Volume 6, Issue 9:  April 26, 2013

Legislation of Interest:  HB 92:  Synopsis:  This bill amends the landlord/tenant code to permit the use of a surety bond in place of a security deposit.  Instead of paying a refundable security deposit, a tenant may, if the landlord permits, purchase a nonrefundable “surety bond” for a percentage of the security deposit amount.  The issuer of the surety bond would then be liable to the landlord in the event the tenant does not pay for any damages sustained by the landlord due to non-payment of rent, breach of lease, or damage to the rental property.  You can read HB 92 HEREPlease forward comments on HB 92 to maria@delawarerealtor.com

HB 70:  Synopsis:  This Bill recognizes the importance of properly functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in keeping tenants safe by expressly prohibiting a tenant from removing or tampering with a properly functioning detector installed in the rental unit by a landlord.  You can read HB 70 HERE. 

HB 28:  Synopsis: This bill makes it a crime to operate or attempt to operate a clandestine laboratory defined as any location on or in which a person assembles any chemicals or equipment which are intended to be used to or have been used to unlawfully manufacture a controlled substance or other substance in violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act.  Any person convicted would also be responsible for all reasonable costs associated with remediation of the site and any other site resulting from the operation or disposal of substances or materials from a clandestine laboratory.  This act is modeled after similar laws from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  Read HB 28 HERE.

Legislation of Interest Updates:  HB 40 w/SA 1: This bill has passed the House and the Senate, but, with the attachment of a Senate Amendment, SA 1, it will go back to the House for another vote.  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 HB40 w/SA 1 HERE.  

HB 44 with HA 2:  This bill has passed the House and is now assigned to the Community/County Affairs Committee in the Senate. 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:  Please note the email address for Rick Allamong has been corrected: The Delaware Real Estate Commission is asking for recommendations regarding changes to the Seller’s Disclosure of the Real Property Condition Report.  You can email your recommendations to Rick Allamong at rick@andytoday.com.  All recommendations must be received by May 31, 2013.

DNREC Proposed Stormwater Regulations.  DNREC will be accepting public comments on the proposed Stormwater and Sediment Regulations until May 8, 2013.  The News Journal wrote about the proposed regulations HERE and also HERE.  You can read the proposed regulations HERE, and the technical document for the regulations HERE.  Please submit comments to Elaine.Webb@state.de.us.

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.

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Federal News In Case You Missed It:

Get Housing Data by Congressional District:  Share with your members an online housing data tool, organized by congressional district, they can use when talking to their members of Congress. The data includes the number of  housing units in their member of Congress' district, how many are occupied and how many are vacant, the median home value, the median housing cost for homes with a mortgage, the median household income, and the unemployment rate, among other things. The data is organized as an interactive map. First click the state then scroll down to the congressional districts. Access and share the link.

Thomas: Go Slow on FHA Changes:  NAR President Gary Thomas in his latest video podcast says FHA is shoring up its reserves and it’s too soon to know whether the agency will need to take a draw on Treasury funds in September, when the fiscal year ends. He also shares a point he made in his recent congressional testimony that it's worth looking into whether FHA's 30-year reserve requirement remains appropriate. 

New Flood Insurance Premiums Released:  Reminder: Access 2013 premium rates, including on second homes. NAR has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on a report to Congress regarding the affordability of these and other rate changes under the federal flood insurance reform law passed last year. For more info contact Russell Riggs, 202/383-1259, or Austin Perez, aperez@realtors.org, 202/383-1046.

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