February has been an active month for advocacy as it saw two calls-for-action (CFA) sent out at both the federal and state levels.
REALTORS® saw success at the federal level as a result of the NAR Commercial CFA for the ADA Reform and Education Act of 2017. This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Rep. Poe (R-TX), adds a “notice-and-cure” provision to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), giving businesses an opportunity to fix alleged violations before a suit can be filed against them. It also creates an education program between the Department of Justice, states/local governments, and businesses to raise awareness of ADA compliance issues, and a model mediation program for resolving ADA complaints. It passed the US House on February 15th and advances to the Senate. You may read more on the issue HERE.
REALTORS® also saw a victory in the budget deal that was signed by President Trump earlier this month in the following categories:
- Flood Insurance – Extends the National Flood Insurance Program until March 23, giving lawmakers time to work on longer-term reauthorization and reform legislation. It also adds $27 billion in mitigation and resiliency funds to address issues arising from last year’s hurricanes. The extension makes $12 billion available under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to fund U.S. Army Corp of Engineers flood mitigation projects.
- Tax Extenders – Retroactively extends for the 2017 tax year (all tax provision extensions are only for 2017):
- Mortgage Debt Forgiveness
This provision will prevent homeowners who were forced to sell their home through a short sale last year, or who faced a foreclosure, from being taxed on the “phantom income” they received when a lender canceled their debt.
- Deduction for Mortgage Insurance Premiums
This provision will allow approximately four million homeowners to deduct the mortgage insurance premiums they paid as part of their mortgage. NAR estimates that roughly two million homebuyers annually purchase a home that is subject to mortgage insurance. This provision helps make homeownership more affordable for first-time and entry-level homeowners.
- Energy efficient commercial buildings deduction
This provision extends the deduction for the cost, up to $1.80 per square foot, of energy-efficient commercial building property. Increasing the energy efficiency of commercial buildings not only helps the environment, it saves building owners and tenants money that they can use to grow their businesses and the economy.
- Mortgage Debt Forgiveness
In addition to these three major tax extensions, there are also several more minor extenders that affect real estate, as follows:
- Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit: 10 percent of amounts paid for qualified energy efficiency improvements (e.g., energy-saving roofs, windows, skylights, and doors) and 100 percent of amounts paid for qualified energy property (e.g., high-efficiency water heaters, air conditioning units, and furnaces), with respect to the taxpayer’s principal residence;
- Residential Energy Efficiency Property Credit: extends and phases down the temporary components of the section 25D residential energy property credit for fuel cells, distributed wind property, and geothermal heat pumps;
- Credit for energy-efficient new homes: extends the $1,000-$2,000 credit for construction and sale of qualified new energy-efficient homes.
In Columbus, Ohio REALTORS® issued a CFA of their own, calling for members to voice their support for HB 211, which would put in place a process for Home Inspector Licensure. While this bill has been in the works for quite some time, it is the first time that both Ohio REALTORS® and the American Society of Home Inspectors have been in support of such legislation.
Please take a moment and participate in the call to action by clicking HERE.
Additionally, Ohio REALTORS® have put forth a consumer page on the topic to be shared among neighbors, clients, and friends. Please take a look and consider sharing by clicking HERE.
News that sent shockwaves around the Miami Valley was the Ohio Southern District Court’s ruling against Oakwood’s pre-sale inspection. The ruling paves the way for a class-action lawsuit extending to those affected between May 26, 2010-May 26, 2016.
It should be noted that the ruling is only in regards to Oakwood’s pre-sale inspection and not its current ordinance that provides for a warrant process for its inspections. No other municipalities are impacted by the ruling. It also remains to be seen if the city will appeal.
Lastly, Dayton will have an election for Commissioner on its May 8th ballot as Commissioner Joey Williams has resigned, citing a new job and responsibilities limiting his ability to serve. Commissioner Williams was a friend to REALTORS®. The Dayton REALTORS® Government Affairs Committee will be closely monitoring who will appear on the May 8th ballot for the position.