State Roundup: Texas, Kentucky, and Wisconsin

July 1, 2004

Texas: REALTORS® foil robbery suspects

Two women accused of robbing Houston-area homes during showings were arrested in April after the Houston Association of REALTORS® sent its members an e-mail alert. One member believed she had shown the pair a house. She recalled them saying they had just come from a particular store and alerted the police, who captured the pair’s images from the store’s surveillance tape. After HAR made the photos available to its members, another practitioner recognized the pair and contacted the police, says Ted C. Jones, chair of HAR’s board of directors.

Kentucky: Better inspectors

Gov. Ernie Fletcher on April 9 signed a law that creates a home inspector licensing board and requires inspectors to complete a board-approved training program and exam. The training and exam requirement is waived for inspectors who meet the state’s experience test. All inspectors must be licensed by July 1, 2006. Kentucky is the 28th state to regulate home inspectors or the home inspection process, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors. The Kentucky Association of REALTORS® backed enactment of the law.

Wisconsin: From forests to farms

A state law enacted in April redefining certain forestland as agricultural land, with its lower property tax rates, could result in property tax hikes in residential areas, says Michael Theo, vice president of public affairs at the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association. The change will put pressure on localities looking to raise taxes to eye “residential, commercial, and industrial properties,” he says, adding that the law will require vigilance by practitioners at the local level to head off property tax increases.

Jane Adler is a Chicago-based freelancer writer.

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