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IREM’s government affairs team hosts congressional briefing on Capitol Hill

Sustainability, affordable housing, and respect for state housing laws are three important legislative issues affecting the real estate industry and real estate managers right now. To help ensure our legislators have the information they need to make well-informed decisions, IREM representatives recently went to Washington, D.C. to host a congressional briefing for the benefit of key legislators and staffers. Representatives Danny Davis and Mike Quigley also met privately with the IREM delegates to discuss the issues at hand.

As the leading organization for real estate management globally, with nearly 20,000 members and 78 chapters around the world, IREM keeps its pulse on all things related to real estate and to real estate management, with legislation a major priority. Our local, state and federal legislators have long looked to IREM for advice on real estate-related matters, and IREM hopes to continue building these deep relationships. The real estate industry contributes 17% to GDP, making it a key driver of the U.S. economy.


An audience of about 40 guests from Senate and Congressional offices were on Capitol Hill July 19, presenter and IREM Director Greg Cichy, CPM® and Managing Director, Colliers International, spoke about the post-COVID state of sustainability in commercial real estate, property management technology, or Proptech, and the impact of government actions on sustainability measures in commercial real estate operations.

Buildings are responsible for 39% of carbon emissions: 28% from operational emissions including heating and cooling, and 11% from materials and construction. As we’ve watched the impact of climate change, from heat waves,  overheated oceans and wildfires, real estate professionals have been taking steps toward decarbonization.

IREM has the experts and resources our legislators can rely on as they consider legislative measures to move the industry toward carbon neutrality. We hope to work with these decision-makers on bills and regulations that support the environment without placing prohibitive financial burdens on building owners and investors, which could diminish progress on energy efficiency in real estate.

Choice in Affordable Housing Act

It’s currently estimated that the U.S. falls short on housing inventory by 5.5 million units. The lack of housing is a social and environmental issue,  and  undermines  the stability of our communities. At IREM, we believe that everyone has a right to comfortable, safe, and affordable housing, and we are working with Congressional representatives to make this a reality.

Melissa Steele, CPM® and CEO, E&G Group, introduced a discussion of the importance and need for landlords to accept housing choice vouchers, the benefits of the Choice in Affordability Housing Act for landlords and voucher holders, and the impact of funding for landlord liaisons with public housing agencies.

IREM members own and manage more than 60% of all federally assisted housing and public housing units in the U.S. These units provide decent housing for many people who would otherwise be at risk of homelessness. To help close the gap on the housing shortage, the Choice in Affordable Housing Act incentivizes landlords to accept Section 8 housing vouchers – landlords who may otherwise deny these renters. By creating a Housing Partnership Fund with $500 million, the Act provides bonuses to landlords who accept housing vouchers, and security deposit assistance to prospective renters. 

In addition, the Act provides funding to public housing agencies that employ “landlord liaisons,” or housing professionals who help potential renters find housing where vouchers are accepted.

Respect State Housing Laws Act

On March 27, 2020, the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was signed into law to circumvent economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act included a measure that gave renters 30 days to vacate a property after they received notice to vacate. This provision  was intended to expire with the eviction moratorium, but it didn’t.

The Respect State Housing Laws Act proposes to return these powers back to the states, where they originated. Prior to the CARES Act, each state and municipality established their own rules and regulations about the timeframe for eviction from the date of notice. IREM agrees – these powers should be returned to the states.

Ted Thurn, Senior Director for IREM, presented the reasons why this Act should be supported. Many rental properties are managed by families and individuals who depend on income from their investments. These small operators also need these revenues to make repairs and upgrades to their properties, ensuring they remain comfortable and safe to occupy.  

IREM has been an advocate for real estate and real estate management since its inception in 1933. By advocating for positive change, we’re shaping a thriving real estate landscape that benefits our members, individuals, businesses, and communities.

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