Government Affairs Update

Posted By: Jon Lowder Blog ,

Things are happening on the government affairs front and following are a couple of items that might be of interest to you.

  • Combustible Landscape Ordinance in Winston-Salem – Last year the fire marshals in Winston-Salem, Kernersville and Forsyth County approached us with a proposed ordinance related to pine straw – more specifically how close it can be to buildings with combustible exteriors. After our representatives reviewed it with them they made some modifications and prepared to present it to their elected bodies. Then COVID kicked in and the process was delayed for a while. They followed up with us earlier this year to confirm everything still looked acceptable, and just this week Winston-Salem’s fire marshal presented it to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee for information purposes. The next step will be for the committee to vote on it at their next meeting and then it will go to the full city council. Once Winston-Salem has adopted it we expect Kernersville and Forsyth County to follow suit pretty quickly. If adopted there will be a one year grace period to allow for property management companies to make any necessary adjustments.
    You can read a copy of the ordinance here
  • Winston-Salem Budgeting to Pay for Two Legal Aid Attorneys – The Winston-Salem City Council is set to vote at its next meeting to use $100,000 of American Rescue Plan funds, which will be matched with a grant from the United Way, to pay for two Legal Aid attorneys as part of their Right to Counsel efforts. 
  • HUD Fair Housing – ERAP Message to Cities/Counties – At a recent Eviction Diversion Network meeting in Winston-Salem, the Director of the Human Relations Department shared that HUD was advising them that there could be a fair housing/disparate impact case against property management companies that have blanket policies against participating in ERA programs. She also said that her fair housing inspectors were aware and will be looking into it. This is just a reminder that when determining whether or not to participate in ERAP programs that fair housing/disparate impact implications should be taken into consideration. As always, if you have questions we recommend you consult with your legal counsel.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Jon Lowder with them.