HBAI Newsletter 7.27.19

   You'll want to skip way ahead – the all star lineup begins at approximately 54 minutes.  Check out NAHB's Karl Eckhart at 1:09.  Great stuff!

All Politics is Local, Right?

City of Des Moines Code Proposals Some of Strictest in Country

This is why our Federation exists. The proposed City of Des Moines Planning and Zoning Codes would be some of the most egregious in the entire Country. No vinyl siding, 1,400 square feet minimum, mandatory garages and basements, etc. You get the picture. An interesting point of fact is that approximately 42% of Des Moines properties pay no sales tax.

So the City believes that they've done more than their fair share of providing low income housing opportunities. The HBA of Greater Des Moines lined up superstars to speak at the Planning and Zoning meeting – check it out, it's worth your while. They will vote in September.

Master Instructor Webinar Series

NAHB Instructors are a tremendous benefit to hundreds of professionals every year, guiding them through courses that can give builders the information and new skills that will help them grow their businesses.

Among NAHB Instructors is a small, elite group of home building education professionals who have attained the NAHB Master Instructor designation and are regarded as the top of their class in residential construction education. Next week, NAHB is starting a webinar series taught by Master Instructors.

The Master Instructor Webinar Series runs for four consecutive weeks with each session led by one of four dynamic instructors with decades of combined experience in the housing industry. Webinar topics include time-management skills, purchase orders, pricing and profit margins, and client assessment for the aging-in-place market.

Take one webinar, or all four and save 25%:

NAHB designees can earn 1.0 hours of continuing education credits for the following 12 designations: CAPS, CGA, CGB, CGP, CGR, CMP, CSP, GMB, GMR, Master CGP, Master CSP, MIRM. Register Today! For questions about registration, please contact Deborah Krat at EdWebinars@nahb.org or call her at 800-368-5242 x8155.

Energy Bill Opposition – It Will Hurt Housing

Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) today introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, legislation opposed by NAHB because it would mandate overly costly and aggressive energy efficiency requirements in model building energy codes, which harms housing affordability.

Moreover, the Senate bill would discourage states from amending codes to meet their specific needs and could encourage the Department of Energy (DOE) to move beyond its current role as a “technical advisor” and push overly prescriptive and costly energy targets.

At the same time, NAHB is supporting bipartisan legislation introduced in the House by Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Bill Flores (R-Texas) that offers a more cost-effective way to encourage energy efficiency. The Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act would accelerate cost-savings for home owners by requiring that any code or proposal supported by the Department of Energy has a payback of 10 years or less.

The House bill also stipulates that regarding the development of energy codes, DOE would be prohibited from advocating for certain technologies, building materials or construction practices.

NAHB continues to work with Congress to advance cost-effective ways for the federal government to incentivize home owners to upgrade their homes to be more energy efficient.

Iowa Standardized Form for Assistance/Service Animals

From Attorney Jodie McDougal: As noted in my prior 2019 Iowa legislative session blog, under Senate File 341, medical professionals who assist disabled tenants by providing opinions regarding assistance or service animals as a reasonable accommodation must now use an Iowa standardized form to document their findings that a tenant is disabled and has a disability-related need for such animal. This form had not yet been adopted at the time Senate File 341 was passed, but the new standardized form was released in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin published on July 17, 2019, and is effective immediately.

Impact on Landlords: With this change, landlords may now require tenants/applicants to produce the standardized form signed by a health care professional before allowing a requested assistance or service animal. Landlords should consult with their attorney about how to handle any other submitted documentation or certifications.

The Details of the New Form: As expressly stated in the new standardized form, the medical professional shall not make a written finding that the tenant has a disability-related need for a service/assistance animal unless such professional:

  • met with the patient in person or by telemedicine;
  • is sufficiently familiar with the patient and the disability; and
  • is legally and professionally qualified to make the finding.

Among other reasons, this law was implemented to combat prevent perceived tenant abuses, including tenants who submit a so-called “certification” for their assistance or service animal obtained by paying a small fee to a non-medical website and without meeting with a medical professional either in person or by telemedicine.

For further details, please see following rule makings pertaining to Civil Rights Commission [161] that were published in the 7/17/2019 Bulletin.

ARC 4551C — Assistance animal as reasonable accommodation in housing-form, chapter 9 appendix A


Type: Notice of Intended Action

Public Hearing: 09/13/2019

ARC 4552C — Assistance animal as reasonable accommodation in housing-form, chapter 9 appendix A


Type: Adopted and Filed Emergency

Effective: 06/26/2019

The following chapter(s) containing rule changes were published in the Iowa Administrative Code:



Effective date: 06/26/2019

Rule Housing Service Final Rule on Single-Close Construction

A final rule by the Rural Housing Service (RHS) published July 22 in the Federal Register will provide increased flexibility for the agency to facilitate and encourage single-close construction loans, which will stimulate new construction, rehabilitation and homeownership in rural areas.

Single-close construction loans allow the borrower to get a construction loan and a permanent loan at the same time. When construction is completed, the loan becomes a traditional mortgage.

The final rule will ease the financial costs of interim construction financing for non-depositary lenders (warehouse line of credit lenders or warehouse lenders) by allowing a temporary interest rate higher than the permanent note rate for interim construction financing while removing the requirement for loan modification or re-amortization once construction is complete.

Warehouse lending is a line of credit given to a loan originator. The funds are used to pay for a mortgage that a borrower uses to purchase property. The life of the loan generally extends from its origination to the time it is sold on the secondary market either directly or through securitization.

Additionally, the final rule will allow for the reserve of regularly scheduled principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) payments during the construction period. The RHS will also allow single-close loans to be used for the rehabilitation of existing dwellings upon their purchase and eliminate maximum interest rate cap requirements for all single-family home loans. The final rule goes into effect on Aug. 21, 2019.

Builders Beware of the Whomping Willow

This month’s featured article from Walt Keaveny is focused on the best practices to avoid tree damage. Have you ever wondered about the repercussions of planting a tree, or if an existing tree should be removed? Here are the invaluable guidelines for both home builders and homeowners.