IREM Public Policy Priorities

ADA Lawsuit Reform

IREM supports legislation to create a “notice and cure” provision within Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This would allow business owners the opportunity to rectify violations within a reasonable amount of time before facing economic sanctions and litigation.

IREM believes this reform would protect building owners from onerous “drive by" lawsuits while still holding them accountable for ensuring accessibility of public accommodations to all Americans.

Fair Housing

IREM believes in equal opportunity in housing and supports the right of all people to freely choose where they will live without the constraint of prejudice or discrimination.  IREM opposes policies and practices that have a known discriminatory effect on any demographic group defined by race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. 

At the same time, IREM supports the ability for real estate professionals to continue valid policies or practices that could have a known disparate impact if there is a legitimate business purpose for them and that purpose cannot be accomplished in a readily identifiable and not unduly burdensome means with a less discriminatory impact. IREM further opposes actions that require unreasonable research into whether such policies or practices do have such a disparate impact or discriminatory effect or which inhibit the implementation of otherwise sound business practices.

Source of Income Discrimination

Some state and local governments have designated “source of income” as a protected class under their fair housing laws, forcing property managers to accept tenant-based subsidies. By accepting these subsidies, landlords must comply with additional regulatory requirements, including but not limited to accepting lease amendments to comply with government requirements.

IREM is supportive of the concept of government assisted housing practices and making affordable housing opportunities available to all citizens. However, IREM believes that participation in tenant-based subsidy programs should be voluntary and opposes any policies that require owners of private housing to participate in them, thereby surrendering their property rights.

Assistance Animals

IREM invites guidance from the government on the issue of Assistance animals, sometimes referred to as emotional support animals, with respect to the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Unlike service animals, which are regulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Assistance animals receive no specialized training and are typically for individuals with mental disabilities or those in need of emotional support.

IREM supports the rights of persons with disabilities to request reasonable accommodation so they may have equal opportunity to housing. In recent years, resident requests for reasonable accommodation for Assistance animals have increased significantly. The lack of specific guidelines with respect to confirming the legitimate requirement for a Assistance animal has created the opportunity for abuse. IREM therefore invites the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to revise its regulations and provide guidance regarding Assistance animals to minimize potential abuse.

Federally Assisted Housing

Federally assisted housing puts people into homes who otherwise would have challenges obtaining safe and decent housing. Providing assistance to low-income earners helps them find housing and helps real estate managers and owners fill vacancies.

IREM Members own and manage over 60% of all federally assisted housing and public housing units in the United States. Under project-based programs, the federal government, through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) contracts with private owners to fund the difference between the rent for the unit and 30% of the tenant’s income. IREM closely monitors all legislative and regulatory activity pertaining to federally assisted housing and engages with policy makers to encourage continued funding and clarification of new and existing notices and rules.

Rent Control

IREM is opposed to government control of rents and supports a property owner’s right to establish rents that produce sufficient income to accommodate the basic needs of residents and encourage investment in new construction and existing properties. IREM urges elected officials at all levels of government to oppose rent control as it significantly affects the housing inventory by accelerating the deterioration and loss of existing housing, while discouraging the construction of new housing.

Medical and Recreational Marijuana

An increasing number of states are legalizing marijuana to varying degrees, but it is still illegal at the federal level. This conflict between federal and state laws creates a complicated situation for real estate owners and managers. Property managers should review state and local statutes and regulations to ensure they are in compliance with marijuana laws and regulations. Property managers may also utilize best practices to address the issue as they see fit, such as lease addendums with which smoking and illegal drug use can be prohibited.

IREM invites guidance from the government on how to implement policy and procedures for the properties real estate owners and managers operate where medical and/or recreational marijuana have been legalized.

Flood Insurance

IREM supports reform of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to ensure its ongoing sustainability, encouragement of cost-effective private flood insurance options, and long-term reauthorization of NFIP so that it remains a viable option for property owners.

NFIP is a partnership among federal, state, and local governments that helps mitigate flood risk and provide affordable flood insurance to those who need it most. If the program expires, flood insurance will become more costly or even unavailable. The NFIP provides over 90% of all flood insurance nationwide and close to 100% of flood insurance coverage for individually owned properties and small to mid-size commercial properties.

Data Security

Property managers collect and maintain huge amounts of sensitive data, including social security numbers and financial information, putting them at risk from cyber-criminals. IREM supports government efforts aimed at sharing information about possible cyber threats, establishing reasonable data security standards, and helping avert security breaches and their aftermath. IREM opposes legislation that would be overly onerous on property owners and managers or their clients.

IREM also strongly encourages members to use best practices protect the confidential personal information of their clients, tenants, potential tenants, vendors, employees, and all others with whom they may have business interactions.