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2021 Legislative Priorities

The Albany, NY-based New York State Association of REALTORS® is a not-for-profit trade organization representing more than 60,000 of New York State’s real estate professionals. The association provides a variety of benefits including legislative and legal representation, educational programs, publications such as the New York State REALTOR®, and a code of professional standards. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark, which identifies real estate professionals who subscribe to a strict code of ethics as a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. These REALTORS® are also members of the New York Association of REALTORS® as well as their local board or association of REALTORS®.

For a downloadable .pdf version of these priorities, click here.

PROTECT INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR STATUS FOR REAL ESTATE LICENCEES

NYSAR strongly opposes any legislation that would result in removal of independent contractor status from licensed real estate brokers and salespersons. Legislative proposals such as A.2685-Joyner seek to redefine the term “employee,” however those actions conflict with existing Labor Law exemptions for licensed real estate professionals. NYSAR opposes any legislation that does not provide a clear exemption for the professional services of a licensed qualified real estate agent.

STRENGTHEN FAIR HOUSING LAWS IN NEW YORK

REALTORS® fundamentally support equal opportunity in housing and are committed in our opposition to all forms of illegal discrimination. Maintaining the integrity of fair housing policies in New York is of the utmost importance. In order to further strengthen fair housing laws in the state, NYSAR supports the following:

  • (S.2846-Kavanagh) (S.2874-Kavanagh/A.1623-Perry) Ensure fairness and transparency in the cooperative housing purchase process and combat illegal discrimination.
  • (S.538-B-Kaplan/A.4638-A-Sillitti) Add 2 hours of “implicit bias” education within the 22.5 hours of continuing education requirements for license renewal.
  • (S.2132-B-Skoufis/A.5359-Cruz) Increase pre-licensing broker and salesperson course hours and add broker supervision education in the broker’s qualifying course.
  • (S.112-Kaplan/A.4665-Sillitti) (S.2133-A-Skoufis/ A.5363-Jean-Pierre) Create a statewide fair housing testing program to root out illegal housing discrimination. Add an additional $10 to $30 surcharge to the license fee for salespersons and brokers, and increase the fines for real estate license violations from $1,000 to $2,000 to fund the program.

REMOVE TELEMARKETING RESTRICTIONS ON REAL ESTATE LICENSEES

New York State recognizes the importance of a vibrant and open real estate market and as such was classified as an essential activity early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the pandemic has presented New Yorkers seeking to buy or sell real estate with many challenges. Among those are current restrictions in place on licensees’ abilities to communicate with potential clients. NYSAR supports the following:

  • (A.6756-Cusick) Allow licensed real estate professionals with the opportunity to provide services and information to the public, including telemarketing services, that are normally provided while not within a state of emergency.

PROVIDE RELIEF TO TENANTS AND BUILDING OWNERS

It is critical that New York provide relief to tenants who are unable to pay their rent due to impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is equally important to provide relief to building owners who are struggling to pay their mortgage and property taxes as a result of non-payment of rents. In order to promote economic recovery and housing stability, NYSAR supports the following:

  • Provide additional state funding and resources to the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program.
  • Utilize federal funding to provide direct relief to building owners hurt by nonpayment of rent or reduction in rental income due to COVID-19.

EXPAND ACCESS TO HOMEOWNERSHIP

Many New Yorkers hope to achieve their dream of homeownership, however they can face many financial obstacles, including some of the highest-in-the-nation property taxes and closing costs. NYSAR strongly supports legislation to help New Yorkers overcome these barriers to homeownership, especially for first-time homebuyers. NYSAR supports the following measures:

  • Enact a First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account to assist New Yorkers in saving for a first home within the state.
  • (S.3369-Bailey) (S.665-Sanders/A.3838-Vanel) Create middle- and low-income homeownership incentive programs to make homebuying more accessible for all New Yorkers.
  • Expand affordable housing development through the implementation of new zoning and tax incentives.
  • (S.2193-Kavanagh/A.3807-Cymbrowitz) Renew the state’s five-year capital plan to provide funding for multi-family affordable housing development projects throughout the state.
  • Establish a uniform standard to enable remote notarization in New York State that protects consumers and prevents fraud.
  • Provide additional resources to expand access to broadband internet and 5G wireless networks, particularly in rural and underserved areas of the state. NYSAR supports (S.4878-Ryan) requiring the state Public Service Commission to study the availability and affordability.

OPPOSE OPPRESSIVE REGULATIONS

NYSAR strongly opposes legislation that make it more difficult for New Yorkers to purchase, invest in, or sell real property in New York State. NYSAR holds the following positions:

  • Oppose (S.3082-Salazar/A.5573-Hunter) imposing a statewide “good cause” eviction standard, which would implement impractical and overly restrictive standards and stifle investment in rental housing. It would also impose de facto rent control statewide without any home rule option.
  • Oppose (S.2913-Parker) (S.2929-Parker) expanding cease and desist zones that prohibit real estate marketing practices which are consistent with other professions and businesses. Cease and desist zones are ineffective – specifically targeting licensed real estate professionals while allowing unlicensed individuals and firms to continue engaging in unwanted practices unfettered.
  • Remove restrictions on licensed real estate agents from conducting telemarketing business practices.
  • Oppose (S.1448-Hoylman) requiring real estate brokers and salespersons to write their name and license number on every document that requires a signature in a transaction.
  • Amend portions of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019.
    • Clarify that seasonal or temporary vacation tenancies for 120 days or less are excluded from the HSTPA provisions regulating deposits and advances for permanent residential dwelling units.

REDUCE STATE AND LOCAL REAL ESTATE TAXES

NYSAR strongly opposes any legislation that would increase state or local mortgage recording taxes or real estate transfer taxes. Increasing real estate transaction taxes simply robs equity from homebuyers who could better use such funds toward a down payment. New York State already has some of the highest closing costs and real estate taxes in the country, and individuals and businesses are choosing to leave the state due to over-taxation. In order to reverse this trend, New York should be advancing policies that make homebuying more affordable. NYSAR opposes the following measures:

  • Oppose (S.4199-Hoylman) imposing a Pied-a-Terre Tax, which will implement a new, recurring annual property tax on New York City homeowners that will drive down property values, decrease the city’s tax base, and jeopardize thousands of jobs in hospitality, construction, and real estate services.
  • Oppose (A.3259-Dilan) imposing a “Flip Tax” on properties in New York City, which would impose an additional 20-percent real estate transfer tax on residential properties sold within a year of its prior purchase. The bill would dramatically increase the tax burden imposed on the real estate transaction in New York City making homebuying and renting less affordable for residents.
  • Oppose (S.2689-Martucci/A.5324-Brabenec) (S.1461-Breslin) (S.1668-Skoufis) (S.1810-Skoufis) (S.1811-Skoufis) (A.5373-Lawler) authorizing the imposition of additional real estate transfer taxes to fund local community preservation funds. NYSAR respects and agrees with communities wishing to preserve open space, however, funding for such initiatives should not rely on raising taxes, nor should it be at the sole expense of homebuyers in the community.