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August 12, 2015
Rent Control on the Rise
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As burgeoning rental demand meets stagnant wages and limited available apartment stock, major cities from New York to San Francisco are struggling with housing affordability challenges. Local, state and federal governments are working on options to increase affordable housing, but many advocates are pressuring them to consider rent control as fast fix.

Economists largely agree that rent control measures fall short of their promise. And industry stakeholders cite issues with the net effect of rent control on overall rents, as well as abuses of the system. "It doesn't serve the people who need it most," said Jim Lapides, spokesman for the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), in the article.

But those points are hardly putting the long-standing debate to rest. In fact, some cities and states are finding themselves at odds with each other over rent control pressures.

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FINANCE

Miami Taps EB-5 Visa Program to Help Fund Affordable Housing

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado recently called on housing developers to build more affordable apartments. The twist: The city will arrange for selected developments to be partially funded by a federal visa program known as EB-5, which grants green cards to foreign investors. (paywall)

TRENDS

Innovative Yet Illegal Housing Solutions

High rents in the San Francisco Bay Area are spawning a wave of innovation when it comes to housing solutions. Garages, offices, living rooms, backyard tents and, yes, even shipping containers are being rented out as more affordable alternatives. The one, little problem? They’re illegal.

FAIR HOUSING

How the Feds Are Muscling In on Local Zoning Laws

A look inside the drama that’s playing out in Westchester County, New York, where HUD is using the courts and a federal grant to force the county to accept and promote suggested zoning changes in support of HUD’s new fair housing initiative.

OPERATIONS

The Doorman's Dilemma: What to Do With All Those Packages?

The proliferation of online shopping, grocery and food delivery services makes every day seem like Christmas in many apartment buildings. Consequently, communities that once would have gotten a parcel to a resident before the UPS truck pulled away from the curb are rethinking their policies or staffing to deal with the brown paper pileup. Plus: Check out NMHC’s package research here.

ADVOCACY

How a Joint Effort Positioned Two Associations as Apartment Industry Leaders

One Capitol Hill media mainstay highlights NMHC and NAA’s public relations campaign and interactive website, www.WeAreApartments.org. The article states, the “campaign has been making a difference for the apartment industry for only two years, but shows no signs of slowing down.”
In Case You Missed It
A hand-selected collection of noteworthy articles on a wide variety of issues of interest to apartment executives.
Investors Debate Public Home Builders vs. Multifamily REITs

Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning Central to NYC Affordable Housing Plan (paywall)

Apartment REITs Buy Less, Hunt for Yield

New Technology, Standards Set to Make Permit Data More Accessible

How the Drought Is Affecting Multifamily Owners in Los Angeles

A Retrospective Look at One of NYC’s Apartment Landmarks

When a Smart Home Is Too Smart for Its Own Good

Equity to Refund Fees to Massachusetts Residents

“Wantrepreneur” Lifestyle Driving Co-Living Communities

The Cross-Pollination of Apartment and Student Living Layouts

Density Bonuses: A Tool for Affordable Housing

A New Opportunity to Build Detached Homes for Rent

Portland Proposal Would Limit Apartment Dwellers’ Access to Parking Permits

Multifamily Market Dashboard

Much Ado over Short-Term Rentals

As the number of listings continue to climb on online short-term rental websites like Airbnb, HomeAway and Flipkey, communities across the nation are growing uneasy. The concerns run the gamut, from the effect short-term rentals have on the safety and affordability of existing neighborhoods to the proper regulation and taxation of the units for rent.

(This five-part piece on the impact of Airbnb in San Francisco sums up a lot of the reservations, as does this article about Airbnb in Denver.)

Like the hotel industry, the apartment industry is just beginning to wrap its arms around how the new technology will affect its businesses—for better or worse. There are worries about lease violations and on-site security, but also potential business-boosting opportunities.

But a lack of data on short-term rentals is currently standing in the way of meaningful discussion. That is expected to change soon. In an effort to make informed policy decisions, not only are a number of state attorneys general digging into the issue, but some interested groups are using technology to cull data from the online platforms themselves. Just take a look at what www.insideairbnb.com has pulled together on nine U.S. cities. This is a snapshot of short-term rentals in New Orleans.

 

Upcoming Meetings

SEPTEMBER

2015 NMHC Fall Board of Directors and Advisory Committee Meeting

September 15–17, 2015 The Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC

2015 NMHC Emerging Leaders Speaker Series — Washington, D.C.

September 16, 2015 Provision 14 in Washington, DC

2015 NMHC Student Housing Conference & Exposition

September 28–30, 2015 The Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, AZ

OCTOBER

2015 NMHC Emerging Leaders Speaker Series — Denver, CO

October 15, 2015 The The Platform at Union Station in Denver, CO
About Apartment Wire
A must-read for top apartment industry professionals, Apartment Wire is a timely review of emerging trends in apartment finance, development, management and technology and more, featuring both exclusive content from NMHC's staff of experts and provocative articles from across the web.
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