2020 Legislative & Regulatory End of Year Review

NC Legislative Building

North Carolina General Assembly convened on April 28. NC REALTORS® advocacy team achieved many legislative victories despite all the COVID related challenges.

  • Enacted liability protections for employers and offices to protect them from claims arising from contraction of COVID19.
  • Secured a permanent change to the definition of the year-round school calendar to prevent schools from skirting the school calendar law enacted in 2004.
  • Passed legislation to allow real estate transactions to continue during the pandemic:
    • Legalized remote, video conference notarizations.
  • Allowed disbursement of funds prior to deed recording if the Register of Deeds was closed.
  • Successfully negotiated with Governor Cooper’s office to ensure real estate was given an essential services designation. This was a monumental accomplishment in a year where so many businesses were not deemed essential and were unable to operate.
  • Developed a comprehensive advocacy plan in response to the proposed 25 percent rate increase by the North Carolina Rate Bureau which included a CFA and social media engagement. Over 5,080 emails were sent to Commissioner Causey in opposition of this increase. We had a record participation with REALTOR® advocates from around the state making live comments at the public hearing.

2020 was a banner year of advocacy efforts from local associations.

  • Successfully influenced local ordinances to remove restrictions so that real estate was designated as essential.

North Carolina Real Estate Commission

  • On March 19, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission issued guidance to all licenses regarding the Vacation Rental Act and Tenant Refunds Due to COVID Related Road/Bridge/Access Closures. This guidance was drafted in response to the closure of Dare County to visitors.
    • The Commission enacted emergency rules in response to the pandemic.
    • The Commission granted all brokers an extension of time to complete post-licensing and continuing education courses, as well as the 12-hour Broker-In-Charge course.
    • All schools and course sponsors cancelled or suspended all in-person courses until April 30.
    • Schools were given the approval to hold live webinars or web-based conferences.
    • Schools allowed students to make-up courses through taking another course offered by the school
    • The Commission granted educators an extension on their instructor renewals.
  • Properties covered by the Vacation Rental Act are subject to the statutes governing local government enforcement to perform periodic inspections for hazardous and unlawful conditions.
  • REC Licensing Renewals
    • Licensees were able get a 90-day extension of their June 30 renewals if they had not completed their CE.
    • The course blackout period remained in place from June 11-30.
  • Worked with the REC for guidance on vacation rentals and to determine what should happen with deposits and payments when beaches shutdown to visitors. Letters were sent by NCR part of these efforts.
  • Worked with REC on new Working with Real Estate Agents Disclosure form.
  • Shared NAR racial equity code with the Commission to assist with efforts of writing a new code.

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