News from the Chicago Chapter
By Brian Lozell, CPM®
Director of Condominium Management, Seneca Real Estate Advisors
IREM Chicago 2016 President
The 2016 IREM Leadership and Legislative Summit held in Washington, DC was bittersweet. The April meetings marked the last year that we “charged the Hill” to lobby for issues that have an impact on IREM® and REALTOR® members. The legislative priorities were: The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, Commercial Tax Issues – 1031 Like Kind Exchange and Carried Interest and finally, The Marketplace Fairness Act. IREM Chicago was fortunate to assemble a diverse Executive Council of property managers who represents multiple property types. Each member of our Chicago delegation was able to speak about how the pending legislation would impact the type of properties that we manage. We also presented arguments regarding how the pending legislation would impact the neighborhoods and cities where we work and live, as well as the region and the state as a whole. We learned that while a member of Congress may be supportive of the pending legislation discussed, they need to weigh the importance of that bill with other pieces of proposed legislation that affect the voters in their district.
While this was our last lobbying effort in the nation’s capital, we learned more about new initiative, “IREM Day at the Statehouse.” Essentially, this presents an opportunity for IREM Chapters and regional members to travel to their respective state capitols and meet with legislators. The purpose is to introduce the legislators to IREM and discuss any pertinent issues.
Each IREM Chapter was encouraged to “establish and maintain professional relationships with state legislators.” It is imperative to keep lines of communication open with elected officials to ensure the passage of laws that enhance the property management industry. “IREM Day at the Statehouse” is an effective and exciting way to do this. We have begun discussing local meetings with Illinois and U.S. legislators and will work closely with the IREM Headquarters team here in Chicago. We’ve already come up with some great ideas, and we encourage all Chicago Chapter members to get involved with this exciting initiative.
I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate on a panel at the Chapter Leadership Forum. The panel consisted of five chapter presidents from around the country. We discussed different challenges that Executive Councils face in their respective chapters, specifically, challenges in succession planning. Chapters around the country, both large and small, must stay keenly focused on recruiting the best talent to participate on committees and eventually Executive Council. As the largest IREM chapter in the world, IREM Chicago has a large pool of extremely talented and dedicated real estate management professionals. Don’t be surprised if an Executive Council member taps you on the shoulder at the next IREM event and asks you to volunteer.
As always, the Summit offered an opportunity to meet with other real estate management professionals at the Industry Roundtables. These gatherings provide the opportunity to share experiences and seek advice on topics like technology/property management systems, asset management, management agreements and fees and business development and growth. There was a lively and informative roundtable discussion on transgender bathroom best practices as well as everyone’s favorite topic, medical and recreational marijuana.
The four-day Legislative and Leadership event was very productive, and I am confident that all members of our Executive Council were enriched and will bring back knowledge we can share with all members. We grow not only personally -- but as a Chapter -- when we share what we have learned. If you’d like more insight from members of the Executive Council, don’t’ hesitate to ask!