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May 31, 2016
Tick Tock
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Copyright: Vlad Ozerov
The Senate and House are out this week for their Memorial Day recess and – with 164 days left until the election this fall and only 38 days in session for Congress between now and then – the proverbial clock is ticking in Washington. This means that NMHC and NAA will be continuing to work hard at ensuring our policy and legislative priorities are heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill.
 
Only a handful of weeks remain before the Senate and House leave town for a longer than usual summer recess from mid-July to early September. There is a ton of work left to complete before the 114th Congress adjourns – and much of it could directly impact and shape the future of our industry.
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Bibby and DeWitt: Multifamily Model is Key to GSE Reform

Copyright: Peter de Kievith
NMHC’s President Doug Bibby and Chairman Bob Dewitt, vice chairman, president and CEO of GID, authored an essay on behalf of the multifamily industry that recognized the unique and positive characteristics of the multifamily structures that work in the housing finance system. In the essay, Bibby and DeWitt stressed that the multifamily model can provide lawmakers and stakeholders with core principles as they strive to craft a long-term solution for today’s related challenges.
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NMHC Insider
OVERTIME
Labor Department Issues Final Overtime Rule Impacting Multifamily
The Labor Department issued its final rule on May 18 that lifts the overtime pay threshold from $23,660 to $47,476 – impacting an estimated 4.2 million workers nationwide. Effective December 1, 2016, executive, administrative and professional employees who are paid by the hour, or earn less than the threshold, will be eligible for overtime pay.
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TAXES
Multifamily Industry Reminds Lawmakers of Tax Reform Priorities
While tax reform legislation is unlikely to move forward in Congress this year, the House and Senate tax-writing committees are working feverishly on proposals that could see action in 2017. The multifamily industry used an April 26 Senate Finance Committee tax reform hearing on business tax reform to remind lawmakers about key elements that should be preserved in any overhauled system. Multifamily owners, operators and developers pay federal tax at each stage of an apartment’s lifecycle – when properties are built, operated and sold or transferred to heirs – and have a huge stake in the outcome of reform of the nation’s tax code.
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DERIVATIVES
Senator Wyden Drafts Derivatives Tax Reform
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) on May 18 released a discussion draft of legislation to overhaul the taxation of derivatives. With critical exceptions for multifamily real estate, the Modernization of Derivatives Tax Act of 2016 would require owners of certain derivatives to mark-to-market their value at the end of every year and then pay income taxes on gain as ordinary income.
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FAIR HOUSING
Senate Debates Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule
NMHC and NAA continue to be concerned about potential impacts of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule as it is currently written. Last week, debate over that contentious rule was front and center on the Senate floor. The rule would not directly impose new compliance obligations on apartment owners, developers and managers. But the proposal’s broad mission to desegregate communities by combating exclusionary zoning, and other practices deemed discriminatory, could indirectly affect the industry. Specifically, the proposal could lead to delays in construction and permitting decisions – and these types of disruptions may aggravate the housing market’s already short supply of apartments.
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TELECOM
HUD Proposal Would Require Broadband Infrastructure in Some Assisted Properties
HUD proposed a rule on May 18 that would require broadband infrastructure installation for new or substantially rehabilitated multifamily rental housing properties funded by some of its programs, including Community Development Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnerships, Project-Based Vouchers and Section 8 Project-Based Housing Assistance. The proposal would not cover multifamily properties with just a HUD-guaranteed loan or Federal Housing Administration backing. Importantly, the proposal calls for in-unit infrastructure that would enable access to broadband – but owners and developers would not be responsible for external connections to an internet service provider or actually providing service to residents.
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LIHTC
Cantwell-Hatch Introduce Bill to Expand LIHTC and Enable Income Averaging
Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on May 19 introduced legislation to expand Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocation authority by 50 percent, enable income averaging, and set a minimum 4 percent credit for acquisitions and bond-financed developments. Two high-ranking Democrats also lent their support, including Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and presumptive Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) who are original cosponsors.
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ENERGY
DoE Partners with Costar Group to Advance Building Energy Efficiency
The Department of Energy's (DOE) Better Buildings Initiative on May 26 announced a partnership with CoStar Group, Inc., a provider of data and intelligence solutions to commercial real estate professionals, to advance and promote energy usage information for commercial and industrial buildings. As outlined in the DOE-CoStar press release, the partnership will support several initiatives, including expanding the display of energy efficiency information in buildings, as well as performing new and cutting edge research to evaluate related impacts.
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AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
House Committee Takes First Step on ADA Lawsuits
On May 19, the House held a hearing on the bipartisan “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015,” which is an important first step in moving the measure in this Congress. The NMHC and NAA supported bill is designed to uphold the objectives of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), while deterring costly and frivolous lawsuits against property owners. This legislation is narrowly tailored to target so-called “drive-by” lawsuits that are increasingly common throughout the real estate industry.
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CYBERSECURITY
Preview to Cybersecurity White Paper Released at Spring Board Meeting
Cyber risk to the multifamily industry is often overlooked and underestimated. However, apartment firms and their third party service providers regularly collect, use and maintain sensitive financial and personal data about residents, prospective residents and employees that leave them vulnerable to cyber incidents. During last week’s 2016 NMHC Spring Board of Directors Meeting in Chicago, we released a preview of a soon-to-be-released cybersecurity white paper. The paper will provide an in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the multifamily industry and, most importantly, provide a clear road map on how to implement best practices.
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FLOOD
NMHC Scores a Win on Flood Risk Standards
The House recently passed the Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill, which funds a wide-range of related Federal Government activities. NMHC and NAA supported vital language in the bill that would prevent HUD from implementing President Obama’s executive order last year that updated the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard. We have expressed concern to Congress and the Administration that the order, although well-intentioned, could negatively impact development and significantly increase the cost of construction.
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FAIR HOUSING
Save the Date: NMHC and NAA Criminal Screening Policies Webinar
NMHC and NAA will hold a webinar on June 23 at 2 p.m. on our new white paper entitled, Criminal Conviction Screening Policies: Best Practices to Avoid Disparate Impact Liability, which provides a detailed analysis of HUD’s recent fair housing guidance on criminal screening. HUD’s new policy seeks to extend protections for individuals with criminal histories by ending blanket exclusions of prospective residents based on criminal history in favor of a more individualized approach that is more narrowly tailored to achieve property safety and security goals. Please save the date and note that webinar participation details and information will be shared with all our members in the coming weeks.
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NMHC PAC
NMHC PAC on Target in Tumultuous Campaign Season
The 2016 NMHC Spring Board Meeting last week in Chicago was another tremendous success. During the NMHC PAC committee meeting, members discussed the unpredictable and tumultuous campaign season, with PAC Chairwoman Sue Ansel detailing the 34 Congressional seats that are up for re-election.
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Hill Watch
The Senate and House are in recess this week.
Media Roundup
Fannie, Freddie and the Secrets of a Bailout with No Exit
New York Times
Fannie, Freddie and an Outbreak of Amnesia
Wall Street Journal
Ending Tax Break for Ultrawealthy May Not Take Act of Congress
New York Times
Labels Like "Felon" Are an Unfair Life Sentence
New York Times
Much Ado about Homeless Overlooks Much Bigger Issue of Affordable Housing
Washington Post
Rising U.S. Rents Squeeze the Middle Class
Wall Street Journal
Federal Help for Poor Families With Children is Evaporating
The Atlantic - CityLab
What It Would Actually Take to Reduce Rents in America's Most Expensive City
Washington Post
Do Tax Credits Fit the New Affordable Housing Needs of Seniors?
Nonprofit Quarterly
The Scoop

Trump Celebrates Clinching 1,237 American Style

Donald Trump clinched the 1,237 delegates he needed for the Republican presidential nomination. This, of course, sparked another round of conversations in the media and by talking heads last week that I’m sure you didn’t miss. But do you know HOW Trump celebrated his achievement? You can find out by clicking below.

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