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

President Obama Moves to Combat Wage Discrimination - The Obama Administration has announced an executive action that would require employers, including federal contractors, with 100 or more employees to report how much they pay their employees broken down by race, gender and ethnicity.

HUD Cuts Multifamily Mortgage Insurance Rates, Spurs Affordability - HUD Secretary Julián Castro has announced that the FHA will cut multifamily mortgage insurance rates to spur the financing of affordable housing and energy-efficient apartments. The move will result in the rehabilitation of an additional 12,000 units of affordable housing each year.

2015 = Success – NAA and NMHC's hard work in 2015 resulted in critical changes that will benefit our $1.3 trillion industry, and the 38 million residents who call an apartment home. From securing the extension of key expired tax provisions, to successfully advocating for vital Section 8 Housing Voucher Program reforms, to helping ensure beneficial changes to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, these and other significant accomplishments helped reduce your costs, improve your productivity and save you time.

Congress and Industry Eye Flood Insurance Reforms – The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee held two hearings this month on the future of the National Flood Insurance Program and ways to expand affordability and coverage options. Administered by FEMA, the program is facing financial challenges due to several catastrophic weather events.

Apartment Industry Emphasizes the Vital Importance of Balanced Housing Policy – In response to President Obama’s final State of the Union address on Jan. 12, NAA and NMHC took the opportunity to release a detailed statement outlining the apartment housing industry’s top policy priorities for the year ahead.

NLRB Ruling on Joint Employees Could Be Headed to Court Soon - The National Labor Relations Board's August 2015 ruling that expanded the definition of a joint employer could be headed to court soon.

Key Fair Housing Assessment Tool Gets HUD Seal of Approval - HUD recently released the final Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Assessment Tool for local governments preparing Assessments of Fair Housing – both individually and in collaboration with other local governments and public housing agencies.

Financial Regulators Exempt Multifamily from Margining Rule - In a significant victory for the apartment housing industry, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued an update to its proposed margining risk management rule that will now exempt all multifamily and project loans from the rule.

Industry Cautions Against Expansion of Fair Housing Liability - HUD proposed a new fair housing rule this past fall that provides guidance on “quid pro quo” and hostile environment harassment. However, the rule sets out standards for direct and indirect liability that would apply across HUD’s fair housing actions. As a result, NAA/NMHC joined a coalition to caution HUD against the proposal.

FAQ on Section 8 Policy Renewal Guide Makes Everything Clearer - HUD recently provided a Frequently Asked Questions document that highlights key updates to the Section 8 Policy Renewal Guidebook. The guide provides direction for the renewal of expiring project-based contracts.

An Industry On Point in 2015 - Congress has called it a wrap for the holidays and 2015. But before heading out for their long winter break, lawmakers and the nation breathed a sigh of relief after the Omnibus $1.8 trillion Fiscal Year 2016 federal government spending bill was approved.The Omnibus budget package holds numerous large victories for the apartment housing industry.

In a Nutshell: Apartment Housing and FY 2016 Omnibus Funding - The Omnibus legislation funding the federal government for Fiscal Year 2016 that was approved by Congress and signed by President Obama included wide-ranging provisions that touched many aspects of the industry from housing finance reform to assisted housing to research-related Census data.

EB-5 Program Reauthorized and Temp Staff Gets More Flexibility - After months of contentious debate, troubling press coverage and oversight reports calling into question parts of the EB-5 “Jobs for U.S. Visa” Immigrant Investor Program, Congress decided to reauthorize the program unchanged through September 2016. 

Cyber Info Sharing Bill Becomes Law - Shortly before leaving town for their holiday break, Congress passed the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 as part of the large end-of-year omnibus spending bill. This bipartisan, compromise legislation was born out of three separately passed bills that NAA/NMHC have long supported.

Omnibus Leaves Water Rule on Cutting Room Floor - The Omnibus federal government funding bill failed to include a prohibition on funds to enforce the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’  controversial “Waters of the U.S.” rule. But the legislation did include a provision that restricts the application of the rule in agricultural areas, including farm ponds and irrigation ditches. 

2016 Scorecard Bumps Apartment Housing Volume Caps to $31 Billion - The Federal Housing Finance Agency released its 2016 Scorecard on Dec. 17, which is used to both assess activities at the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as outline priorities in the coming year. 

Cyber Remains a Priority as the Year Draws to a Close - The week of Dec. 7 proved to be a busy one for cyber-related issues in the nation’s capital. The FTC reached a high-profile settlement, a House committee marked up a data security bill, and the House and Senate made significant progress on a final compromise on information sharing legislation.

House Committee Takes Common Sense Section 8 Reform Steps - On Dec. 9, the House Financial Services Committee approved the “Housing Opportunities Through Modernization Act of 2015,” which encourages common sense reforms to HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. 

House Tees Up Tax Extenders Package with Foreign Investment Relief - On Dec. 7, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) introduced the “Tax Increase Prevention and Real Estate Investment Act of 2015” that would impact apartment firms by extending several expired, temporary tax provisions for this year and 2016.

Congress Cuts Affordable Housing Red Tape - President Obama signed the “Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act” into law on Dec. 4.  The $300 billion package funds the highway and transit system in our nation for five years. Of interest to the industry is language that improves and streamlines several of HUD’s rental housing programs.

Industry Presses Congress to Oppose Joint Employer and Overtime Rules – NAA/NMHC have urged Congress to oppose burdensome employment rules expanding the definitions of joint employer and mandatory overtime. Specifically, the NLRB have significantly expanded the definition of a joint employer. This could have a significant impact on apartment housing firms that may become liable for the actions of subcontractors, suppliers, vendors and temporary staff.
 
HUD Proposes Public Housing Smoking Ban – HUD has announced a proposed rule that would prohibit smoking in public housing nationwide due to the dangers of second-hand smoke. The proposal could impact about one million households. Importantly, the ban would extend to outdoor areas, including up to 25 feet of common areas and administrative office buildings. Critics charge that the ban is yet another challenge for the already burdened public housing agencies.

Financial Regulators’ Margining Proposal Gets More Time - The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission have announced a proposed rule that will impact lenders and borrowers who participate in the apartment housing market.

Bills Targeted at Increasing Broadband Access by House Subcommittee - The Commerce Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has unanimously passed two bipartisan pieces of legislation aimed at increasing high-speed internet access across the country.

IRS Eases Repair Regs for Small Apartment Housing Operators - The IRS has simplified the application of so-called Repair Regulations that address how expenses in connection with acquiring, maintaining and improving tangible property, including apartment buildings, should be treated for tax purposes.

Coalition Calls for Reauthorization of EB-5 - The EB-5 "Regional Center" investment and job creation program's extension ends Dec. 11. In a letter, NAA/NMHC and a coalition ask for extension with “integrity measures” to safeguard national security and deter evolving risks of investor fraud.

Coalition Urges Full Funding for Housing Programs - NAA/NMHC and a coalition have submitted a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking for full funding for the true cost of renewal of all existing rental subsidy contracts including Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, Housing Choice Vouchers, Project Rental Assistance Contracts, and Senior Preservation Rental Assistance Contracts.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Policy Resources:

2016 NAA and NMHC Policy Priorities

2015 NAA and NMHC Accomplishments

Apartment Industry News:

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