AIMS Update: Fair Housing Month, Disparate Impact Webinar

 

 

 

National Multi Housing Council | AIMS Update
National Multi Housing Council | AIMS Update
April 12, 2013
NAA/NMHC JOINT LEGISLATIVE NEWS
April Is Fair Housing Month, Members Reminded to Review Practices
NAA/NMHC to Host Webinar on Navigating HUD's "Disparate Impact" Rule on April 30
EPA Sets R-22 Refrigerant Supply Levels for 2013-2014
Energy Department Delays Enforcement of New Regional Furnace Standards
New Building Codes Toolkit Outlines Design Options for Properties with Sprinkler Systems
NAA/NMHC Weigh In on EPA's Move to Expand Renovation, Repair and Painting Rules for Commercial Buildings
Budget Cuts Begin to Affect Affordable Housing Voucher Programs
Momentum Builds in Congress for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Apartment Industry Identifies Priorities in Tax Reform
NAA NEWS
NAA Congressional Recess Program: Your Investment in the Industry's Future
Webinar Series Continues With "The Business Exchange"
NAA/NMHC JOINT LEGISLATIVE NEWS
April Is Fair Housing Month, Members Reminded to Review Practices

NAA/NMHC remind members that April is Fair Housing Month and that 2013 marks the 45th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. This 1968 landmark legislation prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability.

In conjunction with the anniversary, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) launched a national media campaign to educate the public and housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under the act. The campaign includes English, Spanish and Chinese radio and print advertisements that feature examples of actions that violate the Fair Housing Act and information on reporting housing discrimination.

NAA/NMHC urge members to evaluate their practices and properties to ensure they are in compliance with not only the Fair Housing Act, but all disability rights laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

For more information, visit the HUD website.

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NAA/NMHC to Host Webinar on Navigating HUD's "Disparate Impact" Rule on April 30

On Feb. 8, HUD issued a final rule implementing the Fair Housing Act’s Discriminatory Effects Standard. In addition to establishing uniform standards for determining when a real estate practice or policy violates the act, this final rule formalizes HUD’s long-standing position that liability under the Fair Housing Act may be established under the “disparate impact” theory. The rule will force the apartment industry to review rental policies and practices, especially in the areas of occupancy limitations, resident screening and Section 8 voucher policies.

NAA/NMHC will host a members-only webinar to help firms understand the impact of this regulation on Tuesday, April 30 from 1:00-2:00 PM EDT.

For more information and to register, please go here.

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EPA Sets R-22 Refrigerant Supply Levels for 2013-2014

On April 3, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final rule setting the allocation of R-22 refrigerants for 2013-2014. Although R-22 allowances for 2013 will temporarily rise 13 percent relative to the 2012 level to 62.8 million pounds, the 2014 allowance is set to decrease 20 percent from the 2012 level to 51.0 million pounds. Allocation amounts will continue to decrease as the EPA will completely phase out the production of R-22 by 2020. After that date, supplies of R-22 will be limited recycled product.

Pricing is likely to fluctuate as the market transitions to the 2020 phase-out date for this class of refrigerant. Future allocations (2015-2019) will be set in a subsequent rulemaking.

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Energy Department Delays Enforcement of New Regional Furnace Standards

On April 5, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a statement that said it would hold off on enforcing new regional furnace energy efficiency standards pending the resolution of a related lawsuit; the new standards were set to go into effect on May 1. The controversial standards mandate the use of 90 percent annual fuel utilization efficiency for non-weatherized gas furnaces in the northern region, which creates some retrofit installation hurdles. The provisions are part of DOE’s new energy conservation standards for residential heating and cooling systems.

While the enforcement delay is a positive for the apartment industry, NAA/NMHC filed a letter with DOE seeking an 18-month extension of the effective date of the rule. The extension would give DOE time to clarify the scope of the rule with regard to replacing equipment in existing properties. DOE had provided NAA/NMHC assurances that technical concerns related to retrofit installations would be addressed, but, to date, the department has yet to publish any document with details on these concerns.

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New Building Codes Toolkit Outlines Design Options for Properties with Sprinkler Systems

As a follow up to a first building codes toolkit on key apartment issues in the current code cycle, released October 2012, NAA/NMHC recently published a second toolkit that outlines design options, or tradeoffs, permitted in the 2012 International Building Code and the 2012 International Fire Code for buildings with sprinkler systems.

NAA/NMHC continue to work to propose and support design options because they have been effective in providing construction alternatives that more than offset the sprinkler installation cost, saving lives and providing a positive effect on apartment residents’ safety.

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NAA/NMHC Weigh In on EPA's Move to Expand Renovation, Repair and Painting Rules for Commercial Buildings

As required by the same law that authorized residential lead hazard rules, EPA is undertaking an analysis of potential lead hazards in public and commercial buildings and considering a new rule to expand the regulations that apply to the disturbance of lead during building renovation, repair and painting (RRP) activities in public and commercial buildings.

The rule would apply to work in all buildings regardless of age; current regulations apply only to buildings constructed prior to 1978, when lead paint was banned. However, exceptions are commercial and public buildings that contain “child-occupied” facilities such as day care centers, which must comply with the stringent rules that apply to pre-1978 housing.

In response to a formal request for information, NAA/NMHC filed comments in early April with EPA as members of the Commercial Properties Coalition, a group of trade associations whose members are involved in various aspects of commercial real estate development, ownership, management, contracting and building product supply. The coalition’s main message was that additional research is necessary to support new regulation.

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Budget Cuts Begin to Affect Affordable Housing Voucher Programs

The apartment industry has begun to feel the ramifications of the steep spending reductions known as the “sequester,” which took effect March 1, as local housing authorities send out notices to owners regarding possible rent reductions in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Rent reduction is just one of a number of cost-saving strategies HUD recommends to public housing authorities (PHAs) administering the program as part of a larger effort to address financial shortfalls (Notice PIH 2011-28). 

In addition, in mid-to-late May, the federal housing agencies are expected to provide PHAs with information on funding amounts for the rest of FY 2013; additional budget reductions could add stress to a number of affordable programs already affected by the sequester. Apartment owners should consider establishing regular communication with their local PHAs to be prepared for upcoming funding deficits.

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Momentum Builds in Congress for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Momentum continues to build for comprehensive immigration reform in 2013-2014 as bipartisan groups in key committees in the Senate and House find common ground. Both the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” and a House bipartisan working group expect to propose reform bills in the near future, perhaps as early as next week. While reform efforts are gaining traction, issues related to border security and earned legalization for currently undocumented workers remain as sticking points.

Any reform effort will have a meaningful effect on labor considerations for all businesses, including apartment firms. However, many industry firms continue to support a workable guest-worker visa system to allow employers to sponsor foreign laborers for a set period of time and an appropriate role for the E-Verify program, a web-based system that allows employers to verify the eligibility of their employees to be legally employed in the U.S.

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Apartment Industry Identifies Priorities in Tax Reform

Tax reform continues to be the subject of intense discussion in our nation's capital. On April 4, NAA/NMHC responded to a request from the House Ways and Means Committee and submitted two letters on the apartment industry’s tax reform priorities.

The first letter stressed that tax reform must be comprehensive, addressing both the individual and corporate sides of the tax code. Otherwise, flow-through entities, which dominate the apartment industry and pay tax based on the individual side of the code, could end up shouldering the cost of corporate tax reform.

In addition, NAA/NMHC urged Congress to maintain current tax treatment of carried interest, retain the deduction for business interest, protect the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and preserve the current law on estate taxes.

NAA/NMHC also submitted a second letter that indicated the importance of tax incentives for improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings and large multifamily properties.

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NAA NEWS
NAA Congressional Recess Program: Your Investment in the Industry's Future

Your involvement with your members of Congress is a year-round commitment to support the apartment industry.  Take advantage of their in-district work periods by scheduling meetings with them now.  These meetings are especially important if you were unable to participate in Lobby Day on Capitol Hill last month.

Congress will next be in recess from April 29 to May 3 so now is the time to make your appointments. Our industry’s top issues include immigration, housing finance and tax reform. Here are tools to help you prepare for your meetings:

Apartment Industry Overview Fact Sheet
Apartment Industry Overview Talking Points
Apartment Industry Trends and Overview Briefing Video

Immigration Fact Sheet
Immigration Talking Points
Immigration Briefing Video

Housing Finance Fact Sheet
Housing Finance Talking Points
Housing Finance Briefing Video

Tax Reform Fact Sheet
Tax Reform Talking Points
Tax Reform Briefing Video

Here are other resources to help prepare you for your meetings:

Who to Contact to Schedule Meetings With Your Members of Congress

How to Schedule Appointments with Your Members of Congress

Sample Meeting Request Letter

Tips for Meeting with Your Member of Congress

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Webinar Series Continues With "The Business Exchange"

Perry Pillow, director of government affairs, Apartment Association of Tarrant County, Texas, will conduct a webinar on the benefits and logistics of hosting the business exchange for the National Apartment Association Political Action Committee (NAAPAC).  This “bite-size” webinar is part of a series that NAA Government Affairs is offering year-round on advocacy topics.

Title: “Investing in NAA's Political Strength: The Business Exchange”

Date: Tuesday, April 16

Time: 1 – 1:30 p.m. ET

Reserve your webinar seat now.

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AIMS

AIMS is the apartment industry's grassroots network operating under NAA and NMHC's Joint Legislative Program. AIMS represents more than 58,000 multifamily housing advocates.

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