Assembly of Delegates Meeting November 9-12, 2016

Assembly of Delegates Meeting November 9-12, 2016
Washington, DC

Lots of valuable information was presented at the NAA Committee Meetings in DC.  I went through orientation for my new position as Vice Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee.   Affordable housing will continue to be a high NAA priority and it will take both private investment, public support and government common sense to provide for the shortfall in housing units.

Following the election, it is more critical than ever that we connect with our representatives in Congress.  Every House Representative has been asked by Majority Leader Paul Ryan to find more creative ways to increase the number of affordable housing units.  We need to have our voices heard.  The Capitol Conference is in March.  This conference highlights the Herculean efforts NAA does to protect our industry.  Each contact and relationship we have with our representatives reinforces their efforts.

The election has provided us new opportunities and challenges.  The Democratic Party is in disarray.  The Tea Party Coalition, who for the past 4 years have stopped any meaningful legislation from passing the House is now more willing to compromise with the new Congress. They are now supporting Paul Ryan.  Previously, they were trying to remove him from his position as House Majority Leader.

Prior to the election, Portland Oregon had been dealing with protesters.  There has been a push reportedly funded by the unions to impose rent controls.  There have been numerous protests at apartment leasing offices.  It has gone violent, sending at least two leasing agents to the hospital.  Since the election, protests and riots have continued in Portland in opposition to the election results.

NAA has been working to stop some of the more onerous proposed fire code regulation the ICC wants to adopt in 2018.  Initially, ICC proposed that all new and existing multi family apartments be sprinkled, all construction materials must be non combustible and that attics must be sprinkled.  They wanted to stop all frame construction.  NAA, instead, is recommending better enforcement of existing codes.  When NAA suggested the the ICC codes should also apply to single family residences, the ICC backed off.

ADA is revising the turn around radius from 60″ to 66″ for bathrooms and kitchens., This is to apply to both new and existing units.  This will be a problem particularly in modifying bathrooms.

The courts are holding cities liable fro selective enforcement of their crime free ordinances relating to domestic violence.  Owners complying with local crime free ordinances are being sued by the ACLU.  They state that African American men are being denied housing and the African American women are being locked out of housing.  ACLU is also suing because individuals are denied housing and jobs because they lack English proficiency or have been accused of sexual harassment.

HUD is pushing hard to extend their use of desperate impact.  The courts are fortunately pushing back.  In almost every case where the landlords or management company was shown to have tried to develop a dialogue with the tenant to resolve their complaint, the courts have favored the property owner.  Supreme Court and Appellate Courts appointments are going to be critical to our industry in the future.

The NAA Education Conference in June will be in Atlanta.  The Thursday Night Party will be held at the Atlanta Aquarium and the Coke Museum.  The Omni Hotel is the host hotel and most hotels are within walking distance.  The education seminars submitted by the IROC Committee are specifically for the small or medium sized property.

Good news that the courts in Virginia have outlawed out of state websites from certifying companion animals.  Courts have also sided with property owners regarding music and TV licensing.  The gym treadmill or a TV on the wall in the caption mode in not considered a public performance.

NAAPAC funds were distributed to many Congressional candidates during this election cycle.  You can go on their website to see which candidates were given PAC funds.  We have had the opportunity to meet with our local candidates to promote our industry.  And we were able to hand deliver the NAAPAC checks to them.  Next year each affiliate is asked to try to raise a minimum of $500 or our fair share based on the number of units.  When you exceed your goal, 75% of any additional funds can be directed to the candidates we choose.  Individual contributions are needed.  If you are not able to actively develop a working relationship with our legislator, at least contribute to the PAC fund.  This industry pays your salary and protects your investment.

Steve Lightner
VP Missouri Apartment Association