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Protecting Property Rights

August 27, 2014

Mechanics Liens and Leasehold Improvements
Intense lobbying by NC REALTORS® defeated a proposal to allow mechanics liens on leasehold interests to be extended to include the fee interest of the property owner.

If adopted, the proposal could have violated the property rights of landlords and owners by making them financially liable for unauthorized improvements made by their tenants. The proposal was excluded from the final findings and recommendations of the House Study Committee on Mechanics Liens and Leasehold Improvements prior to the beginning of the short session.

Architectural Design and Aesthetic Controls (HB 150, SB 734)
HB 150 would prohibit local governments from regulating the aesthetic design elements of single-family residential structures. The bill includes exceptions for historic districts, landmarks, restrictive covenants, and structural safety. The House adopted the bill in 2013, but the Senate Rules Committee has held it since.

In May, the House added the text of the bill to SB 734, an omnibus bill containing dozens of other regulatory reform provisions. The House adopted SB 734, but the Senate failed to concur. The final regulatory reform conference report was agreed upon and passed without this provision. Rep. Nelson Dollar (Wake) and Rep. Tim Moffitt (Buncombe) worked very hard on this legislation, and we are disappointed the Senate would not pass the bipartisan legislation.

Rental Registration and Inspections
HB 773 would make several changes to a 2011 law that establishes guidelines for local governments' inspection and registration of residential rental properties. These changes include defining "verified violation"; prohibiting the use of registration programs, permits, or fees as a condition of operating rental housing; and prohibiting the designation of an entire jurisdiction as blighted.

After the House passed the bill in 2013, the Senate referred it to the Senate Commerce Committee, where it has remained. Co-Chairman Rick Gunn (Alamance) was willing and eager to hear the bill, but his Co-Chair Wesley Meredith (Cumberland) did not agree. The bill sponsor, Rep. Bill Brawley (Mecklenburg), has pledged to introduce similar legislation in 2015.