Legislative Lounge - Nov. 30th Edition

Posted By: Andre Del Valle 90 Second Update , Community,

 November 8, 2022: Election Recap

  • Governor Elect Josh Shapiro defeated State Senator Doug Mastriano.
    • With 56.1% totaling 3,026,961 votes.
    • Governor Elect Austin Davis becomes the first African American LT. Governor in PA.
    • State Senator Doug Mastriano: 41.7% totaling 2,235,660.
  • S. Senator Elect John Fetterman defeated Mehmet Oz.
    • Fetterman: 51.2% totaling 2,747,601votes.
      • Mehmet Oz: 46.3% totaling 2,484,096 votes.
  • PA STATE HOUSE: Pennsylvania Democrats won a razor-thin majority of seats in the state House of Representatives for the first time in 12 years, an unexpected victory for the party that will have a major impact on how legislation moves through Harrisburg for the next two years.

  • PA STATE SENATE: Will continue to be Republican controlled (28), to (22) Democrats.

We’re so excited to share some of our updates and highlights leading into 2023 below:

State Government

PAA is monitoring several major pieces of legislation:

 

  • House Bill 2062: This bill would require landlords to provide notice to an applicant either offering housing or denying the application. This notice would also include the reasons for denial, including a description of deficiencies in the application. This notice is only required if the proposed applicant requests it. This bill had a policy hearing which PAA testified at and was successful in keeping off the agenda.

 

  • House Bill 1826: Record Sealing bill, which would seal records for certain criminal offenses to be reviewed after 10 years. This is a bill we are closely monitoring as it’s a form of record sealing that could impact landlords’ ability to make a proper assessment of a proposed tenant’s application. PAA will be testifying on August 31, 2022.

 

  • House Bill 1983: Security Deposit Legislation which would require an owner to provide an alternative to a security deposit similar to a payment plan made over the course of a few months. PAA is opposed to this legislation as well as tenant advocates who also share concerns with this legislation.

 

  • HB 136: Rent Control Preemption (Rep. Greg Rothman) This bill would prevent municipalities from enacting Rent Control measures.

 

  • HB 2923: Rent Control (Rep. Nancy Guenst) Would allow municipalities to enact rent control locally.

 

  • SB 1168: This bill applies to an existing renter who either is a person with a handicap or disability or becomes a person with a handicap or disability after the start or the renters term.
    • This bill would permit the renter to terminate the lease or rental agreement with no additional fee, cost, or penalties if the landlord refuses to make a reasonable accommodation within 30 days or grant a renters reasonable accommodation request within ten days.
    • It would also permit the renter to terminate the lease or rental agreement with no additional fee, cost, or penalties if the renters handicap or disability becomes more severe and the renter needs to move to a new residence.

 

  • SB 1125: Legionnaires Disease Water Testing
    • This bill would require owners and water suppliers to test their water systems for legionnaires to prevent a possible breakout. PAA is working with the Alliance to Prevent the Spread Legionnaires Disease to ensure any testing happens at the water supplier level, not building owners.

 

Local Government

 

We would like to take this time to stress the importance of local contacts and local connections.  If you have information about a local ordinance, please contact us and let us know.  It is far more effective for our Government Affairs team to fight legislation on the front end vs. after the legislation has passed and we are left with limited options.

 

If you are interested in helping PAA, please sign up to be an Apartment Ambassador at https://www.paahq.com/apartment-ambassador.  As an ambassador, you would receive professional advocacy training to learn how to track legislation, work with the legislative affairs team and speak to your elected officials to help our industry grow and succeed.   

 

Norristown

 

Norristown Township is examining the installation of automatic sprinklers for buildings with 2 or more units in them. PAA continues to meet with the Council President about the legislation given our larger buildings have safety features including concrete firewalls that prevent the spread of a fire without the financial burden of retrofitting. PAA has been successful in keeping this legislation off the agenda since June 2022.

 

If you have property in Norristown, please contact our VP of Government Affairs at ADelValle@paahq.com.

 

Philadelphia

 

2023 PHL Mayoral Race: PAA Continues to monitor the upcoming Mayoral race in Philadelphia. As of November 29th, 2022, five City Council Members have resigned due to the City’s “resign to run rule” with Councilmembers Domb, Parker, Green, Gym, and Quiñones Sánchez all resigning.

 

On November 28th, 2022, City Council inaugurated four new members to replace the vacancies, those new members include Councilmember Quetcy Lozada (7th District), Anthony Phillips (9th District), Councilmember Sharon Vaughn (At-Large), James Harrity (At-Large), Councilmember Gym resigned on November 29, 2022, which will leave a vacancy until the May 2023 primary.

 

High Rise Building Retrofit Automatic Sprinklers Ordinance:

Impacts 140+ buildings, 22,000 units

 

This legislation introduced by Councilmember Squilla back in March 2022 and PAA has been successful in holding off the agenda since its introduction. This legislation would require high rise buildings with residential units to be retrofitted with automatic sprinkler systems. If passed this legislation would go into effect immediately. High rises are defined as buildings 75+ feet. PAA continues to build a coalition against the legislation and is working on a financial impact study that is examining the affordability of units across the city if passed.

 

PAA has been able to continue to keep the sprinkler ordinance off the agenda until February 2023 following several meetings with Licenses and Committee members as we have shared several concerns with the bill sponsors, built a coalition of building owners and condominium representatives.

 

PAA continues to work in PHL If your property falls under these parameters, please reach out to Andre Del Valle at ADelValle@paahq.com.

 

Eviction Diversion Program:

Councilmember Gym introduced and passed legislation to extend the Eviction Diversion program 18 months through June 2024. The original version of the bill would have made the program permanent, PAA was successfully able to negotiate a sunset to this ordinance (End of June 2024) along with an allocation of $45 Million for Rental Assistance for the first year, $30 Million for the second year, and three landlord liaisons to expedite and answer any issues or questions members may have. We also were able to use rental assistance to help pay landlords for the 30 days that the legislation requires for mediation.

 

Record Sealing

Tenant advocates continue to work on a letter to submit to the Municipal Court advocating for record sealing to occur in Philadelphia and with the change in majority at the state level are now looking at legislation to record seal. PAA continues to monitor any movement on these efforts both locally and in Harrisburg to strategize responses and advocacy efforts around these bills.

 

 

Pittsburgh

 

Short Term Rental Licensing

PAA continues to meet with Councilmember Wilson in Pittsburgh on his proposed short term rental ordinance, PAA was successful in removing language that would impact our members operations in between yearly leases. The Councilmember agreed to removing language that required of guest registry, limiting the number of days guests could stay which was originally 15 days, and potentially removing the requirement of a short-term license if you apply for an annual license already. PAA has been successful on keeping this legislation off the agenda since June 2022 and continues to amend the legislation that will help benefit out members.

 

Cheltenham Township

 

Earlier this year PAA met with Cheltenham Township Fire Marshal to discuss the rental license and rental inspection ordinance and was able to get several amendments to the legislation which PAA believes will make compliance less cumbersome including capping the fees, lowering the cost of the fees, and a self-inspection mechanism for properties with over 100 units.