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CAI Government Affairs Blog

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  • By Dawn Bauman, CAE
    3/20/2017

    ​The new Trulia report released yesterday via blog with the headline "Attack of the Killer HOA Fees" had some great statistics.  The yin-yang of the headline and statistics balanced out and I read on….

    The headline and statistics were from a recent blogger from Trulia, Mark Uh.  According to Wikipedia, Trulia is an online residential real estate site for home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals in the United States. It lists properties for sale and rent as well as tools and information needed to be successful in the home search process.  Trulia was purchased by Zillow in 2014.

    The blog provides some incredibly helpful information about (community) association assessments and trends. The blog uses the terminology "homeowner associations" and I am guessing the data presented is for condominium associations and homeowner associations.  Non...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman, CAE
    3/8/2017

    I easily recognize my good fortune to be a professional woman living in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area in 2017.  I have the privilege of working as an executive with an organization (and cause) for which I have tremendous passion, raising a seventh-grade son (who  by all accounts is incredible) with the luxury of flexibility in my workplace that affords me the opportunity to spend time carpooling, helping with homework, vacationing during spring break and more.  When I take a step back to think about how different my opportunities are today than they would've been just 30-40 years ago, I am incredibly grateful for the tremendous amount of effort women contributed to the fight for gender equality.  Without these efforts, my life would be very different. 

    When I reflect upon the journey of the women who fought for gender equality during the past century, I have great admiration for their tireless efforts; specifically their clarity and fortitude...Read more

  • By Matthew Green
    2/28/2017

    Towering 58 stories above San Francisco's Financial District, and what has come to be known as "Leaning Tower of San Francisco," the Millennium Tower has sunk 16 inches into the soil and tilted two inches to the northwest since opening in 2009. It is expected to sink an additional eight-15 inches in the coming years. The city's attorney Dennis Herrera called the situation "every homeowner's worse nightmare." 

    The Millennium Tower is a high-profile case highlighting construction deficiencies. It is because of its status and those involved that it received media attention. Unfortunately, the residents of the Millennium Tower are a few among thousands of homeowners every year discovering they are living their own worst nightmare. The consequences of builders' negligence and material deficiencies are causing thousands of homeowners around the country every year to file claims seeking repairs for damages of their most important investment: their home.&#...Read more

  • By Matthew Green
    2/16/2017

    Did you know that an individualized email to your legislator has nearly the same impact as an in-person visit? This is true according to findings by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), which just released its latest report Citizen-Centric Advocacy: The Untapped Power of Constituent Engagement.

    For more than a decade, the CMF has conducted research and published their findings which have helped shape the way we advocate. The CMF surveys congressional office leaders on the impact that different methods of communication have on officials, of particular importance is when officials have not already arrived at a firm decision on an issue.

    Form emails, such as what is linked to in the calls to action CAI sends, are effective, but are unfortunately half as influential as an individualized email or in-person visit.

    What if you don't have the time to draft a personalized email or drop by the district office? Phone calls to y...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman
    2/7/2017

    Music is powerful. Nearly all of us can recall memories associated with a personal memory – a high school dance, an old boyfriend or girlfriend, the summers spent with friends on the lake or at the beach.

    In fact, according to Music and Memory, Inc., our brains are hard-wired to connect music with long-term memory. Favorite music or songs associated with important personal events can trigger memory of lyrics and the experience connected to the music. Persons with dementia, Parkinson’s and other diseases that damage brain chemistry reconnect to the world and gain improved quality of life from listening to personal music favorites. (Music and Memory, Inc. 2017).

    When I think of my neighborhood, some of my best memories are of neighborhood parties and parades where musi...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman
    1/25/2017

    On Jan. 13, 2017, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) reintroduced the ham radio bill that failed to make it out of the Senate at the end of the 114th Congress. Cited as the Amateur Radio Parity Act, the Act was considered in 2015-2016 under H.R. 1301. That bill passed the House with compromise language CAI members advocated for in order to protect the best interest of community associations. The Act was reintroduced with the compromise language and will receive consideration as H.R. 555 in the 115th Congress.

    Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon), a ham radio operator and Chairman of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee where H.R. 555 was introduced. H.R. 555 was ushered to the House Floor on the suspension calendar earlier this week. The suspension calendar is for bills deemed non-controversial and where a congressperson moves to have the normal rules related parliamentary procedure suspended. Debate is limited to 40 minutes and two-thirds of the ...Read more

  • By Matthew Green
    1/12/2017

    Throughout the year CAI will need your help in telling your story to elected officials of how legislation will impact you and your community. Whether you live in or provide services for a community association, legislation will be introduced this year that if passed could impact your home, community and pocket book.

    State legislatures were 17 times more productive than Congress last year, and change does not appear on the horizon. The previous (113th) Congress introduced 9,252 and passed 352 bills; the states in comparison introduced 180,808 bills and passed 45,564. In 2017 CAI and our state volunteer Legislative Action Committees (LACs) will sift through over all pieces of legislation. History has shown that in all about 1,000 pieces of legislation will be introduced that directly impact community associations and about 125 of those will become law.

    The 1,000 bills that were introduced at the state level across the country and directly relevant to community associatio...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman
    1/6/2017

    Welcome to 2017!  CAI's Government Affairs team has hit the ground running.  By the end of this week, 19 state legislatures will convene and by the end of next week, nearly 40 state legislatures will be in session.  Members of Congress have already filled their first week with excitement – Vice President Joe Biden captured media attention during the Senate swearing in in ceremony, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was re-elected to the post while demonstrating he was unfamiliar with "dabbing", and the Office of Congressional Ethics was nearly gutted until Democrats and President-Elect Trump stopped the efforts. In 2017, I expect to see the issue of housing finance and the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to be a topic of conversation for Congress.  Since housing was not a major campaign issue, my guess is the complicated issue of housing finance and the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may likely – at least initially – be left up to Congress to res...Read more

  • By C. Scott Canady
    12/14/2016

    The 114th Congress has finished all legislative business and H.R. 1301, legislation concerning ham radio in community associations, was not approved by the Senate. This means the bill is dead and the legislation’s sponsors must begin the process again in the 115th Congress, which will be sworn in on January 3, 2017.

    CAI successfully amended H.R. 1301 from its original language, securing a compromise that permitted ham radio in associations, but required prior approval by the association and protected association architectural prerogatives. The legislation was opposed by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) both in its original and amended forms and this opposition prevented Senate approval of the compromise legislation. In the 115th Congress, Sen. Nelson is expected to continue in his leadership position as Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over legislation and statutes concerning federal communications policy. Sen. Nelson was instru...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman
    11/29/2016

    There are approximately 145,000 to 155,000 condominium projects in the U.S., according to the Foundation for Community Association Research (FCAR). As of October 2016, 9,866 condominiums—less than 7 percent of condominium projects nationwide—were Federal Housing Administration (FHA) certified. If a condominium project is FHA certified, that means prospective buyers interested in individual units within a condominium may qualify for an FHA insured mortgage. FHA insured loans are a type of federal assistance and have historically allowed lower income Americans to borrow money for the purchase of a home that they would not otherwise be able to afford.

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a new proposed rule to implement HUD's authority under the National Housing Act to set the basic standards condominium projects must meet to be approved as condominiums in which individual units would be eligible f...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman
    11/23/2016

    In a game of Chutes and Ladders, the U.S. Department of Labor's Overtime Rule was heading toward the winner's circle when it took the chute half way back to the beginning. A federal judge blocked the new rule making millions more Americans eligible for overtime pay. As a result, the December 1 effective date is indefinitely pushed back.

    Twenty-one states challenged the overtime expansion, arguing that Congress never intended to set any salary threshold for the exemptions or to allow the threshold to be raised every three years, as the Labor Department's rule specifies. The decision by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant in the Eastern District of Texas to grant a preliminary injunction affects an estimated 4.2 million workers who were to be newly eligible for time-and-a-half wages for each hour they put in beyond 40 a week.

    The rule, released by the Labor Department in May, would nearly double the threshold at which executive, administrative and professional employees...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman
    11/3/2016

    Governments from around the world, including, China, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, U.K. and the U.S. are taking steps to combat climate change by increasing access to clean energy technologies and reduce dependence on oil.  One policy focus has been on programs that will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. 

    A Bloomberg New Energy Finance report suggests that the sale of electric vehicles in the U.S. will hit 41 million by 2040, representing 35% of new car sales.  The future of electric vehicles, however, depends on several factors; including vehicle cost and maintenance, oil prices, government tax incentives to manufactures and purchasers, and … vehicle charging stations. 

    Accessibility to vehicle charging stations at the workplace and at home are critical to the future of the electric vehicle.  Consumers are going to demand they be close to their home or better yet – at their home.  What leadership role will condominium a...Read more

  • By Matthew Green
    10/26/2016

    As someone who hit the age of 18 prior to 2009 and the enactment of the Credit CARD Act, I can remember when I signed up for a half-dozen credit cards to supplement my student loans and to receive that ‘free’ logo t-shirt, knit cap, or whatever else that was being marketed as an incentive. I had no idea at the time of the implications of my actions and the importance of my credit score. Fortunately for me time and money healed those wounds, and now that I learned the hard way the lesson is now all too clear: your credit history and score are important.

    But what should be reported to the credit bureaus? While I wish my college spending habits were not, I do admit it my score then reflected my borrowing ability for larger purchases. What about the history of our ability to pay our association’s common area fees and assessments?

    Sperlonga Data & Analytics, a data aggregation business for non-standard credit data sources, has begun offering a service to report payme...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman
    10/14/2016

    Hurricane Matthew did not discriminate between community association neighborhoods and non-association neighborhoods. Neither should our nation’s natural disaster response and recovery policy.

    On Wednesday, Oct. 11, Tom Skiba, CEO of Community Associations Institute sent a letter to the White House asking President Obama to encourage FEMA to interpret their regulations to help all Americans; including community associations. 

    ...Read more
  • By Dawn Bauman
    10/6/2016

    In September, the White House released a report called "Housing Development Toolkit". The report discusses local barriers to housing development and housing affordability, particularly in high-growth metropolitan areas. The local barriers discussed in the toolkit are local land use regulations - the city, county, town, or township ordinances that govern the development of new housing. The Housing Development Toolkit calls upon the local municipalities to modernize their housing regulations to eliminate barriers to construction that will lead to more affordable housing for consumers. The toolkit is not a new law, rather it is a white paper of ideals and suggestions for local municipalities to consider.

    The report identifies 10 ideas of action states and local jurisdictions can take to promote healthy responsive, affordable, high-opportunity housing markets, i...Read more

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