Nevada lawmakers passed several housing-related bills in the recently concluded legislative session, affecting such issues as construction defect claims, affordable housing development and evictions.
Here’s a look at some key new laws.
Four years after Republican lawmakers raised barriers to pursuing lawsuits alleging shoddy construction, the Democratic-controlled Legislature made the process easier.
Assembly Bill 421, which will take effect Oct. 1, lets homeowners report supposed construction defects in “reasonable” detail when submitting a notice to a builder or contractor. The previous law required “specific” detail with “exact” locations.
Among other changes, homeowners also have up to 10 years after the work in question was finished to pursue a claim. The previous law gave them six years.
Backed by attorneys, the measure rolled back provisions of the homebuilder-supported law from 2015, which cracked down on construction defect litigation a decade after Las Vegas’ wild building spree.
Ardea Canepa-Rotoli, a board member at the Nevada Justice Association, a lobbying group for lawyers, said last month that the 2015 law “restrained” homeowners’ rights.
Construction defect litigation is “significantly down” in Nevada, but “it’s not because magically there’s no more defects,” she said.
Lobbyist Nat Hodgson, chief executive of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, said Friday the bill’s final version “turned out a lot better” than its initial one. According to Hodgson, the measure was introduced as a “full repeal” of the 2015 law.
Hodgson said the biggest issue is the 10-year window for submitting construction defect claims. He contended the extended deadline will raise builders’ insurance costs.
Lawmakers gave the affordable housing market a boost with incentives that could help spark more projects for low-income Nevadans.
Senate Bill 103, which will take effect July 1, authorizes local governments to reduce certain fees for affordable housing projects. Senate Bill 448, which will fully kick in Jan. 1, lets the state issue $10 million in transferable tax credits annually for four years to help finance new projects.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Nevada has a shortage of more than 73,000 affordable and available rental homes for “extremely low income” tenants.
In Nevada, most money for affordable housing projects comes from the federal government, and SB448 creates the first new source of state money for such projects since the early 1990s, said Eric Novak, founder of Reno-based Praxis Consulting Group.
Developers build about 1,000 units of affordable housing statewide each year, and state officials estimate the tax credits will increase production by 600 units, said Mike Shohet, chief real estate development officer at Las Vegas-based Nevada HAND, an affordable housing developer.
He said developers would sell the tax credits to investors and use the proceeds to help pay for projects.
Starting July 1, Senate Bill 151 will bolster protections for tenants by capping late fees at 5 percent of their regular rent and requiring more time to pass before a landlord can evict them for falling behind on their payments.
The law also gives tenants more time to thwart an impending eviction by paying their landlord up to seven business days after they were served an overdue-rent notice, compared to a maximum of five business days under the previous law.
An eviction notice “requires you to stop everything you’re doing to try to navigate this emergency,” said Bailey Bortolin, policy director with the Nevada Coalition of Legal Service Providers. “This new time frame will make sure the tenant has a weekend in there to figure out what their next step is.”
Landlords will also be required to allow an evicted tenant to retrieve essential belongings, like medication, for five days after they are locked out.
The measure faced heavy opposition from real estate organizations after portions of the dead Senate Bill 256 were amended into it in the final days of the Legislature. Those provisions included the late-fee cap and the five-day window to retrieve belongings.
Nevada Realtors President Keith Lynam said he and his members felt “hoodwinked” to see the SB256 provisions resurface after they had come to an agreement with lawmakers on SB151.
He said in a statement that the new law “will harm tenants and property owners” throughout the state and discourage Nevadans “from renting out their homes.”
Source:Las Vegas Review-Journal
2019 CHARLES L. EDSON TAX CREDIT EXCELLENCE AWARD PUBLIC HOUSING Winner Rose Gardens Senior Apartments, North Las Vegas, NV
The Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards recognize outstanding Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) developments across the nation at the forefront of creating stronger, healthier communities.
Source:The Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition
Read about the Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) with insights from Praxis President Eric Novak from the Novogradac 2019 Affordable Housing Conference. With discussion on "Why Convert to RAD?" and the current challenges facing the RAD program.
Full Article here
Source: Novogradac & Company LLP
Several people dressed in a mix of coats, jackets and other warm clothing sought refuge underneath a white canopy as wind gusts whipped the surrounding area on a chilly Tuesday afternoon.
Councilman Oscar Delgado of Reno’s Ward 3 steps up to the podium and smiles at the crowd.
“Man, I love this weather,” Delgado said, earning laughs from the crowd.
Today, dirt and construction equipment fill the vacant lot across the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center. By spring of next year, a new 44-unit apartment complex will stand on this long-vacant piece of land on the corner of Sutro Street and Hillboro Avenue.
With more than 6,400 new apartment permits approved in Washoe County from 2016 to 2018, the 44 units that will make up the Willie J. Wynn Apartments — named after the late community leader who became the first African-American to serve in a cabinet-level position in Nevada — might not seem like a lot. This Reno Housing Authority project, however, helps fulfill a pressing need that the community continues to clamor for: affordable housing.
With only 21 affordable rental homes available for every 100 extremely low-income residents in the greater Reno metro area according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Gap Report, any addition to the market’s insufficient supply is seen as cause for celebration. The Reno Housing Authority, for example, was forced to close its waiting list for people seeking affordable housing assistance after it ballooned to about 3,000.
“This is a drop in the bucket,” said Brent Boynton, Reno Housing Authority Community outreach coordinator. “But we are always happy to celebrate any move in the right direction (for affordable housing).”
‘Helping people up’
Reno is in the midst of a rental crisis.
With strong demand putting constant pressure on the area’s apartment supply, average rents in the area — which broke the $1,300 mark early last year — are the highest they have ever been, according to data from real estate consulting firm Johnson Perkins Griffin. Even when adjusted for inflation, the number represents a 42 percent increase from early 2012.
The sharp spikes in average rent are hitting Reno’s most vulnerable populations especially hard. These include those at the lower end of the financial spectrum, many of whom are either living from paycheck to paycheck or on fixed incomes.
The Willie J. Wynn Apartments is a project born from the need to help those who are struggling the most from Reno’s worsening housing affordability crisis, according to its supporters.
“The city of Reno is booming,” Delgado said. “But not all families are feeling that.
“One of the great things about this project is that we’re helping people up.”
The apartment will include a mix of one- and two-bedroom units designed to accommodate seniors who want to age in place. Amenities include a community and service space, outdoor barbecue area and a dog park.
The apartment’s focus on seniors holds special meaning to the family members of the project’s namesake, Willie J. Wynn. In addition to holding a cabinet-level position under former Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt, Wynn also served as a reverend. The site of the former Greater Harvest Church — which Wynn founded in 1966 — is right next to the apartment project. The old church building still stands, but is now owned by the Reno Housing Authority.
“My father loved Nevada and he loved this community,” Patricia Wynn-Tau said. “He vowed to help people from all walks of life and one thing he always wanted was to have affordable housing for seniors.”
A community responsibility?
Despite the great need for affordable housing in Reno-Sparks, getting a project done is tough in today’s environment.
The Willie J. Wynn Apartments, for example, is the first new housing project by the Reno Housing Authority in more than two decades, said Executive Director Amy Jones. The biggest challenge? That would be acquiring the requisite financing.
The housing authority's latest project required $13 million in total funding from multiple public and private sources. On the private sector side, Wells Fargo was mentioned as a major funder. Jacobs Entertainment also donated $1.5 million as part of a deal between the company and the Reno Housing Authority after it purchased several blocks of property downtown. One of those properties acquired by Jacobs include Reno Housing Authority land valued at $1 million.
CEO Jeff Jacobs says the Willie J. Wynn Apartments project “helps a little bit” but added that there is still a huge need for more affordable housing projects. One potential opportunity involves housing being planned for Jacobs’ downtown Neon Line District project, which was previously called the Fountain District.
“Between First Street and Sixth Street west of downtown to Keystone, there’s potential to create maybe 2,000 residential units,” Jacobs said. “I’d like to see if we can keep 10% of them as affordable senior (housing).”
Doing so could help diminish some of the criticism Jacobs Entertainment received after it demolished several of the motels that it purchased after its downtown acquisition spree. While the motels were in terrible shape, they also served as de facto affordable housing for the tenants who lived in those properties.
Jones of the Reno Housing Authority agreed that more needs to be done to address the great need for affordable housing in Reno-Sparks. With a waiting list in the thousands for affordable housing, including not just seniors but single parents and young children, even the Willie J. Wynn Apartments will not come close to filling the affordable housing gap when it opens next year.
Jones challenged other members of the community — whether it be public or private sector members — to do their part in becoming a solution to the problem.
“Forty-four units of affordable housing will not solve this problem,” Jones said. “Affordable housing is the work of our entire community.”
Source:Reno Gazzette Journal
FHLBank San Francisco Names Three to Affordable Housing Advisory Council and Reappoints Three Current Members
SAN FRANCISCO – March 6, 2019 – The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco is pleased to announce the appointment of Holly Benson, Dr. Hilary Lopez, and Takao Suzuki to its Affordable Housing Advisory Council (AHAC) and the reappointment of current AHAC members Diana Yazzie Devine, Donald Falk, and Douglas Shoemaker to new three-year terms.
The 15-member AHAC provides the Bank with expert guidance on affordable housing and economic development issues and helps shape the Bank’s community grant and credit programs.
New AHAC members are:
Holly Benson – Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Abode Communities, Los Angeles, CA
Holly Benson is responsible for providing executive oversight of Abode Communities’ professional real estate and property management services, as well as the organization’s mission-critical resident services. In this role, she oversees the production of new affordable housing, creation of new business opportunities, management of existing real estate assets, and financial and operational performance of Abode Communities’ real estate portfolio and resident services program, Beyond Homes. Benson serves an integral role in operationalizing the organization’s strategic plan to ensure the organization meets and exceeds its strategic goals.
A 21-year veteran in the affordable housing industry, Ms. Benson’s depth of experience is underscored by her contributions to the development of more than 1,000 affordable homes and the procurement of $300 million in loans, grants, and equity from both private and public sources. Ms. Benson is a past president of the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing.
Ms. Benson received a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Hilary Lopez, Ph.D. – Senior Associate, Praxis Consulting Group, Reno, NV
Hilary Lopez works with clients to structure and assemble public and private financing for affordable housing developments and manages the due diligence process through financial closing. She has successfully closed financing on projects using 4% and 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bonds, Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program funds, HOME funds, State and National Housing Trust Funds, HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program, and conventional sources.
Prior to joining Praxis Consulting Group in 2013, Dr. Lopez served as the Chief of Housing Programs for the State of Nevada Housing Division. In this role, she administered the State’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and served as lead underwriter for multifamily projects. Her team was responsible for regulatory compliance of over 25,000 units located in assisted properties throughout Nevada.
Dr. Lopez holds an M.A. in Applied Economics from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a Doctorate in Geography, with a concentration in Urban Geography and Planning, from the University of Denver.
Takao Suzuki – Director of Community Economic Development, Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corporation, Los Angeles, CA
Takao Suzuki manages a department that consists of Real Estate Development, Asset & Property Management, Community Organizing & Planning, and Little Tokyo Small Business Assistance for Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corporation (LTSC CDC). He began his tenure at LTSC CDC in 2000 as a community organizer through the AmeriCorps program, and joined the Real Estate Development Department in 2004, where he oversaw the completion of nine projects consisting of approximately 300 housing units, along with the Little Tokyo development of the California Japantowns projects.
Mr. Suzuki currently serves on the board of the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, and Mercado la Paloma, Inc. He also serves as the District 1 appointed Housing Commissioner for the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles.
Mr. Suzuki holds a B.A. in Social Work from the California State University of Los Angeles and an M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California of Los Angeles.
Reappointed AHAC members are:
Diana Yazzie Devine – President and CEO, Native American Connections, Phoenix, AZ
Diana Yazzie Devine has been working with Native American urban and tribal entities since 1972 and has served as CEO of Native American Connections (NAC) since 1979. NAC is a Native American-operated nonprofit corporation that provides comprehensive behavioral health, affordable housing, and community development services to all populations, with a targeted mission to serve Native Americans living both in the Phoenix urban area and in tribal communities. Ms. Devine is a founding board member of Native Home Capital and People of Color Network and currently serves on the advisory boards of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Maricopa Integrated Health System Audit and Compliance, City of Mesa Housing, and Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation.
Ms. Devine has an MBA from Arizona State University and holds international and state licenses for substance abuse counseling.
Donald S. Falk – Chief Executive Officer, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, San Francisco, CA
Donald S. Falk leads the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), a community-based, nonprofit housing development, management, and social services agency with nearly 325 employees. TNDC has 33 properties that contain about 3,000 homes and house approximately 3,600 people, nearly 25 percent of whom came to the organization out of homelessness. From 1982 to 1994, Mr. Falk held a variety of positions with Jubilee West, a neighborhood-based nonprofit that provides services and housing in West Oakland. He chairs the Community Leadership Council and serves on the Boards of Directors of Enterprise Community Partners and the Corporation for Supportive Housing. He also serves on the advisory boards of NeighborWorks America and the St. Francis Memorial Hospital Foundation and is the past president of the Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California, where he served on the board for seven years.
Mr. Falk has an M.A. in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a B.A. with honors in Economics and Urban Studies from Oberlin College.
Douglas Shoemaker – President, Mercy Housing California, San Francisco, CA
Douglas Shoemaker is President of Mercy Housing California (MHC), the largest division of Mercy Housing, Inc. Under his leadership, MHC has developed 128 rental properties across 36 California counties to serve low- and very low-income families, seniors, and individuals, and developed more than 10,000 affordable rental and homeownership units. Currently, over 3,000 affordable homes are in development in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Sacramento Valley.
He has served as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing, San Francisco’s housing finance and community development agency, and has led key mayoral initiatives, including the launch of HOPE SF, San Francisco’s groundbreaking effort to revitalize five distressed public housing sites into mixed income communities. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for California Housing Consortium, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), and the Northern California Leadership Council for Enterprise Community Partners.
Mr. Shoemaker received a B.A. in Comparative Area Studies from the Duke University and has done studies towards a Ph.D. in Latin American History at the University of California at Berkeley.
Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco
The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco delivers low-cost funding and other services that help member financial institutions make home mortgages to people of all income levels and provide credit that supports neighborhoods and communities. The Bank also funds community programs that help members create affordable housing and promote community economic development. The Bank’s members are headquartered in Arizona, California, and Nevada and include commercial banks, credit unions, industrial loan companies, savings institutions, insurance companies, and community development financial institutions.
Mary Long, 415-572-6717
Source:FHLBank San Francisco
The New Rose Gardens
It was standing room only for the dedication and ribbon cutting for Las Vegas’ newest affordable apartment complex, Rose Gardens on Jan. 25th. The new 120-unit senior housing development is operated by Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority and built and managed by Nevada HAND.
Remarks were given by several of the partner agencies that made the new development possible. Speakers included Mike Mullin, Founder and CEO of Nevada HAND; Chad Williams, Executive Director of Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority; Scott Black, Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority Commissioner and City of North Las Vegas Councilman; Lawrence Weekly, Clark County Commissioner and Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority Commissioner; Jacob LaRow, Nevada Housing Division Deputy Administrator; and Jim Haye, Neighborhood Services Coordinator for the City of North Las Vegas. Additionally, Robert Love, resident of Rose Gardens shared how special it felt to move into the new apartment. The event emcee was Mark Olson, chairman of the Board of Directors for Nevada HAND.
The new development broke ground 14 months ago and replaces the old Rose Gardens that sits across the street in North Las Vegas. Current residents were given the opportunity to move into the brand-new property if they so desired. The majority of the residents opted to move into the new four-story building with numerous amenities.
The community is comprised of spacious, energy-efficient one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Residents were asked their opinion about features they would like to see for the new complex. Residents expressed a desire to have outdoor access, which includes balconies for every unit. The building also includes spacious patios off of the common areas.
Other amenities include community rooms, a computer lab with brand new computers, a fitness room, billiards room, a library with plenty of books to read on the patio or indoors, courtyards with picnic areas, a dog park and an on-site coordinator. The building also includes a classroom for instructors to come on-site and teach training classes.
In addition to the Nevada Housing Division, other partners made the new development possible, including Citi Community Capital, City National Bank, City of North Las Vegas, Clark County, Enterprise Community Partners, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, PAZ Design Group, Praxis Consulting Group and EJP Consulting Group.
Source:Nevada Housing Division
Nearly a third of the households in the Truckee Meadows are considered either very low or extremely low income. That’s according to a report created by the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency in 2016. With housing prices continuing to climb, many of those residents are being pushed out of the area. Part of the problem is the lack of publicly subsidized, affordable housing. Reno Public Radio's Paul Boger reports.
It’s mid-afternoon in South Reno, and Dane Hillyard with Greenstreet Companies is walking through the construction site of one of his newest developments.
"So, you understand what this is, right?" Hillyard asks. "[It's] senior, affordable. It's 230 units. It's one and two-bedroom units; everything is in them. They have a full kitchen, washer and dryer and all that stuff in each unit."
If you’ve driven south on Interstate 580, you’ve probably seen the site – Vintage at the Crossing. It’s just one of the several multi-unit developments currently being built in the Truckee Meadows, and it looks like when it’s done, it’ll be pretty nice.
"What we try and do in the units -- these are going to be owned long-term -- so we spend more money on finishes than what you would typically see in an apartment that was going to be flipped and sold, so we have granite countertops, vinyl plank flooring."
But is it affordable?
Multi-family and other high-density dwellings have been popping up for the last few years. And yet, what makes this particular project a little more unique is that it’s meant to be affordable – like, truly affordable. For a one-bedroom, rent will be about $700 a month and $830 for a two bedroom – that’s roughly $400 or $500 a month below market value.
And how are they doing this?
Vintage at the Crossing is one of the first developments in Northern Nevada to receive bond money in more than a decade.
"It takes about a year to assemble the financing for these projects," says Eric Novak with Praxis Consulting, a company that helps developers build more publically-funded affordable housing projects. "It's located in what is called a difficult development area, which allows the project to boost its tax credit equity. The developers were specifically looking for a site that would have this boost in credits, and this was the first new construction bond project since 2004 in Northern Nevada, so it's a big deal."
He says many of the incentives are incredibly difficult to get. The federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit has been a driving force in the creation of new homes, but it’s capped annually, and bond projects have been nonexistent since 2004. And despite the credits that are available, rising costs of labor and materials outpace the incentives.
"On this project, we got $1.08 per credit," Novak explains. "The next project we did, we were down to $.94 per credit. These new programs come out that help bridge the gap and interest rates go up and we can't borrow as much money. The value of the tax credit goes down, so it's a constant struggle of trying to piece together financing for projects."
To make matters more difficult, most low-income projects are fueled by incentives provided by the federal government, but on the state level, there’s nothing. During the last legislative session, state lawmakers created a committee tasked with examining the state’s current housing crunch and coming up with strategies to address the issue.
"While we would love for the market to take care of everything, the truth of the matter is that 95 percent of affordable units are built with some sort of a tax credit program, typically federal," says Committee Chair Sen. Julia Ratti, a Democrat from Sparks. "Many other states have state-level tax credits. We are so far behind that I believe, personally, it's time that Nevada put some money on the table as well to build more affordable units."
But tax credits aren’t the only tools available to incentivize the construction of affordable housing projects. Cities and counties can also play a role by limiting fees and opening up land.
"Every day, I just talk to more and more people who say housing is their number one issue and it's just going to get worse," Ratti says.
The senator says that leaders can’t just talk about the issues in broad terms anymore because something needs to be done, sooner rather than later.
Open House and Dedication Ceremony at Patriot Place Apartments in Las Vegas, Nevada. Patriot Place Apartments is a 50 unit Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Apartment Community with preference given to qualifying U.S. Veterans. Patriot Place Apartments is own and managed by Accessible Space, Inc. (ASI).
Richard Sullo remembers his reaction when he saw his new apartment for the first time last September.
“I looked at this, and I thought, ‘Holy mackerel!’” he said while sitting on a couch in his one-bedroom unit next to Tazz, his Yorkshire terrier.
Sullo, 70, was one of the first people to move into Patriot Place Apartments, which celebrated its grand opening Thursday. The apartment complex on South Pecos Road in eastern Las Vegas serves renters with low incomes, but its mix of 50 one- and two-bedroom units are spacious with hardwood floors and new appliances.
“This is what happens when people come together and collaborate,” said Stephen Vander Schaaf, president and CEO of Accessible Space, which built the apartment complex.
Patriot Place Apartments cost about $14 million to build, but some $12 million of that came from Accessible Space selling federal tax credits it received from the Nevada Housing Division.
Having less debt on the project allowed the company to charge lower rents. Additionally, the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allocated the project 49 Housing Choice Vouchers to ensure residents pay no more than 30 percent of their income on rent.
As home prices and rental rates soar across Nevada, about 168,000 families in Clark County need assistance obtaining affordable housing, according to the state’s Annual Housing Progress Report.
Today, 44 of the apartments house a U.S. veteran, many of whom have physical disabilities. Thirteen residents were formerly homeless.
Sullo, an Air Force veteran who pays $311 a month in rent, said Patriot Place isn’t just putting an affordable roof over peoples’ heads. Once a month he hosts a poker night, and twice a month there’s guided meditation to help residents living with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“They have managed to make this a place where you can get involved and do stuff,” Sullo said.
Accessible Space soon hopes to break ground on an additional 48-unit affordable housing complex, Allegiance Apartments, less than a mile away later. Those units will likely fill up quickly, too; the wait list for Patriot Place Apartments is nearly 2,000 applications long.
“When you see thousands and thousands of applications, it tears your heart apart because it shows how great the need in our community is,” housing authority interim Executive Director Amparo Gamazo said. “This is why we’re here.
Source: Las Vegas Review Journal