Policy Priorities

AAA Areas of Focus

The Austin Apartment Association's advocacy work centers around operations and development-related items impacting the rental housing and multi-family industry.  This includes policy areas such as:

  • Codes and Standards
  • Housing Affordability
  • Land Use and Development
  • Fees
  • Evictions
  • Fair Housing
  • Landlord and Tenant Laws
  • Composting or Recycling Mandates
  • Property Taxes
  • Impact Fees
  • ...and much more

State, Federal Advocacy. 

The AAA works with the TAA and NAA to ensure that public policy does not impede but rather enhances the ability of apartment owners and operators to run their businesses and provide housing to the majority of our community.

NAA Advocacy:

For a complete listing of all National Apartment Association policy items, visit the NAA page:

NAA Policy Issues

TAA Advocacy

For more than 50 years, the Texas Apartment Association has worked with the Texas Legislature and statewide officeholders to foster a positive business climate for the rental housing industry in Texas.

TAA Advocacy

TAA Legislative Issues


Local Advocacy

Cities, Counties in AAA's 11-County Area

An overview of some of the latest policy issues and advocacy priorities is below.  


Codes & Standards
Austin Code - Repeat Offender Program (ROP)

The Repeat Offender Program (ROP) was created in 2013 as a rental registration program for properties with multiple code violations. The intent of the City Council in passing this ordinance and its amendment was to ensure Austin renters are living in properties that meet minimum health and safety standards, as defined by the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC).

Click here to read the ROP ordinance(s)

ROP Education Packet — Learn about information and resources available to help Property Managers and Owners to get to know the program requirements. Download the ROP Education Packet.


Evictions 

Evictions are a difficult and painful process for everyone involved. Our members don’t take that step lightly; it is a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

State laws and court rules map out a fair and predictable process for all parties facing eviction. They provide a consistent set of statewide standards for both renters and rental property owners. This process can only begin after there has been a breach of the contract such as a failure to pay rent, and every renter who faces an eviction lawsuit has the opportunity to have their case heard before a Justice of the Peace.


Eviction Screening

Just as evictions are unfortunately a necessary part of doing business, eviction screening is an essential function that helps owners and operators mitigate risk and ensure the safety and security of residents and community staff. Limitations on the ability to review pending or previous filings would be a significant detriment to the owners’ review process.

Apartment owners and operators require full access to a complete and accurate eviction history of an applicant without limitation on evaluating previous court records. The full and accurate record gives owners and operators the most comprehensive picture of the applicant to determine his or her ability to pay rent.

Legislation and local ordinances placing limitations on the ability to review an applicant’s eviction court records would be a significant detriment to housing providers as they utilize these records to assess applicants’ capacity to pay rent or fulfill other responsibilities under a lease. Owners and operators provide safe, professionally maintained housing of good quality to community residents. In exchange, providers depend on responsible renters to run their businesses. They must fulfill their own financial obligations, including, but not limited to, maintenance, capital improvements, mortgage payments, utilities, insurance premiums, payroll, and property taxes. 

Such limitations on screening would also have unintended consequences that would adversely impact low-income residents, such as greater reliance on financial records and credit scores.

EVICTION SCREENING FACT SHEET


Fair Housing

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (also known as the Fair Housing Act or the Act) prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status (which protects families with children under the age of 18, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18).  As part of its protections for disabled persons, the Act also requires all "covered multifamily dwellings" designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, to be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. The above are the 7 "protected classes" under federal law. State and local fair housing laws, such as the City of Austin, often go beyond the scope of federal law to include additional protected traits such as sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition to federal, state, and local fair housing laws, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) regulations and guidance require an additional layer of compliance for rental housing providers.

In terms of fair housing, discrimination could mean treating some individuals less favorably than others because of their race (unequal treatment), and implementing a policy that while neutral on its face, has a disproportionate, negative impact on families with children (disparate impact), denial of a request for an emotional support animal (reasonable accommodation) or being out of compliance with the Act's seven accessibility requirements for disabled persons (design and construction violations). With a few limited exceptions, fair housing applies to all publicly-owned and privately-owned housing and allows either an actual aggrieved party or a tester to file a fair housing complaint against an owner for discrimination. Similar to a secret shopper, a tester works with a local nonprofit (often funded by HUD) to enforce compliance with the law. 

Failure to comply with fair housing requirements may result in a discrimination complaint or lawsuit and fines, damages, and attorney fees. All rental property owners and operators must thoroughly educate themselves and their staff on the applicable fair housing laws in the markets in which they operate.‚Äč


Low-Income Housing Tax Credits

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a public/private partnership that leverages federal dollars with private investment to produce affordable rental housing and stimulate new economic development in many communities. Under the program, state housing agencies issue credit allocations to developers who then sell the credits to investors. Investors receive a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their federal tax liability over a 10-year period, and developers invest the equity raised to build or acquire apartments. This equity allows apartment firms to operate the properties at below-market rents for qualifying families. LIHTC financed properties must be kept affordable for at least 30 years.

A stronger LIHTC program enables developers of affordable housing to more quickly and effectively respond to the nation's housing needs. Specifically, establishing a minimum 4 percent tax credit rate for acquiring and rehabilitating apartment communities allows investors to derive the full value of the credit and developers to access greater financing resources. 

LIHTC FACT SHEET


Section 8 Program

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program has long served as America's primary method of rental assistance. Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by local public housing authorities, the program provides subsidized rents for qualifying low-income families in private rental housing, including apartments. This public-private partnership has the potential to be one of the most effective means of addressing our nation's affordable housing needs and supporting mixed-income communities. However, the program's potential success is limited by too many inefficient and duplicative requirements, which discourage private providers from accepting vouchers. 

Many private owner-operators may want to participate in the Section 8 Program but a number of its requirements act as disincentives such as a mandatory HUD tenancy addendum that supersedes the owner's lease, resident eligibility certification and related regulatory paperwork. Collectively, these requirements often make it more expensive for a private owner to rent to a Section 8 voucher holder. 

The AAA is proud to work with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) to help remove many regulatory barriers and challenges associated with the program, and we encourage all rental property owners to fully explore the prospect of working with HACA and begin accepting Section 8 Vouchers. 

Section 8 Fact Sheet