July 2019

Government Affairs Update for July 26, 2019

Challenger considers run against Senator Amedore
Michelle Hinchey of Saugerties, daughter of late Congressman Maurice Hinchey, is considering a run for the 46th State Senate seat currently held by REALTOR® member George Amedore (R-Rotterdam). Sen. Amedore has been a strong supporter of REALTOR® issues and was elected to his third term in the Senate in 2018 and was in the State Assembly from 2007 to 2012. Read more here.

Westchester to provide funding for lead paint remediation to homeowners
Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced $4.1 million in federal funding to conduct healthy home assessments and help low-income homeowners remediate lead-based paint in their homes. The grant will allow for approximately 240 properties to be rehabilitated over the course of three years. Property owners, including rental property landlords, are eligible if the property and the occupants meet the program requirements. Read more here.

NYC storefront vacancies will be tracked by a new online database
Many New York City building owners will soon be required to register with the city as part of a new database aimed at reducing the number of storefront vacancies. The City Council on Tuesday passed a bill that mandates the tracking of storefronts and second-floor commercial spaces across the five boroughs in an effort to accurately measure vacancies and come up with informed solutions for filling them. Read more here.

Government Affairs Update for July 19, 2019

Federal lawsuit challenging New York’s new rent law
On July 15, the Rent Stabilization Association and the Community Housing Improvement Program, along with seven individual landlords, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, alleging that the new rent law approved last month violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which includes a clause that bars taking of private property without “just compensation,” and the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. Read more here.

NY, NJ and CT challenge IRS’ SALT workaround rule in lawsuit
New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut sued the federal government Wednesday over a recent decision by the IRS to not let the states use charitable funds as a workaround to a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions. Read more here.

State Comptroller: Tax Cap Remains at Two Percent for 2020
Property tax levy growth for local governments with fiscal years that close on Dec. 31 will be capped at 2 percent for 2020, according to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Municipalities have had their levy growth capped at less than 2 percent since 2014. Read more here.

VA loan limits to be lifted in 2020
President Trump signed a bill into law that allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to back loans that exceed the conforming loan limit, which enables homebuyers using a VA loan to borrow above the 2019 limit of $484,350 for most counties, without any down payment. NAR supported this measure. The Department of Veterans Affairs said lender guidelines will be released ahead of the January 2020 effective date. Read more here.

Government Affairs Update for July 12, 2019

NYSAR 2019 Legislative Session Summary
The State Senate and Assembly together passed the most number of bills in over a decade during the 2019 session. A summary of significant legislation passed by the legislature this year can be found here, which includes the passage of NYSAR priorities such as a permanent property tax cap, continuing education changes, and an amendment authorizing licensees to work with appraisal management companies.

Gov. Cuomo signs Equal Pay legislation into law
On July 10, at the ticker-tape parade celebrating the Women’s National Soccer Team World Cup victory, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that expands equal pay laws to prohibit unequal pay on the basis of a protected class for all substantially similar work and forbids employers from asking prospective employees about their salary history. Read more here.

Gov. Cuomo, legislative leaders appoint members to the public campaign finance commission
Governor Cuomo and leaders in the State Senate and Assembly announced their appointed members to a nine-person commission that will make binding recommendations by December 1, 2019, dealing with publicly financed elections for legislative and statewide offices. Seven Democrats and two Republicans have been appointed to the commission. More details on this story and a list of appointees can be found here.

Department of State to amend State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code
On July 3, the Department of State published its recommendations for amending the current State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. NYSAR attended multiple meetings held by the Code Council in the past several months on this topic. At this time, there are no recommendations to expand any requirements to install residential fire sprinkler systems in any new construction. NYSAR will continue to review and monitor this process as the Code Council looks to adopt a new code by the end of this year. More information can be found here.

Government Affairs Update for July 5, 2019

NYS Senate and Assembly passed the most bills in over a decade
The State Legislature passed 935 bills in both houses this session. This is 300 more than last year and the most overall in more than a decade. Democrats in the Senate and Assembly pledged to pass major pieces of legislation that had stalled in past years after securing control of both houses of the legislature this year. This included passage of new rent reforms, the Child Victim’s Act, decriminalization of marijuana, the DREAM Act to provide educational aid for children of undocumented immigrants, new climate change and emissions standards, pay equity measures, farmworkers’ rights, and measures allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. Read more here.

Differences between STAR Credit and Exemption Programs
Make sure you are up to date on new STAR program benefits. If a homeowner currently receives the Basic STAR exemption with an income between $250,000 and $500,000, the program is changing, and they will now receive a check for the STAR credit instead of the reduction on their school tax bill. If the homeowner currently receives the STAR exemption with an income under $250,000, they can choose to register for the STAR credit to receive a check instead and may receive a greater benefit. Learn more here.