Nor Cal Rental Property Association

NAA/NMHC Support Bill to Prevent Excessive Litigation Over Alleged Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Violations

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee of the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on June 27 to discuss H.R. 3356, the ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services (ACCESS) Act. The bill aims to address the numerous lawsuits filed by professional litigants whose primary goal is to extract settlement money from business owners found in noncompliance with the ADA. H.R. 3356 intends to reduce the number of abusive lawsuits and promote compliance with the ADA by providing business owners and operators an opportunity to fix alleged violations before a civil suit can be filed. While the ADA applies only to public accommodations, apartment owners can be the target of these “drive-by lawsuits” for alleged violations in areas open to the public, such as building entrances, parking lots or leasing offices. NAA/NMHC submitted a letter to the subcommittee supporting the bill, which would prohibit civil action for failure to remove a structural barrier to entry into an area of public accommodation unless: (1) the aggrieved person has notified the owner/operator with a written notice specific enough to identify the barrier; (2) the owner/operator neglected to respond to the written notice within 60 days; or (3) the owner/operator failed to remove barriers to entry within 120 days. A similar bill (H.R. 881) was proposed by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). It is uncertain at this time if these bills will advance during the 112th Congress. NAA/NMHC continue to monitor these bills and other related legislative efforts.
Date: July 09, 2012

Source: http://www.naahq.org/governmentaffairs/issues/Pages/AccessibilityNAANMHCSubmitLetterSupportingACCESSAct.aspx

Congress Passes Long-Term National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Extension

Before leaving for the July 4 recess, both the House and Senate agreed to a transportation bill (H.R. 4348) conference report that, among other things, reauthorizes the NFIP for five years. The NFIP has operated on a series of short-term extensions since 2008. As the primary source of insurance coverage for flood damage, more than five million policyholders, including multifamily property owners and managers, rely on the NFIP for coverage. The legislation includes reforms to put the program, which faces program debt of $18 billion, back on a path to financial solvency. Those reforms include phasing in new actuarial rates for certain properties, such as second and vacation homes, commercial properties, homes sold to new owners and repetitive loss properties, over the next five years. It also raises the caps on annual premium increases from 10 percent to 20 percent and imposes minimum deductibles for flood claims. The legislation also raises limits available to multifamily properties to $500,000, placing them on par with commercial properties, and creates a technical advisory council to assist with map modernization. President Obama is expected to sign this legislation into law immediately.
Date: July 09, 2012

Source: http://naahq.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT0xNzA4NjY5JnA9MSZ1PTc3MzY1MjI3MSZsaT04MDgxNTU4/index.html

New Petition Asks Supreme Court to Weigh In on Disparate Impact Under Fair Housing Act

On June 11, the Township of Mount Holly, N.J., filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court asking the court to review an earlier decision to determine whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act and, if so, under which test or standard. Disparate impact claims maintain that even if an action is not intended to discriminate, it can still be considered discriminatory if its effect has an “adverse impact” on members of a protected class. In Mount Holly v. Mount Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc., the township of Mount Holly created a plan for redeveloping a blighted neighborhood occupied mostly by low- and moderate-income minority households. Residents filed suit against the township, arguing that the redevelopment lacked affordable housing and, therefore, had a disparate impact on minorities and violated the Fair Housing Act. This case closely mirrors a disparate impact case that the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear earlier this year (Magner v. Gallagher). However, in that earlier case, the city of St. Paul, Minn., withdrew its petition, stating its concern for the potential unintended consequences of a decision in its favor. On a similar note, last November, HUD published a proposed rule to establish uniform standards for determining when an act can be considered discriminatory based on a disproportionate negative impact on a protected class under the Fair Housing Act. NAA/NMHC submitted comments urging HUD to delay action on the proposed rule until after the Supreme Court ruled in Magner v. Gallagher. It is unclear when HUD will finalize this rule in light of the recent court activity. NAA/NMHC will support the township of Mount Holly by filing an amicus brief with the court; industry practices, such as resident screening, recently have been the subject of legal challenges alleging disparate impact on protected classes.
Date: July 09, 2012

Source: http://naahq.informz.net

House Transportation Bill Affects Project-Based Rental Assistance Program Funding, Includes Other Housing-Related Provisions

On June 29, the House approved the FY 2013 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bill (H.R. 5972). The legislation calls for partial funding of the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program; the $8.7 billion allocated to the program is significantly below the level necessary to fully fund the contracts currently in place. NAA/NMHC signed an industry coalition letter on June 18 to oppose the partial funding. NAA/NMHC continue to support the funding levels in the Senate bill (S. 2322) approved in April, which fully funds the PBRA program. In related news, Section 8 tenant-based vouchers were funded at slightly more than the FY 2012 enacted level, but the allocation was lower than the amount approved by the Senate. The House transportation bill also drew an amendment offered by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) that would eliminate funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to establish disparate impact standards under the Fair Housing Act. The NAA/NMHC-supported amendment comes at a time when disparate impact is back in the news, as the Supreme Court considers whether to review an earlier ruling on the issue. While both the House and Senate have approved the THUD appropriation, the issues contained in these proposals will either get worked out in conference or, more likely, will be combined with other funding measures later this year
Date: July 09, 2012

Source: http://naahq.informz.net

Bush Tax Cuts and Tax Extenders Are the Apartment Industry’s Hot-Button Issues When Congress Is in Recess Next Month

Congress needs to know that you support the renewal of the Bush-era tax cuts and other current law tax policies that impact the industry. Your opportunity to tell members of Congress is when they are in recess from August 4 to September 9. While action on tax reform is unlikely this year, Congress is looking at major tax provisions affecting the industry that either will expire at the end of 2012 or that sunset at the end of 2011. In addition to the Bush tax cuts affecting rates on ordinary and capital income, the estate tax is set to sunset this year. Other key issues include the tax extenders that provide the industry with numerous incentives (such as to construct energy efficient property) which expired in 2011. The apartment industry must start advocating now to ensure that the tax code includes these tax breaks in 2013. Please don’t delay in setting up your appointments. All the resources you need for your meetings are available in the Congressional Recess Toolkit available here. You can also take advantage of the House’s recesses this month from July 13 – 16 and again from July 27 – 30. Please let Carole Roper know if you plan to schedule meetings. She can be reached at Carole@naahq.org or 703/797-0616. Your engagement with your members of Congress is critical to the industry’s advocacy efforts and the future of your business. Please do all you can to stand up for our industry!
Date: July 09, 2012

Source: http://naahq.informz.net

: http://naahq.informz.net

AB 2610 (Skinner)

This bill, which after significant amendments, seeks to conform state law to federal law that provides protections for renters whose residences are foreclosed upon and sold, passed the Assembly and awaits action in the Senate.
Date: July 06, 2012

Source: www.leginfo.ca.gov

SB 1473 (Hancock)

Intended to be identical to AB 2610, the bill, which seeks to conform state law to federal law providing protections for renters whose residences are forclosed upon and sold, passed the Senate and awaits action-and necessary amendment, similar to those in AB 2610-in the Assembly.
Date: July 06, 2012

Source: www.leginfo.ca.gov

Tax Cut Extentions

Payroll Tax Cut Extension Raises FHA Multifamily Premiums The year-end deal to temporarily extend the payroll tax cut includes an increase in the GSE guarantee fee to help offset the costs of the program. Apartment firms should note that this increase applies only to single-family mortgage securities; multifamily securities are unaffected. However, another provision in the bill will raise the FHA multifamily mortgage premium by 10 basis points. More important is the potential impact the G-fee provision will have on long-term efforts to eliminate the GSEs. By including 10 years of revenue from the G-fee in the program extension, lawmakers now have a strong incentive to retain Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—or at least enact reform legislation that mandates a long transition to any new system. NAA/NMHC will continue to protect the well-functioning multifamily housing finance sector as Congress seeks to address the flaws in the single-family sector.
Date: January 11, 2012

Source: www.naahq.org

IRS Issues Repair

IRS Issues Repair Regulations On December 23, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued temporary (T.D. 9654) and proposed rules (REG-168745-03) regarding the tax treatment of costs incurred in acquiring, maintaining and improving tangible property, including multifamily buildings.
Date: January 11, 2012

Source: www.naahq.org

Congress Halts Ban on Incandescent Light Bulbs

The final FY 2012 appropriations bill passed by Congress on December 17 included a provision to roll back controversial light bulb efficiency standards set to take effect January 2012. Despite media and other reports to the contrary, the new standards, enacted as part of a 2007 energy law, would not have banned incandescent light bulbs. They did, however, require bulbs to be 25% to 30% more efficient than today. This change would have effectively phased out less expensive incandescent bulbs in favor of more expensive compact fluorescents, LED and redesigned incandescent bulbs that meet the new standard. However, the funding bill prohibits the U.S. Department of Energy from implementing or enforcing the new standards this fiscal year. This uncertainty has contributed to confusion in the marketplace, so apartment firms should be aware that the full range of lighting products continue to be available to them in the coming year when making design and purchasing decisions.
Date: January 11, 2012

Source: www.naahq.org

NAA/NMHC Comment on Revised Pool Safety Rules

On December 12, NAA/NMHC submitted comments to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) on its plan to revoke their interpretive rule on “unblockable drains” for purposes of complying with the requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGBA). As a result of this action, pool owners and operators who followed this earlier interpretation may now face additional compliance obligations. The CPSC sought public input on the feasibility of pools coming into compliance with the revised interpretation by May 28, 2012. NAA/NMHC’s comments highlighted our industry’s frustrations over the Act’s broader compliance issues, i.e. those associated with the initial drain cover requirements, a subsequent manufacturer recall of May 2011 and the lack of guidance from the CPSC. We asked the CPSC to establish a system for responding to inquiries about proposed system designs to aid in compliance. We also requested that the CPSC monitor and evaluate owner/operator progress in coming compliant with the new requirements and consider amending the enforcement date accordingly. More information and our comments are available here.
Date: January 11, 2012

Source: www.naahq.org

NLRB Approves Changes to Union Election Rules

On December 22, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) adopted a scaled-back list of changes to union election rules (76 FR 80138), which would accelerate the election process. Last summer, the Board proposed dozens of amendments to existing union election rules, but on November 30, it voted to move forward with just six of them. The new rules take effect April 30. NAA/NMHC oppose the changes, which are part of labor groups’ broad-based efforts to improve declining unionization rates. We argue that they deprive employers of sufficient time to communicate with employees before an election and delay resolving certain issues—including whether an employee is eligible to vote in a union election—until after an election has already occurred. The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, of which NMHC/NAA are members, joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in filing a lawsuit against the new rules.
Date: January 11, 2012

Source: www.naahq.org

“Poster” Rule Enactment Delayed Until April 30

On December 23, the NLRB announced that it would again postpone the implementation of its “poster rule” from January 31 until April 30 in response to a request from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. During a December 19 hearing, the judge advised the NLRB to postpone the rule, or it would be prohibited from enforcing the change. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers are challenging the rule.
Date: January 11, 2012

Source: www.naahq.org

LIHTC Tax Credit Bills

Introduced Bipartisan legislation supported by NAA/NMHC has been introduced in both the House and the Senate (H.R. 3661, S. 1989) that would make the 9% low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) fixed floor rate permanent and establish a similar fixed floor rate for the 4% credit for acquisitions. A temporary 9% floor rate was established in the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act but will expire for apartments placed in service after the end of 2013.
Date: January 11, 2012

Source: www.naahq.org

NAA’s 2012 Capitol Conference:

The Best Investment You’ll Ever Make! Congress is making decisions that affect the lives and livelihoods of members of the apartment industry. Telling Congress about how these issues affect you can positively impact critical legislation ahead. Now isn’t that a great return on investment – both for you and the entire industry? Give the industry a stronger voice by investing your time at the 2012 NAA Capitol Conference from March 11 – 14 in Washington, D.C. This year’s theme is “Maximizing Our Advocacy ROI.” The Capitol Conference will include: • Nationally known political analysts and commentators • Industry forums and networking events • Legislative briefings • Meetings with your members of the U.S. Senate* and staff for both the Senate and House of Representatives Don’t miss out during this critical election year! To register, go to the NAA website. *The House will be in recess the week of the Capitol Conference, but members are encouraged to schedule meetings with relevant legislative staff in the offices of their Representatives from the House.
Date: January 01, 2012

Source: www.naahq.org