The Real Deal reported yesterday on proposed legislation to reform the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) in a manner that would have you believe that the Bill was destined to be law. This is a common theme with news media when they exaggerate the impact of a story to gain readership. However, The Real Deal is typically better than this and they should know better as their readership counts on them to lead the brokerage profession in New York City and beyond.
While the article does contain a great topic that should be discussed, whether there should be alien landholder disabilities in the US, The Real Deal should make clear what many know, that Bills rarely pass. In fact, accordingly to govtrack.us, the Bill has only a "2% chance of being enacted". So, discuss the topic, but know its not the law.
Remember, in real estate the rule is No Case, No Statute, No Talk - know the law as it governs your every move.
With respect to alien landholdings, its great that the Bill seeks to reduce restrictions on foreign investment, but remember those restrictions were created for some really good reasons in the first place. To illustrate, would you like a foreign national to own our fresh water supply; how about our trees or nuclear arsenal? What about taxes, should a foreigner be required to pay taxes and how can the Government make one accountable. To discuss these thoughts and more, stay tuned for Lieb School's real estate continuing education course, Foreign Buyers, which is coming soon.