Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers’ (MBREA) Government Affairs Committee met in May to review recent actions and non-actions taken by the state’s legislature. Four bills supported by MBREA moved through initial stages with sponsorship from twelve different state senators and representatives.
Senate Bill #2246, an act to require all appraisals of real property be performed by licensed or certified appraisers, was sponsored by senator Cynthia Creem and co-sponsored by representatives Tom Calter, David Paul Linsky, and David Vieira. The bill gained favorably support and passed in the Senate and assigned to House Ways and Means. MBREA president Sue Mitchell, RA and Steve Sousa recently met with committee staff to push for the bill’s release for a vote.
House Bill #4331, an act to regulate appraisal management companies (AMC’s), is also awaiting action by the House Ways and Means. Representative John Scibak and senator Barbara L’Italien co-sponsored this bill with senators James Timilty, and Richard Ross, along with representatives Josh Cutler, Jason Lewis, Calter, Linsky and Vieira as additional sponsors. Two weeks ago, Sousa along with representatives from mortgage banking and appraisal management companies met with committee staff to advocate for the bill’s passage.
Representative Ed Coppinger sponsored House Bill #1975, an act that aligns client and intended user with USPAP and reduces appraiser’s liability to third parties and other non-clients, has been presented to the legislature with intentions to better serve consumers while protecting the appraiser. The bill was forwarded to a “study group.”
House Bill #2000, sponsored by representative Ted Speliotis, is an act to associate investigations and complaints with USPAP’s five year record retention requirements so that complaints or other actions are not commenced six, seven, ten years down the line. Seems fair, right? It’s now being “studied.”
MBREA’s Sousa has reached out to leadership at the Board of Registration and State House to seek support for these bills. The process has been slowed by a mix of legislator turnover and lengthy review processes. Dodd-Frank has called for AMC registration since 2010. With respect to mandatory licensing, which is accepted in most states, the legislature has shown a tepid response despite great analogies, such as “a homeowner would not hire an unlicensed electrician to wire their home;” “so why should an investor rely on an unlicensed person to provide valuation services for their vital investments?”
Allan Cohen is a certified general real estate appraiser and Newton Assessor, Newton, Mass.