Legislative monitors are the eyes and ears of our Real Estate Investor Associations all over the country. They provide critical intelligence as we work to promote good relations between our industry and our elected officials. Monitoring programs are the first line of defense to keep our industry from being over taxed, over regulated and overwhelmed by what sometimes seems like an onslaught of legislative actions at the local, State and Federal level.
There are school districts trying to partner with developers to offer below market housing to teachers, police and fire department personal. That’s right, 20% below market, sounds good doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to see these nice folks get a good deal on their rent. The catch is, the project can offer below market rent because the school district pays NO property taxes. This is currently being pushed in Osceola and Orange County, Florida. Other municipalities are looking to implement inspections and inspection fees for rental properties…are you in a financial position to absorb increased operating costs? Some jurisdictions already have licensing fees on a property by property basis, does yours? It might soon unless we stay alert. These are but the tip of the iceberg.
However, the news isn’t all negative either. Federal funds will be pumped into our States and funnel down to the counties to help with the current housing mess. Wouldn’t it make sense to find out how we as investors and landlords might benefit form this cash infusion designed to promote home ownership and improve neighborhoods? Increasingly we’re seeing grants and buyer assistance programs being implemented. Counties and cities will be buying up foreclosed and abandoned properties…what if we became their redistribution vehicle in the communities we serve?
The key is not to build walls between us and the government, nor is it to stick our heads in the sand, but to build bridges. We do this by developing and nurturing relationships. In this light I want to thank those of you who have already attended my Lobbying Workshops at the Central Florida Realty Investor Association’s Lake Mary facility. The leader of this workshop was Barry Lefkowitz, who has served as the lobbyist for National REIA, led the Day on the Hill (See my other article Real Estate Investors – Protect Your Interests) last April , and is a personal friend of mine. He understands the importance of what CFRI is trying to accomplish.
In his world we are a little fish, but he’s coming here, giving us his time and sharing his vast expertise to help us learn just how to build these bridges you hear me talk about. I’ve seen him in action in Washington, DC, his rolodex is like a Capitol Hill who’s who. When he calls, Congressmen and Senators take his call. He is the real deal. This was not a real estate seminar. This was a rare opportunity to invest in yourself and develop some valuable communication, organizing and negotiating skills whether you’re dealing with the local PTA, HOA or Congress.
Even if lobbying isn’t on your radar, what you learn at a workshop like this will help you become a better monitor and a better citizen. You can make excuses or you can make a difference. We will be conducting these workshops in the future, so if you’re interest, please email me via the contact page.