2023 Year-in-Review & 2024 Preview

By: Chris Loebsack, Loebsack & Brownlee, PLLC

CARES Act Legal Issues

In November, the 5th different State/Federal Court (this time in Ohio) ruled that the CARES Act’s 30-Day Notice Vacate provision remains in effect Nationwide unless/until repealed by Congress. In Aug., AANC Leaders met with and secured NC Representative Richard Hudson’s support for the current Bill introduced in Congress to do away with this Notice provision. NAA continues to work to find an appropriations Bill where similar provisions might be inserted to accomplish the same objective. Until further notice, however, continue sending 30-day NTV Letters if your Property has a Federally-Backed loan or houses Sec 8 voucher-holders! 

NC HB 551 (and 2024 Legislative Session)

The State Legislature adjourned its 2023 session at the end of October, and AANC’s HB 551 had only been approved by one chamber of the Legislature. That means it will survive and be eligible for passage during the Spring session beginning at the end of April 2024. Be on the lookout for Lobby Day 2024 information, as our Industry will need vocal support to make sure these important provisions are enshrined in NC law next year! 

FTC Rulemaking – Junk Fees

The White House in January introduced its “Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights” with a section targeting what the Administration called “Junk Fees” in housing transactions. Late this Summer, the Federal Trade Commission published a Proposed Rulemaking that would create an entire regulatory scheme for enforcement of these ideals, including specific provisions relating to rental housing transactions. The Rule has not yet been “published”, but when it is, our Industry will have 60 days to provide comments relating to the proposed Rules. Expect a heavy push from NAA seeking input from our industry nationwide in an effort to beat back some of these potentially significant provisions! 

HUD Criminal Screening Rules/Guidance Upcoming

In May, HUD Director Fudge sent out a Press Release announcing that HUD would be issuing sweeping changes to the protocols for the permitted Criminal Screening of applicants at HUD-assisted Properties (likely including those who accept Section 8 vouchers). These new rules will be designed to reduce the number of applicants who may be denied solely for criminal record-related reasons, expressly to permit more opportunities for housing for those with criminal convictions in their past.  NAA continues to hear from HUD that this new guidance is still forthcoming, so stay alert for any announcements, as these have the possibility of creating substantial changes in your screening practices in 2024!

NC Tenant Appeals and e-Filing Roll-Out Issues

In February and again in October, the NC Administrative Office of the Courts rolled out its new e-filing technology in select counties (including Wake, Johnston, and now Mecklenburg). All 100 NC Counties will eventually be phased into this program over the next 2 years (with 12 more slated to come online in February). The roll-out has been beset with problems, both with ‘bugs’ in the technology itself, as well as lack of adequate staffing in the larger Counties, combining to create delays in the eviction process that are outside what is permitted under the provisions of our Summary Ejectment laws. AANC, GCAA and TAA Government Affairs leaders have had numerous discussions on these issues and are working with State and local officials in an effort to try and craft possible resolutions as we move into 2024. 

As much as any time in recent memory, 2024 is shaping up to be a year where Legislative advocacy will take ‘Center Stage’. Support for our Local, State, and National Political Action Committees will be more important than ever before. Please remember to support your Government Affairs Committee(s) with your time and donate to your PAC(s) with your dollars to help ensure the industry’s success next year!

*Disclaimer: This is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. You should contact your legal counsel with your specific facts if you seek legal advice.

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