NEWS BRIEFS

Stay up to date on current News & Issues.

General News
NAR responds to administration proposal to reform Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

Bucks County
Bensalem approves 106 more townhouses at Waterside community 

Chester County
Embreeville Redevelopment zoning hearing postponed 

Delaware County
SEPTA upgrades Secane station

Montgomery County
New Hanover Town Center project raising concern 

Philadelphia County
Center City developers benefit the most from city’s tax abatement 

 

Blog

Monday, August 27, 2018

Whose (Sewer) Line Is It, Anyway?

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Monday, August 27, 2018 at 9:00:00 am Comments (0)

Making sense of sewer laterals beyond the property line

When a municipal sewer lateral inspection reveals a problem that is beyond a homeowner’s property line, who is responsible for fixing it? The answer, many municipalities assume, is that the burden falls on the homeowner.

For example, West Brandywine Township’s sewer ordinance states that:

Maintenance, repair, or replacement of the building sewer between the sewer main and the building served by the building sewer shall be the responsibility of the property owner.

But is this fair, and more importantly, is it legal? Should homeowners be on the hook for expensive repairs that are literally beyond their property line?

This situation has arisen often enough that recently we have been consulting with legal counsel for the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® to determine if such ordinances are worth challenging. If you have thoughts or experiences to share about this topic, please contact us at via our online form or by email at sra@suburbanrealtorsalliance.com.

Flickr image by Adam Rose (CC BY SA 2.0)

Monday, July 2, 2018

Have your clients been affected by Lower Bucks municipal authority enforcement?

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Monday, July 2, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)

The Suburban Realtors® Alliance wants to hear from Realtors® whose clients have been affected by the point-of-sale enforcement of easements by the Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority (LBCJMA).

The LBCJMA has in recent years taken a hard-line approach to enforcing easements, leading to reports of homeowners incurring losses in the tens of thousands of dollars because pools and outbuildings, which were properly permitted and inspected by their municipalities, encroached on easements, even by small amounts.

If you have had an experience you’d like to share, contact us via the Alliance website, email sra@suburbanrealtorsalliance.com or call 610-981-9000.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Act 133 Doesn’t Cover Pre-existing Conditions

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 12:00:00 pm Comments (0)

One seller was denied a U&O certificate because of tall grass.

What if your $600,000 home sale was in jeopardy, but a 15-year-old who lived around the corner could save it for about $30?

We recently got a call from a Realtor® who was selling a home, and the township would not issue a use and occupancy certificate because the grass wasn’t cut.

While that may sound like an excessive action by the township and a violation of Act 133, it actually was not illegal. The reality was that the township had issued a citation for the overgrown grass before the home sale began.

Act 133 prevents municipalities from withholding resale certificates based on code issues discovered during point-of-sale inspections, but it does not apply to pre-existing violations.

We can glean two pieces of advice from this anecdote:

1) Listing agents should be proactive about finding out whether there are municipal code violations standing against a client’s property.

2) When it comes to small fixes — mowing the lawn, installing a smoke detector, etc. — it’s often faster and easier to simply address the issue than to fight city hall.

Read more about Act 133 in our blog post: ‘When Do I Schedule Inspections?’ And Other Important Questions.

Flickr image by Green Shadows (CC BY 2.0)

Friday, February 23, 2018

New Congressional District Maps Released

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Friday, February 23, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Update 3/20/2018: The U.S. Supreme Court and a federal district court both rejected lawsuits to overturn the revised Pa. congressional map.
Read about the rulings here: https://goo.gl/TM3vT6

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Feb. 19, 2018, released its map updating congressional districts in the commonwealth. Below is an interactive version of the new map, created by Kerrin Garripoli of Ceisler Media

 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

How a Government Shutdown Would Impact Realtors®

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 4:00:00 pm Comments (0)

Lawmakers in Washington D.C.  are under pressure to reach a spending deal — and have it signed by the president — by Friday, Jan. 19, at midnight.  The date marks the expiration of a short-term spending agreement passed during a similar deadline in late December 2017. 

If Congress can't reach a deal in time, the federal government will shut down, which would close many government offices, and prevent hundreds of thousands of federal employees from working. Essential  government operations, such as those related to safety and national security, would continue to operate, as would the U.S. Postal Service. 

How would a shutdown affect real estate and Realtors®?

According to a CNBC article posted last April, furloughs at the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Housing Administration can create roadblocks for home buyers and sellers:

  • Mortgage applications could be delayed if the lender can't verify IRS data.
  • Some lenders may even need to verify your Social Security number.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is also at risk, after being extended last month along with the rest of government spending in a  short-term continuing resolution. NAR has written letters to both the House and Senate urging long-term extension of the program, noting that when NFIP lapsed in 2010, "Each month cost more than 40,000 home sales."

What happened during the last shutdown?

After the government shutdown in 2013, from Oct. 1 to 16, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) surveyed members about how they were affected. Seventy-one percent of respondents said their deals were not impacted at all, while those who experienced problems cited FHA/USDA closures as the biggest impediments. Note that NFIP was not affected in the 2013 shutdown.

 

 

 

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