As an individual living in a democracy have you ever wonder if your voice is being heard? Does your vote matter? Are your rights being protected? Democracy exists to safeguard individual freedoms and include individuals in the formation and implementation of government laws, rules, and regulations. What if the current government enacts laws that adversely impact you? How should you respond when government uses its coercive power to enforce policy and ideology? Personal participation.
First, always vote. Keep making your choice known at the ballot box. A few hundred votes can decide an election. Second, always advocate. Be a proactive, passionate proponent for the causes, campaigns, and candidates that impact your professional and personal life. Third, always serve. Be willing to serve in elected or appointed government office. Your community, state, and nation need you. Personal service can be as simple as serving on a city board, commission, or taskforce. Personal involvement may mean running for office. From school boards to congress, our democracy needs elected officials that understand the impact of government on business, the economy, and personal freedoms.
AATC, TAA, and NAA are strong advocates for the multifamily housing industry because our members made personal commitments to being involved. Collectively, we are force to be reckoned with in DFW, Austin, and Washington, D.C.
LEGISLATURE UPDATE – Late fees, property taxes, parking permits, and public-school finance are just a few of the more than 100 bills TAA actively worked during the 2019 legislature session.
Late Fees: TAA’s top legislative priority this session is one step closer to becoming law. SB 1414 passed the House and Senate on May 25 and was sent to Governor Abbot for his approval. If the Governor approves, this law becomes effective September 1, 2019. TAA thanks Sen. Kelly Hancock and Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) for championing this legislation. The bill provides a safe harbor from liability for: 1) rental properties with 1-4 units charging late fees of up to 12%; and 2) multifamily properties charging late fees of up to 10%. This bill allows owners to charge more than 10% if the fee is reasonable and related to its damages. This bill also requires landlords to provide, upon tenant request, an accounting of fees owed, as well as the notice of late fees in the lease already required by the current statute.
City Fees: TAA’s city fee transparency bill (SB 849 by Fallon) died in Calendars Committee. TAA might attempt to address this concern in the 2021 session.
Property Taxes: TAA expects Governor Abbott to approve the property tax reform (SB 2) legislation. SB 2 lowers the property tax increase roll back threshold from 8 percent to 3.5 percent and makes the election to approve rates higher than the threshold automatic, instead of requiring a petition to call the election.
Landlord/Tenant: The Governor signed Family violence lease termination (SB 234 by Nelson) into law on May 7. SB 234 expands tenants lease termination rights for family violence by including documentation from licensed healthcare providers and court defined victim advocates. TAA supported this legislation. Bills awaiting action by the Governor include: Lease termination for death of sole resident (HB 69 by Minjarez) and parking permits coterminous with lease (HB 1002 by Collier);
To learn more about the status of specific legislation go to: https://www.taa.org/advocacy/issues/
BUSINESS EXCHANGE OWNER/OPERATOR REGISTRATION: Apartment owner/operator registration is open for the 2019 Business Exchange presented by Maintenance Supply HQ. This year’s event is Wednesday, August 21st from 12:00 noon – 3:00 p.m. at the Irving Convention Center (500 West Las Colinas Boulevard, Irving, TX 75039). Lunch is served from 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. with one-on-one meetings occurring from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. This event is free to Owner/Management company attendees. For owner/management attendees, you can add attendees at any time; however, your registration includes a commitment to replace attendees if needed. o register your OM team go to: https://www.aatcnet.org/business-exchange.html.If you have attendee changes or event questions, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Perry Pillow at (817) 616-0354.
Supplier registration opens July 1. Per usual, supplier partners must be members of both AATC and AAGD to attend. It is $430 per supplier attendee; limit four attendees per supplier company. Payment is only by personal credit card – no corporate/company credit cards allowed. No one will be admitted without prior payment; no shows will be charged; and no walk-ins will be accepted. Cancellations must be confirmed by August 16 – No refunds after cancellation date.
BBQ GRILLS – Summer is grilling season. Be sure to remind your residents not to use grills within 15 feet of any structure. Numerous Tarrant County cities’ code and fire departments are cracking down on the outside storage of propane, electric, and charcoal BBQ grills. Be sure to remind your residents that all cold grills must be out of sight when stored.
WATER SAFETY – The Tarrant County YMCA will be offering water safety classes this summer at apartment communities. To learn more about this program contact Lindsi Smith with the YMCA at (817) 335-9622 or by email at LSmith@ymcafw.org.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING – AATC encourages our members to consider various affordable housing programs when they have vacant units. Whether it is housing choice vouchers, homeless veterans, or other housing assistance, providing housing for all income levels is critically important. AATC is working with Fort Worth Housing Solutions, Arlington Housing Authority, Tarrant County Housing Assistance Office, and the Tarrant County Continuum of Care to provide housing for all Tarrant County residents. To learn more about local affordable housing programs go to: https://www.fwhs.org/landlords/; https://www.gosection8.com/ll/benefits.aspx?benefittype=landlord; or