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Alabama Realtors’ legislative wins this year

Alabama REALTORS®  are committed to be the voice of real estate in Alabama, and in order to best serve their communities, the Alabama REALTORS® public policy team is consistently on the ground with state leaders. This team actively monitors all developments for any legislative initiatives that would harm their members or their businesses, while advocating for policies that strengthen the ability of Alabamians to own, buy, and sell property.

The 2024 Legislative Session concluded with many successes for our state. Take a look at some of the promising work that was done, as well as a summary of some of the important bills that were passed.

Workforce Housing Tax Credit Law

Affordable housing has continued to be a topic of concern across the country, and states are evaluating ways to support affordable housing development. This year Governor Kay Ivey signed House Bill 346, the legislation creating the Alabama Workforce Housing Tax Credit, which will provide additional support for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects within Alabama.

Supported by Alabama REALTORS® and sponsored by Rep. Cynthia Almond (R-Tuscaloosa) and Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine), the new law encourages workforce housing development through a tax credit program for developers who build affordable, multi-family housing for low-to-mid income workers. The tax credit program would assist individuals earning up to 60% of the adjusted median income by offering non-refundable tax credits to incentivize the development of more affordable housing units. 

The Workforce Housing Tax Credit was part of a broader package of legislation called “Working for Alabama,” and was designed to help more Alabamians get back on their feet, into the workforce, and overall increase the state’s workforce participation rate. It is estimated that more than 50,000 Alabamians are currently not participating in the job market, despite roughly 140,000 job opportunities that exist.

Squatter Removal Law

The new squatter removal law will strengthen the rights of homeowners against squatters on their property, and additionally creates penalties for those with falsified real estate documents. “In Alabama, private property rights are paramount… we in state government should never rest easy until all Alabama homeowners’ rights are fully protected,” Governor Kay Ivey said.

The REALTOR®-priority bill creating a non-judicial method to remove squatters was signed by Governor Ivey, and was sponsored by Rep. Craig Lipscomb (R-Gadsden) and Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine). The bill allows a homeowner to file an affidavit with law enforcement to remove a squatter in a home, without going through a costly and lengthy ejectment action. 

Across the nation, squatting has become an increasing problem and in certain jurisdictions, law enforcement may be unwilling to act if the squatter falsely claims some right to occupancy. The squatter removal law will ensure a homeowner has a much quicker option for removal, while increasing penalties for damaging property or lying about a lease or ownership of property.

Cap on Annual Property Tax Increase Law

Alabama residents in many counties pay a high sales tax, although property tax collections are among the lowest in the nation with local governments relying on other revenue sources. In light of this, Alabama lawmakers believe that a cap is needed on the ever-increasing property taxes.

In a huge win for homeowners and property owners, the legislature passed a cap on annual increases for property taxes. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Phillip Pettus (R- Killen), Sen. David Sessions (R-Grand Bay) and championed by Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth. While the bill received considerable opposition from local governments and other groups that benefit from local government funding, compromises resulted in a final bill that caps the annual increase of property tax assessments at 7% and sunsets the cap after four years. 

The new law is a first step in preventing the strong uptick in tax appraisals for property that has not been sold, renovated or expanded. Alabama REALTORS® joined a coalition of business, trade and industry groups to support and fight for the new law.

For more updates on the legislative efforts of Alabama REALTORS®, visit the Alabama Association of REALTORS® Public Policy page

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