GAR’s Legislative Victories

During each legislative session, the Georgia REALTORS® fight hard to protect private property rights, free enterprise, and safeguard the business practice of our members. Below are some highlights of the legislative victories we’ve secured under the Gold Dome to ensure the real estate industry in Georgia remains profitable for our members and conducive for consumers to enter.

For REALTORS® & Related Trades

  • In 2020, GAR Advocacy played key role in the process to have real estate deemed critical infrastructure, and REALTORS listed as essential workers during COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Passed legislation to allow local governments to use a REALTOR® to market real property.
  • Safeguarded REALTORS® by bringing Georgia Real Estate License Law into compliance with the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Rule.
  • Supported extension of Freeport Exemptions to include e-commerce facilities, which benefits the commercial real estate sector and strengthens Georgia’s competitive edge.
  • Defended REALTORS®’ ability to write special stipulations and provide advisement to their clients in the completion of a real estate contract.
  • Passed legislation to allow appraisers to appeal at the state level if they are not fairly compensated by an Appraisal Management Company (AMC).
  • Expanded the type of account options permissible for real estate trust accounts.
  • Prevented attempts to create new criminal penalties for hindering code enforcement officers.
  • Defeated legislation that would have required all REALTORS® who sold property via competitive bid, sealed bid or silent bid, to be licensed as an auctioneer in Georgia.
  • Passed legislation to allow REALTORS® to engage in short sale transactions, which had previously been interpreted by the Banking Department as illegal.
  • Protected REALTORS®’ ability to collect and distribute escrow funds.
  • Prevented attempts to place a legal duty on real estate agents to provide their client’s contact information to code enforcement officers if requested.
  • Amended disclosure portion of real estate license law to protect our members from burdensome requirements and undue legal liability after members were sued for not disclosing MLS fees.
  • Passed legislation to allow independent contractors to pool together for insurance purposes in Georgia.
  • Passed legislation to regulate Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs).
  • Prevented cities and counties in Georgia from charging individual agents a business license fee for each jurisdiction in which they conduct business.
  • Blocked a 6% state sales tax on real estate commissions.
  • Prevented real estate brokers from paying worker’s compensation for individual agents.

For Buyers & Sellers

  • Strengthened the statute of frauds to ensure that real estate contracts cannot be rescinded, or modified by oral agreement.
  • Stopped legislation that would have statutorily increased the fee to obtain an estoppel letter from an HOA from $10 to $350.
  • Supported legislation that increased the Georgia Housing and Finance Authority’s bond limit from $1.3 billion to $3 billion to fund the Georgia Dream Homeownership Program, providing affordable homeownership to lower income earners and first-time homebuyers.
  • Successfully established procedure for water liens at closings.
  • Passed legislation to allow financing of solar technology.
  • Defeated efforts to provide super liens to condominium associations for unpaid fees.
  • Passed legislation to reduce property owners’ liability in case of trespass.
  • Defeated legislation to mandate a termite inspection prior to closing.
  • Passed a $1,800 statewide home buyer tax credit.
  • Prevented statewide point-of-sale plumbing retrofit mandates.

For All Georgians

  • Clarified the Shoreline Protection Act to provide a clearer understanding for where permitting is required by DNR.
  • Updated Georgia’s eminent domain laws to allow local governments to return blighted property to the market for the same legal use.
  • Stalled efforts to place a $25,000 cap on the mortgage interest deduction.
  • Expanded permissible delivery methods for issuing a summons notice.
  • Strengthened the rights of taxpayers in the appeals process.
  • Passed legislation to reform Georgia’s property tax assessment and appeals process.
  • Protected private property rights by defeating language that would have allowed occupants of property to install solar panels, regardless of ownership status.
  • Successfully limited local governments’ ability to register vacant and foreclosed properties by creating statewide standards that all local governments must adhere.
  • Worked with broad business coalitions to successfully strengthen laws to prevent metal theft.
  • Protected water rights for Georgia property owners by preserving our riparian rights system.
  • Ensured that private property owners maintain their right to dictate whether firearms are permitted on their property.
  • Prevented local governments from registering residential rental property.