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December 4, 2015
Affordability: It's Time
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Copyright: STILLFX

Understanding that the nation is facing significant rental affordability challenges, NMHC launched the Workforce Housing and Affordability Committee earlier this year. Rental demand is growing, supply is limited and resident incomes have been stagnant while housing costs have risen. Our goal is to evaluate various programs and policies, like inclusionary zoning, that are currently in place and develop new ideas to overcome affordability hurdles.

The Committee held its second meeting in Chicago on November 11. Twenty-two NMHC members – from across the country – participated in the discussion, which represents the clear importance of the issue to our membership. NMHC President Doug Bibby recently shed more light on the topic and our work for the “Bibby Blog.” To learn more, please click below to read his post.

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Regulations Touch More Aspects of Operations

Copyright: Gustavo Frazao

Technology is hardly the only thing shaping on-site property operations. New government regulations are also transforming apartment companies’ basic business policies and underscoring the need for best practices in marketing, leasing, telecommunications, IT and risk management.

So we are providing a rundown of some of the areas where regulatory change is happening, as heard at the 2015 NMHC OPTECH Conference & Exposition last month.

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NMHC Insider
DIVERSITY
Waters Report: Diversity Lacking Across Federal Financial Agencies
Women and minorities are significantly underrepresented in senior-level management positions and throughout the federal agencies overseeing the U.S. financial services sector, according to a congressional staff report released in November. For example, at the Securities and Exchange Commission – the Wall Street watchdog responsible for protecting investors and facilitating healthy capital markets – African Americans, Hispanics and Asians make up just 12 percent of senior managers. Women make up 32 percent of senior management positions at the FDIC.
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PUBLIC HOUSING
HUD Proposes Public Housing Smoking Ban
On November 12, HUD announced a proposed rule that would prohibit smoking in public housing nationwide due to the dangers of second-hand smoke. The proposal could impact about one million households. Importantly, the ban would extend to outdoor areas, including up to 25 feet of common areas and administrative office buildings. Critics charge that the ban is yet another challenge for the already burdened public housing agencies.
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AFFORDABILITY
Industry Backs Affordability Amendment in Highway Bill
On November 16, Congress extended the deadline through December 4 for conferees on the Highway Transportation bill to take action. Earlier in the month, the House passed a six-year $325 billion package to fund the highway and transit system in our nation. Of interest to the multifamily sector is an amendment to the bill offered by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). This amendment includes measures to improve and streamline several of HUD’s rental housing programs.
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MULTIFAMILY FINANCE
Financial Regulators' Margining Proposal Gets More Time
As we reported, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a proposed rule this fall that will impact lenders and borrowers who participate in the multifamily market. But, in an 11th hour move, the agencies recently extended the comment period deadline from November 10 to January 15 to allow more time for comments to be filed and to further examine the rule. Specifically, the proposal will influence how mortgage backed securities, supported by Fannie Mae multifamily or Ginnie Mae multifamily project loans, are issued and settled. The proposal would require the establishment of a risk management process called margining between the seller and buyer of the security.
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TAX AND ACCOUNTING
IRS Eases Repair Regs for Small Multifamily Operators
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on November 24 simplified the application of so-called Repair Regulations that address how expenses in connection with acquiring, maintaining and improving tangible property, including multifamily buildings, should be treated for tax purposes. That is, depreciated or expensed. Specifically, the IRS increased to $2,500, from $500, the amount of an expense that taxpayers without an applicable financial statement (AFS), such as smaller multifamily operators, can deduct in the year of purchase rather than depreciate over a number of years.
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BROADBAND ACCESS
Bills Targeted at Increasing Broadband Access by House Subcommittee
On December 2, the Commerce Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed two bipartisan pieces of legislation aimed at increasing high-speed internet access across the country. The first and more targeted bill is the Federal Spectrum Incentive Act, which is aimed at pushing federal government agencies to give up some of their much needed wireless spectrum that they control but is not being used. If they participate, those agencies would be eligible to receive some of the money earned by auctioning off the airwaves to offset recent budget cuts or for other programmatic spending.
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RESEARCH
Industry Coalition Urges Increased Funding for Key Research Surveys
NMHC and NAA are part of The Census Project coalition, which sent detailed comment letters to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees urging an increase in funding for the 2020 Census and related American Community Survey. Both were dangerously underfunded in the Senate and House Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bills earlier this year. The multifamily industry uses data from the two surveys for numerous purposes, including estimating the economic impact of the apartment industry, as well as providing members with latest data about the industry.
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SECTION 8
FAQ on Section 8 Policy Renewal Guide Makes Everything Clearer
HUD recently provided a Frequently Asked Questions document that highlights key updates to the Section 8 Policy Renewal Guidebook. The guide provides direction for the renewal of expiring project-based contracts. The FAQ is designed to make certain aspects of the guide clearer, including when extensions are allowed, the eligibility of nonprofits for renewals, and conventional refinancing eligibility.
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HUD UPDATES
HUD's Monthly Review Delivers Multifamily News
HUD recently updated the FY 2016 mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Multifamily programs, as well as the online method of submission for Davis-Bacon Wage Rate Certifications. These updates, along with information on the Rental Assistance Demonstration program and more, can be found in the October edition of HUD Housing & FHA Monthly Review.
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NMHC EVENTS
Don't Miss the 2016 NMHC Annual Meeting from January 19-21 in Orlando!
Register today for the 2016 NMHC Annual Meeting to be held January 19-21, 2016, at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek/Waldorf Astoria in sunny Orlando, FL. Open to members only, the annual meeting is the largest gathering of the year where NMHC members come together to network with their colleagues. The meeting will include informative sessions led by industry leaders, insight into what is happening on Capitol Hill, strategies for success in changing times, and fun-filled social events. Member firms that have filled their company registration allotment can purchase networking passes. Networking passes allow additional colleagues from member firms and corporate event coordinators to be on the hotel premises during the meeting and for the onsite corporate events.
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NMHC PAC
NMHC PAC Exceeds $1.25 Million Goal for 2015!
The multifamily community came together and has exceeded the 2015 NMHC PAC fundraising goal of $1.25 million!  The PAC operates on a calendar year so efforts to bring in more support will continue through December 31.
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Hill Watch
House Hearing on "How the Administration's Regulatory Onslaught is Affecting Workers and Job Creators," Wed., December 9, 10 a.m.
Senate Budget Committee Hearing on Moving to a Stronger Economy with a Regulatory Budget, Wed., December 9, 10:30 a.m.
Media Roundup
Ryan's Next Big Challenge: Prevent Another Government Shutdown
The Fiscal Times
House Republican Conservatives on Paul Ryan: Meh
Bloomberg
House Passes Energy Policy Overhaul Bill
The Hill
Fixing the Most Expensive Tax Deduction
Washington Post
Permanently End Temporary Tax Extenders
U.S. News & World Report
Senate Republicans Up for Re-Election Are Urged to Keep Distance from Donald Trump
New York Times
Zuckerberg Immigration Group Launches 2016 Reform Blitz
Politico
The Scoop

Ramping Down: How’s John Boehner Adjusting to Retirement?

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner retired not only from the speakership, but from Congress entirely, last month. Politico featured an in-depth interview with Boehner recently with a goal of finding out exactly how he’s doing now as a regular citizen. The piece also highlights what President Obama had to say to Boehner in their last conversation.

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