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February 13, 2015
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Tapping into Foreign Capital May Soon Be Easier

Copyright: Kheng Guan Toh

The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill on February 11 that would reduce the barriers that the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) places on foreigners investing in U.S. real estate.

Currently, foreign investment in real estate is discouraged because the Act taxes gains on the income earned from, and the sale of, real estate nationwide. This prevents multifamily and other real estate companies from tapping into foreign capital – an important source for developing, upgrading and refinancing properties.

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NMHC Insider
Small Biz Bill Passes House, Next Stop the Senate
On February 13, the House passed a $77 billion bill that allows small businesses, including multifamily firms, to permanently write off up to $500,000 in qualifying investments in the year of purchase. This expensing limit would be phased down if overall investment costs exceed $2 million – ultimately, limiting the proposal to smaller multifamily operators. Without legislation, small businesses can only immediately deduct $25,000 in investment costs in 2015.
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Castro Grilled on Plans to Lower FHA Fees
HUD Secretary Julián Castro was grilled by Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee at a February 11 hearing focused on oversight of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Questions from lawmakers focused primarily on the department’s plans to lower FHA premiums for homebuyers by half a percent. The decision is part of an Obama Administration initiative to expand affordable housing options for all Americans.
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Heads Up: Deadline for Lead Paint Certification is July 1
Firms and workers who engage in activities that may disturb lead-coated surfaces on pre-1978 residential property are required to be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The deadline for worker re-certification is July 1. As a result, multifamily industry owners and managers need to be aware that workers must take a 4-hour refresher course in order to maintain their certification.
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HUD: Reach Megawatt Energy Savings in Assisted Multifamily Housing
On January 29, HUD Secretary Julian Castro announced joint actions with the state of California to expand financing for energy-efficiency and solar energy improvements in federally-assisted and insured multifamily housing. Specifically, funding can now be accessed through the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which is part of an Obama Administration initiative focused on installing 100 megawatts of renewable energy across federally-subsidized housing by 2020.
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The EBie Sustainability Awards Want You!
Did you or your team recently make impressive sustainability improvements in a building that’s five years old or more? If so, you could become an EBie winner!  Sponsored by the Urban Green Council, for the awards the energy and water performance of specific projects are evaluated based on Portfolio Manager. However, they also want to hear about how your team worked together, solved problems and dealt with any curve balls along the way.
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No Rest for the Weary... And Dedicated
It has become the norm in Washington for re-election planning to begin the day after a congressional candidate gets into office. So read more to find out what NMHC PAC has been up to since the midterm elections, as well as to learn about the priorities we're focused on this year!
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Hill Watch
The Senate and House are in recess next week.
Media Roundup
Freddie Mac Catching Up in Apartment Boom: Mortgages
House Republicans' Silent War Over Immigration Funding
National Journal
McConnell to House GOP: Don't Expect Miracle on Immigration Fight
The Hill
This Could Be the End of User Name and Password
The GOP Game Plan on Net Neutrality
Is HUD Lax on Ethical and Legal Violations? Its Inspector General Thinks So
Washington Post
Senate Holds Interesting Tax Reform Hearing. Everyone Shocked.
Christian Science Monitor
The Scoop

Good-Bye “So 1800s” Chairman Portraits

Few lawmakers are probably more excited to get home for the upcoming Senate and House recess than Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the newly minted chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  If you didn’t know, Chaffetz famously sleeps on a cot in his Capitol Hill office when in Washington. But, after taking the oversight gavel, he’s getting attention for another decision he made recently to remove the “so 1800s” portraits of former chairman from the walls of the committee room.

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*Please note that “Multifamily Markup” will be on hiatus next week due to the congressional recess.

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