While investors prefer real estate over other assets and securities due to its relative stability, it’s not without fluctuations of its own. Real estate is affected by a number of external forces, from the economy to local, state and federal legislation. What sets fluctuations in real estate apart from other investment classes is it’s general predictability; hardly anything happens out of nowhere in real estate. Most factors affecting real estate can be accurately tracked and anticipated. Investors who can keep ahead of these changes are able to mitigate much more risk in their investment.
Legislation is one of the most important factors affecting real estate investors. It affects everyone down to the local level and is able to affect every facet of real estate investing from financing to construction. With so much to keep track of, staying on top of current legislation may seem intimidating, but there are tools and resources available to assist you. For Florida multifamily investors, that’s our guest for this week!
The NAA/FAA serves as the primary advocate for residential multifamily investors and apartment owners. Not only does it represent apartment owners in front of lawmakers, it also provides education and support for investors. As Government Affairs Director, it’s Courtney’s job to track all national and statewide legislation affecting multifamily residential real estate and relay it to investors. Each year, Courtney provides an annual legislative update on key legislation that directly affects the residential multifamily industry.
Multi-family markets make many investors wary. Regulatory issues surrounding multi-family investments can change quickly and often. Florida regulatory issues occur especially quickly; changes occur every 6 months to a year. Multi-family units are also subject to many different federally protected-class ordinances that undergo frequent regulatory changes. Investors can be intimidated by the dynamic regulatory climate or move to invest in multi-family without a clear grasp of the market.
Courtney Barnard has made it her business to ensure multi-family investors with the proper resources and knowledge to stay atop the frequent Florida regulatory issues that arise. As Director of Government Affairs at the Florida Apartment Association, Courtney is tracking regulatory changes on federal, state and municipal level and advocating Multi-family owners’ rights and interests concerning these changes. This week we discuss 4 major regulatory issues in Florida that will have dramatic effects on multi-family markets.
7 Protected Classes under Federal Government (Race, Color Nat’l Origin, Religion, Sex, Disability)
Additional protected classes may be added at state/local level
4 Major Regulatory Issues in FL
Additional Protected Classes in Miami-Dade County
Source of Income – cannot discriminate against renter based on source of income (non-traditional incomes…this includes Section 8 and Housing Choice vouchers
Domestic Violence Ordinance – victims or perceived victims of domestic violence may apply under Source of Income protection for housing. In FL, no documentation needed for renter to apply under new ordinance
Pets in Multi-family Units
Pets often claimed as service animals to preclude fees/pet deposits
In FL, service animals may only be defined as a dog or miniature horse
Florida House Bill 71, passed 2015, proclaims: Service animal must be house-broken, under control of owner, and pose no threat to community
Now a misdemeanor in FL, to falsely identify pets as svc. animals
Fire Assessment Fees/Inspections
Past 2 months have seen rise in local ordinances involving fire-safety assessments
Recent regulatory changes have cut many municipal budgets
Frequency and costs of assessments has risen
Property owners charged per unit fee of up to $49, in some cases
Supreme Court ‘Disparate Impact’-Ruling
Texas Housing Authority v. Inclusive Communities Project
Court ruled that business owners may be unintentionally creating environments of discrimination with regard to fair-housing without violating fair housing laws
Already seeing rise in litigation regarding Supreme Court ruling
Could pose negative economic impact on multi-family markets