The firm’s latest Miami Herald column was authored by shareholder Nicole R. Kurtz and appears in today’s edition of the newspaper. The article, which is titled “Real Estate Counselor: CAI Conducting Advocacy Efforts on Capitol Hill,” focuses on the recent outreach and meetings by the Community Associations Institute’s public affairs and advocacy team with members of the U.S. Congress and their staffs in Washington D.C. It reads:
. . . As my colleagues have written in this column, CAI is backing a bill pending before the House of Representatives that would provide access to government-backed, low-interest loans for condominium building safety and critical repair/reinforcement projects. CAI’s advocacy efforts on condo-safety reforms have been recognized with the 2022 Lobbying Strategy Innovation Award by the Public Affairs Council, which is the leading nonpartisan association for public affairs professionals worldwide.
In response to the increasing costs of property insurance, mortgage underwriting rules, and new ordinances/laws that will result in more condominium building inspections and critical repairs, some South Florida communities have already begun adjusting their budgets and raising their monthly dues. The proposed bills backed by CAI would offer relief for these increasing costs by providing condominium associations, as well as their unit owners, with access to FHA-insured low-interest loans.
CAI has also been lobbying for reforms to Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s condominium and housing cooperative lending guidelines. These government-backed home mortgage institutions adopted emergency underwriting guidelines for mortgages for condominiums and residences in housing cooperatives after the horrific Champlain Towers South tragedy. Their temporary condominium and housing cooperative guidelines have caused significant delays, and some outright lender denials, for prospective buyers nationwide.
Under Federal Housing Finance Agency requirements, Fannie and Freddie will soon be releasing their final guidelines, and industry members fear they will create even greater burdens for condominium ownership. CAI understands that condominiums and housing cooperatives offer an affordable housing option for many first-time homebuyers, retirees and low-income families, and restricting access to mortgages could create inequities in ownership. The organization is lobbying for the FHFA to consider its concerns and change the requirements to ensure broad access to mortgages in condominiums and housing cooperatives.
CAI has also been working to promote the re-introduction and adoption of the Disaster Assistance Equity ACT, which supports community associations impacted by a presidentially declared natural disaster for a flood, hurricane, tornado, wildfire, blizzard, drought, or earthquake. Under current law, community associations that own the roads and/or facilities within their properties are not afforded the same FEMA recovery resources as other communities, notwithstanding the fact that those who live in communities with associations pay the same federal taxes.
If adopted, the Disaster Assistance Equity ACT would give homeowners living in communities with associations access to FEMA resources following natural disasters. For owners in condominium and housing cooperative communities, the bill would provide access to FEMA funds for the repair or replacement of essential major common elements and facilities such as boiler rooms, elevators and roofs. The law would permit associations to receive access to FEMA resources (via their local municipality) for debris removal from privately owned roads in their communities to help ensure access and public safety. If passed, the law would also provide equal access to disaster recovery services for all homeowners paying local, state and federal taxes. . .
Nicole concludes by noting that CAI maintains an online action center and uses VoterVoice to help constituents connect with their legislators in support of these and other bills. She writes that our firm encourages everyone to visit www.votervoice.net/CAI/home to learn more and voice their support, and those with any questions about the organization’s advocacy efforts should contact the CAI Government & Public Affairs team at firstname.lastname@example.org or (888) 224-4321.