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What's Happening on the Hill - March 7

posted by Mark Gavin | Mar 07, 2017

Here is an update on the bills and legislation IAR is working on this legislative session. The first “funnel” deadline was March 3, the second “funnel” is March 31st.  For legislation to remain active for consideration it must be out of the respective committee/chamber by that date.  

The First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account legislation made it through funnel week. Click the bill number to read the bill in its entirety and see the current status. SF425 and HSB 190.

The bill creates a new State income tax exemption for qualified deposits to a First-time Homebuyer Savings Account.

  • A first-time homebuyer - and parents/grandparents of a first-time homebuyer- would be able to receive an income tax exemption for savings up to $2,000/year for up to 10 years, or $4,000/year for two first time homebuyers who file taxes jointly

  • Applied to the purchase of a property located anywhere in Iowa

  • The funds can be used for closing costs and down payment on a principal residence in Iowa

  • The first-time homebuyer is required to set up an account with an Iowa bank or credit union to be used to purchase a home in Iowa

  • The first-time homebuyer will be responsible for the accuracy of the account and filing reports with the Department of Revenue

  • No penalties for early withdrawal if used for the purchase of a home in Iowa

  • Income tax and minimal penalties would apply for withdrawal of monies if not used for the purchase of a home in Iowa

  • False claims or statements are a serious misdemeanor and subject to fines

Please encourage clients, neighbors and friends to contact their legislator and let them know they support a first time homebuyer savings account. Visit to fill out the short “contact your legislator” form.

We are hopeful that legislators will see the great economic impact this legislation will have on our state and our first-time homebuyers. With help from NAR, there will be a targeted campaign to homeowners to educate them on the importance of this legislation and encourage them to contact their legislators.

IAR is keeping a watch on a few other bills


Iowa Code on general Brokerage/License

The IAR submitted the idea of a “Code Cleanup” bill.  Among other “routine modernization,”  part of the language of this bill allows the Iowa Real Estate Commission (IREC) to clearly enforce laws against non-licensees that are performing duties of a real estate licensee, and updating code to meet electronic realities of the day. Read our main points on this bill.  The bill number is HSB125

Statute of Repose - SF 413 and HF 3 - This bill relates to the statute-of-repose period in a case arising out of the unsafe or defective condition of an improvement to real property.  An action for a lawsuit dealing with defective improvements would have to be brought within 10 years as opposed to the current law which is 15 years.

Local Municipality Preemption Language  – HF 295  

There is language in the preemption legislation that the IAR supports.  Some cities are passing ordinances which force landlords to consider legal source of income as a protected class for discrimination purposes.  The IAR supports amendment language that states that a local ordinance cannot mandate that a landlord enter into a contractual agreement with a governmental entity.    

Plat and Subdivide Land  

A push is on to not allow municipalities to tax development lots until actual construction occurs on a property. This legislation made it through the funnel. The bill numbers are SF375 and HF509.

Property Assessment Board and electronic filing

This bill would eliminate the sunset provision of this board and give the board and its employees a more permanent status.  This bill also allows homeowners to file an appeal of their property assessment electronically.  

This bill made it through the funnel and is now SF356

Cell phone Use While Driving

Safety forces are driving home the point that hands-free is the safest way to utilize a cell phone when driving. There appears to be a lot of momentum for this bill to pass this year. The bill number is SF407

Forcible Entry and Detainer

A bill would recognize notice has been provided when a party shows up to a court action. This bill passed out of committee and is now HF146.

Building Code - SF 388

A bill which would set the 2009 model building code as the model the State would rely upon has made it through the first funnel.  This code allows more flexibility for certain building materials, method of construction as compared to the 2012, 2015 and proposed 2018 models.

Familial StatusSF 416 / HF 134- The IAR has supported this legislation with the Landlord associations.  It would prohibit local municipalities from passing ordinances that restrict occupancy based upon familial status.  The cities that have implemented this ordinance are largely college towns and have set up these ordinances based upon loud parties, parking problems, and neighbor complaints.  The IAR believes these issues can be handled through better enforcement of existing ordinances such as noise control ordinances, fire codes, parking enforcement, and zoning or neighborhood classification restrictions. The IAR will continue to support this legislation.

We will keep you up to date as things change throughout session.