Lindsay Jackson, SCR Chief Advocacy Officer
The General Assembly has officially wrapped up the 2020 legislative session, marking the end of a two year session.
The regular legislative session was interrupted due to COVID-19 in March, but both bodies returned to Columbia on a few occasions to take up specific items such as emergency COVID-19 funding for DHEC, a continuing resolution to keep state government running, absentee voting for the general election, and allocating CARES Act monies. Most recently, the House and Senate returned for a special September session to finish the remainder of their business for the year.
While this session has been unlike any other, SCR was able to adapt and adjust quickly in a very uncertain legislative environment.
Despite the challenges the year brought, I am very pleased to announce that our REALTOR® priorities were not lost in the chaos.
SCR priority agenda items including H.4431 (Business License Fee Reform), H.3596 (Rollback Tax Reduction), S.207 (Assessment Ratios/TIF Funding for Affordable Housing), S.217 (Use of Accommodations Tax for Flooding/Drainage), H.3998 (Senior and Workforce Affordable Housing Act, and S.259 (Office of Resilience), passed the General Assembly and are headed to Governor McMaster’s desk for his signature.
- H.4431 (Business License Fee Reform): This legislation reforms and simplifies the current business license tax system. The bill requires a standard application form, renewal date, appeals procedure and class schedules. The legislation also creates a central online payment portal administered by a governmental agency that ensures taxpayer data remains protected.
- H.3596 (Rollback Tax Reduction): This legislation would provide a positive economic impact for the real estate industry, property owners, and the state as a whole by limiting the rollback tax penalty from five years to three years when land is applied for another use. Currently, land classified for agricultural use receives special, lower tax rates but when the land is reclassified to commercial or residential use, the property owner is forced to pay rollback taxes. This legislation ensures that property achieves its highest and best use and that will provide relief to current and future property owners looking to transition land from agricultural use to commercial or residential use.
- S.207 (Assessment Ratios/TIF Funding for Affordable Housing): A TIF allows municipalities to incur debt for the redevelopment of a project area and use the additional property tax revenue generated by the redevelopment projects to pay off that debt. This legislation allows TIF funding to include publicly and privately owned affordable housing projects, allowing more marketplace engagement in affordable housing across the state.
- S.217 (Use of Accommodations Tax for Flooding/Drainage): This legislation allows the use of the accommodations tax for control and repair of flooding and drainage. The revenues must be expended exclusively on public works projects designed to eliminate or mitigate the adverse effects of recurrent nuisance flooding, including that which is attributable to sea-level rise, or other recurrent flooding. Such adverse effects include road closures and other transportation disruptions, storm-water drainage issues, and compromised public infrastructure. The public works projects must be within or on tourism-related lands or areas.
- S.259 (Resilience Revolving Fund): This legislation establishes a state office of resilience and allows the governor to appoint a Chief Resiliency Officer. The bill also creates a statewide resiliency plan and creates a disaster relief and reserve fund to aid in floodplain restoration and flooded home buyouts. This legislation will also provide that local comprehensive plans include resiliency elements.
- S.882 (SC Private Flood Insurance Act): This legislation provides insurers the ability to test products in the market and thus give consumers greater choice for flood insurance coverage.The main provisions in the act include:
- Recognizing the various forms of private flood insurance available today – those meeting NFIP standards.
- Discretionary acceptance policies, and any other type of coverage that covers losses resulting from flood.
- Streamlining the regulatory oversight of forms and rates for private flood insurance coverage; allowing additional underwriting flexibility to incentivize carriers to offer coverage where and when it meets their underwriting criteria.
- Requiring 45 days’ notice before a private flood insurance policy is canceled or non renewed to allow consumers time to purchase alternative coverage.
SCR’s Legislative Committee will meet on October 28th to set the 2021 agenda. Items up for discussion at this time include remote/electronic notary, tax reform, housing attainability legislation, removal of discriminatory covenants and restrictions, among others. A full list of priorities will be circulated after the legislative prefile dates in December.
Click here to view a video legislative update.
Byron King on Clear Cooperation Policy
- Make sure a listing agreement is in place before marketing a property in any manner, even social media.
- NAR’s Clear Cooperation Policy requires listings to be placed into MLS within one business day of public marketing – Public marketing includes, signs, email blasts, social media, billboards, flyers, etc.
- Owners who ask for property to be exempt from MLS placement should sign Office Exclusive Listing Agreement
- Under Office Exclusive Listing Agreement, listing agency can market property within the agency and to the agency’s buyer clients who have entered into Buyer Agency Agreement or customers who have signed Exclusive Transaction Brokerage Buyer Agreement
- Seller should be made aware of limitation to “off MLS” marketing may affect price when using Office Exclusive Listing Agreement
Click here for more information and frequently asked questions.
Roderick Atkinson, SC Real Estate Commission Administrator
BIC supervision continues to be an issue as our industry incorporates more remote and virtual business transactions and communications. However, there is no “hands off” approach for the BIC. He or she must continue to provide adequate supervision and reasonable, regular contact with the associated licensees to curtail practices that would harm the public.
- Covid-19 has had a strong impact on Real Estate Commission staff and the incorporation of working from home or on a staggered basis at the office. Some fees have been waived, the Real Estate Commission has met virtually for the past few months, eligibility to take pre-licensing exams has been extended, and renewals were extended until September 30, 2020. Renewals for 2021 will be back on the regular June 30 schedule unless notified differently next year.
- The ability to offer qualifying and continuing education classes in a virtual format has been extended through the June 30, 2021 renewal period.
- BIC’s should check the website of the Real Estate Commission (llr.sc.gov/re) to make sure that every associated licensee has an active license. When a person practices real estate for a fee and does not have an active license, a license law violation occurs.
- Regarding the use of nicknames, middle names, or names that are different from name on real estate license, please know that the staff is working to incorporate technology that would allow registration of names other than the one under which the license was issued. Notifications will be made when that option is available.
- The license law changed in early 2020 to require both SLED and FBI background checks to be run as a condition of active renewal. This is set to start for 2021 renewals and will be required every third renewal. In the meantime, please do NOT get this done prior to notification by LLR as standardization of the process must occur.
As you can see, the meeting was jam packed with quality information and updates. Don’t miss the next one. We will have Congressman Jeff Duncan bring an update of national issues to you virtually on November 18.
Click here to register.