Legislative Priorities

Core Issue: Taxes – Taxes relative to the real estate transaction, such as the realty transfer tax, and those associated with homeownership, such as the property tax, are a major burden to buyers and homeowners alike. An increase in any industry-related tax would have a negative impact on housing costs and the industry as a whole.

  • House Bill 1213 (Kampf, R-Montgomery) and Senate Bill 586 (Argall, R-Schuylkill) both would establish that a taxing district may not appeal the assessment of property based on purchase or sale of the property. PAR supports this legislation.
  • House Bill 1285 (Maloney, R-Berks) – This bill, which passed in July, would allow modifications to the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Uniformity Clause to allow residential property tax relief. The referendum was approved by voters in November’s municipal election. PAR supported the passage of the referendum.
  • Senate Bill 41 (Williams, D-Philadelphia) – This bill would allow a local taxing authority to create a dual-tiered property tax system that distinguishes between residential and commercial real estate, while allowing for a proportional decrease in other taxes. PAR opposes this legislation.
  • Senate Bill 76 (Argall, R-Schuylkill) – This bill proposes to eliminate property taxes by prohibiting school districts from levying a school property tax. The legislation would create the Education Stabilization Fund to fund public schools. The fund is comprised of: an increase in the state’s Personal Income Tax from 3.07 percent to 4.95 percent; an increase in the state’s Sales and Use Tax from 6 percent to 7 percent; the expansion of the goods and services subject to the state’s Sales and Use Tax; and an increase in the Hotel Occupancy Tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. PAR supports this legislation.
  • Senate Bill 201 (Folmer, R-Lebanon) and House Bill 331 (Bloom, R-Cumberland) – The bill would allow like-kind exchanges in Pennsylvania, mirroring the federal law. House Bill 331 passed out of the House in April. PAR supports this legislation.
  • Senate Bill 1137 (Scavello, R-Monroe) – would eliminate residential school property taxes through the state’s existing homestead exclusion program. To fund the expanded homestead exclusion program, the legislation would increase the personal income tax rate 1.98 percent to 5.05 percent. The tax is expected to generate $9.3 billion, which will be placed in a separate account dedicated solely to property tax elimination. PAR will further research the proposed legislation.

Core Issue: Practice and Professionalism – The Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act (RELRA) governs the practice of real estate licensees in the Commonwealth and serves to protect consumers who work with real estate licensees. It is incumbent upon the association to enact laws that enhance the industry, both for its members and for consumers.

  • House Bill 863 (Rothman, R-Cumberland) – Amends the Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act increasing prelicensure to 75 hours, requiring a high school diploma and allowing for Broker Price Opinions. PAR supported this legislation. The bill passed June 29 and became Act 75.
  • House Bill 1001 (Helm, R-Dauphin) – The Home Inspector Licensing Act regulates home inspectors. The bill passed in the House in October and was voted out of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee in early 2018. PAR supports this legislation.
  • House Bill 1361 (Harper, R-Montgomery) and Senate Bill 689 (Eichelberger, R-Blair) would appoint two certified Pennsylvania evaluators to serve on the State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers. PAR is monitoring these bills.
  • Senate Bill 354 (Tomlinson, R-Bucks) and House Bill 548 (Readshaw, D-Allegheny) would require all licensees to report any arrest within 90 days. The bill was amended to the provision and instead require licensees to report only convictions to the licensing board. This new language already exists in RELRA, but would bring all 29 licensed professions to the same standards. PAR is monitoring these bills.
  • Senate Bill 384 (Farnese, D-Philadelphia) – The bill would require Philadelphia to use certified assessors to ensure professionalism and accuracy in the assessment process. PAR supports this legislation.
  • Senate Bill 613 (Browne, R-Lehigh) – This amends the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to prevent discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression to the scope. PAR supports this legislation.

Core Issue: Housing – An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households across the U.S. pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes on housing. It is vital that the association play a role in helping to ensure that housing of all types is available at all income levels, and that programs are available to help homeowners achieve the dream of homeownership. The association must also contribute to the creation of revitalized communities while maintaining private property rights.

  • House Bill 514 (Bullock, D-Philadelphia) – Prohibition of arrest records as condition of housing lease. PAR opposes this legislation.
  • House Bill 557 (Everett, R-Lycoming) – This legislation clarifies that the deduction of post-production costs from unconventional gas well production may not result in royalty payments less than the guaranteed minimum. PAR supports this legislation.
  • House Bill 573 (Davis, R-Bucks) – Requires the seller’s disclosure form to disclose the presence of rights-of-way, easements or access limitations that affect the use of the property. PAR opposes this legislation.
  • House Bill 890 (Dean, D-Montgomery) – The bill amends the landlord tenant act to provide protections for tenants who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, who may need to change the locks on their doors, or prematurely terminate their lease for safety reasons. PAR Legislative Committee supports the concept of the bill, but opposes language.
  • House Bill 900 (Dean, D-Montgomery) – Amends the Landlord Tenant Act providing that a tenant of a residential unit who has a disability or is a senior citizen and is either awaiting admission or subsequently moves to another individual’s residence for the express purpose of receiving care from a home health care agency or an older adult daily living center for a period of no less than six months may terminate a lease prior to the date provided in the lease by providing the landlord with specified information. PAR opposes this legislation.
  • House Bill 958 (Davis, R-Bucks) – Amends the Landlord Tenant Act providing for tenants’ right to disclosure by requiring landlord to disclose to all tenants a certified copy of a foreclosure notice. PAR opposes this legislation.
  • House Bill 961 (Davis, R-Bucks) – Amends the Landlord Tenant Act requiring that if a judgment of foreclosure is entered against a landlord, the landlord shall immediately notify all tenants in writing. In not event shall the property be sold less than 90 days after notice to the tenants. PAR opposes this legislation.
  • House Bill 1006 (Murt, R-Montgomery) – Requires that residential real estate sellers disclose if their property has been used as a marijuana grow house. PAR opposes this legislation.
  • House Bill 1310 (Petri, R-Bucks) – Would amend the Municipal Claim and Tax Lien Law to add language providing where municipal water or sewer service is provided through a separate meter to a rental unit, the owner’s duty to pay a tenant’s bill and the lien regarding the account shall exist only if the municipality notifies the owner and the tenant within 30 days after the bill first becomes overdue. PAR opposes this bill.
  • House Bill 1019 (Gillen, R-Lancaster) – Requires the disclosure of private cemeteries in residential and commercial transactions. The bill was signed by Gov. Wolf and became Act 64 of 2017. PAR was successful in removing  all references to disclosure in this bill.
  • House Bill 1428 (Tallman, R-Adams) – Would make it illegal to falsely claim an animal is a service or support animal. PAR supports this bill.
  • House Bill 1814 (Keller, R-Perry) and Senate Bill 851 (Argall, R-Schuylkill) – Would amend the Real Estate Tax Sale Law to define “delinquent property owner” and provide limitations on trusteeship and for ownership interests in the sale of property. PAR supports these bills.
  • House Bill 1875 (Rothman, R-Cumberland) – Amends the Landlord and Tenant Act, in recovery of possession, further providing for hearing, judgment, writ of possession and payment of rent by tenant. The bill establishes that the magisterial judge, previously justice of the peace, shall proceed to hear the case. It also states the landlord may request the issuance of an order for possession immediately after the rendition of the judgment. The magisterial district judge shall immediately thereafter issue an order for possession. PAR supports this bill.
  • House Bill 1981 (Bizzarro, D-Erie and Brown, R-Monroe) and Senate Bill 1066 (Fontana, D-Allegheny and Mensch, R-Montgomery) – Creates a First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account Program, which would provide an incentive for Pennsylvanians to save money toward the purchase of a money and the money saved would qualify as a tax deduction on their state income tax return. The House bill passed out of the House Urban Affairs Committee and the Senate bill passed out of the Senate Urban Affairs Committee in April. PAR supports these bills.
  • Senate Bill 50 (Greenleaf, R-Montgomery) – Requires the real estate seller disclosure form to disclose the property’s location in a flood zone or wetlands area and the property’s flood history including the frequency and the extent of flooding. PAR amended the language and supports the bill.
  • Senate Bill 51 (Greenleaf, R-Montgomery) – Amends the Landlord Tenant Act requiring the disclosure of flood history to lessees of residential real property. PAR amended the language in this legislation.
  • Senate Bill 144 (Yaw, R-Lycoming) – Amends the Sewage Facilities Act to allow for alternate systems when planning new development. PAR supports this legislation.
  • Senate Bill 296 (Fontana, D-Allegheny) – Requires that sellers of a residential properties would need to disclose if the property has lead in the tap water or paint. PAR opposes this legislation.
  • Senate Bill 340 (Browne, R-Lehigh) – The Abandoned Property Tax Sale Act provides for the tax sale of abandoned properties. The bill outlines notification timelines and for public postings. Additionally, the bill outlines duties for the purchaser of an abandoned property. PAR supports this legislation.
  • Senate Bill 603 (Rafferty, R-Berks) – The bill requires the owner or lessor of real property to disclose that the property was used as a location to manufacture methamphetamine and provides rules and guidelines related to reporting, restitution, removal and remediation. PAR supports this legislation.
  • Senate Bill 727 (Fontana, D-Allegheny) – The bill would require the agreement of sale to include an option for homebuyers to have the water tested for lead. PAR supports this legislation.

Core Issue: Local Issues – While municipalities in Pennsylvania have the authority to enact local ordinances on such issues as the registration of tenants, sewage lateral inspections, and installation of residential sprinkler systems, it is important for the association to monitor these ordinances in order to forestall any pending statewide implementation.

  • House Bill 1405 (Bernstine, R-Beaver) – The bill would standardize billing for municipal utility consumers. PAR reviewed the bill and the Legislative Committee voted to work to establish regulatory oversight of all municipal-owned utilities. 
  • House Bill 2281 (Knowles, R-Berks) – The bill would allow a municipality to develop ordinances regulating the deposit, testing and disposal or land application of biosolid materials. It would also allow a municipality to veto a permit application approved by the Department of Environmental Protection for the deposit, or land application of this material. PAR supports this legislation.

This page was updated on July 17, 2018.

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