Local governments in the Western Upstate are ramping up their agendas, but I would like to focus this week’s report on the state level. The South Carolina General Assembly convened for the 125th session on January 10.
Your REALTORS® Association, led by SC REALTORS®, has adopted a legislative agenda for the first half of the two-year session. These are the key advocacy priorities SCR will pursue on behalf of REALTORS®:
Short-term rental legislation: SCR will advocate for a statewide short-term rental registration and tax submittal framework so that short-term rental owners have a single point of compliance with state and local occupancy tax requirements similar to the central business license compliance legislation supported by REALTORS® that passed a few years ago.
Discriminatory covenants and restrictions: SCR will pursue an administrative process for removing discriminatory covenants and restrictions from property deeds that are unenforceable because they violate Federal Fair Housing laws. Many deeds and covenants created prior to the Federal Fair Housing Act contain illegal restrictions like prohibiting certain classes of people, particularly people of color, from living on properties covered by the covenants. The objective is to allow property owners to remove these restrictions from their deeds and covenants without petitioning a court.
Clarify that REALTOR® value opinions are not an appraisal: Last year the SC Appraisal Board sanctioned a REALTOR® for using RPR data in a valuation report. SCR sought clarification from SC Attorney General Alan Wilson, who said that a REALTOR® providing an opinion on the value of real estate for marketing purposes is not engaging in the practice of appraisal, which requires an appraisal license. SCR will advocate for legislation to clarify that providing an opinion on value, and using the term “value,” is not an appraisal.
Restore the share of the deed recording fee that had previously helped fund the SC Conservation Bank: A portion of the deed recording fee was dedicated to the conservation bank until 2018, when it was allowed to sunset. REALTORS® support adequate funding to conserve our state’s special places and supports restoring the funding from the existing deed recording fee. The deed recording fee will not be increased if the funding is restored.
Regulate the use of eminent domain by pipeline companies: SCR will upport legislation that will establish a regulatory framework for pipeline companies seeking to use eminent domain in order to protect the rights of private property owners.
You can get involved in SCR’s work at the State House by participating in the annual SCR Capitol Conference in Columbia February 1-2. There is not charge to participate in the conference other than your cost for travel and lodging. The conference even includes most meals. To register, click here.
Michael Dey, Director of Government Affairs