ResMan > Blog >

All for One: Advocating for Rental Housing in 2024

Megan Thomas
March 21, 2024

The ResMan team is back from NAA Advocate 2024 and it was great to get the chance to advocate and educate legislators about issues that impact rental housing across the nation. All of the regions met with the offices of their representatives. Our very own ResManite and Mississippi local, T.J. Golson was invited to join Mississippi Representatives Mike Ezell and Bennie Thompson alongside the MAA Legislative Affairs Committee to discuss some of the top legislative priorities in rental housing.

TJ Golson and the Mississippi Apartment Association's Legislative Affairs Committee with Congressman Mike Ezell
TJ Golson with Congressman Bennie Thompson

While Advocate is only once a year, the industry is well-aware that advocacy for rental housing is a year-round venture with the need of every voice possible. It’s important to have conversations at every level, local, state and federal, to ensure the industry and its nearly 45 million renters are heard. For those who didn’t attend Advocate and want to reach out to their representatives, here are some of the issues the industry is bringing to legislators.

Ending the Cares Act Notice to Vacate

The CARES Act mandated housing providers to give residents a 30-day notice before pursuing eviction for unpaid rent after the CARES eviction moratorium ended in July 2020. However, due to a drafting oversight, this federal "notice-to-vacate" requirement remains a contentious issue in today's courts.

For rental housing owners and operators, properties see success when units are occupied, allowing them to fulfill their commitments to residents, staff, creditors, and the wider community. In cases of nonpayment, eviction becomes a last resort after exhaustive attempts to communicate and resolve issues with residents.

Nevertheless, the CARES Act's imposition overlooks existing renter protections at the state level, disrupting established eviction processes. With states typically requiring only a 6-day notice, this federal mandate prolongs periods of lost rent, creating greater uncertainty for housing providers reliant on rental income to sustain quality affordable housing.  

Some companies are witnessing eviction processes dragged out, with claims of ongoing court dates happening nine months or more since filing. Ultimately, evictions are already costly for property management companies and occupied units that aren’t generating revenue are just as damaging to the cash flow as vacant units.

The burden is especially harsh for small-scale and Affordable Housing providers, jeopardizing long-term housing prospects for residents. Ninety-three cents of every rent dollar cover essential operational costs, such as maintenance, staffing, and property taxes which are also reinvested back into the local communities. Cost increases can destabilize apartment communities financially.

To address these challenges, NAA calls on Congress to pass the Respect State Housing Laws Act. This legislation removes the CARES Act's 30-day notice-to-vacate requirement, restoring eviction policies to the states and ensuring property owners can efficiently manage their properties while continuing to provide quality, affordable housing to communities.

Returning control over eviction policies to the state and local level will empower housing providers to fulfill financial obligations and sustain affordable housing initiatives. It's time to transition from emergency measures and entrust eviction policies to state governance.

Yes In My Backyard Act (YIMBY)

The United States faces a pressing need to construct 4.3 million new apartment homes by 2035 to meet the forthcoming demand for rental housing and maintain housing affordability. This challenge is compounded by an existing shortage of 600,000 apartments, a legacy of the underbuilding fallout from the 2008 financial crisis.

However, the rental housing industry encounters copious barriers that ultimately prevent new apartment construction, development, and renovation. Escalating costs and regulatory complexities at all levels of government stifle apartment growth and refurbishment efforts nationwide. Often, the most daunting hurdles originate at the state and local levels, necessitating incentives to dismantle impediments to apartment development and streamline regulatory processes.

Exclusive land use policies such as zoning restrictions and density regulations, coupled with difficult parking requirements and other development constraints, exacerbate the housing supply and affordability crisis. The solution lies in advocating for pro-housing policies that foster increased production and preservation of affordable housing. These policies hold the promise of benefiting localities by spurring affordable housing development, as encapsulated in the YIMBY Act.

NAA urges Congress to throw its support behind the YIMBY Act as it is poised to dismantle barriers to development by mandating Community Development Block Grant recipients to report every five years on efforts to eliminate discriminatory land use policies.

Reducing barriers to development stands as a cornerstone strategy in addressing housing affordability challenges nationwide. NAA firmly believes that fostering housing affordability requires a multifaceted approach, emphasizing the importance of boosting rental housing supply across all price points. We highly encourage championing the YIMBY Act with your legislators.

The Choice in Affordable Housing Act

The industry has tirelessly advocated for substantial enhancements to the U.S. Department of HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, recognizing it as a pivotal component in addressing our nation's housing affordability crisis. It's imperative that lawmakers prioritize improvements to this vital program.

The HCV program holds incredible potential as a short-term solution to bolster housing affordability. However, its effectiveness hinges on streamlining program administration. Housing provider participants often face inconsistent support from public housing authorities (PHAs), prolonged inspection delays, and rent structures that lag behind market rates. Such challenges create uncertainty, undermine risk management efforts, and deter many housing providers from participating in the program.

Understanding the significant disparities between the standard leasing process and HCV leasing is crucial. NAA encourages Congress to support the Choice in Affordable Housing Act, funded at $100 million annually for five years, and promising a wealth of benefits:

  • Empowering PHAs to incentivize housing providers operating in areas of opportunity and enticing new participants.
  • Providing security deposit assistance for Section 8 beneficiaries, safeguarding rental communities.
  • Allowing greater flexibility in unit inspections while upholding housing quality standards.
  • Facilitating PHAs to employ dedicated "landlord liaisons" to recruit and support private housing providers.
  • Expanding the use of Small Area Fair Market Rents in specific metro areas with provisions to prevent rent decreases.

This critical legislation will strengthen the HCV program by ensuring stable funding, cultivating increased voluntary participation by housing providers, and enhancing outcomes for low- and moderate-income households. The solutions within the Choice in Affordable Housing Act represent the most effective means to attract housing provider participants over the long term and expand affordable housing options for low- and moderate-income renters.

Even if you were unable to join NAA’s Advocate, you still play an important role in advocacy work for rental housing. For these initiatives to move forward, it’s going to require all of us advocating to our legislators year-round. We encourage you to stay active in your local, state, and national apartment associations as they provide a wealth of knowledge, resources, and updates to rental housing policy advocacy. But above all, contact your members of Congress to let your voice, and the industry’s voice, be heard. You can find your members of Congress and their contact information here.

If you’re interested in ResMan as a software provider for your daily operations, book a demo to see the product up close. 

Keep up with the latest content releases on our socials:
Keep up with the latest content releases on our socials:
March 18, 2024

Build-to-Rent: How Companies Fulfill the Modern Renter’s Demand

Learn more about the history, benefits and future of build-to-rent properties for your portfolio.
February 5, 2024

Rent Control: The Band-Aid for Housing Affordability’s Gaping Wound

It is no secret that housing affordability is a real crisis across the U.S., especially for booming cities such as Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington D.C., Atlanta, and Phoenix. We know...
December 7, 2023

Headwinds and Tailwinds: The Emerging Story About Multifamily Market Conditions in 2024

In 2024, it's not cautious optimism that will serve operators best, but rather a sustained state of alertness. So, let’s assess the current market, its direction, and the optimistic horizon...

Keep Up to Date With the Latest Trends in Property Management‍

Stay in the know by signing up for the ResMan blog.