The Senate has approved the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017. As described below, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) included several reforms to HUD’s inspection process to the funding bill that impacts the entire industry as a whole. Senator Rubio’s reforms were proposed and adopted in response to a recent visit to a troubled property in his district. To combat negative stereotypes and broader legislative proposals that may impact the entire industry, NAHMA urges you to call your Representatives and Senators to request that they visit your properties to demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of multifamily properties provide quality housing in their districts.
Please call your Representatives and Senators TODAY and ask them to visit your properties to understand the benefit of affordable housing and the important role owners and agents play on behalf of tenants in their districts.
A site visit at one of your properties provides your congressman/senator with a real-world look at how affordable housing benefits low-income individuals and families. These visits can also help to dispel any negative preconceived notions that the legislator may have about affordable housing programs.
Also, this is a great opportunity to have property staff and residents involved. Including property staff and tenants in the site visit can improve the overall experience. The congressman/senator will have the opportunity to meet the individuals (and voters) served by housing assistance and this can further display the quality community development created by affordable housing.
To find your congressional members and learn how to schedule a visit, please use NAHMA Maps and the attached Tips for Congressional Site Visits. Please reach out to NAHMA staff if you need any assistance. Both Scott Mcmillen and Larry Keys are available to help.
On May19, the U.S. Senate passed a broad funding bill for FY17, which includes funding for HUD programs, veterans’ benefits, transportation, and the response to the Zika virus. Included in this funding bill were several amendments, proposed by Senator Rubio (R-FL). According to the senator’s press release and floor statements, Senator Rubio put forth the amendments in response to an ongoing dispute at a troubled property in his district.
His amendments did three things:
- To shorten required response time for contract violations.
- Shortens the time given to a property owner to respond to a contract violation from 30 days to 15 days.
- Shortens the time the HUD Secretary has to prepare a Compliance, Disposition and Enforcement Plan from 60 days to 30 days.
- To determine the state of Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) assessments.
- Requires HUD and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct and publish reports determining the state of REAC assessments.
- The HUD report will include a nationwide review of REAC scores.
- The GAO report will include areas in which the REAC inspection process should be reformed and improved.
- To make temporary relocation assistance available for tenants.
- Makes Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPV) available for tenants living in dwelling units in which the owner has been declared in default of a project-based subsidy contract due to imminent health and safety risk to residents.
- The current system does not allow TPV’s to be available if the property is under review. Making relocation assistance available when there are clear risks to the residents’ health is a big step to making sure that if these situations arise, residents are not harmed
NAHMA anticipates a similar amendment will be offered in the House of Representatives, which votes on their version of T-HUD funding bill early next week. There is also the possibility of additional legislation being introduced. It is very imperative that members contact their congressional members to combat negative perceptions and unneeded legislation that may impact the entire industry.