Government Affairs | National Apartment Association

Government Affairs

Your safety net for your business and the industry at large is engagement in public policy activities.

Government Affairs

Your safety net for your business and the industry at large is engagement in public policy activities. At the federal level, we partner with NMHC to advocate for a supportive legislative and regulatory climate to protect your business. At the state and local levels, we analyze legislation, conduct research and provide resources to help build your and your fellow members' strength and influence.

Recent News

Industry Responds to House Call for Housing Affordability Solutions - NAA and NMHC have provided a comprehensive overview of the affordability challenges facing the nation in response to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s call for solutions and a recent series of hearings on affordable housing. We emphasized that demand for apartments across the nation is outstripping supply and offered numerous related recommendations.

House Passes Highway Bill with Key Housing Affordability Amendment - The House has passed a six-year $325 billion package to fund the highway and transit system. It includes an NAA/NMHC amendment that encourages owners to invest in affordable properties.

Senate Votes to Throw Out EPA Water Rule -- The Senate has voted in favor of a joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval of the “Waters of the U.S.” rule that would impact the apartment housing industry by significantly expanding the scope of lands that will be subject to federal permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act.

Obama Initiatives Provide Housing Support for Ex-Offenders -- President Obama announced a series of initiatives on Nov. 2 to help previously incarcerated individuals obtain employment and housing. Part of the plan focuses on new policies in public and federally-assisted housing to ease barriers for those with criminal histories.

First Lady Michelle Obama Releases PSA to Help End Veteran Homelessness - First Lady Michelle Obama has released a video to encourage apartment owners to help communities across the country end veterans’ homelessness. The message asks apartment owners to make apartment homes available to veterans with federal rental assistance.

Senate Passes Industry-Supported Cyber Bill - The Senate overwhelmingly passed the Cyber Information Sharing Act by a vote of 74 to 21 on Oct. 27.  The legislation provides liability protection for apartment housing firms and other companies when they voluntarily share information about cyber threats with the federal government.

Financial Regulators Propose Margining for Multifamily Securities - The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a proposed rule in October that will impact lenders and borrowers who participate in the multifamily market.  NAA/NMHC joined with an industry coalition in a comment letter that formally requested an extension of the comment period.

NAA/NMHC Address Affordable Housing Challenges - Letter to House Financial Services Committee explains that demand for affordable housing cannot be met by government programs alone. Instead, creative solutions among local, state and federal collaborations, and partnerships between the public and private sectors, are critical. But to be successful, burdensome regulations, rules and mandates must also be addressed.

Affordable Housing Gets Multiple Hearings on Capitol Hill – Both the full House Financial Services Committee and a Subcommittee focused on affordable housing with hearings recently. One examined whether legislative changes are needed to help ensure affordability and promote self-reliance and upward economic mobility. The other looked at the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2015” which provides common-sense reforms to federal affordable housing programs.

Long-Awaited Details Arrive on Flood Risk Executive Order – FEMA has issued guidance to federal agencies on how to implement President Obama’s executive order establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard. The order will help ensure that federally funded projects are more resilient to potential flooding caused by climate change and rising sea levels.

President Vetoes Defense Spending Bill – As anticipated, President Obama has vetoed the nearly $612 billion fiscal year 2016 annual defense spending bill. The Senate and House had finally reached consensus  on a handful of holdout issues in the legislation.  That included funding for the Basic Allowance for Housing – a core military benefit that compensates service members for their housing costs.

Senate Gives Info Sharing Legislation on Cyber Threats Another Try -- The Senate took up the “Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act” in late October after earlier attempts were blocked by privacy advocates. The bill would provide liability protection for apartment housing firms and other companies from civil lawsuits and existing antitrust laws when they voluntarily exchange information about potential cyber threats.

House Bill Would Streamline the Section 8 Voucher Program - The “Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2015” to streamline the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program has been introduced in the House. NAA/NMHC are pleased that the legislation, introduced Oct. 7, would eliminate duplicative inspections, streamline resident eligibility certifications and allow changes to the Project-based program.

Bill Fights Expansion of Employer Responsibility for Joint Employees - Congress is responding to the apartment housing industry’s opposition to a recent National Labor Relations Board decision to expand the definition of a joint employer. Key Senate and House Committees have both held hearings on the related negative consequences that employers could face in relationship to their business operations.

Appeals Court Stays ‘Waters of U.S.' Rule Nationwide - In the latest twist on the controversial EPA/Army Corps rule to clarify the scope of the waters subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, the 6th Circuit issued a national stay of the rule while it sorts out which court has jurisdiction to handle challenges filed by various states and private parties.

NAA/NMHC Comment on HUD’s Proposed Fair Market Rents (FMRs) – HUD has included instructions for contesting a FMR in its request for public comment and taken steps to be more transparent in its methodology. FMRs vary based on several factors like local housing supply and demand, economic conditions and apartment unit size.

Industry Fights Expansion of Employer Responsibility for Joint Employees - NAA/NMHC have joined a coalition gathering support for a letter requesting that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overturn its recent decision to expand the definition of a joint employer. This is when the supervision of an employee’s activity is shared between two or more businesses.

Carried Interest Wave Hits Washington - The battle over carried interest is heating up again in Washington. In a speech to the Business Roundtable, President Obama repeated his long-time call for carried interest to be taxed at ordinary income rates. On the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Donald Trump have also endorsed the move.

Industry Briefs Obama Administration Officials at Treasury and HUD – NAA/NMHC discussed important issues to the apartment housing industry in key meetings with Administration officials at both HUD and the Treasury Department in September. Specifically, the discussions focused on expanding affordable apartment housing opportunities.

Bonus Depreciation on Fast Track; Tax Extenders on Hold – The annual debate and process to extend a number of temporary tax provisions of interest to the apartment housing industry continues. But no resolution is likely until later this fall. However, a House Committee did approve to make permanent one of these so-called tax extenders – bonus depreciation.

Industry Asks FHFA to Remove GSE Multifamily Production Cap –NAA/NMHC are urging Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt to consider removing the multifamily production cap on the Government-Sponsored Enterprises’ purchases from the 2016 GSE Scorecard.

Amendment Focused on Mitigating Flood Risk at Apartment Communities - A National Flood Insurance Program related amendment passed during the relevant House subcommittee’s markup of the overall Homeland Security Authorization bill. The amendment would assist apartment owners in preparing and mitigating against future flood risks.

Industry Says “No” to Threshold-Based White Collar Overtime Pay - NAA/NMHC have sent a coalition letter opposing a Department of Labor proposal to increase the salary threshold for white collar workers who are entitled to overtime pay protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Federal Court Deals Blow to Obama Administration’s Water Rule - A federal court has issued an injunction against the Obama Administration’s “Waters of the U.S.” final rule that went into effect on Aug. 28. This EPA and Corps' regulation defines the scope of water and land subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

Funding for Key Data Surveys and Analysis on Chopping Block - As federal spending bills for FY 2016 move forward, NAA/NMHC are watching funding levels for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau closely. Both agencies have been targeted for significant budget cuts that could curtail or delay critical programming that the apartment housing industry relies on heavily.

NAA/NMHC Support Amendment to PREPARE Act – In a comment letter, NAA/NMHC say amendment to Promoting Resilience and Efficiency in Preparing for Attacks and Responding to Emergencies Act would require FEMA to issue guidance with regard to multifamily property flood mitigation efforts.

Multifamily Affordable Housing Goals Set for Fannie and Freddie - A new set of housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been finalized by their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency. These anticipated goals target what percentage of business they need to direct to single-family and multifamily for low-income housing from 2015-2017.

HUD Gets Feedback on Tool for Promoting Fair Housing - HUD is looking for public comments on its fair housing Assessment Tool following the recent unveiling of the department’s Affirmatively Further Fair Housing final rule.

Industry Coalition to USDA: Follow Through on Rural Rental Housing - Industry groups have advised decision-makers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they are violating their obligation to provide rental assistance.

Coalition Urges Senate Action on Cybersecurity - Letter calls the threat of cyber attacks a "clear and present danger" and supports the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015.

Congress Drives Short-Term Highway Bill, Pumps Breaks on Tax Extenders - Lawmakers have cleared a three-month extension of highway spending. The bill includes several tax compliance offsets that modify tax return filing dates for multifamily partnerships and estate tax reporting requirements.

Labor Department: Are Your Workers Employees or Contractors? The Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division has issued guidance on how to determine whether workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors. The delineation has crucial implications for a worker's eligibility for protections.

Policy Resources:

Apartment Industry's 2015 Policy Agenda - NAA and NMHC's top priorities for Capitol Hill in 2015 include reforming the nation's tax code and fixing the housing finance system. View our complete list of legislative and regulatory issues.

Webinars and Webcasts:

New E-Verify Webinar Available On-Demand – USCIS now offers a webinar for employers about E-Verify and Form I-9, E-Verify enrollment, how to run a case and more.

House Financial Services Committee Hearing - “The Future of Housing in America: Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development” (webcast)

Apartment Industry News:

For the latest in apartment industry policy and advocacy news, read the Apartment Advocate, NAA Government Affairs' flagship publication.