PA Legislative Initiatives of Interest thus far in the 2015-16 Session

HB321 was recently introduced. This bill, known as the ‘Assessors Certification Act’, if passed, would require the City of Philadelphia’s tax assessors to become certified as Evaluators by the State of Pennsylvania. The bill would help the Philadelphia’s assessors’ office in ‘adding professionalism and accuracy to its system and helping to restore faith and confidence in the assessment process’. The CPREA will monitor the progress of this bill.

HB31 will require continuing education for licensed appraiser trainees, require appraiser applications to include criminal history background checks and allow reciprocity for licensed appraiser trainees from other states. The State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers helped to develop this language and supports this legislation.

AQB changes to USPAP

Minimum appraiser qualification criteria regarding background checks were adopted by the Appraisers Qualifications Board (AQB) on March 20, 2015, effective on January 1, 2017. State appraiser licensing agencies are required to ensure that all applicants for an appraiser credential possess a background that would not call into question the public trust. States are provided broad leeway in how they make that determination and are no longer required by the AQB to collect fingerprints from applicants and to have formal background checks performed by the FBI or a similar state or federal agency.

Theoretically, states can satisfy this requirement by asking the applicant a series of questions regarding their background that would help them to determine whether or not the applicant should be disqualified. As stated verbatim:

A. All applicants for a real property appraiser credential shall possess a background that would not call into question public trust

B. Applicants shall provide state appraiser regulatory agencies with all of the information and documentation necessary for the jurisdiction to determine the applicant’s fitness for licensure or certification.

C. An applicant shall not be eligible for a real property appraiser credential if, during at least the five (5) year period immediately preceding the date of the application for licensing or certification, the applicant has been convicted of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to a crime that would call into question the applicant’s fitness for licensure.

D. Additional guidance related to background checks for applicants for a real property appraiser credential may be found in Guide Note 9 (GN-9).