The news continues to keep us up-to-date on what’s happening here in Washington, D.C.; including scandals, Tweets, and the latest contention between the Democrats and Republicans. The one popular issue making headlines that directly impacts the community association housing model is Tax Reform. Key issues like proposed changes to the mortgage interest deduction, the local property tax deduction, issues with implications on and small business. CAI’s government affairs team is exploring the impacts of these tax reform proposals on residents living in common interest communities and will use the Government Affairs Blog to update members regularly.
In the meantime, there are lesser known issues with a significant impact on residents living in community associations.
H.R. 3238 – The Disaster Assistance Equity Act of 2017
As community associations have navigated the impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California Wine Country Wildfires, it has become increasingly clear that H.R. 3238 must become law for community associations to receive appropriate disaster assistance. If H.R. 3238 became law, it would save community associations recovering from a disaster hundreds of thousands of dollars in debris removal and rebuilding efforts. For H.R. 3238 to become law, it must gain additional co-sponsors from the U.S. House of Representatives. You can help by asking your Member of Congress to protect residents in your community association by signing onto H.R. 3238. Take Action Now.
Importantly, we have learned of the critical importance of the community association’s relationship with the local municipality. These steps should be included in every community association disaster plan:
- Establish a relationship with the elected officials of the local municipality.
- Establish a relationship with the executive staff of the local municipality.
- Submit a form based off this template to the local municipality and let them know you need them to remove debris from your community following a presidentially declared disaster
- Continue the relationship by hosting the local officials to community events and participating in local governmental meetings
The HUD Regulations – Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment
The regulations that went into effect fall 2016 is interpreted by some to impose liability and responsibility on community association boards to become involved in disputes between neighbors where one of the parties is in a protected class.
In the final rule, HUD states that the association is liable for third party conduct if it knew or should have known about the behavior, had the power to correct the behavior and failed to do so.
Further, if the housing provider knows or should have known that the corrective action was ineffective, the provider has the responsibility to a take additional corrective actions within its powers. For example, if a warning letter is ineffective, a fine and possibly a protective order may need to be steps taken by the association.
The CAI Government Relations Team; including George Nowack, a renowned attorney from Georgia, met with HUD’s Assistant Secretary of Fair housing, Anna Maria Farias, to share our concerns related to imposing this liability on community associations. Assistant Secretary Farias clearly understood our concerns and expressed willingness to continue discussions to address concerns. In the meantime, the rule remains in effect and CAI will continue the conversations with HUD.
For a full list of our federal issues and their status, click here.
Dawn Bauman, CAE
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