NORTH CAROLINA LEGISLATION UPDATES
The Senate also passed three bills this month to reform the way elections are conducted in North Carolina. All bills would also have to pass the House and be signed by Gov. Cooper.
S326: Election Day Integrity Act, would require absentee ballots to be returned to, and received by the county boards of elections by the end of day on Election Day, regardless of postmark.
S724: Expand Access to Voter ID & Voting. The first part of the bill would authorize the State Board to provide a portal for visually impaired individuals to vote. The bill would also require the State Board to establish on its website the ability for an individual who is eligible to vote and who possesses a driver’s license to register to vote.
S725: Prohibit Private Money in Elections Admin. This bill would prohibit the State Board, county boards of elections, and county boards of commissions from accepting private monetary donations for the purpose of conducting elections or employing individuals to assist with elections on a temporary basis.
HB 27 – In-Service Training/Magistrates
This bill ensure that all magistrates receive the education necessary to perform their jobs. It stipulates that in order to be eligible for renomination as a magistrate an individual shall have successfully completed the course courses of basic training and annual in-service training for magistrates prescribed by G.S. 7A-177.”
HB 342 – Building Code/EV Charging Station.
This bill requires the amendment of the North Carolina residential building code for one- and two-family dwellings to require that new residential construction include an electric circuit capable of accommodating an electric vehicle charging device.
HB 618 – Pandemic Eviction Protection
Expands GS 41A-4, making it an unlawful discriminatory housing practice to deny an applicant on a rental agreement based upon a proceeding for summary ejectment that has been sealed pursuant to GS 42-36.3 (appears to intend new GS 42-46.4). Effective upon the expiration or rescission of the Governor’s Executive Order No. 116 (2020), and applies to summary ejectment proceedings filed before, on, or after that date.
SB: 465 – Valet TrashLegislation
Earlier this year the NC Building Code Council (BCC) approved an Emergency Rule that delayed the January 1, 2021 valet trash container mandate. Valet Trash vendors were granted a six-month extension as a result of manufacturing delays caused by COVID-19. Currently, valet trash vendors are expected to comply with the updated code requirements by July 1st, 2021 by providing containers that meet the updated requirements in the 2018 Fire Code Section 304.4. However, if passed, SB: 465 would supersede the BCC code change. Shifting code enforcement from the BCC to current local jurisdictions over apartment occupancies and require they permit trash containers that stand upright and meet very minimal standards. AANC will continue to monitor this bill and engage the various stakeholders as it moves through the legislative process.
SB 426 – Inclusionary Zoning/Affordable Housing
An act to allow a local government to enact ordinances for inclusionary zoning and an in-lieu fee requirement for development to supplement the availability of affordable housing.
SB 480 – Expand Victim Services (Protections for Resident Victims)
This bill would broaden domestic violence protections language and extend protections to include residents who are victims of attempted homicide or a household member of a victim of homicide if the crime happens on the property. We would love member feedback on this bill. Section 2(c) would allow the early termination of a lease if a tenant is a victim of domestic violence. The resident would be considered a “protected tenant” and could terminate the lease if they provide the housing provider with a 30-day notice and a copy of a valid order of protection issued by the court.
HB 854 – Landlord Tenant Changes
Would make various changes to landlord/tenant law including late fees, support and service animals.
HB 489 – 2021 Building Code and Dev. Reg. Reform
Would make changes to the general contractor licensing process; the State Building Code; and the laws pertaining to development regulation by local governments under Chapter 160D of the General Statutes including: Requiring, amongst other things, the Building Code Council to adopt a rule amending the North Carolina Fire Code and the amend the North Carolina Residential Code and Plumbing Code as it pertains to c900 piping used in development projects.
SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATION
SC. 666 -Expedited Ejectment of Tenants
Senator Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley) introduced a bill to allow for expedited ejectment of tenants by landlords if malicious damage to property occurred, or if there is a significant threat to safety to the landlords, agents, tenants, or members of the household or guests. The bill also outlines a magistrates’ fee to be provide for the filing of an expedited ejectment.
Senate Bill 320 – 2021 Unemployment Insurance Reform
This bill addresses the fact that NC is among the worst states for unemployment benefits and will expand eligibility to a 26-week period and increase the maximum benefit amount to $500 per week.
House Bill 119 – Property Tax Relief for COVID Affected Businesses (AANC)
An act to provide relief from property tax liability for covid-19 affected businesses, on behalf of the AANC. Many businesses in North Carolina have experienced revenue interruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill provides property tax relief through a deferment on enforced collections from property tax liability to qualifying owners.
Senate Bill 644 – Landlord Tenant Changes and Emotional Support Animals (AANC)
This collection of changes to Landlord-Tenant Law addresses operational challenges; clarifying issues related to debt collection, and deceased tenants. Codifies protections for landlords pertaining to criminal screenings.
House Bill 366 – Regulatory Reform Act of 2021. (AANC)
Section 9 – Clarification and reaffirmation of recovery of out-of-pocket expenses and litigation costs in summary ejectments. This language seeks to further clarify a housing provider/landlord’s ability to charge court and attorneys’ fees in a summary ejectment action as provided in the 2009 legislation.
Senate Bill 349 = House Bill 401 – Increase Housing Opportunities
An act to provide reforms to local government zoning authority to increase housing opportunities and to make various changes and clarifications to the zoning statutes.