From the President’s Desk – March 2020

It’s hard to believe it has been a month since our Capitol Conference. The enthusiasm of our rally started our legislative session off on a good foot. While there are a number of bills the Kansas Association of REALTORS® (KAR) has been tracking and researching, there are a few key issues we’re focusing on and delivering testimony on.

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Home Inspector Regulation – Senate Bill 168 (SB 168)

To protect consumers, it is important home inspectors are well qualified and protections are in place in the event an inspector is negligent. Regulating home inspectors isn’t a new idea, prior legislation protected consumers, but the legislation was allowed to expire.  KAR worked with home inspector stakeholders to identify and draft legislation that is beneficial to all parties. Establishing registration standards provides stability and integrity within the profession.

As of Friday, February 21 SB 168 was under review by a Senate Committee.

Assistance Animal Integrity Act – House Bill 2523 (HB 2523)

Policies regarding assistance animals have made their way into the Kansas Legislature. Renters falsely claiming pets as assistance animals to get around pet policies has become a growing problem. HB 2523 provides legislative framework to prevent the misrepresentation of assistance animal accommodation requests and consequences for those who submit false claims. This legislation helps protect those who truly need an assistance animal as well as landlords and tenants from unnecessary liabilities.

HB 2523 bill did not pass out of committee and will not advance this session.

First Time Home Buyers – House Bill 2516 (HB 2516)

It’s hard to argue against the benefits of home ownership. HB 2516 would help first-time home buyers save for their first home by establishing tax-advantaged savings accounts. With the accounts, first-time home buyers could save toward the purchase or construction of a primary residence in Kansas. The funds could also be used for other eligible real estate expenses including a down payment and closing costs. Policies that promote home ownership help more Kansans achieve the American Dream.

As of Friday, March 2 HB 2516 moved on to the Senate for consideration.

Itemized Deductions

In 2017, many Kansas home and property owners lost the ability to take advantage of the mortgage interest and property tax deductions when the federal standard deduction doubled. If Kansans elect to take the standard deduction at the federal level, they must also take the standard deduction at the state level. KAR is advocating for legislation that restores the ability of Kansans to itemize mortgage interest and property tax deductions, regardless of federal tax filing status. The ability to itemize property tax and mortgage interest has a long history of public support and the majority of Kansans impacted are middle-class homeowners. We’re closely watching House Bill 2005 as it relates to restoring these deductions.

As of Friday, March 2 this bill is awaiting House action.

You can easily stay up-to-date on important legislation by following the Kansas Association of REALTORS® Facebook page, @KansasRealtors and access KAR testimony by logging into The Buzz.

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