Lauren Bunting

Lauren Bunting

(May 21, 2021) As a continuation to last week’s article, the Maryland State Legislature convened on Jan. 13 and adjourned on April 12.

Maryland Realtors’ issues a report each year on the session to summarize the legislation that affects the real estate industry. Below are a few of the items from the report that did pass (a full report showing bills that did not pass is available at mdrealtor.org):

• HB 90/SB 687 – State and Local Housing Programs – Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing– Effective Oct. 1, 2021 with reports due no later than Dec. 1, 2023.

Directs DHCD and local governments to report every five years on their efforts to promote fair housing choice and racial and economic integration, as required by the United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Agency under the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (AFFH).

Directs DHCD to assess their programs under the AFFH. Directs local government to include a local assessment of fair housing efforts in the housing element of their comprehensive plans starting on Jan. 1, 2023.

• HB 252 – Tax Sales – Owner-Occupied Residential Property– Effective June 1, 2021 for a period of two years and one month. At the end of June 30, 2023, the law would expire.

Authorizes local governments to withhold owner-occupied residential property from a tax sale.

• HB 852 – Property Tax – Homeowner Protection Program– Effective July 1, 2022

Local tax collector must withhold from tax sale a homeowner registered for the Homeowner Protection Program. A homeowner with a primary residence valued at $300,000 or less and a combined household income of $60,000 or less may be eligible to apply for the protection program.

An approved applicant may participate in the program for up to three years during which time an ombudsman will work with the homeowner to place him/her on a more sustainable path.

• HB 1239/SB 859 – Department of Housing and Community Development – Appraisal Gap from Historic Redlining Financial Assistance Program –Effective July 1, 2021

Directs the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to study whether there is discrimination in real estate financing, appraisals and community investments and report back to the Legislature. The bill also creates a grant program for builders who build or remodel property in low-income areas where the sales price of the home is unlikely to cover the cost of construction or rehabilitation.

Qualified property (residential property: in a low-income census track; in a state designated sustainable community; or with an affordable sales price) may qualify for financial assistance (most likely a grant) that does not exceed the lesser of 35 percent of the total cost of eligible construction expenses or 80 percent of the national median sale price for new homes.

– Lauren Bunting is an Associate Broker with Atlantic Shores Sotheby’s International Realty in Ocean City.

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