2019 Housing Affordability Legislation

Senate Bill 15

What it does

Makes a $10,000,000 appropriation to the NH Housing Finance Authority for deposit in the state’s affordable housing fund. The bill also directs the treasurer to make an annual transfer of $5,000,000 from real estate transfer tax revenue to the affordable housing fund.

Why it’s important

The Affordable Housing Fund provides low-interest loans and grants for the construction, rehabilitation, and/or acquisition of housing affordable to families and individuals with low to moderate incomes, a group which includes many young people. Including an annual funding stream through the Real Estate Transfer Tax helps to keep the fund growing, thus expanding its impact on affordable housing initiatives across the state.

Current status

The bill was retained in the House Finance Committee on May 1, 2019.

Senate Bill 306

What it does

Establishes a Housing Appeals Board within the NH Attorney General’s office.

Why it’s important

The creation of a Housing Appeals Board will help property owners and developers access a more streamlined and cost-efficient appeals process. The length of time an appeal takes, combined with the cost to litigate, causes some developers and property owners to abandon any thought of appeal or to attempt housing development at all. This is especially true with regard to housing on the lower end of the affordability scale, which often has lower profit margins too.

Current status

The bill was passed, and then tabled, by the Senate, with a promise to work it into House Bill 2, the budget “trailer” bill.

How you can help

Stay tuned.

Senate Bill 43

What it does

Establishes a commission to study barriers to increased density of land development in New Hampshire.

Why it’s important

Increased housing density helps to lower housing prices by allowing for more housing units on a lot, and by decreasing minimum lot size requirements.

Current status

The bill was passed the full House on May 8, 2019, with a floor amendment. The Senate must now agree to the House’s changes, request a Committee of Conference, or let the bill die.