On March 23, members gathered at the MAR office for our first Government Affairs Open Forum. This is a quarterly event serving as an opportunity for any member to learn, ask questions, and bring topics to the table that could influence the industry.
Member Hot Topics
Top takeaways included discussion around the recently-approved rent stabilization measures in St. Paul. MAR members referenced local news articles that report housing construction projects declined in recent months. Members suggested that MAR find credible reports that track the number of residential development projects over time to see if the St. Paul policy has had a meaningful impact on development in the metro area. This would be additionally helpful if/when Minneapolis implements their rent stabilization regulation.
Lee Ann Lehto (Vice Chair to the MAR GA Committee) brought to the Forum a commonly-forgotten municipal ordinance in Minneapolis that has the ability to upset the timeliness of sales. Minneapolis Advance Notice of Sale requires property owners to notify their tenants of an intent to sell at least 60 days before the property goes to market. The threshold (determined by HUD) is based on what is considered affordable to households at or below 60% of Area Median Income (AMI). Since these monthly rent thresholds are deceptively high, members recommended focus on keeping brokers informed and reminded of regulation to keep their agents compliant with municipal law.
Guille Garza, (MAR DEI and GA Committee member) brought up that many homeowners who are not US citizens are currently incapable of completing a homesteading application in the surrounding Minnesota counties because a valid Social Security Number is required to complete the application. These homeowners instead use their federal Tax ID numbers to complete paperwork necessary for homeownership. This inconsistency puts buyers who are not citizens at a disadvantage, and creates additional and unnecessary barriers to homeownership.
The Open Forum was a great opportunity for our Government Affairs committee to hear directly from you about the issues you care about. Keep an eye out for your next opportunity to have your voice heard at our Q2 Open Forum—any member with a policy concern, question, or idea is welcome and encouraged to join!