Volume 6, Issue 9:  April 19, 2013


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Legislation of Interest:  HB 40:  Synopsis:  This bill extends the Automatic Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program and the Office of Foreclosure Prevention for four additional years beyond the current sunset date in January 2014.  The bill also makes technical changes to the administration of the program and changes the mechanics for paying the Mediation fee.  You can check out HB 40 HERE.  

HB 44 with HA 2:  Synopsis:  This bill permits a real property owner or tenant to display an American flag on a pole attached to the exterior of the property’s structure or on a flagpole located within the property’s boundaries, provided the flagpole does not exceed 25 feet in height and conforms to all setback requirements.  Any and all community restrictions to the contrary will not be enforceable.  You can check out HB 44 with HA 2 HERE.

Delaware Real Estate Commission Looking For Input:  The Delaware Real Estate Commission is asking for recommendations regarding additions or changes to the Seller’s Disclosure of the Real Property Condition Report.  You can email your recommendations to Rick Allamong at andy@today.com.  All recommendations must be received by May 31, 2013!

DNREC Public Hearing:  Proposed Stormwater Regulations.  DNREC will be holding a public hearing on the proposed Stormwater and Sediment Regulations on Tuesday, April 23rd at 6:00pm at the DNREC Auditorium located in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 King's Highway, Dover.  You can read the proposed regulations HERE, and the technical document for the regulations HERE.

Source Water Protection Citizens and Technical Advisory Committee Meeting: CTAC will hold its semiannual meeting from 9 a.m. to noon  on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in Conference Room 220 A&B of the Kent County Administrative Offices on Bay Road in Dover. This meeting is the second of two focused on nutrients in drinking water.  For more information contact Program Manager John Barndt at 302-739-9945.

DNREC Releases Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for portions of Kent County:  DNREC has announced that preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for portions of Kent County have been released by FEMA. You can check out the maps HERE. 

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Federal News In Case You Missed It:

NAR President Testifies on FHA:  NAR President Gary Thomas testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance about the importance of the FHA mortgage insurance program.  This was the fourth in a series of hearings being held by the Committee since FHA's 2013 actuarial report showed a negative net value of $13.48 billion.  FHA has made significant changes to improve their financial standing, including raising premiums and lender enforcement.  NAR believes Congress can provide additional tools to FHA including program flexibility, increased risk management controls, and improved management.  President Thomas cautioned Congress from making significant changes to FHA that could hamper our housing recovery and disenfranchise qualified borrowers. 

NAR Hosts E-Signature Summit:  On March 21, 2013, NAR played host to a gathering of representatives of government, REALTORS®, major lenders and e-signature service providers to discuss the slow and spotty acceptance of electronic signature technology in daily real estate business. The E-SIGN Act of 2000, a federal law, established the legal equivalency of electronic signatures in commerce.  Many federal agencies have moved to implement policies that utilize e-signatures, notably FHA in 2010.  Nevertheless experience in real estate transactions remains inconsistent and even non-existent in many areas. (Read more) 

Information Released on Flood Program Changes: On March 29, 2013, FEMA released information on changes to the policies and rates of the National Flood Insurance Program.  Highlights of the changes, required under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Bill that passed in 2012, include revised premium rates, a new Reserve Fund assessment, updated rates for non-primary residences, exclusion of certain properties from receiving subsidized premium rates and no extensions of subsidy to new policies or lapsed policies. NAR has been meeting with FEMA to express our concerns regarding the impact these new rates and premiums will have on property owners and property transactions.  For more info contact Russell Riggs, 202/383-1259, or Austin Perez, 202/383-1046, or click HERE.

NAR Urges IRS to Recognize REALTORS® as Independent Contractors:  On March 15, 2013, NAR submitted comments to the Internal Revenue Service in connection with proposed regulations published on January 2, 2013, interpreting the Shared Responsibility for Employers Regarding Health Coverage requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Among other things, the proposed regulations set out a definition of “employee” for purposes of determining when an employer is an “Applicable Large Employer” and is thus subject to certain requirements under the Act, including providing health insurance coverage to employees of the firm. (Read more) 

Congress Grants Extension for Rural Communities: On March 21, 2013, Congress passed the Continuing Resolution, which funds the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.  Within that bill was an extension of the exiting rural housing definition, which will ensure that more than 900 communities continue to have access to rural housing programs.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is required under federal law to revise the list of communities eligible for rural housing loans following each decennial census.  However, following every census since 1980, Congress has grandfathered in existing communities.  NAR championed this issue and sent many communications to Congress over the last year.  The bill that just passed will provide an extension through September 30, 2013.  NAR will continue to work with Congress to update the definition of "rural" in order to retain vital RHS housing programs in more than 900 rural communities.

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