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July 17, 2015
Highway Bill is Chock-Full of Multifamily Items
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The House on July 15 passed legislation to fund highway spending through December 18. The bill includes several tax compliance offsets that modify tax return filing dates for multifamily partnerships and estate tax reporting requirements.

The Senate is also slated to begin consideration of highway funding next Tuesday. However, it’s unclear if that chamber will seek to modify tax provisions in the House bill in favor of a longer-term extension of highway funding.

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Mark Your Calendars: July 30 Disparate Impact Webinar

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In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to uphold disparate impact liability under the Fair Housing Act. NMHC/NAA has scheduled a related webinar for Thursday, July 30, from 4 to 5:15 p.m. EDT. Nixon Peabody LLP’s Harry Kelly and Ballard Spahr LLP’s Mike Skojec will be on hand to explain the High Court’s opinion.

The webinar will also include an in-depth discussion on the implications for the multifamily industry and practices and steps to consider in response. More details and materials will be provided in the coming days. Feel free to contact NMHC’s Paula Cino at pcino@nmhc.org in the interim with questions.

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NMHC Insider
PATENT REFORM
Here's Why Patent Reform Matters to the Multifamily Industry
Congress is under pressure to pass patent reform legislation that could help the multifamily industry and its service providers that are targeted by abusive “patent trolls.” Trolls threaten legal action and demand licensing fees for everyday business products and technology applications. These can range from “off the shelf” tech tools and on-site video security systems to web-based transactions and marketing platforms.
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AFFORDABILITY
NMHC Launches Workforce Housing Committee Focused on Answers
NMHC has launched the new Workforce Housing Affordability Committee. This standing committee’s mission is to develop solutions to the nation’s rental housing affordability challenges. Specifically, committee members will evaluate and help address issues from development and capital formation, to operational, tax, regulatory and legislative matters.
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NMHC EVENTS
Register Now for the 2015 NMHC Fall Board Meeting!
Register now for the NMHC Fall Board of Directors and Advisory Committee Meeting from September 15-17 at The Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC. Highlights include NPR’s Award-Winning Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg on September 16. She will share insights on many of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent landmark decisions, including disparate impact. In addition, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other key Members of Congress will be the featured speakers at a Capitol Hill luncheon on September 17. NMHC’s Fall Meeting leverages both the meeting’s location in our nation’s capital and our extensive relationships with federal policymakers. Attendance is limited to NMHC Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Advisory Committee members.
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ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Industry Asks DoE to Take It's Foot Off Gas Furnaces
A recent Department of Energy (DoE) proposal would require non-weatherized gas furnaces to be at 92 percent annual fuel usage efficiency (AFUE) by 2021. This one-size fits all approach would require horizontal venting of the combustion gases because of the associated condensation. This change in venting would result in significant problems for existing multifamily properties because of the extensive construction that would be required to accommodate the 92 AFUE furnace.
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LEAD PAINT
EPA Miscalculates Availability of Lead Paint Test Kit
The Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule requires that any activities in pre-1978 housing be performed by certified firms and workers using federal, lead safe work practices. In establishing the cost to implement the rule, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relied on the market availability of a low-cost, rapid and accurate chemical spot test for guiding lead paint repairs. But a test kit that meets the Agency's criteria is not available. This effectively increases the number of jobs subject to the rule. That’s because contractors must act as if lead paint is present if they cannot find the kit.
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EMPLOYMENT
Labor Department: Are Your Workers Employees or Contractors?
The Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division issued guidance on July 15 about how to determine whether workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors. The delineation has crucial implications for a worker's eligibility for protections. This includes minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation, as well as for assessing liability for employment taxes.
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UTILITY COSTS
Energy Savings on the Horizon for HUD
HUD spends nearly $7 billion annually on utility costs for subsidized housing nationwide. To help combat the soaring costs, the House passed the Private Investment in Housing Act of 2015 on July 14. The legislation would establish a HUD energy efficiency demonstration program for the department’s related programs.
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LOW INCOME HOUSING
House Votes to Lift LIHPRHA Limits on Accessing Cash Reserves
On July 14, the House passed legislation that provides technical changes to the “Low Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act of 1990” (LIHPRHA). The legislation was first enacted to provide multifamily property owners with incentives to maintain affordability for low- and moderate-income renters.
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HUD NEWS
Latest Edition of "HUD Multifamily Housing News" Hits the Shelf
The June 15 edition of HUD Multifamily Housing News focuses on opportunities to serve residents through the department’s rental assistance programs. Featured articles include a piece on new tenants provided with housing supported by the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Program. This vital program serves extremely low-income persons with disabilities. Another article centers on the expansion of the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) to the residents of multifamily assisted properties.
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SOLAR ENERGY
White House Initiative to Increase Solar Access for All Americans
The Obama Administration announced a new initiative on July 7 to increase solar energy access and cut energy bills for all Americans, in particular those that live in low- and moderate-income communities. This includes renters living in federally subsidized housing that lack the initial capital to invest in solar or that don't have adequate information on how to make the transition to solar energy.
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NMHC PAC
In Focus: Key Senators Working to be Re-Elected
Election Day is more than a year away, but the field of most competitive political races are already starting to take shape.
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Hill Watch
Senate Committee Hearing Entitled, "Targeted Tax Reform: Solutions to Relieve the Tax Compliance Burden(s) for America's Small Businesses," Wed., July 22, 10 a.m.
House Committee Hearing Entitled, "How Tax Compliance Obligations Hinder Small Business Growth," Wed., July 22, 11 a.m.
House Subcommittee Hearing Entitled, "Promoting Broadband Infrastructure Investment," Wed., July 22, 2:30 p.m.
Media Roundup
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Back in Action
National Real Estate Investor
Hensarling: Efforts to Revisit Dodd-Frank Ongoing Despite Challenges
The Hill
Opposition Imperils House's Patent Troll Bill
National Journal
FHA Announces Additional Steps to Spur Affordable Housing Development
Multi-Housing News
Op-Ed: Who Will Pay the Political Price for Affordable Housing?
New York Times
How a Seattle Plan to End Single-Family Zoning Could Change Affordable Housing
The Atlantic - CityLab
The Scoop

Designers Say “Meh” to 2016 Presidential Campaign Logos

Professional graphic designers weighed-in on the campaign logos of the presidential hopefuls this week. And let's just say that the response was mediocre at best with a solid "meh" for most. The lowest marks were given to the logos of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.

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