requiring new buildings less than seven stories to go electric on Jan. 1, 2024, and new buildings seven stories or greater by July 1, 2027. It does not appear that buildings undergoing major renovations will be included in the new restrictions, which was the original bill’s intent. Projects that get their construction documents approved before those dates will be exempt. Read more here.
Climate Action Council develops draft scoping plan to reduce statewide emissions
A draft “scoping plan” has been developed by the state Climate Action Council, which was established under law by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), passed in 2019. The Climate Action Council has been tasked with developing recommendations to reduce the state’s overall emissions and provide an impact analysis on which those recommendations may have on businesses, consumers and the overall economy. The CLCPA created emission targets of a 40% reduction in emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050 economy wide. The Climate Action Council will hold a series of public hearings on the scoping plan in 2022 with a final draft plan to be released by December 31, 2022. NYSAR is closely monitoring actions being taken by the Climate Action Council and will update members on developments. Read more here.
Weekly Report for December 10, 2021
NYSAR Call For Action – NYC Council could pass this week legislation banning tenant criminal background checks
The New York City Council continues to push toward passage of Int. 2047 as early as this week. The bill would block landlords from running criminal record checks on potential tenants before leasing their units. The legislation would apply to criminal cases that are pending, as well as past cases and convictions. NYSAR continues to oppose the bill. New York City residents are urged to express their opposition to the legislation by Taking Action here.
The New York City Council is also poised to pass an amended bill (Int. 2317-A) that will ban the use of fossil fuels such as natural gas in new buildings. Lawmakers reached a deal late Wednesday on a bill requiring new buildings less than seven stories to go electric on Jan. 1, 2024, and those seven stories or greater by July 1, 2027. Projects that get their construction documents approved before those dates will be exempt. Read more here.
Governor Hochul announces $539 million homeowner assistance fund
On Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York State will be the first state in the country to receive U.S. Department of Treasury’s approval to launch its Homeowner Assistance Fund, which will provide up to $539 million in federal funding to help eligible homeowners avert mortgage delinquency, default, foreclosure, and displacement. Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. Read more here.
Letitia James suspends campaign for governor
State Attorney General Letitia James has suspended her campaign to run for governor. In her announcement, James said she will run for re-election for the state Attorney General office. Read more here.
Weekly Report for December 3, 2021
Governor Hochul declares state of emergency through January 15, 2022
On November 26. Governor Kathy Hochul issued an Executive Order declaring another statewide state of emergency through January 15, 2022 to help enable the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in Covid cases due to the new variant, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages. A statewide ban on cold calling remains in effect as NYSAR continues to work with state lawmakers toward a legislative solution to this issue. Read more here.
Congressman Tom Suozzi announces run for governor
Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi of Long Island announced this week that he is running for New York Governor. Rep. Suozzi is the fourth Democrat to officially enter the race. Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams have already announced their candidacies. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is also exploring a run. Read more here.