January 2019 The Legislative Minute

New Year, New Legislative Priorities for Real Estate

With the General Assembly convening next week, REALTORS® are readying a new legislative policy agenda for introduction. CCR’s leadership discussed these priorities with our incoming General Assembly Delegation and County Commissioners during a Legislative Luncheon on December 7. Those issues include:

  • Expanding Housing Opportunity—supporting tax changes to make home purchases more affordable; encouraging the creation of new homes and apartments; and regulatory changes to increase housing supply and lower building costs.
  • Written Escrow Money Agreements—to ensure that third-party companies are subject to the same regulatory requirements as real estate brokers.
  • Client Confidentiality—to clarify that an agent has a duty to protect confidential information learned from potential clients even if no agency relationship results from such meetings.
  • Escrow of Ground Rents—removing the requirement to collect past due ground rent at settlement unless the rent holder is registered with the state.
  • Short-Term Rentals—providing reasonable regulations for the operation of rental properties throughout the state.
  • Mortgage Debt Tax Forgiveness—continuing the current exemption from state and federal income taxes for forgiven mortgage debt.

Government Shutdown Impacts USDA Loans; NFIP and FHA to Continue Operations

As the Federal Government shutdown enters its third week, NAR wants REALTORS® and their clients to be aware of the following potential impacts to the home buying and selling process:

  •  After a brief stoppage, NAR was able to secure a continuation of the National Flood Insurance Program, including both new and renewal policies
  • USDA Rural Housing Loans will not be issued and will not be allowed to close during the shutdown.
  • The Federal Housing Administration will continue to endorse new Single Family Mortgage Loan Program loans; HECM loans and Multi-Family loans will not be issued. Processing delays may also occur.
  • Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will maintain normal operations; however, some loans are still subject to normal IRS verification which may be unavailable.
    For additional information on the housing-related impacts of the shutdown, visit NAR’s website.

Around the County

Small Business Disaster Relief loans are available to Carroll County residents who suffered economic losses from July 2018 flash flooding. SBA loans are also available for those who sustained property and other damage from the November 2018 tornado.

CCR offers its congratulations to the new officers of the County Commissioners: President Stephen Wantz, Vice President Ed Rothstein and 2nd Vice President Richard Weaver.

On November 27th, the Carroll County Commissioners approved a revised version of the Monocacy Scenic River Management Plan which included reforms sought by CCR. We thank the Commissioners for their work on crafting those revisions.

Potomac Edison has announced several programs to help Carroll County residents with their heating bills this winter.

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