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House Votes to Delay Overtime Rule; More Comprehensive Relief Needed

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in News

House Votes to Delay Overtime Rule; More Comprehensive Relief Needed Filed in Capitol Hill, Codes and Regulations, Labor, Safety and Health by NAHB Now on September 29, 2016 • The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 28 voted to delay the Department of Labor’s (DOL) controversial overtime rule by six months. The Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools and Nonprofits Act (H.R. 6904) would push the effective date of the overtime rule from Dec. 1, 2016, to June 1, 2017. This spring, the DOL issued a final rule that will double the current overtime salary limit from $23,660 to $47,476. The rule further stipulates that the salary threshold will be pegged to inflation and automatically adjusted every three years. Though a six-month delay would be helpful as employers attempt to comply with the new regulation and absorb its impact, NAHB firmly believes that stronger legislative action is needed to reduce the harmful effects of this rule on the nation’s small business community. NAHB is member of a coalition of business groups known as the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO) to warn lawmakers that such a huge jump in the overtime threshold in such a short period of time could actually hurt a significant number of the workers the rule was meant to help. Many small business owners would be forced to scale back on pay and benefits, as well as cut workers’ hours. Since the issuance of the final regulation in May, NAHB has led the coalition’s efforts to seek a better legislative solution. Specifically, NAHB is working to find a path forward for the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act (H.R. 5813), legislation that would provide permanent reform to the Department of Labor’s onerous rule by allowing small businesses operating on tight budgets sufficient time to adjust. H.R. 5813 would provide a four-year phase-in of the $47,476 salary threshold and eliminate a provision in the rule that requires automatic increases to the overtime salary threshold moving forward. In a related development, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, today introduced the Overtime Reform and Review Act. Similar to House bill H.R. 5813, the legislation would gradually ramp up the overtime salary threshold and eliminate the three-year automatic update provision. Barring passage of H.R. 5813 or the newly-introduced Senate bill, the PPWO supports congressional passage of H.R. 6904 as a temporary measure until permanent relief can be achieved. However, it is unclear if the Senate will vote on H.R. 6904 before the overtime rule goes into effect. With a Dec. 1 implementation deadline looming, there is little time left for Congress to act to stop or reform the rule. As NAHB works toward permanent relief from this burdensome rule, the association will continue to provide its members with the tools they need to comply with the new overtime requirements. For more information, contact Suzanne Beall at 800-368-5242...

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FHA Proposes New Condo Approval Rules

Posted by on Sep 28, 2016 in News

FHA Proposes New Condo Approval Rules Filed in Codes and Regulations, Housing Finance by NAHB Now on September 28, 2016 • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is proposing a new rule for condominium developments that the agency says is intended to be more flexible, less prescriptive and more reflective of market conditions. The agency is proposing to reinstate spot approvals in unapproved condominium developments and require condo projects to recertify their approval status every three years rather than the current two. FHA currently stipulates that approved condominium developments have a minimum of 50% of the units occupied by owners. To respond to future market changes, the agency is proposing to establish an allowable range between 25% and 75%. Regarding commercial/nonresidential space within an approved condominium development, FHA currently requires that this should not exceed 50% of the project’s total floor area. The agency anticipates maintaining this requirement in the near term, but to achieve added flexibility FHA is proposing to establish a range of between 25% and 60% via subsequent notice. View HUD’s press release and FHA’s proposed rule. For more information, contact Curtis Milton at 800-368-5242...

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White House Releases Housing Development Toolkit

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in News

White House Releases Housing Development Toolkit Filed in Capitol Hill, Construction Industry, Home Building, Land Development by NAHBNow on September 27, 2016 • The White House, on Monday, released a Housing Development Toolkit, which highlights regulatory barriers to housing development and outlines tools and strategies that local governments can use to diminish the impact they have on housing production and affordability. The President’s FY2017 HUD budget includes a $300 million proposal for Local Housing Policy Grants to help facilitate the modernization of its recipients’ housing regulatory approaches. These tools and strategies include:  Establishing by-right development Taxing vacant land or donating it to nonprofit developers Streamlining or shortening permitting processes and timelines Eliminating off-street parking requirements Allowing accessory dwelling units Establishing density bonuses Enacting high-density and multifamily zoning Employing inclusionary zoning Establishing development tax or value capture incentives Using property tax abatements NAHB has long embraced a move toward fewer regulatory roadblocks and more efficient development processes. Inefficiency costs developers and builders time and money, hurts housing affordability and availability, increases government offices’ administrative costs, and stifles economic growth. NAHB recently released a report—Development Process Efficiency: Cutting through the Red Tape—which offers examples of developers, builders, land use officials and other stakeholders who are working together to improve the local development review and approval process and create a win-win for all parties. Case in Point Within the last decade, development approvals in many parts of the country have shifted from taking only a few months to complete to two years or longer. An economic impact analysis recently commissioned by the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services shows just how much is at stake. Adding a year to the review process can reduce the value of that property by an average of 20%. Or, from a more positive viewpoint, shortening the time from concept to occupancy by one year could save the business as much as 20% of the project cost, lowering the cost of housing for its residents. The County Executive implemented a streamlining initiative in 2012, and since then record plat processing declined from 20-30 weeks to 8-12 weeks. Site plan reviews that used to take more than a year are now required to be completed within 120 days. And the time frame for building permit approvals dropped from 12 weeks to 30 days. While many of the recommendations in NAHB’s report mirror those found in the White House toolkit, such as streamlining the permitting process and updating zoning codes, there are also key differences. Namely, NAHB believes that there is too much focus at all levels of government on inclusionary zoning. In fact, it’s one of the strategies referenced in the White House toolkit as a preferred method of achieving affordable housing goals. The problem with this is that inclusionary zoning is a complex market intervention, and like impact fees, is dependent on the pace of construction, which goes up and down. Inclusionary zoning is not flexible enough to respond...

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NAHB Commends Sen. Wyden’s New Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit

Posted by on Sep 23, 2016 in News

NAHB Commends Sen. Wyden’s New Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit Filed in Capitol Hill, Multifamily by NAHB Now on September 22, 2016 • NAHB today commended Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) for introducing the Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit Act of 2016. The legislation builds on the successful Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by creating a new tax credit to spur the development of rental homes affordable to Americans with moderate incomes. The new Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit (MIHTC) would allocate funds to states based on population. State housing authorities would then follow a competitive process to allocate the tax credits to developers for new construction or rehabilitation projects. “Sen. Wyden’s plan would help spur the production of much-needed affordable rental housing for working American families,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. “The new MIHTC would serve as a great complement to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which represents the best of public-private partnerships and is the most successful tool for financing affordable housing.” Under Wyden’s bill, rents in MIHTC properties must not exceed 30% of Area Median Gross Income (AMGI). While the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit caps the incomes of those in qualifying projects at 60% of AMGI, the MIHTC would allow households with incomes that fall between 60% and 100% of the AMGI. In many urban areas, hard-working families struggle to find affordable housing. In a press statement, Wyden said a family of four earning between 60% and 100% of AMGI in Portland, Ore. would earn between $44,000 and $73,000. HUD provides multifamily tax subsidy  and income limit documentation to compute AMGI figures for other areas of the country. Many renters live in apartments that were built decades ago and are in need of updating. “Sen. Wyden’s bill would help to revitalize this existing rental housing stock and to keep housing affordable and available for moderate-income households,” said Brady. “We urge the Senate to act quickly to advance this important housing bill.” Download a one-page summary of the legislative proposal, a longer, section-by-section summary and legislative text. For additional information, contact J.P. Delmore at 800-368-5242...

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NAHB, Business Groups Sue to Block Overtime Rule

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in News

NAHB, Business Groups Sue to Block Overtime Rule Filed in Capitol Hill, Labor, Safety and Health, Legal by NAHB Now on September 21, 2016 • NAHB and a coalition of more than 55 Texas and national business groups have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) seeking to halt its federal overtime rule set to take effect Dec. 1. Earlier this year, the DOL issued the rule, which will double the current overtime salary limit of $23,660 to $47,476. It also allows the minimum salary requirements to be raised every three years. NAHB and many groups not in favor of the rule have warned that such a huge jump in such a short period of time could actually hurt a significant number of the workers the rule was meant to help. Many small business owners would be forced to scale back on pay and benefits, as well as cut workers’ hours. The lawsuit filed on Sept. 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas asserts that the DOL exceeded its statutory authority in issuing the regulation and violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the way federal agencies can establish regulations. The legal action seeks to bar the DOL from implementing the rule. A coalition of 21 states this week also filed a separate challenge to the rule in the same court district. NAHB has also been leading the charge to seek a legislative solution and worked closely with Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), who recently introduced bipartisan legislation to help small businesses and their workers by mitigating the effects of the overtime rule. The Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act (H.R. 5813) would allow small businesses operating on tight budgets sufficient time to adjust to the overtime rule by gradually raising the $47,476 threshold under the following timetable: Dec. 1, 2016 – $35,984 Dec. 1, 2017 – $39,814 Dec. 1, 2018 – $43,645 Dec. 1, 2019 – $47,476 Moreover, the legislation would eliminate a provision in the rule that requires automatic increases to the overtime salary threshold moving forward. NAHB is strongly urging Congress to swiftly pass this...

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