This past week, hundreds of REALTORS® from across the state
of Kansas attended a rally at the Kansas Capitol to lobby members of the Kansas
Legislature on important legislative issues affecting communities, the real
estate industry and property ownership. This annual event is an opportunity for
REALTORS® to learn about the legislative issues impacting the industry and
advocate for REALTOR® issues with Kansas legislators.
Working on the behalf of REALTORS®, the lobbying team from
KCRAR and the Kansas Association of REALTORS® (KAR) is currently tracking
dozens of legislative issues affecting the industry and property ownership.
During these meetings, Kansas City REALTORS® discussed the following
legislative issues with legislators:
Deductions: REALTORS® met with Kansas legislators to urge them to stop a $30
million hidden state income tax increase on middle class
Kansas homeowners. KCRAR and KAR support legislation (Senate Bill 22) that
would protect the ability of Kansas homeowners to claim the mortgage interest
and property tax deductions on their state income tax returns, even if they do
not itemize on their federal income tax returns.
If the Kansas Legislature does not pass that legislation,
thousands of Kansas homeowners will be forced to pay higher state income taxes
this year because they will not be able to claim these important itemized
deductions on their state income tax returns. This will serve as a disincentive
for Kansans to purchase homes and could have a negative effect on the housing
market and the Kansas economy.
Thanks in part to these efforts, the Kansas Senate passed
Senate Bill 22 on a vote of 26 to 14 this week. The legislation still needs to
be passed by the Kansas House and also must be signed by the Kansas Governor
before it becomes law. KCRAR will keep its members posted this year on the
progress towards passing this legislation.
Relating to Rebates: Also this session, KCRAR will support legislation
(Senate Bill 42) that would clarify the rules relating to the payment of
rebates to unlicensed individuals. Kansas is currently one of ten states that
ban the payments of rebates to unlicensed customers and clients following the
closing of a real estate transaction.
The reason KCRAR has traditionally opposed the payments of
rebates to customers and clients in real estate transactions is that the
payment of rebates can: (1) disguise the true exchange between the buyer and
seller in the transaction if the rebate is not disclosed to all parties to the
transaction; and (2) unlawfully induce a customer or client to enter into a
transaction or real estate brokerage relationship that may not be in their best
Some mortgage and insurance providers have exploited a
loophole that circumvents the state’s rebate ban by paying the illegal rebate
to unlicensed customers and clients in the form of a gift card, rather than
cash. Senate Bill 42 would close this loophole by clarifying that gift cards
are to be treated the same as a cash rebate and prohibited under Kansas law. KCRAR
will keep its members posted this year on its progress on this issue.
Licensure: Finally, legislation was introduced this week to require all
home inspectors operating in the state of Kansas to be licensed and be subject
to various consumer protections (just like every other industry professional
who works with customers in real estate transactions). Kansas regulated the
home inspection industry from 2009 until 2013 when Kansas Governor Sam
Brownback vetoed an extension of the law.
This legislation is supported by consumer advocates,
professional home inspectors and REALTORS® and would be a major step forward in
protecting consumers from receiving home inspection services from unqualified
individuals who have no professional training and have not undergone criminal
background checks. As with all other issues, KCRAR will keep its members posted
on its progress on this issue during the 2019 Legislative Session.