Magazine article Journal of Property Management

2009 IREM and CCIM Institute Capitol Hill Visit Day a Success

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

2009 IREM and CCIM Institute Capitol Hill Visit Day a Success

Article excerpt

On April 22, over 275 commercial real estate professionals, including 250 IREM Members, gathered in Washington, D.C., to participate in the 12th annual Capitol Hill Visit Day. Members representing 40 states and the District of Columbia held more than 200 meetings with their U.S. Senators, Congressmen and staffs to voice their concerns on commercial mortgage market liquidity, energy-efficient buildings, and taxes. Highlights included:


COMMERCIAL MARKET LIQUIDITY: IREM and CCIM Institute members urged Congress and the federal government to provide favorable relief to the commercial real estate industry through the availability of small business loans, short-term loans for capital improvements and refinancing for mortgages. Members asked their legislators to: 1) expand the financing of Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) loans to a 5-year term, 2) support new Federal Accounting Standards Board guidance on mark-to-market accounting of assets in an illiquid market, and 3) hold a hearing on the state of the commercial real estate market.

ENERGY-EFFICIENT BUILDINGS: IREM strongly supports positive incentives for energy conservation activities and voluntary programs for energy conservation. IREM and CCIM Institute asked Congress to support legislation that provides incentives for energy retrofits for buildings. Additionally, members urged their legislators to oppose any proposals that mandate building labeling and to oppose involving federal agencies in the development of building codes.

TAXES-CARRIED INTEREST: IREM and CCIM Institute oppose any proposal that would eliminate capital gains treatment for any carried interest of a real estate partnership. Members asked their legislators to oppose H.R. 1935 by Representative Sander Levin, which would treat carried interest as ordinary income, and to support an amendment to exempt real estate partnerships from this tax treatment.

IREM recently approved two new statements of policy in response to legislation currently being considered by Congress that would impact the commercial real estate industry: the Employee Free Choice Act and Multi-Family Housing Foreclosures.

Employee Free Choice Act

The Employee Free Choice Act, also known as "check card" legislation, would fundamentally change the process for union elections and the collective bargaining process, making it easier for labor unions to organize employees into unions. As proposed, the Employee Free Choice Act would require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify union representation when a majority of employees sign a card favoring a union. The NLRB would not be required to conduct a private election. The bill also would impose a strict 90-day time limit for reaching an initial collective bargaining agreement. Additionally, if an agreement is not met during this time, either party can request mediation from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Following mediation, the legislation permits the FMCS to impose a 2-year binding contract on employers and employees. Neither party may appeal.

IREM urges Congress to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. IREM supports the right of employees to choose whether to be represented by a labor union through a federally supervised private election. A secret ballot election ensures that employees are protected from coercion and intimidation.

Tenant Protection in Property Foreclosures

Legislation has been introduced to protect tenants and ensure they are not evicted without notice in the case of a property foreclosure. …

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