November was a great month, because for the first time in two decades, we saw that landlords can improve the law! But it was also a sobering month, because when I got sick it emphasized how much more membership support we need. I will explain this and how we continued advocacy at the State House, explored two possible 2024 grant opportunities, and conducted some cost savings exercises.
On October 4 (we learned about it in November), the deleading tax credit was increased from $1,500 per unit to $3,000 per unit. We surely had a hand in this. We filed a bill in January to increase the deleading credit to $15,000 per unit. Others recognized we need to move in this direction, so the proposed doubling was included in a broader tax relief measure. This passed and is now law! Folks on the progressive left that we don't normally work with got the ball rolling for us. I won't mention them by name, because in the current political climate a landlord endorsement would be damaging to them. Still, deleading is a great example of two sides seeing the same reality and working together to fix it.
Policy advocacy is a major focus for us. That’s why I worked 20 hours on lobbying the week of the State House hearing (November 14) despite being terribly sick with a blessedly short-term thing. We would be much more effective advocates if we had a budget to hire more employees, so that our policy operation could cover for illness and absences. We need more housing providers and service providers to join. Take action and forward this note to someone who you think should join us, too.
Our testimony against rent control and against the "tenant opportunity to purchase act" (TOPA) is outlined in this newsletter. The main point is that these ideas reduce municipal tax revenue and harm the ability of our state and local governments to operate.
Going back to 1985, it has always been part of our mission to improve communication with tenant associations. It’s written in our bylaws. We're asking members to formally expand this goal at our December election. The new wording will be "to advocate among all stakeholders for appropriate laws, regulations, court decisions, and ordinances." This and eight other bylaws changes are to be voted on at our annual business meeting. This election opened November 29, virtually, and will close December 19. The in-person component will take place December 6 in Worcester.
We have started two cost-saving projects to make sure we are utilizing membership dues only where they are most helpful. We are migrating our videos and our phone service to new platforms, leaving behind two that have charged us out of proportion to value, and have given us further price increases. And revenue-wise, we have also started exploring a grant that may help some members with unbuildable square footage. More on this in January.
Thank you for supporting our mission to create better rental housing. Please join as a member, encourage others to join, become a property rights supporter or increase your level of support. We aim to hire both a full-time educator and policy advocate.