The apartment industry is off and running this year. We are building on the momentum from our tremendous success in 2015. So we wanted to take a moment to look back at last year’s key accomplishments and what they mean for the industry.
Specifically, lawmakers passed a $1.8 trillion government spending bill last year that included numerous large victories for the multifamily industry. The tax extender package provides significant permanent or long-term investment incentives for the industry: Section 179 small business expensing is made permanent, bonus depreciation is extended through 2019, investors have permanent relief from the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, or FIRPTA, the minimum 9 percent LIHTC is permanently renewed and two critical energy efficiency tax incentives - the deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings and the new energy efficient home credit - are extended through 2016. The omnibus also reauthorized the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and left the program unchanged through September 2016 and included a cyber threat information sharing measure that we strongly supported.
NMHC also secured a victory on a Section 8 reform bill, the “Tenant Income Verification Relief Act of 2015”, which simplifies the income verification process for the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program, reducing administrative burdens by enabling recertification of rent and income calculations every three years versus annually for residents on fixed incomes. A link to the apartment industry’s 2015 accomplishments can be found here.
2016 Legislative Outlook
While Congress went out with a bang in 2015, this year presents different challenges. The outlook for legislation is constrained by electoral politics and the calendar. Congress has less than 90 legislative days left before the election.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have said that they intend to operate under regular order, which means that bills will be crafted and negotiated through the committee process. NMHC staff will continue to communicate with congressional members and their staff on issues important to the industry such as tax reform, housing affordability, GSE reform, fair housing and environmental, energy labor and Dodd Frank regulations to ensure that our industry’s priorities are reflected in any bills that emerge this year. Please take a moment to review the apartment industry’s 2016 policy and regulatory priorities.
With only 10 months left in President Obama’s Administration, we anticipate that the Administration will continue to be keenly focused on using the regulatory process to achieve what they cannot do legislatively. We are already focused on mitigating the effects of several troublesome regulations on overtime and joint employer rules, disparate impact and affirmatively furthering fair housing rules, lead based paint, furnace rules and the Waters of the U.S. rule, just to name a few.
Not only will we continue our efforts to fight these onerous rules, but we will be vigilant in watching for new burdensome regulations put forth during the final months of the Obama Administration.