On March 8-9th, 2022, the National Apartment Association (NAA) will be hosting their annual NAA Advocate conference, which gives members of NAA a chance to vocalize key issues within property management and the rental housing industry with legislators.
When we started ResMan, I wanted to make sure that everyone in our company understood that we are part of the housing industry, what impacts our customers, their investors and their renters impacts us as well. As part of doing our part, ResMan team members will be joining other NAA members throughout the country in meeting with their Congressmen and women to address rental housing concerns where legislation could be of help.
Conversations will be focused around the fourteen key issues that NAA lists on their website. This affords members and frontline workers to share their story at the national level to better advocate for themselves and their residents on both micro and macro levels.
The conference features keynote speakers, Q and A sessions, educational discussions on emerging policy issues and a briefing on what to address during visits with Congress.
To better understand priorities for Advocate 2022, we sat down with Jason Simon, Director of Government Affairs at the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas. In our discussion with Jason, we found 3 key issues stood out for members and others in the property management industry. We’ve listed some details so you can better prepare for your conversations.
The “Yes In My Back Yard” Act legislation would remove barriers to housing development and help address the nation’s housing affordability crisis. Specifically, it would encourage localities to eliminate discriminatory land use policies and remove barriers that prevent needed housing from being built around the country by requiring Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) recipients to report periodically on the extent to which they are removing discriminatory land use policies and implementing inclusive and affordable housing options. Reducing regulations and administrative barriers present in local jurisdictions could dramatically boost housing affordability in the U.S. Lawmakers need to push YIMBY through.
Despite bipartisan support for the YIMBY Act, lawmakers have delayed moving this forward. The NIMBY Act (Not In My Back Yard) has created limited supply and an overwhelming demand in rental housing. Most who back the NIMBY Act have complete misconceptions of the rental housing industry and see apartment building as a threat to their cities. With inflation and rising gas prices, metropolitan cities are suffering on the outskirts as there is lack of affordable rental housing and commutes are now considered just as expensive as renting.
Section 8 Housing Voucher Program
The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program is a voluntary program NAA has long supported. While it is one of the most successful rental subsidy programs, many members are asking for changes and reforms to the fifty-year-old program. The program itself could use a face lift and aim toward a more user-friendly benefit for landlords. There is legislation which would essentially incentivize more landlords to use the program and cut back the red tape on regulations.
NAA has a great chart for their members showing the standard leasing process versus the Section 8 process. The most noticeable difference is how much more streamlined conventional leasing is compared to affordable. This is where effective legislative changes could drastically improve the use of the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program across the country. The composed legislation suggests changes and reforms such as:
- Awarding incentive payments to housing providers that are new participants or operate in high-volume areas
- A mitigation fund so owners can better manage repairs and damages
- Establishing inspection reciprocity to allow owners and operators already subject to other inspection protocols to satisfy HCV (Housing Choice Voucher) requirements
- A landlord liaison to support landlords during the Section 8 process
Members of NAA are speaking up to lawmakers regarding the CARES Act and Eviction Moratoriums. Though the CARES Act was passed with bipartisan support in March 2020, many saw this as a temporary solution to prevent an unprecedented economic disaster during COVID-19. Two years later, the eviction moratorium was extended and properties covered under the CARES Act are still required to give 30-day notices for evictions. This can cause problems for properties upon arriving in court.
As Jason Simon explains, “The reality of it is, if you don’t give that notice and you go into JP court, file your eviction, you’re before the judge, the judge is going to ask you, ‘Are you covered under the CARES Act?’ If you say you’re not covered and you are covered, your case could be dismissed and that’s the end result. The problem is that [30-day notice requirement] should have expired with the 120-day eviction moratorium. It was temporary, it was ‘Let’s get through the pandemic, until we have vaccines and rental assistance and get rid of it.’ But the 30-day notice to vacate is still in place and there’s no end date. So, it will not end until legislators end it.”
NAA members are asking lawmakers to sunset the federal eviction moratorium to halt the destabilization of the rental housing market. The moratorium has restricted property owners’ ability to pay mortgages, salaries, property taxes, maintenance and utilities, ultimately putting many properties into jeopardy and out of business. Small businesses have been especially hard hit. But the answer isn’t just to end the moratorium, since the moratorium has led some renters to accumulate debt that they will be unable to pay when the moratorium ends. Instead, NAA members will be advocating for a clear end date to the moratorium AND for Congress to offer increased rental assistance to allow renters that have been unable to pay some or all of their rent during the moratorium to catch up on rent payments and remain in their homes.
For more information on the NAA’s advocacy, visit the policy section of the NAA website, check out the federal legislative tracker or find information about active legislation in your state through the state legislative tracker.
See you on Capitol Hill!