Montcalm County Association of Realtors® Tue, 08 Jan 2019 00:03:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 April 2018: Legislative Update Sat, 31 Mar 2018 17:02:03 +0000

We made it! Tax Reform passed in Washington. Overall, the industry in our area does well with the proposal as passed. There will be some follow up legislation in the coming months, but until then, NAR has some great information created to help answer questions about the proposal’s impact on ownership and those that work within the industry.

Your NAR member committee process has completed work on structuring its 2018 policy priorities. There certainly are a few big issues in Washington needing attention that we hear about on the evening news, but hopefully some of these pro-real estate, pro-property owner, pro-Realtor® member items will rise to the top (in particular as the waters recede from our recent heavy rains and flooding in parts of West Michigan….. yes, NFIP needs attention!).

In Lansing, things are stable. Governor Snyder presented his last State of the State address, recently sent his 2019 budget proposal to the Michigan Legislature for consideration, and less than 10 months remain in his tenure given the term limit mandate. Extra revenue due to increased economic activity is being dumped into roads. Most people in Lansing are term-limited. Folks are looking to gear up for a BIG election year. Don’t expect a lot of heavy policy issues to move this year.

DO expect a hearing soon in the House regarding the First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account legislation. We’ll be engaging the public more about this issue to help see passage this year given that the Senate has passed the legislation already. We are continuing to advance the debate on short-term property rental rights although no hearing is scheduled for the issue yet. And hopefully soon, State Rep. and Realtor® appraiser member from Kalamazoo Dave Maturen will have his legislation pass that clarifies the transfer tax refund being applicable to new construction property.

We’ll be gearing up for candidate interviews next month and I look forward to working with MCAR again through this important process. Long-term, it will help us be successful on many industry issues such as the ones below:

Tax Reform

Realtors® won the battle as a sweeping federal tax reform proposal is now law.  The deductibility of state and local property taxes and mortgage interest remains and option to incentivize ownership.  The 1031 like-kind exchange provision remains for real property and we defeated potentially horrible changes impacting sellers from a capital gains perspective.  At every step of legislative action, the bill became more favorable in its treatment of real estate.

Early and On-Time, Balanced Budgets

Your Association drives the conversation in government toward early, on-time, balanced budgets with a continued look at policy reforms to more efficiently operate.  Encouraging these levels of cooperation in the legislative process keeps governmental officials from entertaining proposals to regulate a property owner, increase the cost of the transaction, or tax those that work within the industry.

First-Time Homebuyer Savings Accounts

Legislation that will create a tax-free savings account for a first-time Michigan principal residence purchase has passed the Senate and we are working to schedule a hearing in the House soon.  Working in the spirit of how one can currently save for educational expenses and realize tax benefits, three other states have successfully implemented this concept.  This tool will help support our market long-term given student loan debt concern facing potential buyers.

Short-Term Property Rental Rights

Legislation has been introduced to stop a local government from preemptively banning a property owner from renting property on a short-term basis.   Rental rights are key to the value of property, the economic vitality of Michigan communities, the culture of our state, and are a crucial private property right.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): Extension, Reform, and Map Quality

Congress must reauthorize NFIP to continue providing flood insurance after March 23.  We need to reduce uncertainty in the real estate market by including reforms that realize sustainable private market options for clients that need flood insurance to finance a transaction.  Improved flood map accuracy will support the property owner, industry professionals, and program efficiency.

Michigan Real Estate Transfer Tax Exemption (u)

Governor Snyder signed legislation sponsored by Realtor® member and State Rep. Dave Maturen in 2015 to streamline the declining value exemption, applying to those selling a principal residence with an SEV lower as compared to SEV upon purchase.  Legislation clarifying the intent of the law and its application toward new construction is moving through the legislative process.

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July 2017: Senate Bill 329 and House Bill 4503 Thu, 16 Nov 2017 04:09:53 +0000
I hope this note finds you well as we begin the summer season.

We have a hot legislative item receiving attention and I’d like to bring your attention to Senate Bill 329 and House Bill 4503.

Michigan Realtors® is working on a legislative concept to preserve short-term property rental rights and vacation rental options.  The Public Policy Committee believes that an owner’s ability to periodically rent their property is an important right to preserve in statute.  There is a growing trend whereby a local government elects to fully ban short-term property rentals as a prohibited commercial activity in a residential zone.  We believe this is wrong-headed and detrimental to both the property owner and the community.

The practice of vacation or short-term property rental, often for a weekend or at week intervals, allows for the use of a property owner’s fully furnished home on or near a vacation or event destination.  The option is a favorable one among tourists who have embraced such intimate options near their respective destination.  Additionally, Michigan vacation property owners – many of whom reside elsewhere throughout much of the year – have found an opportunity to maximize the value of their property and to aid in the payment of non-homestead property taxes.  In many instances, this ability to rent was an important variable in their decision to purchase property in the first place.  Visitors spend significantly in local communities supporting local events, local jobs, and local economic activity.  Guests from out of town very much support the viability of numerous Michigan events and destinations, along with property values and assessments.

Michigan is relatively new to the debate over prohibiting short-term property rental as communities across Michigan have allowed short-term property rentals to persist absent any direct language within their zoning ordinances for years.  Michigan Realtors® established a Vacation Rental Task Force last year to study the issue given activity in Michigan and other states.  The Task Force supports enacting a statewide prohibition on short-term property rental bans.  It identified a solution where the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act could be amended to consider the periodic rental of one’s property for less than 28-day terms as residential in nature.  The introduced legislation respects a local government’s right to regulate short-term property rentals for nuisances appropriately.

As discussion continues within the Michigan Legislature before a hearing on the legislation, we are looking for members, property owners, and businesses that have positive experiences as to the value of short-term property rental to share their story.  If you or someone you know would be willing to help us contact a legislator, please let me know.  I’d be happy to work up a draft message and will make sure that it is sent to appropriate elected officials.  Shoot me an email!

We believe the availability of these types of rental arrangements offer a unique benefit and draw for Michigan property owners and sell economic opportunity in communities all over Michigan.  Help us address the cloud of uncertainty that is appearing in the form of varying, poor local government policy preemptively restricting the right of private property owners from renting their property.

Your support of so many of your association advocacy initiatives is greatly appreciated.  Hope to connect with you soon once again.


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