According to Merriam-Webster, the intransitive verb of lobbying means “to conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials and especially members of a legislative body on legislation.” I’ve always had an interest in how laws have an effect on my daily life. Ever since I’ve been able to vote, I’ve written letters to local government officials regarding pending legislation or active laws in relation to my City or State.
As a small business owner and a Realtor®, I am especially sensitive to the political trends in that affect business and real estate with an emphasis on commercial real estate and affordable housing. We are currently in the thick of the Presidential primaries, which will determine the 45th Presidential candidates. I’m sure we all can acknowledge the importance of what happens on a Federal level but the State laws have a direct effect on intrastate commerce and our property. As a volunteer on the Governmental Affairs committee of the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors, I recently participated in a call for action to Georgia State Senators regarding the support of the amendment and passage of Senate Bill 206 (SB 206).
An ambiguity in current law allows water suppliers to deny water service to a new owner or tenant of commercial property because of unpaid water bills of a previous owner or tenant. SB 206 would change the law to read that water suppliers cannot refuse to supply services to a new tenant or owner of commercial property because of the indebtedness of a previous owner or tenant. SB 206 further requires that prior to a real estate closing, the water supplier must provide a statement of outstanding debt to any real estate agent, property owner, closing attorney, or lender within five days of an issued request. If a statement is not supplied within five days, it shall stand as evidence that the water supplier does not have a lien against the property, and thus extinguish any unpaid charges. Georgia Association of Realtors support this bill because it brings fairness and uniformity to the commercial real estate market and ensures that a new tenant will neither be denied service nor held liable for the lapsed payments of a previous owner or tenant.
Another passion I have is fair and affordable housing. In the past, I have personally faced foreclosure after the market crash and even eviction due to high housing costs. I recently joined Housing Georgia, which is a coalition that advocates for public policies, programs and increased resources to ensure that all Georgians have safe, decent and affordable housing in stable and healthy communities. On Tuesday, I attended a luncheon and Housing Day at the Capitol to advocate for the passage of House Resolution 1553 (HR 1553) and speak out on other housing related legislation. HR 1533 is a resolution to establish a House Study Committee on Homelessness and Affordable Housing. I recently met with a new legal non-profit, to discuss volunteering assisting small businesses and community developers. More information on this initiative to come soon.
On this upcoming Thursday, I will attend the quarterly Atlanta Regional Housing Forum meeting hosted by the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP) to stay abreast of the trends and initiatives in housing, which are not only integral to residential but commercial real estate as well. Currently, ANDP has funding to assist developers of affordable housing, which could be useful to my investor clients who not only wholesale, buy and hold but also develop land.
The mission of ANDP is to promote, create and preserve mixed income communities through direct development, lending, policy research and advocacy that result in the equitable distribution of affordable housing throughout the metropolitan Atlanta region. ANDP was created in 1991 as a result of the merger of the Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Housing Resource Center and the Atlanta Economic Development Corporation’s Neighborhood Development Department. The impetus for ANDP’s creation was to address the diminishing supply of affordable housing in the Metropolitan Atlanta region as well as to help reclaim declining neighborhoods in its core.
The topic that will be discussed is Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). TOD is often defined as community development that includes a mix of housing, office, retail and other amenities in a walkable neighborhood and located within a half-mile of public transportation. Transit is a huge component in relation to real estate development and there are numerous studies and reports that discuss this topic.
I implore you to get involved at the local and state levels or work with professionals like myself who not only care about making the deal but can bring value with their knowledge of what’s happening in and around the industry. If you have a real estate question, feel free to contact me or follow me on social media here.