Multifamily Florida - Fall 2015 - (Page 24)

SP EC I A L REP OR T: L EGISL AT I V E UP DAT E FAiR Housing, FiRE safety, and veteran Homelessness BY COURTNEY BARNARD A lthough Florida's legislative session has been over for several months, FAA has been monitoring legislative developments from municipal to national levels. At the national level, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the hotly anticipated disparate impact case, Texas Housing Authority v. The Inclusive Communities Project Inc. The court released a 5-4 opinion to uphold disparate impact liability, meaning the court decided that business owners may be unintentionally creating environments of discrimination with regard to fair housing, even though they have not violated federal fair housing law. Disparate impact focuses on the effects of a business practice, not just the intention. Even a business that follows the law can unintentionally discriminate against people in a protected class, such as based on race, gender, or age. Two previous disparate impact cases had been brought before federal court, but both cases were settled before an opinion was released. This lack of precedent makes the Supreme Court ruling very important, and it will most likely set the stage for how future disparate impact cases are handled in court. The Supreme Court's acknowledgment of disparate impact may create new legal challenges for those developing and managing multifamily properties across the United States. FAA is working closely with the National Apartment Association to analyze the Supreme Court decision and will continue to update its members on the impact of the bill in Florida. Looking closer to home, many local jurisdictions in Florida have recently proposed new or increased fire inspection and/or assessment fees. These fees have come up in Leesburg, Gainesville, Haines City, St. Cloud, and others. Many municipalities have faced recent cuts 24 l MULTiFAMiLYFLoRidA l The Supreme court's acknowledgment of disparate impact may create new legal challenges for those developing and managing multifamily properties across the United States. in allocations from the state government and are increasing local taxes and fees to make up lost revenue. Many local fire departments have seen a reduction in state funding, and this has led to an increase in both inspection and assessment fees. Cities or counties charge per-unit or per-community fees to have a fire marshal or other fire safety expert physically inspect the sprinklers, hydrants, and other features of a property to assess the level of fire safety in place. In addition to the inspection fee, if a community does not pass, it faces fines and the possibility of additional inspections. The fees provide revenue to fund new fire equipment or make up for budget shortfalls. Fire assessment fees are often based on past use of fire department services. Many cities will levy a property tax surcharge on

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Multifamily Florida - Fall 2015

President’s Message: Rewarding Reflections
FAA Update: What’s Your Brand?
Target Your Market
Lease It Like a Lease-Up
Hyperlocal Mobile Marketing
Legislative Update: Fair Housing, Fire Safety, and Veteran Homeless Ness
Become an Extra Ordinary Salesperson by Being Relevant
Checking Customer Satisfaction: Rare or Well Done?
Building Community: The Marketability of Community
Giving Back: AAGO Foundation Hosts Foster Youth at Job Shadow Day
Community Spotlight: Solaire at Coconut Creek
Apartments by the Numbers
Index to Advertisers /

Multifamily Florida - Fall 2015