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A Most Unusual Year

Magazine ,

By Katie Wrenn, CAPS

WRH Realty Services Inc. 

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be writing this. At the same time, I write it with a heavy heart, because it is my last President’s Message for the Florida Apartment Association. I am so honored to have served the last year as FAA president, especially during such an unprecedented time. This opportunity has been among the highlights of my career, and I feel truly blessed to be able to give back to the multifamily industry in this capacity. While my presidency has been unlike any other year in FAA history, there has been at least one positive aspect. While the apartment industry has always been unique in its level of camaraderie, even among competitors, during this crisis, we really have proved that we can rise and come together in the face of any adversity.

I want to give a special shout out and thank you to the FAA team: Josh Gold, Ralph Robinson, Rona Long, Laureen Crowley, Amanda Gill, Will Jaycox, and Carina Favale. As COVID-19 challenged our industry and the world, the team at FAA stepped up and served as a resource to the governor’s office, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Eviction Mitigation Task Force, the Florida Supreme Court, and countless local governments across the state. FAA became the voice of multifamily in the state of Florida, providing important feedback about potentially harmful effects of repeated extensions of the governor’s eviction moratorium. FAA also developed a COVID-19 resource page and established a series of professional development webinars to support our industry.  

The FAA team completed two projects that had already been planned. The 2020 Compensation and Benefits Report compares this year’s survey results with 2018 data. The FAA team, together with HR&A Advisors, a consulting firm serving the real estate industry, completed a report on Drivers of Multifamily Housing Costs and Affordability in Florida. The report focuses on Florida’s four major metro areas and examines the factors that affect the cost of multifamily rental housing, as well as possible steps municipalities and state government could take to alleviate the current housing affordability crisis. This research data will enhance the industry’s advocacy efforts at the local and state level, and pave the way for industry-focused solutions to address Florida’s housing supply needs.

I’m proud of everything FAA has accomplished this year, and I’m especially proud that FAA’s excellence has once again been recognized by state and national organizations. FAA has thus far received six awards, recognizing excellence across the communications, events, and government affairs departments. Read more about these awards in the July issue of Florida APTitudes at faahq.org/news/e-newsletter. FAA is a finalist for four National Apartment Association Excellence Awards. The winners will be announced at NAA’s Apartmentalize in November.

FAA had a strong legislative year in 2020 with the passage of two important pieces of legislation. HB 209/SB 1084 to reduce emotional support animal fraud and abuse has been several years in the making. HB 1339/SB 998 provides local governments with the ability to approve the development of affordable housing on any parcel of land that is zoned for residential, commercial, or industrial use, and imposes annual impact fee reporting requirements. Read more about any of FAA’s legislative initiatives at faahq.org/news/government-affairs.

While this year has been anything but typical, the Florida Apartment Association has had many great accomplishments. I cannot thank the entire team enough for all they do for our industry and how proud I am to serve this organization.    

Lastly, I would like to take a moment to thank Cynthia Haines, Mark Rutledge, and WRH Realty Services Inc. for their support over the past year as I took on this responsibility to serve our industry. I sincerely appreciate not only their support for my role as president, but also their ongoing support of the Florida Apartment Association.