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February 8, 2016
Industry Endorsed Section 8 Reforms Pass House
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Copyright: Orhan Cam

The House unanimously approved the “Housing Opportunities through Modernization Act of 2015” last week by a vote of 427-0. NMHC and NAA urged members of the House to support this vital reform bill. We also joined with a coalition of real estate groups, and a coalition of advocacy and industry organizations, in advocating for the legislation’s support. In light of the unanimous vote, we are hopeful that the momentum built in the House translates to action in the Senate, but timing is uncertain.

Specifically, the bill would streamline the Section 8 voucher program’s property inspection process by allowing immediate occupancy if the apartment home has been inspected within the past 24 months. This would reduce the length of time an apartment is vacant and limit move-in delays for residents. The legislation would also extend the contract term for project based vouchers from 15 to 20 years.

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NMHC Insider
FHFA Proposes Long Delayed Duty to Serve Rules
On December 18, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a proposed rule that would implement the long delayed “Duty to Serve” rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs). The proposal requires them to adopt plans to improve mortgage financing for residential properties that serve very low-, low-, and moderate-income families in three underserved markets: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural markets.
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HUD Cuts Multifamily Mortgage Insurance Rates, Spurs Affordability
On January 28, HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will cut multifamily mortgage insurance rates to spur the financing of affordable housing and energy-efficient apartments. According to the announcement, the move will result in the rehabilitation of an additional 12,000 units of affordable housing each year. FHA’s multifamily programs account for 9.2 percent of the total multifamily mortgage market.
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President Obama Moves to Combat Wage Discrimination
The Obama Administration announced an executive action on January 29 that would require employers, including federal contractors, with 100 or more employees to report how much they pay their employees broken down by race, gender and ethnicity. Effective in 2017, the proposal would mandate employers to provide data to the Federal Government covering pay in designated ranges and hours worked.
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HUD Changes Policy for Bed Bug Inspections
HUD recently announced a policy change for inspecting units with bed bugs by all inspectors who conduct physical inspections of HUD assisted and insured properties. Specifically, these units will now have to be fully inspected like any other unit. The previous policy required inspectors not to enter a unit if bed bugs were reported, and to choose a different unit to inspect. Importantly, the new policy makes clear that the presence and treatment of bed bugs on a property will not affect the inspection score.
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FCC: 34 Million Americans Lack Broadband Internet Access
According to a new report, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says 34 million Americans lack access to broadband internet. The report is an annual assessment required by Congress. Last year, the FCC found that 55 million lacked high-speed broadband access. Ultimately, the report found that access for all Americans is not advancing in a “reasonable” and “timely” fashion under the 1996 Telecommunications Act so the FCC plans to move to ensure more progress. The multifamily industry increasingly depends on web-based connectivity for property operations and corporate functions like marketing, revenue management, leasing and maintenance. Inadequate, unreliable service also significantly impacts residents and may involve costly technical solutions.
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Marcus & Millichap/IPA Stands at the Top
Once again, in 2015, Marcus & Millichap IPA had another record-breaking year with their NMHC PAC company campaign raising $129,645!  They continue to be the NMHC PAC’s most reliable and steadfast supporter, and their success shows that a contribution to NMHC PAC is one of the best investments you can make for the future of the multifamily industry. Marcus & Millichap IPA leads by example and is setting the tone for member company campaigns in 2016 – an important election year.
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Hill Watch
House Committee hearing entitled, "The Future of Housing in America: Examining the Health of the FHA," Thurs., Feb. 11, 9:30 a.m.
Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt to Address the Bipartisan Policy Center on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Thurs., Feb. 18, 9 a.m.
Senate Committee hearing entitled, "Regulatory Reforms to Improve Equity Market Structure," Thurs., March 3, 10 a.m.
Media Roundup
Google Seeks to Bridge the Digital Divide, Brings Free Fiber to Public Housing
Wall Street Journal
Fannie, Freddie Crystal Ball Just Got Cloudier
We Can Reduce the GSEs Risk Without Congress
American Banker
Postal Reform Consensus Develops; 5-Day Delivery Dead
Washington Post
The Housing Market is Rigged Against the Poor and Homeless
Business Insider
Equity Residential Says No Deal Yet with Airbnb on Potential Revenue-Sharing
The Real Deal
Will Airbnb Go the Way of Naptster?
Urban Land
Join NMHC at the MFE Multifamily Summit in Vail, March 10-12
Good News for Renters: Rents to Finally Flatten in 2016
The Scoop

A Shake Up Only Washington Could Love

Turns out, our members that attended January’s 2016 NMHC Annual Meeting were some of the last to hear from Politico journalist Mike Allen in his current role. Allen was a speaker at the meeting and his daily Playbook column is a must-read for Washington insiders. But a surprise shake up late last month at the popular online publication has left him, and many others, choosing to head for the door after the November election.

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