With the New Year firmly underway, many of us are working hard at implementing our real estate investing goals for 2013. There is however one group out there that may be trying to thwart you. They generally get together at the beginning of every year and devise ways to make your job harder. No I am not talking about your tenants, but about your state legislature.
Our legislature meets annually here in Tennessee, as I think most of the rest of the states do so as well (with some exceptions like Texas which meets every two years). And every year there is a host of legislation that we real estate investors have to invest time and energy in getting defeated or at least watered down. This year is no different.
Take for example Tennessee House Bill 533. If this bill is signed into law, landlords across the state will have the additional burden of giving 24 hours notice before the execution of an eviction and compiling a complete inventory of the tenant’s belongings before being set out on the street. I think after all of the court proceedings the tenant is aware of the pending eviction and should have made arrangements to secure their possessions.
Bills such as these only serve to make our jobs as investors more difficult. I know that you and I both would rather be devoting our energies to growing our businesses, creating wealth and jobs and improving our communities, however every year we have to divert some of our precious time and energy to fight these battles.
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What You Should Do
I strongly suggest that you keep aware of what your legislature is proposing to write into law. Even the smallest, seemingly innocuous proposal, such as changing the word “or” to “and” can have a marked affect on our business. All facets of real estate investing can be affected by state law. There were efforts in several states a few years ago to outlaw “flipping” for example, others have made it more difficult to use private lenders.
The big boys such as the REITs have paid lobbyists to watch out for their interests. We smaller real estate investors simply do not have those types of resources. You can of course keep track of various bills yourself. The Tennessee Legislature’s website actually makes it pretty easy as you can search by subject and even watch live streaming of debates and votes.
Another great resource may be found at your local REIA group or other local real estate trade organization. Our local REIA group for example tracks bills which affect our business, provides updates, talking points and contact information for our legislators. It also works in conjunction with other REIA’s across the state. There is definitely strength in numbers.
So keep up with what your legislature is doing. Get informed and plug into some local real estate trade groups such as a REIA or apartment owner’s association. Your business may very well depend on it.
Photo: Phil Roeder