President’s Letter – June 2019

Advocating for YOU!

Some of you may know that one of the most important things we do as an Association is advocate on behalf of our membership. In previous articles, we have written about finding your voice and standing in unison for what we believe in. Every other year, our State Legislature is in session. I have had the additional privilege of being President of our fine Association during our legislative year. It means longer hours and more moving parts, but there is no better way to see the machine of Advocacy from the inside than to participate in the Texas Apartment Association’s legislative process.

Our membership calls us and asks about something they have seen or heard about. Then we can assess if it is an issue that we need to investigate. In some cases, we escalate an issue to our legislative team for The Texas Apartment Association. At that point, they work to address our concerns through legislation.

One example that many of you have heard of is late fees. A late fee is something that affects all of our members. The vast majority of our membership charges late fees to their residents when they do not pay on time. If we lost the ability to charge those fees, the impact on our industry would be massive. What some of you may not know is that we started talking about late fee legislation a while ago. The wheels of justice can move slowly, especially when you only have a small window of time every other year to introduce legislation. But let’s take a few steps back. First, we all had to agree that the inability to charge late fees would be an industry issue. We all agreed. That was the easy part. Then we had to look at the current statute and agree upon what needed to be changed to make the bill more universal and easy to understand. That was the hard part. For years, we all went back and forth, trying to agree on what a reasonable late fee was. Think about that for a minute. Many of us cannot even agree on where to eat dinner, and we had the daunting task ahead of us to unite an entire state of operators.

Previously, we were not successful in getting the legislation passed. We learned from that experience and once again, starting working on subcommittees and involving all of our statewide committees to reach a consensus. How much should we charge? That was the golden question. Once we agreed, our legislative teams had to find a Senator to sponsor the bill and work with them to get the verbiage just perfect! We found Senator Kelly Hancock to sponsor the bill. That’s when the real grassroots work started. That’s when people like YOU were dispatched multiple times to educate our legislators on our industry and what this bill means to their constituents.

You will be thrilled to know that everyone’s hard work and dedication paid off as we now have a late fee bill that defines what we can charge for those fees. I know that I just gave you a very condensed version of our late fee bill journey, but sit back and think of the scale of this undertaking. Thousands of people, thousands of man/woman hours, countless meetings, conference calls, conversations, and dedication to a cause. When you ask about PAC, and why you should donate, this is one of MANY examples of your PAC dollars at work.

Be proud and thankful for great leadership and representation.

We advocate for YOU!

Shoulders Back – Heart Open!