Rental Registration Bill Would Require Significant Changes in Charlotte Program

A bill that would place restrictions on local Rental Registration programs such as Charlotte’s will have its first hearing in the House Government Committee this Thursday at 10 a.m.

HB 773, introduced by State Representative Bill Brawley (R – Matthews), would modify a state law approved 2 years ago that allows local governments to require registration of rental property owners and to inspect unsafe or hazardous properties in designated, blighted areas.

Many of the changes that the bill would require were already achieved here in Charlotte, as REBIC worked with City Council and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) over the past year. But others would require substantive changes in CMPD’s program.

If HB 773 passes both chambers and is signed by Governor McCrory, it would prohibit local governments from engaging in the the following:

  • Requiring registration of any rental properties other than those that have more than 3 code violations within a 12-month period or fall within the worst 4 percent of properties with crime/disorder problems citywide. Currently, Charlotte’s ordinance requires ALL rental properties to register with CMPD.
  • Requiring that proof of registration be posted in a conspicuous location inside a private home that is being leased. The bill would also prohibit local governments from requiring that a registration certificate be posted in an apartment community leasing office, as well.
  • Provide that any violation of a Rental Registration ordinance is punishable as a criminal offense.

For those properties that fall into the 4 percent disorder threshold, the bill would mandate that CMPD and other local law enforcement agencies assist the landlord or property owner in addressing any criminal activity and supporting evictions of tenants charged with a crime.

REBIC and the North Carolina Association of REALTORS (NCAR) support HB 773 and will continue to advocate for its passage.

Legislation Advancing to Streamline Zoning Boards of Adjustment

A bill recently introduced in Raleigh would give property owners and land developers better standing when they bring a case before their local Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA), and make it easier for them to obtain relief from restrictive regulations and policies.

HB 276 unanimously passed the North Carolina House of Representatives on April 9, and is presently awaiting a hearing by the Senate Commerce Committee. If it becomes law as expected, it would standardize ZBA procedures statewide, and provide greater clarity for applicants bringing land use appeals before their local body. Crafted by Greensboro zoning attorney Tom Terrell, the bill has the support of the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA), the NC Association of County Commissioners and the NC League of Municipalities.

Some of the key changes included in the bill are:

  • Would clarify that a ZBA shall hear appeals of any decision made by a local official charged with administering a zoning or unified development ordinance, and gives the board latitude to hear any appeal of a development or land use administrative decision;
  • Would require a local official whose decision is appealed to the ZBA to provide the appellant with all documents and records used to reach that decision. In a court of law, this is called “discovery,” but currently it is not required in a ZBA case unless the appellant specifically makes the request;
  • Would require the official who made the decision to be present at the ZBA hearing as a witness;
  • Would clarify the standards by which a variance may be granted by the ZBA, removing any need for the appellant to proved that, if denied, no reasonable use may be made of the property; and,
  • Would allow for a simple majority vote of the board to overturn an administrative decision, instead of the 4/5 “supermajority” required today.

Charlotte’s ZBA only hears administrative appeals and variances, leaving conditional and special use permits to the City Council. HB 276 would not require this to change.

REBIC will continue to follow the progress of this legislation and update you when it is scheduled for a hearing in the State Senate.

Help Plan Our Region’s Future at RealityCheck2050

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The Urban Land Institute (ULI) invites you to apply to be one of 400 regional leaders and residents participating in RealityCheck2050 on June 4, 2013. This one-day, hands-on, map-based, visioning exercise at the Charlotte Convention Center allows you and your peers to explore growth options for our region—where and how should we grow?

RealityCheck2050, is part of the CONNECT Our Future public engagement process. This process includes 14 counties in North and South Carolina working together to develop a growth framework for our region that will help grow the economy, improve quality of life and control the cost of government.

Your experience and expertise are needed to help this region grow by choice, not by chance.

To join others at the exciting event June 4th event, please complete the online application by clicking HERE.

Results from RealityCheck2050 will be launching points for the regional community growth workshops to be held from August to October of this year. You and others in your community will have the option to participate in these local workshops; you can find information on the CONNECT Our Future website.

How Does RealityCheck2050 Work?
In the morning session over 400 diverse participants meet and work together in tables of ten people to develop a set of principles for where and how they think the region could grow. Through discussion and negotiation, they will place a variety of colored LEGO® blocks representing the projected housing and employment growth on a grid-covered map of the 14-county region. The 40 tables of individuals participating in the workshop get to grapple with challenges the region faces as it considers how growth will occur in the future. Following lunch and keynote speakers there will be a presentation on results from the morning exercise, discussion on the implications of growth patterns, and design issues & priorities. The afternoon session will also use real time polling techniques to receive immediate feedback from participants.

Find more information at RealityCheck2050.org and ConnectOurFuture.org.

Legislation Introduced to Amend Real Estate Appraisers Law

House Bill 565 has been filed by Reps. John Szoka (R-Cumberland); Julia Howard (R-Davie); Brian Brown (R-Pitt) and Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) to make changes to the statutes governing the North Carolina Appraisal Board (NCAB). Several provisions of this legislation, including one requiring future applicants seeking a certified residential appraiser license to hold a college degree, were sought by NCAB pursuant to the requirements of the federal Appraisal Foundation.

Other provisions of this legislation would:

  • Require that applicants must have completed all of their instructional courses on or after January 1, 2008.
  • Require that applicants must complete at least 2,500 hours of experience within the 8 years immediately preceding their application.
  • Require that all applicants submit to a criminal history record check and provide fingerprints.
  • Require all trainees and any appraiser wishing to supervise a trainee to complete a course in trainee supervision.
  • Allow the NCAB to collect any of its fees by electronic means and to charge a processing fee for doing so as long as the processing fee doesn’t exceed the actual cost to the Board of processing the payments.
  • Require Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) to establish a trust or escrow account in which the portion of all receipts from the entity’s clients that are to paid to appraisers are deposited into the account when the fees are received from the client.
  • Require AMC’s to ensure that appraisers receive fees within 45 days of the date the appraisal is transmitted to the AMC.
  • Allow AMC’s to be disciplined for commingling fees owed to appraisers with the AMCs operating account.
  • Make all trust/escrow accounts held by an AMC subject to audit and inspection without prior notice at the discretion of the NCAB.
  • Require all AMC’s to keep complete records showing the deposit, maintenance and withdrawal of appraisal fees held in escrow or trust for appraisers.

The NC REALTORS® government affairs team will work closely with the NCAR Appraisal Section, other interested stakeholders and the bill sponsors as this legislation is considered by the General Assembly.

Source: North Carolina Association of REALTORS®

General Assembly Tackles Regulatory Reform

nc-state-legislature-building-legislative-branchLegislation introduced last week in the General Assembly would make big changes to environmental permitting, and could roll back portions of local regulations that exceed state mandates, including Charlotte’s Post- Construction Controls Stormwater Ordinance.

SB 612, the Regulatory Reform Act of 2013, was introduced by Sens. Harry Brown (R-Onslow); Brent Jackson (R-Duplin) and Andrew Brock (R-Davie). This legislation would provide regulatory relief to the citizens of North Carolina by:

  • Prohibiting cities and counties from enacting ordinances that are more stringent that existing state or federal regulations;
  • Creating a fast-track permitting process for stormwater and erosion control plans when certain minimum standards have been met and certified by the applicant’s engineer;
  • Allowing third-parties to a request a review of existing state rules through the NC Rules Review Commission;
  • Allowing brick and wood debris to be used as fill on development sites;
  • Clarifying the laws relating to groundwater compliance boundaries;
  • Amending the prohibition on master metering to permit an all inclusive lease in a multi-family property; and,
  • Eliminating riparian buffer requirements on property in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River basins.

One such local ordinance that would be impacted by the passage of SB 612 would be the Charlotte PCCO, which was adopted with stricter redevelopment standards than are called for in state law. This one amendment, which REBIC has long advocated for, could save developers millions in infrastructure costs and substantially open the market for redevelopment of long-neglected intown sites.

Regulatory Reform has been tackled in each of the past two legislative sessions, and the 2013 General Assembly seems committed to taking additional steps to improve North Carolina’s standing as a business-friendly state that can attract economic development and new jobs.

We’ll continue to track the progress of SB 612 and other regulatory reform legislation, and advocate for their passage in partnership with the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA), the Charlotte Chapter of NAIOP, and the North Carolina Association of REALTORS.

NAIOP Members Talk Tax & Regulatory Reform with Governor and Legislators in Raleigh

Governor Pat McCrory discusses economic development issues with NAIOP members from Charlotte, the Triad and the Triangle

Governor Pat McCrory discusses economic development issues with NAIOP members from Charlotte, the Triad and the Triangle

REBIC joined members of the Charlotte Chapter of NAIOP in Raleigh on March 26 for the commercial development association’s annual Day at the Capitol, and participated in a highly successful day of advocacy that included meetings with the Governor and key members of the General Assembly.

Tax and Regulatory Reform were at the forefront of a legislative agenda aimed at making North Carolina more competitive with neighboring states in attracting and retaining economic development and growth. In meetings with Governor Pat McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger and members of the Mecklenburg County legislative delegation, NAIOP members advocated for a wide range issues impacting the commercial real estate industry, including:

  • Tax Reform that lowers personal and corporate rates while broadening the sales tax base, without imposing inequitable business license and conveyance fees on real estate companies;
  • Regulatory Reform legislation that includes the periodic review of all state agency rules and the repeal of outdated and unnecessary regulation;
  • Legislation to rein in local governments that are exceeding their statutory authority; and,
  • Expedited environmental permitting and improved customer service at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
NAIOP member Barry Leasure and REBIC Executive Director Joe Padilla meet with Speaker Thom Tillis in Raleigh

House Speaker Thom Tillis meets with REBIC Executive Director Joe Padilla and NAIOP North Carolina members in Raleigh

The delegation expressed particular concern with a legislative proposals to expand the state’s franchise tax and apply it to limited liability corporations (LLCs) that have purchased land yet to be developed and thus not producing an income.  Understanding that this would discourage investment in commercial development, there was a willingness on the part of state leaders to discuss this further and hear more from commercial real estate on potential solutions to address this concern.

NAIOP’s 2013 Day at the Capitol was a tremendous success, and gave members the unique opportunity to participate in direct conversations with North Carolina leaders on efforts to improve our state’s business climate. If you’re a NAIOP member and haven’t yet attended our annual meetings in Raleigh, make a point to join us in 2014!