Sensible public policy: CAI meets with White House to discuss condo safety

Representatives from the Community Associations Institute (CAI) joined forces with Senator Jason Pizzo of Florida to engage in a productive meeting with White House officials on September 20th. Their primary focus was to address crucial condominium safety measures and rally support for two key legislations, namely H.R. 8304 and H.R. 7532.

The CAI delegation included notable individuals such as Ron Perl, Esq., a distinguished member of CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL) and Chair of CAI’s Federal Legislative Action Committee. Accompanying Perl were Mitch Frumkin, RS, P.E. of Kipcon in New Jersey, Don Plank from the National Cooperative Bank in Washington, D.C., Scott Canady, CAI’s federal advocate, Phoebe Neseth, Esq., and myself.

The White House officials displayed great enthusiasm and actively participated in the discussions. They revealed that similar concerns had been raised with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. CAI was encouraged by the fact that condominium safety was being prioritized in conversations between the White House and federal agencies.

During the meeting, they provided an overview of the vast number of condominium housing units across the United States, their age, geographical distribution, and the challenges hindering essential repairs due to financing constraints. To illustrate the message effectively, they utilized a slide deck.

The two bills for which we sought direct support are as follows:

  1. H.R. 8304, known as the Rapid Financing for Critical Condo Repairs Act, empowers the Federal Housing Administration to insure loans for building rehabilitation in condominium associations, offered by private lenders. By providing FHA-insured loans with a 30-year repayment period, associations can alleviate the burden of significant special assessments on homeowners while securing funds for vital repairs.

  2. H.R. 7532, named the Securing Access to Finance Exterior Repairs (SAFER) in Condos Act, enables condominium homeowners to finance building repair special assessments over a span of 20 to 30 years. Homeowners can combine the building repair special assessment with their existing mortgage debt through a new FHA-insured 30-year mortgage. Alternatively, they can opt for a 20-year FHA-insured second mortgage exclusively for the building repair special assessment.

This dialogue with White House officials represents just one of the numerous endeavors undertaken by CAI’s advocacy team to advance sensible public policies for community associations while ensuring enhanced condominium safety.