General Assembly Wraps, with Both Wins & Some Unfinished Business for Real Estate Industry

As the North Carolina General Assembly drops the curtain on an unusually short Short Session in Raleigh, Realtors®, home builders, property managers and developers are looking at some legislative victories — along with some unfinished business.

First, the wins …

    HB 948 – Building Code Regulatory Reform — Clarifies existing language allowing licensed architects and engineers to certify components or elements of a building, without the need for a city or county inspection; gives builders the ability to request inspections from a state program in the event a local inspection can’t be provided within 48 hours; and, provides greater flexibility to the State Qualifications Board to grant provisional licenses to code enforcement officials. Thanks to Representative Mark Brody for his leadership in sponsoring this bill!Status: Session Law 2018-29SB 224 — Landlord Recovery Expenses — Allows landlords to recover legal fees and other out-of-pocket expenses in summary ejectment cases. The legislation was introduced in response to a recent Superior Court decision that required a landlord to reimburse a tenant nearly $200 in eviction expenses after he paid his past-due balance.Status: Session Law 2018-50HB 826 – Clarify System Development Fees — Clarifies and streamlines the water/sewer capacity fee authority approved for local governments in 2017. The law requires all local governments and water and sewer authorities who wish to impose a fee for future capacity to follow a series of strict parameters in order to calculate and impose them, including a comprehensive study of future capacity needs.  Thanks to Senator Paul Newton for his work on this important legislation.Status: Session Law 2018-34SB 99 — Appropriations Act of 2018 — The state budget includes a crucial provision that allows contractors who pay tax on materials covered under the Repair, Maintenance & Installation (RMI) sales tax provision to pay those taxes at the retail level and receive credit from the Department of Revenue.Status: Session Law 2018-5

Now the unfinished business …

    HB 457 – Performance Guarantees/Subdivision Streets — This bill introduced in the 2017 long session would require NCDOT to more quickly accept new subdivision streets for maintenance, and would also establish a statewide databaseStatus: Passed the House in 2017, but referred to Senate Rules and never emerged.HB 507 – Land Use Regulatory Changes — A bill with a variety of land use and zoning process reforms, including statewide permit choice and an expansion of vested rights for multi-phase development.Status: Passed House, but pulled from Senate calendar before passage.HB 1040 – Amend Sum Eject Service/Allow Process Server — Would allow Summary Ejection claims to be served by a private process server in metropolitan counties like Mecklenburg.Status: Reported favorably by House Judiciary, but referred to House Rules.HB 933 – Reciprocity/School Psychologist Licensure — This bill to expand the number of School Psychologists in North Carolina was amended toward the end of session to include a provision allowing nonprofit associations, like Realtor® boards and HBAs, to establish self-funded health benefit plans for their members.Status: Language added and passed by Senate, but House declined to concur.SB 153 – Military Retiree State Income Tax Relief — Another unrelated bill that was amended at the end of last week, this bill includes a provision to allow for the immediate enactment of language in the state budget that fully exempts commercial Property Management Agreements from the state RMI sales tax. The language in SB 153 would make this exemption retroactively effective to January 1, 2017 (the budget language deferred the exemption to 2020) and expand it to include residential property. Thanks to Representatives Bill Brawley and Jason Saine, as well as Senator Paul Newton, for their tireless work on this issue.Status: Amended in House Finance, but never considered by House

The House and Senate are set to reconvene on November 27th, at which point any of this unfinished legislation could again be taken up.  REBIC and our state associations will continue to monitor these pending pieces of legislation until the General Assembly adjourns sine die.

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