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February 23, 2016
In a Nutshell: Multifamily and the President's Budget Proposal
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President Obama released his final budget proposal for the 2017 fiscal year this month. The budget is traditionally used to lay out the Administration’s priorities in the coming year. Although the President’s budget as a whole has little chance of being enacted, it’s not unusual for the budget’s individual provisions to be enacted as part of other legislative proposals. For this reason, NMHC and NAA pay close attention to the budget process and, once again, a number of critical issues that would impact our industry are addressed in the proposal.

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NMHC Insider
NMHC and NAA Spotlight Success of FHA Multifamily Programs
On February 11, NMHC and NAA encouraged a House subcommittee to retain and strengthen the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) multifamily programs as a reliable source of capital for the apartment sector at a hearing entitled, “The Future of Housing in America: Examining the Health of the Federal Housing Administration.” FHA has served as the cornerstone for the construction, and permanent financing and refinancing, of apartments since its inception in 1934. Specifically, FHA multifamily programs have traditionally accounted for approximately 10 percent of the total outstanding multifamily debt. And it is best known for offering an alternative source of construction debt to developers that supplements bank and other private construction capital sources.
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NMHC Leaders Discuss Diversity and Organizational Success
As part of NMHC’s Diversity Initiative, we produced a video featuring industry leaders discussing the importance of diversity to innovation and organizational success. Many of you had the opportunity to see this video during NMHC’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Orlando, and now it’s available on our website. Thanks to our Diversity Committee Chair Julie Smith, NMHC Chairman Bob DeWitt, Immediate Past NMHC Chairman Daryl Carter and Past NMHC Chairman Peter Donovan for participating in the video and for helping to lead this important initiative. We’ll continue to provide online resources going forward, so please check out our NMHC Diversity Initiative content for articles, reports and more.
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President Obama Announces $19 Billion Cybersecurity Action Plan
On February 9, President Obama announced a Cybersecurity National Action Plan focused on enhancing private and public cyber defenses, improving cyber incident response and providing consumer data privacy education. To implement this, the President included $19 billion for cybersecurity in his Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal – representing a historic 35 percent increase in cybersecurity spending. Given the large amount of personal information that apartment firms collect, including Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and more as part of the leasing process, cybersecurity is a high priority for our industry.
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Industry Endorsed FAA Amendment Makes First Hurdle
A House Committee on February 11 took steps to reverse a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposal that could lead to more restrictive height limitations and additional zoning requirements for multifamily developments, and other real estate, near U.S. airports. Specifically, the FAA is seeking to modify the existing policies that impact responsible economic development and land use planning near our nation’s airports.   
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Capitol Hill Tees Up Broadband Access for the Score
Broadband access was a hot topic in Congress recently with action in both the House and Senate. A House Subcommittee passed legislation that would exempt small internet service providers (ISPs) from enhanced transparency requirements in the Federal Communications Commission’s new Open Internet or ‘net neutrality’ rules. The Senate introduced a bill aimed at freeing up wireless spectrum currently owned by the Federal Government for private use. Spectrum refers to a range of frequencies used for wireless transmission of data, video and sound. These legislative efforts could significantly benefit multifamily properties and their residents by ensuring greater access to high-speed internet, particularly mobile broadband.
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Compliance Update: EPA Streamlines Training for Lead Workers
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 agency recently streamlined the Renovation, Repair and Painting rule that governs the training of related workers. These workers will now be permitted to meet the training requirement of re-certification through an online course every other re-certification period.  
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Now Available: Interim Guidance on Communicating Cyber Threats
On February 16, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) released interim guidance on cyber threat information sharing. This is the first step in implementing an NMHC and NAA endorsed cybersecurity law that is critical to the apartment industry. The related law provides liability protection for multifamily firms and other companies from civil lawsuits and existing antitrust laws when they voluntarily exchange real-time information about potential cyber threats. As mentioned above, given the amount of personal information apartment firms collect, including Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and more as part of the leasing process, this issue is a high priority for the industry.
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Getting the 2018 Building Codes Right for Multifamily
A wide-range of multifamily focused building codes that will be included in the International Code Council’s (ICC) 2018 edition opened for Online Voting on February 8. NMHC and NAA provided detailed recommendations on codes related to fire safety, emergency exits, building accessibility and much more. Building codes and industry standards have an important role in the apartment sector by establishing minimum requirements for the design, construction, alteration and maintenance of apartment buildings.
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Studies Clash on Economics of Home Sharing
Two recent studies are highlighting the economics of home sharing services like Airbnb and HomeAway. The first study is from Airbnb and details, in part, how its services benefit cities and communities nationwide. But the second study from PennState entitled, “From Air Mattresses to Unregulated Business: An Analysis of the Other Side of Airbnb,” finds that multiple-unit operators and full-time operators are a growing percentage of total Airbnb hosts. The data also reveals that these hosts are responsible for an uneven share of the company’s revenue. Although the multifamily industry is faced with both opportunities and challenges when it comes to home sharing, the story is much different for the hotel industry.
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Passing of Justice Scalia Brings Political Firestorm
The passing of respected conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13 has left a vacancy on the High Court that is creating yet another political firestorm in Washington between Republicans and Democrats. That’s because any appointment by President Obama would most likely shift the ideological makeup of the court for decades, which leaves Republican lawmakers promising to block any presidential nominees. They believe the American people should have a choice in the selection. And, as a result, a new justice should not be appointed until after we have a new president. Yet, others argue that leaving the seat vacant until 2017 would obstruct the court’s ability to function. Our colleagues at Porterfield, Fettig & Sears, LLC, have created a summary of the impact the vacancy has on pending cases, a list of upcoming cases that could be impacted, and a list of potential nominees.
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In 2016, Apartment Industry to Build on Key Accomplishments
The apartment industry is off and running this year. We are building on the momentum from our tremendous success in 2015. So we wanted to take a moment to look back at last year’s key accomplishments and what they mean for the industry.
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Hill Watch
House Committee hearing entitled, "Global Tax Environment in 2016 and Implications for International Tax Reform," Wed., Feb. 24 at 10 a.m.
House Committee hearing entitled, "The Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III on the Fixed Income Market and Securitizations," Wed., Feb. 24 at 10 a.m.
House Subcommittee hearing entitled, "DOE for the 21st Century: Science, Environment, and National Security Missions," Wed., Feb. 24 at 10:30 a.m.
Senate Committee Hearing entitled, "The Impact of High-Skilled Immigration on U.S. Workers," Thurs., Feb. 25 at 2:30 p.m.
Media Roundup
FHFA's Watt Offers Warning on Future of GSEs
National Mortgage Professional
Fannie Mae Reports $2.47 Billion Profit in Fourth Quarter
Freddie Mac to Send U.S. Treasury $1.7 Billion after Profit
The Math Behind the Need for GSE Reform
Why Nonbank Lenders Are the Future of Mortgages
National Mortgage News
Bad Math Fuels Fears of Apartment Affordability Crisis
Multifamily Executive
The Poor are Better Off When We Build More Housing for the Rich
Washington Post
The Scoop

Trump Spends (Much) Less, Wins More

Jeb Bush has suspended his campaign for president after spending an estimated $58.8 million. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has spent only $24 million – less than half that of Bush and his other Republican rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio who have dished out $76 and $60 million, respectively. But how much of Trump’s spending has been his own money? Well, that’s an even bigger surprise. Find out below.

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