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Real estate execs call on House Speaker to discuss Bill 1416

A group composed of realtors, an attorney, and other real estate-related professionals such as a home title investigator, have attempted to meet with House Speaker Rafael “Tatito” Hernández, to no avail, to sit down and discuss House Bill 1416, News is my Business learned.

The bill seeks to reinforce real estate oversight mechanisms by adding requirements including the information notaries must turn in to the government when people participate in the purchase or sale of real estate, representing “an onerous cost to citizens particularly when the transaction does not involve financing.”

Attorney Rafael Ferreira-Cintrón told News is my Business that if the legislative bill is passed into law, the cost of selling or purchasing a home, especially those in which the client doesn’t need help in financing the transaction, would be too expensive for most people.

House Bill 1416 would amend the Internal Revenue Code to add requirements to the information forms prepared by notaries, which represents an onerous cost to citizens who participate in the purchase and sale of real estate transactions.

“On Oct. 17, we sent the House Speaker a letter requesting a meeting with him to raise our concerns about the piece of legislation, but we have not received a response from him yet,” Ferreira said. “Real estate professionals, in protection of this strictly regulated industry and in defense of the interests of the people of Puerto Rico, publicly request this meeting again.”

Ferreira further noted that when the ordinary session ended on June 29, Hernández introduced these amendments that, “after the unanimous judicial claim made by a group of lawyers, culminated in the court declaring these amendments as unconstitutional.” 

“After the judicial decision, Hernández created a Special Committee and introduced the bill that includes the same amendments,” the attorney explained.

Realtor Milton Serrano, meanwhile, said the group is against the legislative bill for several reasons, including the requirement of an appraisal report and a measurement plan, which would bring up the real estate transactional costs.

“The additional expenses, which would mean thousands of dollars in residential transactions in many of the cases, will make the transaction not viable,” Serrano said.

He further noted that the commonwealth’s intervention would “impair the natural rhythm of the real estate business and would have an adverse effect on the real estate’s appraiser, thus affecting the assets of Puerto Rican families and causing a delay in the process of buying and selling properties and an extremely onerous additional charge to sellers and buyers.”

News is my Business attempted to reach Hernández to obtain a reaction to Serrano’s and Ferreira’s claims, but as of press time, he was not immediately available for comment.

The group of real estate experts further explained that there is a lack of appraisers and other real estate related professionals on the island, “making it even harder to comply with these new requirements.”

“Currently, these professionals already face difficulties in presenting, with agility and promptness, the evaluations they carry out,” Ferreira added. “Moreover, this new burden will represent an increase in the cost of appraisals, measurement plans or plot plans and geospatial description, among others.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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