Government Affairs Digest - May 2023

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News from HQ

2023 Chapter Leadership Retreat

Chapter Presidents, Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, and IREM® Association Executives gathered in Chicago for the 2023 Chapter Leadership Retreat. The program schedule included a wide array of workshops, networking events, and speakers, including a keynote presentation from Dr. Simone Ahuja, Innovation Strategist and Innovation Expert, Blood Orange.

The IREM Government Affairs department hosted a Learning Sprint during the event, which covered IREM’s advocacy efforts and highlighted how chapters can contribute. The Government Affairs department also discussed IREM’s 2023 advocacy initiatives.

View the presentation.

Advocacy spotlight: Dianne Hunt

IREM Member Dianne Hunt, President of Syringa Property Management in Boise, ID, was an expert witness during the Senate Subcommittee hearing on Rural Housing Legislation this past month. Dianne drew on decades of experience working in rural communities as a manager of affordable housing to provide insightful testimony. During the testimony, she highlighted the importance of de-coupling the Section 521 Rental Assistance from the Section 515 loan agreements, and the need for additional funding for the USDA Rural Housing Development to hire more staff and upgrade its current IT system.

Dianne added, “I appreciate the program and want it to succeed in both preserving existing affordable housing stock in rural areas and, hopefully, adding additional needed units.”

Read Dianne’s testimony and watch the full hearing’s recording.

2023 NAR Legislative meetings

IREM attended the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Legislative Meetings from May 6 – 10 in Washington D.C. As a commercial affiliate of NAR, it is important and valuable for IREM to take an active role in advancing the real estate industry and public policy. During the conference, IREM delegates attended over 20 committee meetings and forums which addressed commercial real estate, fair housing, insurance, federal financing and housing, and property management.

Also, IREM’s Chip Watts, who is our representative to the NAR Executive Committee, was inducted into the NAR REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) Hall of Fame!

Wrap-up of state legislative sessions

Most state legislatures have adjourned for this year. Here is a breakdown of some notable pieces of legislation that were defeated or passed in 2023. View the full report of all legislation tracked during the 2023 session.

Rent control

  • The Colorado and Washington state legislative sessions just concluded without adopting a seemingly annual effort to lift statewide rent control preemption. Also, the Georgia, Hawaii, New Mexico, Virginia, and West Virginia legislative sessions recently concluded. While rent control bills were introduced in each state, none of these measures passed, and they were widely seen as unlikely to be adopted.
  • Florida – In response to Orange County’s efforts to pass an unlawful rent control ordinance during the November 2022 election, Florida lawmakers enacted a statewide ban on rent control. The law also allows innovative housing strategies to increase housing inventory around the state and help drive rent prices down. The law goes into effective on July 1, 2023.
  • Montana – Prohibit Rent Control on Private Property – A local government unit with self-government powers is prohibited from exercising any power to control the amount of rent charged for private residential or commercial property.

Flood insurance

  • New York – An act to amend the real property law, in relation to requiring residential leases to include information on prior flood damage. Any prior flood damage to the leased premises due to a natural flood event, such as heavy rainfall, coastal storm surge, tidal inundation, or river overflow, that the lessor knows or reasonably should know has occurred to such premises and the nature of any such damage.
  • North Dakota – An act relating to the enforcement and penalties of communities that fail to adopt or enforce floodplain management ordinances as required under the national flood insurance program. Any community which fails to adopt or enforce floodplain management ordinances as required under the national flood insurance program shall not be eligible to receive flood disaster assistance, financial or otherwise, from the state.

Affordable housing

  • Montana - An act providing refundable individual income tax credit for renting to tenants using housing choice vouchers and providing a refundable income tax credit for converting a short-term rental into a long-term rental.

Update on the SAFE-Banking Act

The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee held its first hearing for the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (S.1323) since it was reintroduced last month. The bill would allow the cannabis industry to access traditional banking services since these businesses are forced to operate in a cash-only. Additionally, the legislation would shield banks from being penalized by federal regulators, creating a safe harbor from criminal prosecution, liability, and asset forfeiture for banks, their officers, or employees.

No votes were taken during this hearing, but the IREM Government Affairs department will continue to monitor this legislation as it progresses.

Watch the full hearing recording.

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Affordable Housing

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