2019 Legislative Priorities

Download our Updated Legislative Priorities HERE.


Limiting NYC Rental Fees
2019 New York City Council bill: (Int. No. 1423 - Powers)
NYSAR strongly opposes any legislation that would place unwarranted restrictions on a real estate professional’s ability to charge a competitive rate for services provided during a real estate transaction. NYSAR specifically opposes New York City Council Int. No. 1423 which would limit the amount a real estate licensee may charge for their work in a rental transaction to one month’s rent. There is no requirement for prospective renters to secure the services of a REALTOR®, however many New Yorkers make the informed decision to do so because of the professional expertise provided to a client throughout the transaction process, including knowledge on rental contracts and the rental market as a whole. REALTORS® are also independent contractors and are required to disclose any fees for services up-front. This legislation places an undue harm on a REALTORS’® ability to earn a living and would ultimately result in driving qualified real estate professionals away from the rental market, making the search for rental housing more challenging for renters.

State study to create a NY First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Program
2018 bill: Signed by Governor Cuomo Chapter No. 379
High closing costs and down-payment requirements continue to create barriers for first-time home buyers in NY. New York State Homes and Community Renewal issued a public impact report on the implementation of a statewide first-time home buyer savings account. NYSAR continues to support the creation of a first-time homebuyer savings account, which provides a state income tax deduction of up to $5,000 per year ($10,000 per year for couples) to help New Yorkers save for the purchase of a first home. Prior legislation passed with strong bipartisan support in the State Legislature. 

Preserve Property Rights
• Wetlands Oversight 2019 bill: (A.3658 - Englebright)
NYSAR strongly opposes legislation which would 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 would create an unnecessary imbalance with significant negative ramifications for homebuyers, developers and the overall economic health of New York State. 

• Well Water Education Act 2019 bill: (S.1845 - Hoylman/A.1194 - Jaffee)NYSAR strongly opposes legislation to require home inspectors, licensed real estate brokers and salespersons to provide well water education materials to prospective home buyers regarding the potential hazards of well water. Technical flaws in the legislation would cause a tremendous amount of confusion and uncertainty in real estate transactions across New York State.

Transparency in Cooperative Housing
2019 Bill: (S.4677 - Kavanagh/A.6194 - Lavine)
NYSAR supports legislation that would bring greater transparency to the process of considering the sale of shares in a cooperative housing corporation by requiring a timeline for cooperative boards to act on applications. This updated process would provide uniformity and predictability to the application procedure to the benefit of all parties involved. Similar legislation has been enacted at the local level in Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester counties, as well as in the Village of Hempstead. 

Define in Statute a Real Estate “Team”
Bill not introduced yet
Real estate “teams” have become a popular form of practice among real estate professionals in recent years, making it appropriate and necessary to define the term statutorily in Real Property Law in order to provide clarity in the profession. 

Require Additional Continuing Education for Real Estate Licensees
• 2019 Bill: (S.3839-Hoylman/A.6082 - Dinowitz)
Mandatory continuing education courses provide licensed real estate professionals with updated knowledge on changes in their field. State law currently requires real estate brokers and salespersons to complete 22.5 hours of continuing education every two years to renew their licenses. Full-time brokers who have been licensed for at least 15 consecutive years prior to July 1, 2008 are exempt from these education requirements – also known as a “grandfathering” clause. 

• Eliminating “Grandfathering” clause for real estate brokers
Given ongoing changes in the profession and the laws that govern real estate transactions, removing the “grandfathering” clause thereby requiring continuing education of all licensees regardless of when they were licensed will benefit consumers by helping improve the level of quality and expertise among real estate professionals. 

• Expanding core requirements related to continuing education
Included in the 22.5 hours of required continuing education, there are 3 core hours of fair housing education and 1 core hour of Agency Law education required. Expanding continuing education core requirements to also include 2.5 hours pertaining to ethical business practices and 1 hour pertaining to legal updates will benefit both consumers and real estate professionals. 

Reduce State and Local Real Estate Taxes
 • Oppose Real Estate Transfer Tax to Create Community Preservation Funds 2019 bill: (S.980 Breslin)
NYSAR strongly opposes real estate transfer taxes at all levels of government. NYSAR respects communities wishing to preserve open space, 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 in the form of a real estate transfer tax. Additionally, any legislation pertaining to the use of transfer tax dollars for the purpose of community preservation should include specific language to ensure that any revenues are utilized exclusively for the purpose of protecting community character and not abused. 

• Oppose “Flip tax” on Properties in New York City 2019 bill: (S.3060 - Salazar/A.5375 - Dilan)
NYSAR strongly opposes legislation that would impose an additional 15 percent real estate transfer tax on residential properties sold in New York City within one year and 10 percent transfer tax on residential properties sold after one year but less than two years from the prior purchase or conveyance. This bill would not achieve its intent and would dramatically increase the tax burden imposed on the real estate transaction in New York City making home buying and renting less affordable for city residents. 

• Oppose Increasing State and Local Mortgage Recording and Transfer Taxes
NYSAR strongly opposes any legislation that would increase state or local mortgage recording or transfer taxes. Increasing real estate transaction taxes simply robs equity from homebuyers who could better use such funds towards their down payments. New York State consistently ranks at or near the top of lists of states with the highest real estate closing costs in the nation. Further increases to the tax burden imposed on the real estate transaction makes homeowners less affordable, will drive individuals and families out of New York, reduce state and local revenues, and harm the overall economy. 

• Oppose Increasing the so-called “Mansion Tax”
NYSAR strongly opposes any legislation that would further increase the real estate transfer tax on the sale of properties valued at more than $1 million. The current “mansion tax” already 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. Additionally, in today’s real estate market, the number of homes and condominiums valued at $1 million or more is significantly greater than at the time when this tax was originally imposed in 1989. At that time only 499 homes sold for $1 million or more, whereas during the 2016-17 state fiscal year alone, nearly 17,000 homes sold for $1 million or more. State legislators should rather consider legislation adjusting this tax to the Consumer Price Index to lower the tax burden on New York home buyers. 

Oppose Over-Burdensome Regulations
• Neighborhood Integrity Act 2019 bill: (S.212 - Benjamin/A.2543 - Rodriguez)
NYSAR strongly opposes legislation that would prohibit licensed real estate brokers and salespersons from advertising any property for sale or for rent in a New York City neighborhood that is not a traditionally recognized neighborhood. Violations would be subject to a monetary fine, license suspension or license revocation at the discretion of the New York State Secretary of State. REALTORS® oppose this burdensome and misguided legislation because there is no current legal description of what constitutes a “neighborhood boundary” nor a “traditionally recognized neighborhood.” This legislation will only cause consumer confusion and market disruptions in a constantly evolving real estate marketplace. 

• Oppose Expanding Cease and Desist Zones 2019 bills: (S.1253 - Parker) and (S.1256 - Parker and A.4324 - Weprin)
NYSAR strongly opposes cease and desist zones which specifically target licensed real estate professionals while ineffectively allowing unlicensed individuals and firms to continue engaging in unwanted practices unfettered. Real estate marketing practices are consistent with other professions and businesses, making it improper to single out one type of business. NYSAR does not condone illegal real estate practices and is heavily involved in educating its members on ethical and legal standards in real estate transactions.

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