REALTOR Party Mobile Alerts

Kansas City Regional REALTORS® Work Towards Fair Landlord-Tenant Solutions

The REALTORS® of Kansas City, Missouri had no desire to engage in an ‘us vs. them’ battle with the local tenants’ rights organization, but something had to be done to oppose a proposed ordinance forcing extreme and expensive regulations on the region’s landlords.  With help from the REALTOR® Party’s Advocacy Everywhere program, they launched a campaign focused on the need to make rental housing more affordable – not less.

Derek Ramsay, Senior Vice President of REALTOR® Advocacy for the ® (KCRAR,) roughly half of whose 11,000 members live and work in Missouri, explains that the local political environment had become sharply polarized in recent years, with a powerful and organized tenants’ rights group and a progressive new mayor and City Council. Last summer, voters approved an expensive annual inspection/registration requirement for rental properties. The next proposed housing ordinance focused on increasing rental access for tenants typically considered more challenging to house, including those with a history of previous evictions or felony convictions. While the REALTORS® are fully supportive of Fair Housing, says Ramsay, not being allowed to screen tenants greatly increases their risk of default, adding cost and reducing affordability in the rental market. He adds, “As we say, ‘A good landlord with a bad tenant goes bankrupt; vice versa, and a tenant goes homeless.’ We don’t oppose tenants’ rights; we want to work together to improve things for everyone involved.”

Rather than launch an issues mobilization campaign on negative footing, KCRAR made its message prior to the City Council vote a resounding call to ‘Support More Affordable Housing.’  “We had terrific support from the REALTOR® Party, whose team put together a great CFA that engaged 14% of our members in just three days. We got the attention of the new City Council, who are now starting out with a strong sense that the REALTORS® are a voice for affordable housing.” Though the vote didn’t go their way, he is not daunted. “It puts us in a strong position for future debates on these issues, which are coming soon.”

He notes that participation in the REALTOR® Party Mobile Alert program among KCRAR members is growing, along with a significant increase in membership that’s accompanying the strong housing market in Kansas City. “We push the program in our new member orientation, and in all continuing education classes. It’s a simple thing, to have everyone in the room take out mobile phones and push a few keys – done!” Moving forward, the REALTORS® plan to be advocating for fairness in future ordinances governing landlord-tenant issues – and they’ll be ready, when needed, with Calls For Action. Ramsay notes that KCRAR is also looking to propose other positive, pro-active solutions, such as an up-front Tenant Emergency Fund.  “Doesn’t it make more sense,” he asks, “to spend money to help people stay in their homes, instead of on legal fees in eviction court?”

To learn more about how the REALTORS® of Kansas City, Missouri are working to maintain the rights of property owners and keep a lid on the cost of rental housing, contact Derek Ramsay, Senior Vice President of REALTOR® Advocacy of the Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS®, at 913-266-5910.

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Bay East REALTORS® Mobilize on Short Notice to Fight Just-Cause Evictions

California’s Bay East Association of REALTORS® had numerous reasons to oppose the city of Hayward’s proposed just-cause eviction ordinance, but less than a week to get an opposition campaign underway. Although the emergency legislation passed, support from the REALTOR® Party’s Advocacy Everywhere program helped raise awareness of the serious downsides of the ordinance and put City Hall on notice that REALTORS® are paying attention to all the housing and property rights policies coming to the table.

David Stark, Public Affairs Director of the 5,800-member association, explains that its philosophical stance on just-cause eviction stems from its belief that property owners should be able to do what they want with their property – including ending a lease. He notes that the members of the Hayward City Council had been under intense pressure from tenants-rights advocates, but, as he points out, the outcome has been short-sighted and detrimental to an already fraught housing situation. “Hayward is not far from Silicon Valley, and has a robust economy of its own, so the demand for housing is huge and spans a broad demographic — from tech executives to college students. Unfortunately, the city has a history of inhibiting development, and hasn’t adequately planned for the housing needs of its growing population. That failure to plan has created a crisis.”

“As a practical matter,” he continues, “we support affordable housing in many forms, but the just-cause eviction ordinance actually erodes the strength of rental housing. Property owners who own rental housing now must be concerned about this new limitation the city has imposed on their freedoms, and if they choose to sell or otherwise withdraw those units from the rental market, that will actually force rental prices up.” REALTORS® have to care about rental housing rules, he adds, because they directly affect families who are buying and selling homes, and the way REALTORS® do their jobs.

The Bay East Association of REALTORS®, together with the rest of the public, learned about Hayward’s proposed rental ordinance less than a week before it went to vote. Springing in to action, they designed a REALTOR® Party Mobile Alert text campaign, and a targeted email campaign: more than 175 messages of opposition were sent to the City Council in a 48-hour span.

Prior to the vote on the ordinance, 2019 Bay East Association President Nancie Allen testified before the City Council. In addition to citing the need for better planning and the additional burden of liability that the just-cause eviction requirement places on her members, she respectfully asked the Council to provide the public with more notice when such important issues come up in the future. Though the ordinance was passed, Stark points out that engaging members through Advocacy Everywhere was a big step in the right direction. “This has just been one chapter in a much longer story, in which the REALTOR® Party is going to be an important character,” he says. “I can’t say enough about working with the staff at the National Association of REALTORS®, and the incredible systems they’ve established. We were able to set up the robust campaign we needed in less than 90 minutes,” he adds, noting, “In the midst of these challenging issues, it’s nice to know we’ve got NAR behind us with resources and expertise.”

To learn more about how the Bay East Association of REALTORS® is protecting private property rights and safeguarding the region’s vulnerable rental housing market, contact Public Affairs Director David Stark at 925-730-4068.




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District of Columbia REALTORS® Get Legislative Results Protecting Property Owners and Housing Providers

DCAR’s Advocacy Everywhere Issue Alert

The 2,900-member District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® (DCAR) didn’t have to look far for help when it faced two legislative issues requiring prompt grassroots action recently: thanks to the REALTOR® Party’s Advocacy Everywhere program, they were able to send REALTOR® Party Mobile Alert texts and emails that spurred members to contact their City Council members. Both times, the REALTOR® message got through loud and clear and helped to protect the city’s property owners.

Bryan Frantz, DCAR’s head of Communications, learned about the Advocacy Everywhere program when a representative from NAR visited one of DCAR’s recent Public Policy meetings, and presented ‘the new tool.’ “We just happened to have two issues that were coming into play, and the timing couldn’t have been better. We are lucky in having a core group of members who are very active in city governance, and even know various Council members personally, which is invaluable. But there comes a point when what really gets a legislator’s attention is an unknown constituent, a new name in the inbox, voicing an opinion. Advocacy Everywhere is not only a technically smooth and sophisticated platform, but it got us those fresh voices.”

Katalin Peter, DCAR’s Vice President of Government Affairs, agrees, and notes that in the midst of a particularly chaotic legislative session the input from REALTORS® definitely made a difference in the outcome of both issues.

The first was a budgetary matter: DC’s proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Budget emptied DC’s Real Estate Guaranty and Education Fund, an important consumer protection tool. About 140 DCAR members contacted their Council members, urging them to safeguard the fund; At-Large Council members received every single communiqué. When the final budget bill passed, not only was a substantial portion of the Real Estate Guaranty Fund saved, but it was restored with new protections that would mitigate the threat of special assessments down the road. “How important was our advocacy? The Guaranty Fund was the only one out of the 30 or so on the block that was restored in the final budget,” states Peter, adding, “It was a real case of persistency.”

The second Call for Action was issued to amend a 40-year old law protecting landlords in eviction cases. The Council ran into an emergency situation, explains Peter, when the U.S. Marshals Service stepped back from their involvement in eviction cases in the District. The City Council cobbled together new legislation to bridge the gap; though it was a well-intended effort to make the process as humane as possible, it placed an unfair logistical and financial burden on the property owner, who may already have been losing rent on the property in question. DCAR presented a more moderate alternative solution, and turned again to Advocacy Everywhere to drum up member support. “Though this Call for Action brought in only 36 responders,” reports Frantz, “every single one made a significant impact. This legislation was moving fast, and we only had three days to mobilize our members to flip the bill on its back and call for a complete change. The team at the National Association of REALTORS® was incredibly responsive and put the CFA together over a summer weekend.” In the end, the City Council voted to change the requirement from a landlord having to store an evicted tenant’s belongings off-site for 30 days, to storing them on-site for only seven. “We achieved a fairer result for housing providers here in the District,” says Peter, “and even with hours of midnight negotiations, we couldn’t have pulled it off without the grassroots support of the REALTOR® Party.”

To learn more about how REALTORS® in the nation’s capital are protecting the rights of property owners with tools from the REALTOR® Party, contact Katalin Peter, DCAR’s Vice President of Government Affairs, or Bryan Frantz, Communications Associate.

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RPMA Goals Report

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Region NAR Membership as of 10/31/2018 Goal Total Goal RPMA Totals as of 06/01/2020 Percentage to Goal
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REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts (RPMA)

REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts, NAR’s advocacy texting platform, offers REALTOR® Associations and REALTORS® a way to stay connected directly from their cell phone or tablet. When a national or state legislative call for action is launched, subscribers get a short text message, containing information to take action.

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