“This is an important private property protection bill,” noted Representative Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) of Senate Bill 472, which the State Assembly passed by a margin of 53-28
during its marathon end to the regular session last week. The bill, which had already been passed by the State Senate earlier in the session, protects the ability of homeowners to repair and
maintain nonconforming homes.
A structure is nonconforming when it does not meet one of the dimensional requirements found in a current zoning ordinance. Generally, a building becomes nonconforming simply because a community changes the regulations after the home or building has been constructed, causing issues for anyone attempting to maintain a nonconforming structure.
Certain regulations have come under scrutiny, as they undermine the rights of property
owners to maintain the value of their property. The 50% rule, for example, limits repairs on
nonconforming structures to 50% of the building’s value, leaving owners with limited
maintenance options. Lenders have taken issue with the current system and are more reluctant to
lend because nonconforming homes are considered to be “higher risk” of falling into disrepair.
Rep. Tiffany—who authored the bill in the Assembly– added, “Some local zoning
ordinances like the 50% rule took away peoples’ abilities to repair and maintain their homes.
Now homeowners can take care of their property regardless of cost and won’t have to jump
through hoops to do it. They can keep what they have.”