REALTOR® & Government Day: Policy, Not Politics


 Cori Lamont  |    January 10, 2022
RGD

You may have seen the promotions or heard about people attending REALTOR® & Government Day and thought to yourself, “I’m not into politics.”  

But REALTOR® & Government Day isn’t about politics; it’s about the policy. Policy that shapes the landscape of your business, your transactions and private property rights. That is what REALTOR® & Government Day is all about — your business, your clients, your customers and real estate.  

Regardless of political affiliation, or lack thereof, Wisconsin REALTORS® have come together every year, for more than 40 years, on one day, in the state Capitol to lobby on issues that impact your business and real estate.   

On REALTOR® & Government Day, it’s about being a REALTOR®.  

What is REALTOR® & Government Day?  

The first REALTOR® & Government Day occurred more than 40 years ago to allow Wisconsin state legislators to hear from REALTORS®, their constituents, on issues important to the real estate industry. While state legislators regularly hear from your Wisconsin REALTORS® Association government affairs team on these matters, it is your voice and your story that really captures the need for the requested legislative change.  

Why should you attend REALTOR® & Government Day?  

REALTOR® & Government Day gives you the unique chance to speak directly with your lawmakers and advocate for issues impacting the real estate industry. As a practicing REALTOR®, you live with these issues every single day. You hear and feel the frustration from your clients and customers about the hurdles they may face from regulatory limitations, such as not being able to place a pier on a property, an unfair tax assessment, or overwhelmingly high property taxes preventing them from being able to afford a property. While the WRA government affairs team can convey the same story, it is the way you personalize the story, because you have lived it, that cuts through the noise for the lawmaker. 

Does REALTOR® & Government Day really make a difference? 

Without a doubt, having hundreds of REALTORS® in the Capitol lobbying on issues creates a positive return on the WRA’s legislative priorities.  

Over the course of the last 40 years, Wisconsin REALTORS® have advocated for a variety of issues relating to the Wisconsin state budget, such as opposing the doubling of the Wisconsin transfer tax and supporting a property tax cap.  

In the last 10 years alone, the following are just some of the issues on the agenda for REALTOR® & Government Day: property taxes, condition reports, piers, right to rent, nonconforming structures, broker experience requirements, appraisal management companies (AMCs), vested rights, real estate licensee two-year statute of limitations on liability, codifying the Dinger case, time of sale requirements, broadband, housing affordability, wetland regulatory reform, modernization of landlord tenant laws, DSPS website upgrades, seller surveillance, right to place a pier, improving inspection reports, chasing sales and increasing the workforce housing supply.  

All of these issues were passed into law or defeated. Visit www.wra.org/priorities to learn more about the WRA’s legislative victories since 2012.

What issues will you lobby for during the 2022 REALTOR® & Government Day? 

At every REALTOR® & Government Day, you are armed by the WRA government affairs team with written information and an in-person briefing to help you understand the issues you will be lobbying about in the Capitol. Again, your job at REALTOR® & Government Day is to tell the story. Tell the lawmaker about a client, a customer, a transaction or your business that has been impacted and how the legislation could help. You don’t need to worry about the politics behind the bill, but instead the policy that can address the issues.  

The following are brief overviews of some issues you likely will be lobbying legislators about at the 2022 REALTOR® & Government Day.  

40-year access easements 

Easements are executed for many different reasons, including accessing landlocked parcels, waterfront property and hunting lands. Under current Wisconsin law, access easements automatically extinguish and are unenforceable after 40 years, unless the easement is re-recorded.   

Most property owners are unaware of these re-recording requirements and that these access easements will automatically expire. If not timely and properly re-recorded, an access easement would no longer be enforceable as originally intended.  

For property owners, sellers and buyers, it is a shock to discover the easement providing access to the property has expired just as the property is going to be sold. If the parties didn’t agree to have the easement end, why should state statute?  

Homeowners associations (HOAs) 

An HOA is basically its own form of government. Most commonly, an HOA is a subdivision organization creating and enforcing rules relating to properties within its control. For example, an HOA might define the type of fence that can be built, how tall that fence can be, the color a house can be painted, or even how long a boat can be parked in the driveway.  

Most people don’t know that HOAs are not currently regulated under Wisconsin statute. Since HOAs can have a great legal impact on the property and the property owner’s rights, a buyer must take great care to understand any obligations, limitations, fees or the like when considering the purchase of a property in an HOA.  

Creating a simple statutory structure to HOAs will help HOA property owners and purchasers to understand their contractual obligations and learn about the HOA’s rules and regulations.  

Workforce housing  

It is no secret Wisconsin has a housing shortage. Statewide housing inventory levels are at historic lows, median home prices are continuing to rise, and apartment rent increases are outpacing wage growth.  

From frustrated residential buyers losing out on their 10th property or competing against 20 other offers, to Wisconsin employers having difficulty recruiting or retaining workers due to a lack of affordable housing options and thus harming Wisconsin’s economic competitiveness, Wisconsin’s workforce housing shortage is felt statewide.  

Real estate is an economic development driver, and communities have started to recognize that to attract and retain employees and employers, housing needs to be available. One bill won’t fix the issue, which is why the WRA is pursuing a series of workforce housing bills to help fix Wisconsin’s workforce housing shortage.  

This year, join your fellow REALTORS® and shape the future together in Madison on February 9, 2022. 

Cori Lamont is Senior Director of Legal and Public Affairs for the WRA.

Event Details and Registration

Register 

To register, visit www.wra.org/RGD2022   

Event agenda

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Registration 
1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.  Welcome and overview 
1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Gov. Evers address* 
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. WRA public affairs issue briefing 
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Move to Capitol 
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Lawmaker visits at Capitol 
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Reception at Concourse Hotel

Location   

The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club 
1 W. Dayton St. 
Madison, WI 53703 

Cost  

Registration is free 

*Gov. Evers has been invited to attend the event. 

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