The recently concluded session of the Nevada Legislature was a good one for local homeowners, according to leaders of the Nevada Association of REALTORS® (NVAR).
“Fortunately, the Legislature passed several laws that should help Nevada homeowners, and chose not to pass some legislation that could have harmed homeowners,” said NVAR President Mike Young. “Overall, we’re pleased to report that it was a pretty good session for homeowners, and for our nearly 15,000 members throughout the state.”
NVAR plays an active role in representing the interests of Nevada REALTORS® and property owners during the Legislature and year-round. Its leaders and government affairs team highlighted the following new laws and key issues as positive developments:
- Real estate transactions, taxes and fees: Young said one of the biggest wins for Nevada homeowners during the Legislature was AB271, a law prohibiting private transfer fees in Nevada. This legislation took effect when it was signed into law on May 20.
Young said NVAR’s Legislative Committee identified private transfer fees (also called reconveyance fees, capital recovery fees, or private transfer taxes) as a top concern since they can create last-minute complications that keep a home sale transaction from closing. Such fees can hamper home sales and create title and lending problems. He said 29 states now have laws addressing these fees, or are in the process of addressing them.
Such fees are generally attached to a property as a covenant that requires they be paid (usually at a cost of 1 or 2 percent of the purchase price of a home) to a private entity every time the property changes hands, for periods up to 99 years.
Young said taxpayers should also be pleased that AB569 did not pass. It would have imposed a 1 percent transaction tax on a wide range of services, including those related to real estate. The tax would have been paid by the consumer based on the purchase price of the services, and would have taken effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
- Energy consumption forms: Another win for homeowners came on Monday, when Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed into law AB432, which requires energy auditors to be licensed and repeals a requirement that home sellers complete an energy consumption form. This eliminates the need for the form, which Young said most homeowners and REALTORS® found to be confusing and burdensome. He said sellers are still free to seek an energy audit of their home if they want one.
- Foreclosures and short sales: Young said SB414, which was signed into law Monday, makes it a misdemeanor for a bank to unreasonably delay responding to a short sale offer. It spells out that offers to purchase a home in a short sale should be accepted or rejected within 90 days. It also prohibits a bank from getting a deficiency judgment against a borrower if they agreed to a short sale (under certain circumstances).
As for deficiency judgments, AB273 has also become law. It prevents banks from “double-dipping” and going after borrowers for the full amount of the deficiency they owe on their mortgage loan when lenders have received compensation from other sources. It will cap the amount a third party can be awarded if they bought the right to the deficiency for pennies on the dollar. Finally, it will reduce the amount of time a junior lien holder has to file for a deficiency from the current six years to six months, to be in line with timeframes for primary lien holders.
- Lake Tahoe: As a longtime resident and REALTOR® in the Lake Tahoe area, Young said he was personally pleased that the Legislature passed SB271. Approved in the final minutes of the session and awaiting Sandoval’s signature, this bill enables Nevada to withdraw from the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact if the state’s concerns are not addressed. If the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) does not adopt an updated regional plan and the proposed amendments are not approved by Oct. 1, 2015, Nevada can withdraw from the compact on that date unless the governor issues a proclamation extending the deadline for withdrawal to Oct. 1, 2017.
“The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has been creating some issues with property owners around Lake Tahoe,” Young explained. “The proposed changes to the compact would hopefully solve those. But the compact can’t be changed without the approval of the state of California, as well as Congress. Much work is left, but a clear message has been sent. Nevada's voice needs to be heard, and its opinions need to be considered as the agency moves forward.”
He credited NVAR’s lobbying team for guiding SB271 through the final minutes of the Legislature, where it passed 28-16 in the Assembly and by a vote of 19-2 in the Senate before being the second to last bill passed in the session.
About the NVAR
The Nevada Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade association with nearly 15,000 members. NVAR is committed to protecting, promoting and preserving our communities. Visit www.NVAR.org.
# # #