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April 17, 2015
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Industry to FHFA Director: Keep Capital Flowing

Copyright: Mark Van Scyoc
NMHC staff met with Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt and key agency members on April 15 to discuss the state of the multifamily market. There is concern that the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will hit their market caps well before the end of the year resulting in a disruption of capital flows to the multifamily market.

We requested the meeting with Watt to highlight the overall strength of the multifamily market and the need for a diverse capital base to effectively serve the needs that the broad multifamily market demands. The production caps for the GSEs have been in place since 2013, and for 2015 the caps were set for each at $30 billion with certain loan purchases excluded from counting toward the cap.  The exclusions are targeted affordable loans, small balance loans and manufactured housing communities. 
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NMHC Insider
Industry Makes Tax Reform Proposal Top of Mind
On April 7, NMHC/NAA submitted the apartment industry’s recommendations on tax reform to the Senate Finance Committee.  The Committee is examining proposals for reform, establishing five working groups to analyze the tax code. The working groups will deliver recommendations that include stakeholder input to Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) in May.  Tax reform is a key issue for the multifamily industry because real estate depends on the free-flow of capital and after-tax rates of return.
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House Bill Would Send EPA Water Rule Back to the Drawing Board
On April 15, a House Committee passed a bill that directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw their controversial water rule. The bill would also require them to consult with state and local officials on the development of a measure to address the scope of wetlands and streams that fall under the Clean Water Act. The current proposed water rule would significantly increase the frequency for obtaining federal permits for land development, resulting in costly project delays.
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HUD Looks for Housing Input on Violence Against Women Act
HUD published a proposed rule on April 1 that would fully implement the 2013 Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization (VAWA), which includes housing provisions.  The proposal asks for feedback on establishing emergency transfer provisions, documentation standards, and requirements for apartment firms to distribute property-wide disclosures of domestic violence incidents at resident application, move-in and lease termination.
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EPA Extends Lead Recertification Deadline for Workers
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it will extend recertification deadlines for workers involved in activities that disturb lead-based paint on pre-1978 residential properties. Workers certified on or before March 31, 2010, now have until March 31, 2016 to get recertified. The extension only applies to workers that fall under EPA’s renovation program and not to those under authorized state programs.
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House Passes Estate Tax Repeal, but Senate Action Doubtful
The House passed a bill on April 16 that would repeal the estate tax. The legislation is primarily designed as a way for House Republicans to express their support for the elimination of the estate tax. However, prospects in the Senate are uncertain. Because many apartment firms are small businesses, often family owned, estate planning is a major consideration for company principals. A critical part of planning focuses on the estate tax imposed on the transfer of their assets to their heirs.
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Have a Voice: LEED Rating Coming for Existing Multifamily
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is developing a LEED Operations and Maintenance rating for existing multifamily projects with 20 or more units. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, recognizes best-in-class green building strategies and practices. Fannie Mae will be hosting an online working session for multifamily practitioners this month on the proposed rating.
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President Obama Vetoes "Ambush" Election Rule
As expected, on March 31 President Obama vetoed legislation passed recently by the House and Senate that would have overturned the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “ambush” election rule. The NLRB’s rule would have shorten to as few as 14 days -- down from the current median period of 38 days -- the period of time between a union filing a petition for election and the election itself.
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Grassroots Effort to Save Census Funding Needs You
As Congress continues to debate the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2016, funding of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) is in jeopardy. The ACS is important to multifamily because it helps in estimating the industry’s economic impact and provides the latest relevant data. Now, we think you can help us by adding a grassroots touch.
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The Net Neutrality Battle Goes On... And On
New net neutrality rules for both mobile and wired or “fixed” broadband were published in the Federal Register on April 13, beginning a 60-day countdown to implementation, unless a court or Congress acts to block them. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the regulations last month after the agency voted in February to ban paid priority for Internet traffic. This would prohibit providers from blocking or slowing down online content.  The apartment industry and its residents depend on the Internet for online marketing and leasing, revenue management, community amenities and more.
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Affordable Housing Still Top of Mind in DC
Housing affordability continues to be a focus in Washington. Specifically, at a symposium held at HUD on April 7 the 2015 Worst Case Housing Needs Assessment was referenced early and often.  The assessment highlighted dramatic shortages in affordable rental housing across the country.  Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the event and noted the benefits of widely available rental housing, including mobility and the ability to pursue economic opportunity.
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Register Today for Next Week's NMHC Spring Board of Directors Meeting
There is still time to register for the NMHC Spring Board of Directors Meeting being held from April 21-23 at the Waldorf Astoria New York. The meeting is our most exclusive of the year, limited to a few hundred of the industry's most senior executives.  This year we are making some strategic changes to make this high-level event more valuable. Please note that the meeting is open to NMHC Executive Committee and Board of Directors members only. Also, on-site registration will open at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23.
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2015 NMHC PAC Committee Hits the Ground Running
Not wasting any time in starting the fundraising engines, NMHC PAC Chairman Bob DeWitt and the entire committee is excited about the early response from members to supporting the PAC.
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Hill Watch
Senate Committee Hearing Entitled "2020 Census: Challenges Facing the Bureau for a Modern, Cost-Effective Survey," on Mon., April 20 at 3 p.m.
Senate Committee Hearing Entitled "Advancing Telehealth Through Connectivity," on Tues., April 21 at 10 a.m.
House Committee Hearing Entitled "Small Business, Big Threat: Protecting Small Businesses from Cyber Attacks," on Wed., April 22 at 11 a.m.
Media Roundup
Should Policymakers Address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's Shrinking Role in Multifamily Housing?
Urban Institute
Will Congress Act on Multifamily Legislation? CRE Industry Still Hopes So
National Real Estate Investor
Former FDIC Chair Unleashes Sharp Critique of Fannie, Freddie Treatment
Housing Wire
Senators Introduce Bipartisan Data Breach Legislation
The Hill
Opinion Editorial by HUD Secretary Julián Castro: Our National Affordable Housing Crisis
Under Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Opens the Door to Privatizing Half its Public Housing
In These Times
The Uselessness of the Mortgage Interest Deduction
New York Times
Watchdog Report Spooks Investor Visa Advocates
Read the HUD Multifamily Newsletter
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Scoop

Hillary Announces… Her 2016 Presidential Campaign Logo

Hillary Clinton's announcement this week that she was running for president was no surprise. What did come as a surprise is all the hubbub over her campaign logo. Some people like it, others clearly don’t, and social media continues to buzz with opinions. What do you think? 

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