On March 30, the Georgia General Assembly ended what turned out to be a short and not too contentious 2017 Legislative Session. Some legislation important to REALTORS is on the way to the Governor’s desk for final signature, or veto. Other legislation will be carried over to the 2018 Legislative Session.
Below is an update on legislation that was of interest to the REALTOR community.
Legislation that passed the General Assembly and headed to the Governor for signature:
- HB 39 - This bill creates a 10 day window for a licensee to report a conviction to the GA Real Estate Commission (GREC) and request a hearing by the GREC. Disciplinary actions can still be imposed, but they will no longer be automatic.
- HB 197 - “The Fair Business Practices Act” seeks to help new homeowners who are being solicited to purchase a deed from a third party. This bill requires any entity soliciting services for homeowners to obtain a copy of an instrument conveying real estate must have a disclosure printed on it reading “THIS IS NOT A BILL OR OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT. THIS IS A SOLICITATION.”
- HB 434 - This legislation preserves Georgia’s high standard to deem a property blighted, however, it would add a judicial process to be undertaken by the local government seeking to deem it blighted in Superior Court. It would also provide an avenue for the property to be placed back in the market if deemed blighted, so long as it remains for 5 years with the same legal use at that time.
- HB 251 - This bill allows emergency response personnel to enter private property when necessary under a state of emergency and/or state disaster. The emergency personnel would only be allowed to enter private property to perform their assigned duties.
The following is legislation that failed to pass both the House and the Senate, but will be carried over to the 2018 Legislative Session:
- HB 55 - Implementing Term Limits for Licensing Board Members, including Real Estate Commission members to 8 consecutive years.
- HB 66 - Adding a fee to all out-of-state wire transfers.
- HB 194 - Requiring local governments to consider local school systems in a zoning request.
- HB 204 - Preventing a government from putting property tax bills and any non-tax related fees or assessments on the same bill. i.e. separating property taxes from solid waste service fees.
- HB 211 - Increasing the Homestead Exemption from $2,000 to $2,500 if owner occupied property is located within an elementary school district that ranks in the bottom 5% of academic achievement.
- HB 302 - Modifying the current millage rate change format from “PROPERTY TAX INCREASE” to “PROPOSED MILLAGE RATE.”
- HB 410 - Requiring HOA Letter Request fees, charges and/or sums due be clearly disclosed by the property management company with a 10 day response time, limiting to $15 expediting fees and restricting any other administration fees.
- SB 2 - The “Fairness, Accountability, Simplification and Transparency” ACT (or F.A.S.T. ACT) seeks to reduce regulatory burdens as it relates to timelines and fees for licenses and certain permits.
- SB 159 - The “Purple Paint Bill” would allow purple paint to be added to trees and/or posts used to identify private property and to deter criminal trespass.