Recent REBNY successes

Over the past few months, REBNY has worked diligently to better the real estate industry. I wanted to share with you a selection of some of the recent successes we have experienced thus far.

In this year’s election cycle, REBNY focused its efforts on City Council races throughout New York City. To this end, REBNY formed a political action committee called Jobs For New York (“JFNY”). JFNY sought to endorse candidates that were most likely to have positions favorable to creating jobs, investment opportunities, and improving economic conditions in the City.  We also formed an advisory committee of several labor unions that provided input on candidate selections.

More than a third of the City Council turning over, JFNY raised approximately $7 million through voluntary contributions from REBNY leaders to make a series of independent expenditures in 22 primary races. I am pleased to report that for the primary election, 18 of the 22 candidates to whom we provided financial support won their races. 

Our success would not have been possible without the support of many of our members. This recent effort is just one step in our continuing endeavors to help focus public officials on New York’s needs for good jobs, more housing and greater economic opportunity for all and to support the  thousands of agents who work extremely hard in selling New York as a great place to live and work, the managers who maintain the most important real estate in the world and the owners and builders that contribute to our skyline and provide the homes and workplaces for the residents of this great City.

I am similarly pleased to share that as a result of REBNY’s advocacy efforts, the House of Representatives, led by Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney, Michael Grimm, Jerrold Nadler, and Patrick McHenry, passed suspension bill H.R. 2600: The Interstate Land Sales Disclosure Act Update of 2013, which exempts condominium developments from ILSA filing and registration requirements, and subsequently provides condominium developers and their lenders some certainty as the economy continues to recover.  The bill passed a bipartisan vote 410-0 (186 Democrats and 224 Republicans) at the end of September.

ILSA was passed in 1969 to protect consumers from being fraudulently sold property due to misleading advertising.  However, beginning in the 1980’s federal court decisions began to apply ILSA to vertical condominiums, and when the real estate market crashed in 2008, purchasers successfully escaped pre-crash contracts claiming technical violations of ILSA.  The courts generally acknowledged that ILSA has become “an increasingly popular means of channeling buyer’s remorse.”

By exempting condominium developments from portions of ILSA, Congress is closing this very damaging loophole and providing tremendous bureaucratic relief from substantial filings that are duplicative, and sometimes contradictory, to state disclosure requirements.  Importantly, the Interstate Land Sales Disclosure Act Update of 2013 retains ILSA’s anti-fraud provisions, maintaining a purchaser’s right to rescind contracts in cases of fraud.

The Real Estate Board of New York lauds and congratulates Congresswoman Maloney – without her determination and follow through, this bill would never have made it through the factious Congress to the House floor.  We thank her and her staff for their tremendous leadership and successful passage of the bill in the House.  Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, are expected to reintroduce the bill in the Senate for vote there in the near future.

We have also made some progress in the reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program.  The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (“TRIA”) and its successor, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007, were passed in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks to ensure the availability of terrorism risk insurance.  The bills provide a government reinsurance backstop in case of large-scale terrorist attacks, and require that business insurers offer terrorism coverage for the types of insurance included in the act. The absence of terrorism risk insurance would cripple the still-recovering real estate economy, disrupt construction and likely produce job losses in number equal to or greater than those that resulted from 9/11.  The act is currently is scheduled to sunset at the end of 2014.

REBNY worked closely with Congressman Grimm of the 11th Congressional District of New York and others, to push this important issue.  Congress, recognizing the apparent need, held two informational hearings towards the end of September, one held by the House Financial Services Committee, and a second by the Senate Banking Committee. Once the federal budget is decided, we hope Congress will continue its progress on this issue.

We will continue to update the membership on the progress of these bills.  Please feel free to contact REBNY with any questions.

In other REBNY News:

Fred Harris, EVP of Development, for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), will be the featured speaker at REBNY’s Commercial Division Sales Brokers/Finance Committee Luncheon from Noon to 2 pm Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 at The Cornell Club, 6 East 44th Street. Mr. Harris will talk about the program he is spearheading to solicit interest from developers to construct 4,000 new rental units on 14 sites surrounding eight existing Manhattan NYCHA properties, all south of 110th Street. Lunch for REBNY members is $65 per person, to be paid at the door by check, credit or cash. Non-REBNY members are permitted only as a guest of a REBNY member. NYCHA requested that we remind REBNY members that a formal Request For Expressions of Interest (RFEI) has been issued for these sites, and that proposals are due by November 18, 2013. You may download the needed documents by going to www.nyc.gov/nycha and clicking on “Preserving Public Housing.” Then click on “Land Lease Opportunity” and then “RFEI”. For registration, contact Desiree Jones, djones@rebny.com.  For more information on the RFEI, contact REBNY’s Michael Slattery at mslattery@rebny.com.

The Commercial Brokerage Division Seminar Committee presents “Is West the Best?” A Seminar on the Development of the Far West Side from 8-10 am on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 in the Mendik Education Center at REBNY, 570 Lexington Ave. Join us for a panel discussion about the attractiveness of the planned large scale re-development on the Far West Side of Manhattan. Ann Weisbrod, President of the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, will lead the discussion and inform attendees about what exactly is taking place there and what are some of the most important benefits and features that are drawing developers, investors, tenants and ultimately home owners, renters, shoppers and tourists to the area. She will be joined by panelists Todd Kahn, General Counsel SVP at Coach; Dean J. Shapiro, Managing Director of Oxford Properties; and Philip Wharton, SVP of Development at Brookfield Properties Corp. Admission is $10 for REBNY members and $15 for non-members. Register online at www.REBNY.com. For more information, contact Desiree Jones, djones@rebny.com.

REBNY’s Commercial Board of Directors and the New York Post are sponsoring Commercial “Crossfire” What Does it Take to Get to the Top and Stay There….Successful Brokers Speak from 5:30-7:00pm on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in the Mendik Education Center at REBNY, 570 Lexington Ave. Joseph Grotto, Senior Managing Director of Cassidy Turley, will moderate a panel of Mitch Konsker, Vice Chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle, Dale Schlather, Vice Chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, and Tara Stacom, Executive Vice Chairman of Cushman & Wakefield.  Learn what it takes by registering online at www.REBNY.com. For more information, contact Desiree Jones, djones@rebny.com.

The REBNY Residential Brokerage Division Deal of the Year Charity and Awards Gala Committee will celebrate their 25th anniversary at this year’s gala.  The 2013 Deal of the Year will be awarded along with recognition of all twenty-five years of past winners.  The event will begin at 6:30pm and end at 11pm on Thursday, Oct. 24th at the Pierre.  For more information, contact Jeanne Oliver-Taylor, jtaylor@rebny.com.