It's Election Season Again

How will multifamily trade associations use the down time?

Diana Mosher

It’s hard to believe now, but one day in the future the details of the numerous Republican presidential debates will be long forgotten as the 2012 Republican candidate gets his ducks in a row while the team strategizes the best way to challenge President Obama in November. Whether or not he succeeds in taking the White House remains to be seen—but one thing is clear. It’s election season again, and the business of getting elected is sure to take the focus off critical issues affecting the apartment industry, especially since the entire House and one-third of the Senate are also up for re-election in November. But even though debates, hearings and political posturing will likely sideline important multifamily resolutions, state and federal agencies will continue to develop and implement regulations with serious repercussions for the apartment industry. According to MHN Executive Editor Keat Foong, who interviewed several multifamily associations in this month’s On the Hill, this year will be about laying the groundwork as trade groups educate elected officials on the matters of importance to the apartment industry. This month, MHN reports on the 2012 legislative initiatives being undertaken by the National Multi Housing Council, the National Apartment Association, the National Association of Home Builders, the Institute of Real Estate Management and the National Affordable Housing Management Association. Not surprisingly, capital availability is at the top of the agenda along with GSE reform, tax reform, deficit reduction legislation, Dodd-Frank regulations and the government budget. Many of these concerns impact directly or indirectly the liquidity in the multifamily financing markets.

Looking ahead, Sharon Dworkin Bell, NAHB’s senior staff vice president of multifamily, forecasts a flood of legislative activity in 2013 that could ease off again in 2014 in time for the mid-term elections in 2015.

In the meantime, California’s AB341 legislation is slated to go into effect on July 1, mandating owners of multifamily properties of five or more units to make recycling services available to residents. Expect other states to follow suit soon. Industry watchers predict that most, if not all, markets will have some form of recycling legislation within the next three to five years. This month’s Green Beat delves into the importance of resident education when crafting a recycling policy for apartment communities. It’s not as simple as putting labeled containers out and telling residents, “We now have a recycling program.” As recycling mandates become a reality, they will not only force apartment communities that don’t comply to pay a fine—they may also require a certain percentage of a building’s waste stream to be diverted from the landfill. Eventually, residents may even be required to compost. That’s what San Francisco is doing, and it boasts one of the highest landfill diversion rates in the country.
Diana Mosher
Editorial Director