The General Assembly has adjourned, and the real estate industry dodged several threats and passed bills of importance:
a) there was no increase to the seller's conveyance tax, no introduction of a buyer's conveyance tax and local option transfer taxes did not expand to any additional towns. The National Association of Realtors authorized $200,000 to fight those issues, should it have been necessary this session;
b) with great thanks to Senator Bob Duff (a Realtor), who chairs the Energy Committee, and the governor, proposals that would have required significant benchmarking, energy audits and posting of energy consumption were removed from various energy legislation;
c) a long-awaited and Connecticut Association of Realtors-supported ban on private transfer fees was passed (subject to the governor's signature.). Deeply relied on to get this passed were Insurance nd Real Estate Chairs Sen. Crisco and Rep. Megna, along with Ranking Member Rep. Rob Sampson (Realtor);
d) the Foreclosure by Market Sale bill took a significant step forward through its passage in the Banks Committee. It is now subject to a stakeholder's meeting this September, facilitated by the Banking Commissioner, to further improve it before its anticipated consideration during 2014. CAR especially commends Rep. Joe Diminico (a Realtor) who spearheaded this bill in the committee and throughout the House;
e) greatly improved a smoke and carbon monoxide detectors bill by removing requirements for inspections prior to transfer and hard-wired detectors, and removing liability for brokers. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the bill will require an affidavit at closing stating that detectors (which can include those that are battery-operated) are present in the property and installed according to the packaging or the seller will owe a $250 credit to the buyer at closing.
Additional information on these and other bills of interest to the real estate industry will be provided in the future.
CAR thanks all its members who responded to various legislative calls to action during the past few months. Special thanks to the CAR Legislative Committee, especially Chairman Donna Karnes (Fairfield County), Vice Chairman Dan Keune (Ellington) and Divisional VP for Legislative Michael Barbaro (New Haven.)
Residential Property Condition Disclosure Report Form
As you may know, the legislature raised the penalty credit for failing to provide a property condition disclosure form from $300 to $500 effective July 1, 2012. However, the form itself is not written into the statute and is developed and promulgated by the Department of Consumer Protection through regulation. In order to amend the form, DCP must follow Connecticut's prolonged rule-making process.
Until such time as the regulation is amended through DCP rule-making, the official form will continue to state that the penalty credit is $300. DCP maintains that its forms may not be changed by anyone other than DCP through rulemaking.
Apparently, DCP posted a -"revised" form on its website last July in error. The "revised" form is no longer available on DCP's website. In response to our many very diligent members who downloaded the "revised" form, CAR asked DCP whether DCP would regard it as a license law violation if a licensee provided the "revised" form instead of the official form for a client's use. CAR has been advised that DCP would not regard it as a violation of any license law and it would take no action against any licensee who provided the "revised" form to a client so long as it simply changes the amount of the penalty credit even though technically, it is not the official form.
Members are cautioned against making any other changes to the pre-printed language of the form even though the legislature mandated other changes to the form that DCP will need to accommodate through regulation in due course. Members also are cautioned about getting into arguments if presented with an "old" form since the "old" form is the official form set out in regulation and is therefore perfectly acceptable.
If you have any questions, contact CAR's General Counsel, Eugene Marconi, at 860-290-6601 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal Tip: Change of Broker Affiliation
When a licensee terminates his/her affiliation with one broker as independent contractor and transfers to another broker's office, the licensee must register the transfer with the Real Estate Commission. Complete this transfer form and mail to: Department of Consumer Protection, License Services Division, 165 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106 along with a check for the $25 fee before beginning work for the new broker.
Very recently, a large national home builder sent email solicitations to members touting a bonus program to Realtors who sold the home builder's properties. Members should be aware that neither CAR nor NAR has anything to do with this solicitation. Members also should be aware that this solicitation does not create an enforceable compensation arrangement, and while there are no indications that this bonus will not be paid, payment is entirely voluntary on the home builder's part. In addition, there are conditions to the payment that are different than the offer of compensation through an MLS. Finally, CAR is involved with this home builder in an adversarial declaratory ruling proceeding at the DCP concerning the home builder's proposed plan to pay referral fees to unlicensed owners in its developments. For further information, email CAR's General Counsel Eugene Marconi at marccontact CAR's Marconi.
This Week's Success Quote
"Safety pays, carelessness slays; don't let foolishness number your days." - Anonymous
Ken Edwards is the principal Broker for Edwards & Associates and has lived in town since 1974. All opinions expressed in this column are entirely his own and not those of this publisher. Comments, questions and suggestions may be sent to K_W_Edwards@Yahoo.com orby phonr or text at 203-918-4444. Questions of general interest will be addressed in this column while others will receive individual responses.,