We Are Apartments, They Need To Hear Us

Posted By: Rocky Sundling Leadership,

We_Are_ApartmentsWe hear the cry all the time – “Take
the politics out of sports!” Take the politics out of education, out of movies, out of everything!” And I confess, I agree.

I don’t want to know what my favorite athlete
or actors’ politics are. I don’t care whether they
agree with me politically or not. I want to watch the game or the movie to escape politics, not to be force-fed others political beliefs. Even if I agree with those beliefs. I just don’t care and don’t want to know.

However, the above rant does not apply to my job in the multifamily industry. I care deeply about politics and how they influence the legislative and regulatory processes that impact our industry every day.

Don’t misunderstand, this is not a left/right or Republican/Democrat conversation. Because of that, I also don’t want to know whether you agree with me or not on issues that don’t directly affect our industry. If you want to have a beer and engage in a robust debate about the issues of the day, I’ll buy. But I don’t care to discuss those issues that are irrelevant to protecting and promoting our industry when we are on the clock. If it is an issue that will hurt – or help – our collective industry rice bowl, I am all-in and ready to drop the gloves and fight through the bell. And you better knock me out if you want to win the argument.

AAMD is responsible to promote and protect the multifamily and rental housing industry. Legislative advocacy is absolutely critical to that responsibility. And I am proud to be a part of that fight for the industry. As part of that advocacy, we deal with politicians, political processes, legislative sausage making and regulatory nightmares. It’s an unfortunate side effect of promoting and protecting the industry.

Unlike a Sunday afternoon game or the latest Netflix stream, I welcome the politics of this protection and promotion. I wish the current political environment was much kinder to our industry, but that doesn’t diminish the desire to fight these harmful policies. Precisely the opposite.

The current assaults on the multifamily world are coming from all levels of government – federal, state, local and are all kinds of legal structures - legislative, regulatory, and ballot initiatives. Make no mistake, these are assaults. Unprecedented attacks are launched every day on how we can or can not contract with our residents, how much we charge, how we can build, who we can rent to.

If there is an upside to COVID, it is this – we learned how to be more empathetic to our residents and re-imagined what our responsibilities to our residents should look like. The most recent legislative and executive actions threaten our ability to keep that relationship positive and empathetic. These actions hurt the very people they were designed to help. Too many of our current advocacy efforts are simple self-defense. We can rope-a-dope for a while, but at some point we have to land a few punches of our own.

Please consider lacing up the gloves and join me and the rest of our AAMD family in fighting off the legislative and regulatory tsunami hammering our industry. Here’s my call to action, hopefully you can do at least one or more of the following:

• Contribute to the AAMD Alliance, our Advocacy funding platform
• Donate to the NAA PAC
• Be willing to write your State and Federal legislator
• Prepare to testify against bad legislation (they need to hear your story)

With Drew Hamrick on staff, we have one of the premier legal minds who can help us all with the technical side of legislation, but he and the team at AAMD – need us to tell the story! The time to engage is n.o.w.

You are a critical part of this great industry! And we need you to help tell your story! We collectively need to remind lawmakers about the $40,000,000,000 in economic impact frommultifamily. Remind them of the $4.4 billion of taxes we pay in the Denver metro every year! Remind them of the most important and sacred
statistic of all – our 500,000+ residents we serve 24/7. We provide shelter, we provide homes.

We Are Apartments, they need to hear us loud and clear!

Rocky Sundling is the Senior Director of Real Estate at Greystar Real Estate Partners, the NAA Region VIII Vice President and a past president of AAMD and CAA.