Ohio REALTORS pushing for vote on home inspection licensure measure — your help may be needed!

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By Scott Williams, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Public Policy

Ohio REALTORS are working hard to secure a vote on the industry’s top legislative priority — establishing a home inspector licensure system — prior to the House of Representatives adjourning for spring break following session on Wednesday. If successful in bringing House Bill 211 to the floor, we will need your assistance to achieve a positive outcome!

HB 211, which overwhelmingly passed the House Economic Development, Commerce, and Labor Committee by a 12-2 margin in late February, is a consumer protection measure that has garnered the support of REALTORS and the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors. It will create a regulatory board that will adopt minimum standards, conduct competency examinations, establish ongoing education, and provide consumers a process to have complaints addressed.

The decision on whether the full House will vote on HB 211 is expected to be announced tomorrow. Watch the Buzz for details. Also, if a vote is scheduled, we will be launching a “Call for Action” via text message, providing you the opportunity to tell your Representative to vote yes on this critically important consumer protection legislation.

Tags: politics

Centralized filing registrations gain momentum

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A flurry of registrations last week raised the number of businesses opting in to centralized filing of municipal net profits taxes to more than 2,000 – and still counting. This is despite an ongoing effort by Ohio cities to reverse the municipal income tax reform measure that was stronly supported by Ohio REALTORS and other business groups.

The cities have officially appealed the ruling to the 10th District Court of Appeals. However, the Municipal Tax Reform Coalition — that includes Ohio REALTORS, Ohio Society of CPAs and others — scored another victory in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on Monday (March 5) as Judge Cain denied the cities’ motion to “stay” his decision on centralized collection while the appeal is pending. Therefore, everything is moving forward as planned.  If you want to track the case as it proceeds in the 10th District, it’s case number 18-AP-000144 and you can sign up for updates here: http://fcdcfcjs.co.franklin.oh.us/CaseInformationOnline

While the deadline passed on March 1 for businesses with a calendar year-end to opt in for centralized filing of municipal net profits taxes for the 2018 tax year, registration remains open for businesses with fiscal years that don’t match the calendar.

“Given the amount of uncertainty and friction around this new option,” said Ohio Department of Taxation spokesman Gary Gudmundson, “and given the short time span in which to get the word out and alert businesses to the signup, attracting more than 2,300 business taxpayers – and more than 1,100 in the last two days – is a clear signal that this option has tremendous appeal.”

All businesses that opted in should have notified all cities where they filed last year by March 1, as well. The next deadline for calendar-year-end businesses is the first-quarter estimated payment, due April 15.

Business owners: See this and other upcoming deadlines here.

“We’ve seen many single-city taxpayers, and a few who file in hundreds of cities, who’ve opted in,” said Gudmundson. “As awareness grows, we fully expect the customer base to grow significantly too.”

The centralized filing option is beneficial for Ohio businesses that file returns in multiple cities or villages, as it cuts down on administration headaches and reduces compliance costs. The Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) estimates it will save businesses a combined $1.6 billion annually in compliance costs if all Ohio businesses participate.

Don’t have a calendar year end? There’s still time to opt in now with the Ohio Department of Taxation. More details are available on the Ohio Department of Taxation’s Taxpayer Information Guide.

Finally, if you’d like to stay informed of ongoing developments regarding this issue — click here to access the Municipal Tax Reform Coalition website.

Tags: politics

Ohio REALTOR-backed legislation on Appraisal Management Companies OK’d by Senate Committee

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By Scott Williams, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Public Policy

A measure to establish regulations to allow the state’s Appraisal Management Companies (AMC) to appraise for federally backed mortgages passed the Ohio Senate Government Accountability and Oversight Committee yesterday. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure, which has the strong support of Ohio REALTORS, in the next few weeks.

HB 213, sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Dever (R-Cincinnati), is necessary to comply with Dodd Frank requirements. It previously passed the Ohio House.

Under federal law, if a state does not regulate appraisal management companies in accordance by Aug. 10, 2018, AMCs are barred from providing appraisal management services in that state for federally related transactions. This requirement does not apply to an appraisal management company that is owned and controlled by a federally regulated depository institution.  To comply with federal law, the state must require that appraisal management companies:

  • Register with, and be subject to supervision by, an appraiser certifying and licensing agency in the state or states where company operates;
  • Verify that only state-certified or state-licensed appraisers are used for federally related transactions;
  • Require that appraisals comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice; and
  • Require that appraisals are conducted in accordance with the statutory valuation independence standards under the Truth in Lending Act and its implementing regulations.

These are the same requirements that any current independent appraiser must meet to be licensed in Ohio and appraise for federally related transactions.

If an appraisal management company is a subsidiary owned and controlled by an insured depository institution and regulated by a federal financial institutions regulatory agency, the appraisal management company is subject to all of the minimum requirements except the requirement to register with a state.

At this time 43 states have adopted these requirements in order to be able to continue to allow their state Appraisal Management Companies to conduct appraisals for these federal transactions. Ohio must act now so we do not have any interruptions in our ability to offer these loan products through lenders utilizing state appraisal management companies.


Note: Updated 3/15 to clarify requirements of HB 213

Tags: politics

Industry-backed home inspection licensure measure moves forward with House Committee backing

ohio statehouseBy Scott Williams, Vice President of Public Policy

Legislation to establish a home inspection licensure system in Ohio took a critical step forward yesterday, as the House Economic Development, Commerce, and Labor Committee approved HB 211 by a 12-2 margin.

The measure, the top legislative priority of the Ohio REALTORS, is expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives within the next few weeks.

Ohio REALTORS Chief Executive Officer Robert Fletcher testified in support of the legislation, stressing that it will provide consumers confidence that the inspector they hire is trained to assess the property’s condition.

“The major reason we support HB 211 is because the home inspection report is a critical component of what is, for many, the most important and expensive transaction they make,” Fletcher told lawmakers. “It is a critical, consumer protection measure that is currently lacking in Ohio.

“A thorough, accurately prepared home inspection report is of great value to the parties to the transaction,” he added. “It enhances awareness of the home’s condition prior to conveyance. (The inspection report) is instrumental in ensuring, to the extent possible, that buyers know what they are buying — and sellers have a better understanding of what they are selling.”

The Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors also testified in support of HB 211, which will create a regulatory board that will adopt minimum standards, conduct competency examinations, establish ongoing education, and provide consumers the opportunity to have complaints addressed.

Special thanks to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jim Hughes (R-Upper Arlington) and Committee Chairman Rep. Ron Young (R-Leroy Township) for their exemplary leadership in bringing this important consumer protection measure a step closer to becoming a reality in  Ohio.

Ohio REALTORS also expresses its sincere gratitude to the following Committee members for backing passage: Vice Chairman Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance), Ranking Member Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), Rep. Steven M. Arndt (R-Port Clinton), Rep. Thomas E. Brinkman (R-Cincinnati), Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati), Rep. Al Landis (R-Dover), Rep. P. Scott Lipps (R-Franklin), Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati), Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Toledo), Rep. Dick Stein (R-Norwalk), and Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton). Rep. Larry Household (R-Glenford) was not present for the vote.

Only two members of the Committee voted against moving HB 211 forward — Rep. Bill Dean (R-Xenia) and Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville).

“The positive outcome we achieved at the Committee level is directly attributable to the thousands of Ohio REALTORS and consumers that voiced their support for passage of HB 211 in the weeks leading up to the vote,” Fletcher noted. “There is, without question, wide-spread support to bring oversight to the last remaining unregulated component of the home buying process.”

Tags: politics

Spencer Gross joins Ohio REALTORS Public Policy team

Spencer GrossSpencer Gross has joined the Ohio REALTORS Public Policy Group as Director, Local Government Affairs, working as a liaison with Local Boards/Associations and governmental entities to advance the interests of REALTORS and property owners.

Gross most recently served as Deputy Director of Legislative and Policy Affairs for the Treasurer of State, where he engaged in lobbying efforts on issues including local government investment authority and financial institution regulations. He was also responsible for generating local government involvement in OhioCheckbook.com, a nationally recognized and award-winning transparency program. Gross previously served as Legislative Aide in the Ohio House of Representatives and has also worked on numerous state, congressional, and presidential campaigns.

Gross graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Miami University.

Spencer is a member of the Athletic Club of Columbus and German Village Society. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Holly, and their dog, Ruby. He also enjoys exercising and playing golf and squash.

Ohio REALTORS, with more than 32,000 members, is the largest professional trade association in Ohio.

Tags: Association news, politics

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