NMHC and NAA statement on President Biden’s address to Congress

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Statement from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and the National Apartment Association (NAA) on President Biden’s address to the joint session of Congress.

NMHC and NAA applaud President Biden, his administration and lawmakers in both parties for their important work, including passage of legislation that includes tens of billions in rental assistance. As the President noted in his remarks, this assistance will prove critical to keeping millions of renters safely and securely housed and preserving the stability of the rental housing sector. With the federal government having fulfilled its responsibility by providing rental assistance funds, it is now up to state and local lawmakers to distribute those funds quickly and efficiently.

Taken alone, the resources allocated for rental assistance and other COVID-19 pandemic-related financial support represent historic investments in housing. However, there is now an even greater opportunity to comprehensively address the nation’s significant housing affordability challenges as Congress crafts infrastructure legislation. To that end, we look forward to working with the Biden administration and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle as they develop legislation that drives new investment in housing, funds community-level infrastructure needs and removes outdated barriers to housing development. A variety of economic indicators show that there is hope on the horizon. In just the last week, almost all American adults became eligible for the vaccine and the unemployment rate dropped to six percent in March 2021. Therefore, we urge federal policymakers to focus on delivering financial assistance to those still in need of housing support without continuing to disrupt the rental sector through federal eviction moratoriums.

The expiration of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium on June 30 will be an important catalyst to returning renters to a normal payment schedule and bring stability to the entire industry. This stability is critical for the housing providers who have been damaged by revenue losses over the past year and who may be struggling to pay their mortgages, finance property operations and meet their own financial obligations.

And with all the progress that has been made in getting our country to regain its footing, we must be careful to not jeopardize this recovery by enacting counterproductive tax policies. We are greatly concerned over the tax code changes outlined in the Administration’s American Families Plan that would specifically target real estate such as changes to like-kind exchanges, capital gains, and stepped up basis. With the economy only beginning to recover from the depths of the pandemic, any implemented tax reforms must not inhibit nascent economic growth, harm job creation or risk destabilizing the housing.

Traditionally, the real estate industry has been one of the key industries at the forefront of economic recovery and it is important to be mindful of the impact that tax and regulatory policies play in fostering a growing economy. We look forward to working with the Biden administration and Congress to develop bipartisan solutions to America’s housing needs.