REALTORS® from across the country will converge on Washington, D.C., to exercise the most fundamental right granted by the Constitution: “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Nearly 10,000 REALTORS® will attend the 2018 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo to exercise their rights on behalf of all 1.3 million members of NAR and America’s 75 million homeowners.
REALTORS® Set the Agenda to Meet With Congress
NAR policy committees are constantly monitoring legislative and regulatory issues. Additionally, a wide-ranging public policy survey of members—and political intelligence from NAR’s Advocacy Group—help guide and direct the development of the 2018 Federal Legislative and Regulatory Priorities. The highlights are listed below.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 2874, the “21st Century Flood Reform Act.” NAR will urge the Senate to take up H.R. 2874 immediately to avoid a potential lapse in the National Flood Insurance Program on July 31, 2018.
The business of real estate is increasingly conducted online. Streaming video, virtual tours and voice over internet protocol are just some of the technologies that are commonly used by real estate professionals today. Net neutral practices are essential to ensure that real estate content can be freely and efficiently distributed online. NAR supports legislation that will restore the 2015 Open Internet Order and protect access for real estate content.
Tax Extenders & Tax Indexing
NAR supports a permanent extension of the tax exclusion on mortgage debt forgiveness. NAR supports reauthorization of the 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Deduction. The current provisions that cap the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) loan limit at $750K, the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction at $10K and the maximum exclusion amounts for gain on sale of a principal residence ($250K/$500K) should be indexed to protect against future inflation. NAR also supports ending the marriage penalty in the SALT deduction cap. Currently, single filers and married couples are subject to the same $10K cap.
Federal Housing Issues
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) condominium regulations were relaxed by the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, which was signed into law on July 29, 2016. Unfortunately, FHA has not issued the regulations necessary for full implementation of the law. NAR will continue to work with HUD (the Department of Housing and Urban Development) to ensure that the final rules provide a real improvement in access to condominium financing.
For more than 100 years, REALTORS® have subscribed to a strict Code of Ethics. In January 2014, an amendment to Article 10 of the Code of Ethics expanded protection against discrimination to include sexual orientation or gender identity. REALTORS® are proud to lead the way toward greater equality in housing opportunities and urge Congress, during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, to adopt sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in the Fair Housing Act.
There is a lot to accomplish before the end of this Congress, but the REALTOR® Party has the resources and resolve necessary to promote and protect the ability of Americans to own, buy and sell real property.
Jerry Giovaniello is NAR’s senior vice president and chief lobbyist. This column is brought to you by the NAR Real Estate Services group. For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.
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