Report from NAR Legislative Meetings

The National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors met Friday, capping off the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. The meetings took place just outside of Washington, D.C., in National Harbor, Md. Local leaders attended the events and meetings on your behalf: Mark McIlquham (President), Jason Nocher (President Elect), Eric Steuernagle (Past President) Andy Perenick (MLS President), Pam Roberts (Past President) and Sandy Carroll.  In addition to the exciting elections and honors, also reported in separate posts, there were many MLS policy meetings that discussed emerging issues and trends, legal meetings that covered current lawsuits, advocacy meetings that covered current legislation that can help home-ownership and spur growth, and economic and industry meetings to help us navigate the future.  Here is a link to the slides presented by NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun at the virtual Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum

The leaders are excited to share some of these ideas at the Legislative Breakfast, the DR meeting and in posts in the REcap as we address these issues.  We also met with vendors that can help your business thrive with new tools and had the pleasure of meeting and discussing local matters with Bob Goldberg, CEO of NAR on the tradeshow floor.  In a strange twist of fate, we had to meet with our legislators this year via Zoom, and our board had Billy Keane as our representative in our meeting with Senator Markey on the Downtown Revitalization. The national board also voted on several items:

Consumer Advertising
Approved the continuation of the Consumer Ad Campaign, increasing the annual special assessment to $45 per year per member because of the increased cost of media. The current campaign, That’s Who We R, is now in its fourth year and has garnered 42 advertising industry awards. Directors extended the $45 assessment level through 2027.

Fair Housing
Approved a recommendation from the Fair Housing Policy Committee that NAR support the strong and fair enforcement of the fair lending provisions of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The statement serves as a guide for NAR to advocate for federal fair lending policy that furthers the REALTOR® Code of Ethics’ consumer protections against unlawful discrimination.

Approved a State & Local Issues Policy Committee recommendations urging state associations to promote legislation providing for minimum, universal fair housing education requirements for all real estate licensees. Among the minimum requirements recommended was an addition from NAR’s Executive Committee recommending that states allow commercial real estate licensees to satisfy the requirements with non-discrimination training.

Property Inheritance
Approved a State & Local Issues Policy Committee recommendation urging state associations to support reforms to state law governing intestate succession of real property. Property owners who inherit real property intestate as tenants-in-common are vulnerable to forced sale and eviction. The policy encourages states to pass reforms such as the Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act. UPHPA, model legislation developed by a bipartisan group of experts appointed by state governments to the Uniform Law Commission, provides owners with a series of simple due process protections.

Approved an Insurance Committee recommendation that NAR support enhancing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as an alternative to a pandemic risk insurance approach, and that the enhancements achieve a set of criteria including federal revenue replacement in the event of future pandemics, better targeting of highly impacted businesses and investors, and a streamlined application process, among other things.

Legal Action
Approved legal action funding for a New Jersey case involving classification of agents as independent contractors and in an Illinois case challenging an arbitration panel’s decision.

Membership Policy & Board Jurisdiction
Amended the Limited Function Referral Office Policy and FAQs to allow for practitioners who are
licensed in more than one state to have a LFRO waiver in one state while also holding REALTOR® membership in another, provided that the licensee otherwise qualifies and is affiliated with different brokerage offices in said states.

Professional Standards
Approved the following changes to the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual:

  • Under a change to Sec. 1, they clarified the definition of “real estate professional.”
  • Under Sec. 20, which describes an expedited enforcement process, directors said Grievance Committees reviewing such cases will be able to refer a complaint to the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing if the conduct described in the complaint is sufficiently egregious and/or a potential violation of public trust.
  • Also under Sec. 20, directors clarified that anonymous complaints, other than those allowed for in an association’s citation policy, are prohibited. If an association’s citation policy allows for anonymous complaints, any complaint referred for hearing must include a complainant (such as a member of the Grievance Committee) to shoulder the burden of proof.

The changes go into effect in January 2023.

Aid for Ukraine
During an emotional opening to the meeting, Alexa Kebalo Hughes, a REALTOR® from Tolland, Conn., sang the Ukranian national anthem, and Ukrainian REALTORS® Olena Haidamakha of Kyiv and Igor Balaka of Kharkiv spoke about the plight of their country and the Ukrainian real estate industry since the Russian invasion. Directors gave the speakers a prolonged standing ovation and, over the course of the meeting, committed nearly $19,000 in humanitarian aid.