UPDATE FROM LEGISLATIVE CHAIR SCOTT JENKINS – Issues IREM National addressed during Advocacy Impact Day
Advocacy Impact Day was Wednesday March 9th, it was done this year virtually. This means everyone had an opportunity to attend, so some of you may have already sat and heard the issues IREM wants us to address. For those of you that didn’t attend, here is a brief summary of the three topics they covered. If you are interested in a more comprehensive look at the topics, please click here to go to the ‘IREM Advocacy Impact page Fact Sheets for 2022.’
- Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) – There were two sets of funds made available to landlords the last two years to assist against losses from residents who are unable to pay their rent or utilities. ERAP I was 25 billion under the Consolidated Appropriations Act (12/27/20), ERAP 2 was 21.55 billion under the American Rescue Plan Act (03/11/21). Our Position on these are: we are expressing appreciation and letting the congressional reps know that additional funds are needed as we recover from the Pandemic.
- Choice in Affordable Housing Act (S. 1820) In an effort to increase participation by landlord in Housing Choice Programs (HCV’s), incentives are being offered. $500 million will be created in a Housing Partnership Funds, intended to include:
- $500 dollar bonuses to landlords who participate in certain areas
- Security Deposit Assistance
- Bonuses from HUD to Public Housing Agencies who retain a dedicated landlord liaison on staff
- Inspection Reciprocity, so if you pass a Tax Credit inspection or a HUD inspection, you don’t have to have a section 8 inspection.
- Allow preapproval of units, so tenants can move in faster and reducing vacancy expenses.
- Applying Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) to make sure rents are in line with what they should be in certain areas.
I know that was a lot, but there’s a lot they’re trying to do here.
- SAFE Banking Act – H.R. 1996 – The Act would create a safe harbor for federally insured financial institutions to provide banking services for legitimate cannabis related businesses (or businesses that tangentially work with them) in states that have legalized cannabis. Here is the problem broken down to two bullet points, so you can better understand the problem:
- Cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning FDIC insured banks cannot accept money from cannabis businesses or they risk running afoul of anti-money laundering laws. This includes not just cannabis growers and retailers, but also any business that works with them such as trucking companies used for transport and rent paid for storage or retail space.
- The prohibition has resulted in these businesses being forced to operate on a cash only basis. This not only creates security concerns for the businesses and the communities they serve, but also makes tracking and regulating the industry much more difficult.