Government Affairs

Philadelphia Buildings

REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC)

What is RPAC? 

RPAC provides funding for political candidates at the national, state and local levels. The goal of RPAC is to establish the real estate industry as a concerned and involved constituency that gives active support to political candidates who recognize the needs of REALTORS® and property owners. RPAC is bi-partisan in its selection of candidates. The program and platform of each individual candidate, rather than a party label, determines whom RPAC supports. RPAC dollars increase the visibility of the real estate industry. By joining forces with REALTORS® across the country, you create a powerful force to educate local, state, and federal elected officials about the issues that matter most to you.

What are the advantages of RPAC to a REALTOR®?

●Increases your political impact ‐ RPAC significantly increases the impact of your personal political dollars in a candidate's campaign because you pull your contribution with the thousands of other REALTORS®.
●Sends a message ‐ When your contribution is made through RPAC, candidates cannot misunderstand the issues that are important to you and your profession.  
●Gives you a national impact ‐ Many citizens believe they should support and try to influence just their own lawmakers. Yet, in the House of Representatives, there are 434 other members whose votes count on your issues just as much as the one vote cast by your own representative.

2014 REALTOR® ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Local

After years of advocacy, discussions, and planning, GPAR successfully secured passage of the Land Bank Strategic Plan, the last step in the process of formally establishing the Philadelphia Land Bank. GPAR testified at several public hearings in 2014, where we urged Land Bank stakeholders to prioritize vacant properties for market-rate development.

GPAR continues to gain traction on a proposal to increase tax collection rates for delinquent properties in through a statutory requirement to utilize third party collection agencies. Last summer, GPAR compiled and analyzed data on over 100,000 delinquent parcels and presented our findings a number of key stakeholders in the City, including the Superintendent, Revenue Commissioner, City Controller, and members of City Council—all with the end result of proper third party tax lien sales in Philadelphia.

Based upon a member's request for assistance, GPAR was able to pass legislation exempting REALTORS® from paying the $100.00 fee to obtain an Expeditor's license. At the request of GPAR, Council President Darrell Clarke introduced a bill which was unanimously passed by Council and signed into law by the mayor—a process that took approximately four weeks from start to finish.

State

PAR worked to successfully amend the Landlord and Tenant Act to address the disposition of abandoned personal property.  PAR extended significant effort in Harrisburg, participating in several years’ worth of testimony and discussion to protect the rights of residential property owners. The new law gives property owners the right to dispose of personal property—provided the notice requirements are met—when a lease is terminated or a tenant has relinquished personal property.


PAR was key in the passage of Senate Bill 145, which amends the Mechanic’s Lien Law by prohibiting liens being placed on homes by subcontractors when the homeowners have paid in full for services and goods. This legislation, signed into law by Gov. Corbett in July 2014, provides residential property owners an added layer of protection from unscrupulous contractors.

National

Following months of intense outreach by NAR, the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act” was signed into law which curbs flood insurance rate hikes for homes and commercial properties. NAR advocated for this legislation which brings relief to property owners by ensuring a slow and steady phase in of risk-based increases.

NAR was instrumental in securing passage of H.R. 3211, “The Mortgage Choice Act,” which redefines a provision in the Dodd-Frank Ability-to-Repay rules that limits mortgage fees and points to three percent in order for home loans to be considered Qualified Mortgages (QM). This provision unfairly prevents brokers and affiliated lenders from making QM loans because their affiliate services are collectively counted against the three percent cap, while individual services from large retail financial institutions are not. The new law treats affiliated and non-affiliated service providers the same way under the rule while still protecting borrowers from risky loan products.

After ongoing outreach by NAR, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it will accept electronic signatures on most documents involved in FHA mortgage insurance, mortgage servicing, loss mitigation and FHA insurance claims. The HUD Announcement came two days after NAR convened a second Electronic Signatures Summit meeting, bringing together three dozen representatives of government, lenders, real estate and related industries and electronic signature vendors to discuss ways to foster greater acceptance and usage of electronic signatures.

For several years NAR has led the effort urging the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to eliminate post-payment interest charges on FHA-insured single family mortgages. NAR urged FHA and Ginnie Mae to remove this prepayment penalty as the policy placed an unreasonable burden on consumers who already face high housing and closing costs. In August 2014, FHA published its final rule eliminating this charge which goes into effect on January 21, 2015.

In 2015, REALTORS® still face many issues including:

Local: securing passage of legislation which extends the City’s ten-year tax abatement to twenty years for areas of the city where home sales are less than $250,000; working with City officials to establish a formal process for utilizing third-party collections for delinquent property taxes; overseeing the implementation of the Philadelphia Land Bank to ensure that market-rate development is prioritized.
State: advocating for amendments to the Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act (RELRA) to enhance professionalism and legalize broker price opinions.
National: working to protect the mortgage interest deduction and other important real estate tax policies; advocating for responsible implementation of reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP); and lobbying for balanced reforms to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the government sponsored entities (GSEs; Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac).

Please invest in your business by making your 2015 RPAC investment today!

Click here to make an investment online.

Or, you can send your personal check made payable to “RPAC” to:
Greater Philadelphia Association of REALTORS®
1341 N. Delaware Avenue, Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA  19125

You also can call GPAR at (215) 423-9381 and make an investment using your credit card.