Legislative Update

National Real Estate Group: HUD goes too far!

BY  ON APRIL 5, 2016

The following media release was issued by NREIA in reposnse to HUD’s recent guidelines regarding criminal background checks for potential tenants. 

NREIA Says Guidelines Will Have Chilling Effect on Criminal Background Checks

(Cincinnati, OH) The National Real Estate Investors Association(NREIA) said today that new guidelines issued Monday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development go too far and will have a chilling effect on criminal background checks used to screen potential tenants. According to HUD, because a disproportionate number of African Americans & Hispanics have criminal records, they face potential discrimination in housing options based on race, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. National REIA believes this would severely restrict a landlord’s ability to protect residents from predictable harm & violence.

From every Congressman who rents an apartment in DC, to the poorest of their constituents in every district, has just been made less safe with HUD’s pronouncement that makes criminal background checks tantamount to discrimination.

Fair Housing Discrimination is a serious issue. No person should be discriminated based upon race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status. For HUD to claim that an individual’s criminal behavior should somehow be protected is a gross violation of the Fair Housing Act, and undermines the First Amendment protection of Free Association.

HUD’s flawed argument on “Discriminatory Effects Liability” makes the case that Safety, is neither a substantial nor a legitimate concern. In fact, according to HUD’s theory, until a property has residents raped, rapist shouldn’t be banned. Similarly, unless there have been murders at the property or community, murderers shouldn’t be banned. Ironically, HUD recognizes that convicted drug manufacturers and distributors can be banned, because of specific federal language, only to make exceptions for those who use drugs, or are convicted of any other criminal act!

The approach recommended by HUD, to individually consider each applicant flies directly in the face of HUD’s stated policy and directive from Congress, to treat each person equally. Today’s guidance does little more than try to make the criminal class a protected class – beyond the scope of congressional authority granted by the Fair Housing Act.

Charles Tassell, Chief Operating Officer of NREIA said “While we agree that an arrest is not a justifiable reason to deny housing, after all a person is innocent until proven guilty, the banning of convicted criminals is an entirely separate issue.”

Tassell further stated that “the safety of the renting public should not be sacrificed.”

 

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Market Trends

Zombie Foreclosures down 30%

 

This week real estate data powerhouse RealtyTrac released their 2016 2nd quarter U.S. Residential Property Vacancy and Zombie Foreclosure Report that shows nearly 1.4 million residential properties (1 to 4 units) representing 1.6% of all residential properties were vacant as of May 2016, up 2.7% from the previous quarter when 1,361,628 U.S. residential properties were vacant.  The report also shows that 19,187 U.S. residential properties actively in the foreclosure process were vacant (zombie foreclosures), representing 4.7% of all residential properties in foreclosure — down 3.1 percent from the previous quarter and down 30.1%  from a year ago.

States with the most vacant “zombie” foreclosures were New Jersey (4,003), New York (3,352), Florida (2,467), Illinois (1,074), and Ohio (1,064).

“Lenders have been taking advantage of the strong seller’s market to dispose of lingering foreclosure inventory over the past year, evidenced by 12 consecutive months of increasing bank repossessions ending in February and now evidenced by these numbers showing a sharp drop in vacant zombie foreclosures compared to a year ago….As these zombie foreclosures hit the market for sale they are providing a modicum of relief for the pressure cooker of escalating prices and deteriorating affordability that have defined the U.S. housing market in recent years,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac.

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Legislative Update

HUD Budget
HUD unveiled their proposed budget for FY 2017 that includes over $11 billion in new mandatory spending as well as over $48 billion in gross discretionary funding.  The budget will require Congressional support and will undoubtedly undergo many changes & twists before something is finally approved. Some takeaways:
  • $20.9 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program
  • $10.8 billion for the Project-Based Rental Assistance program, which supports 12 months of funding for rental assistance contracts with public and private owners who maintain affordable rental housing for 1.2 million families.
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Under One Roof Donations

On Monday, November 2nd, an eastside apartment community lost three of its residents tragically in a fire.

The Under One Roof board met and voted to help this family. Those who would like to participate in helping the family with funeral expenses can make a tax deductible donation to Under One Roof.

Under One Roof has been instrumental in helping many apartment community residents and individual homeowners and single-family renters throughout El Paso County.  

If you would like to help the family, please make checks payable to: Under One Roof and send to 9515 Dyer St., El Paso Texas 79924

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National REIA Legislative Update

Thank you to all those who contacted your Senator to help support SB 351, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act.

We will give you an update on this senate bill soon.


 

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EPIC receives national attention!

A great way to start 2015, Happy New Year EPIC members!

Read the RealtyTrac December 2014 newsletter:

http://www.realtytrac.com/dashboard/NewsReportPdf/70/FNRR/12482991
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