Friday, July 07, 2006

2006 New York State Legislative Session a Success for Consumers and Realtors
The 2006 legislative session came to a close late into the evening on Friday, June 23. Several NYSAR-supported bills passed both houses of the Legislature.

The Commission Protection Act, which previously was approved by the Senate, passed the Assembly for the first time. The bill, which now goes to Gov. George Pataki for his consideration, would place disputed real estate commissions into an escrow account held by county clerks if an affidavit to commission has been previously filed and the proper parties have been notified. This is great news for Realtors, since we have been operating with no leverage when sellers arbitrarily refuse to pay earned commissions. This is also good news for buyers, because it will help keep deals from falling apart over commission issues caused by disingenuous sellers.

The real estate education enhancement bill passed in both houses. If signed by the governor, the bill will increase the classroom hours required to obtain a salesperson's license from 45 to 75 hours passed both houses during the last two weeks of the legislative session. The proposal also increases from one year to two the number of years of supervision to be eligible for a broker's license, requires office managers to hold a broker's license, eliminates the so-called "grandfather clause" exemption for continuing education (applies only to those licensed after the enactment of the bill into law), and the creation of new photo pocket identification cards. This is terrific news for everyone! This will raise the bar for entry into the field of real estate sales and brokerage. It will now take nearly twice the time, and presumably twice the cost of current licensing courses to get started. It will also result in more education for all members.

NYSAR-supported legislation that revises the current real estate agency disclosure form passed the state Senate on Thursday, June 22. The bill had previously passed the state Assembly and will go to Gov. George Pataki for his consideration. The legislation replaces the current form with two separate forms for sales and lease transactions. I'm thrilled at this one. Maybe there is a chance that the new form will be written in plain English that might even make sense! Let's hope so (fingers crossed).

All in all, a good year legislatively. I'm in favor of almost anything that will bring greater professionalism and reasonable accountability to the process of listing and selling real estate. md

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