State Roundup: Kansas, Tennessee, and Texas

August 1, 2007

Kansas: Recovering From Tornado Devastation

The May 4 tornado that left hardly a stick standing in Greensburg, Kansas, has generated an outpouring of generosity from REALTORS® across the country. “I’ve been amazed at how REALTORS® have stepped up,” says Christine Stinger, vice president of administrative services for the Kansas Association of REALTORS®. Local and state associations, individual REALTORS®, and brokerages began donating immediately, and funds continue to come in, she says. NAR, through its REALTORS® Relief Foundation, donated $70,000. About half of the town’s roughly 1,400 residents have said they want to return and rebuild their homes and their businesses in the predominantly agricultural community, and Realtors® in nearby towns have opened up their homes to help Greensburg residents get back on their feet, Stinger says. To donate, make checks payable to KCRAR Charitable Fund and send to Kansas Association of REALTORS®, 3644 S.W. Burlingame Rd., Topeka, KS 66611, Attn: Karen Gehle.

Tennessee: Rebates Banned — Again

A Tennessee law barring real estate licensees from offering buyers cash rebates on commissions was enacted in June. The law, which restores the ban in place before the state’s real estate commission repealed it earlier in the year, was passed over the objections of the U.S. Department of Justice, which calls it anticompetitive.

Texas: Lawns No Place for Cars

The Houston City Council in late June seemed ready to pass a law making it illegal to park a vehicle on the front lawn of a single-family home or duplex. Supporters of the ban claim the vehicles depress property values and leak fluids that damage grass, trees, and buried utility lines. Opponents say it’s a matter of the haves versus the have-nots. “We have a new generation of people moving into the city,” says Jose Luis Jimenez, director of the Greater Houston area chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “They grew up in the suburbs, where everyone had a nice green, pretty lawn. The have-nots have been living in this style for many years.” Even opponents of lawn parking, though, won’t be entirely happy should they win: The law would allow home owners to pave over their yards to accommodate their cars. The issue was reported in the June 20 Houston Chronicle.

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