Real estate fee hike draws complaints

The Parnell Administration is trying to explain a proposed 249 percent increase in licensing fees for real estate professionals.

The Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing plans to raise the license fee from $275 to $685.

Legislators have been getting lots of complaints about the increase. In a House Finance Commerce Subcommittee hearing yesterday (Monday), lawmakers pointed to a recent audit of the division that found about $500,000 in expenses incorrectly charged to professions.

The audit also showed income to boards and commissions had not been properly credited. Alaska Association of Realtors past president Jerry Rice said the real estate industry has overpaid more than $3 million in professional services that were not credited in the analysis used to set the new fee.

But Division Director Donald Habeger says the current increase followed a spike in the number of complaints about real estate transactions that left the board with a deficit of a $150,000.

The subcommittee has asked the administration to respond to the audit and questions from the industry.

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