Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Housing bills get legislative seal of approval

Public safety and consumer protection took center stage late yesterday  in a package of housing-related bills the House of Representatives sent across the rotunda for Senate consideration.
Topping the list was House Bill 1529. Involving the disclosure of information by landlords in the screening of potential tenants, the measure is aimed at preventing discrimination against the victims of domestic violence when they are seeking housing.

House Bill 1647 requires that landlords exercise appropriate care and safety when they are keeping copies of any master keys or duplicate keys for the dwellings they manage. Three years ago a maintenance man used a key from a landlord's office to enter a woman's apartment in Richland and sexually assaulted the tenant.
House Bill 1617 makes permanent the 2011-2013 caps set on administrative costs for the Housing Assistance Program and the Affordable Housing Program in the Department of Commerce. The goal in the bill is to ensure a steady and predictable stream of revenue for administering these programs.
House Bill 1170 updates the property-tax-exemption program to help make sure that folks on fixed incomes -- such as low-income senior citizens, as well as disabled veterans and other people in need -- aren’t being taxed out of their homes.
House Bill 1853clarifies that licensed real-estate brokers are independent contractors. State law would thus exempt real-estate brokers, managing brokers, and designated brokers from overtime requirements, unless a broker is specifically designated as an employee in his or her contract with a real-estate firm.

Read this story in Spanish.