Last week, staff from New Jersey Realtors®’ government affairs department attended the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste committee hearing to testify regarding lawn sprinkler system legislation. The bill, which was introduced in the early 2000s in response to a drought, would require residential and commercial properties with a lawn sprinkler system to install a rain-sensing device before that property could be sold.
Working on behalf of the real estate industry and private property owners, New Jersey Realtors® testified in opposition of some of the bill’s proposed mandates.
“While the association isn’t opposed to adding rain sensors, we believe the language in the bill should be altered to lessen the burden on the seller,” explains Doug Tomson, Director of Government Affairs.
“How this bill might adversely affect the sale of foreclosed homes must also be kept in mind,” he adds.
Currently, New Jersey has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, and New Jersey Realtors® raised specific concerns to the committee that trying to work with a bank to get a rain sensor installed on a foreclosed home would prove extremely difficult — and in many cases, could greatly delay the sale.
Rather than imposing the law at the time of sale, NJ Realtors® suggested that property owners be given four years to comply; regardless of whether they’re selling or not. The association also believes that irrigation companies should take on some of the responsibility in notifying homeowners if their current system does not have an active rain sensor and how much that installation would cost.
New Jersey Realtors® will continue to monitor this bill in the state house.