News & Media

Senate Bill Funds Panhandle Recovery, Military Housing

A $738B bill heading to Pres. Trump’s desk authorizes more than $1.5B to the Panhandle’s Tyndall AFB and tightens rules for landlords who supply military housing.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate authorized the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report, which includes the Fiscal Year 2020 Intelligence Authorization Act and critical provisions for Florida, according to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). The Senate action sends the final conference report to President Donald Trump for his signature.

 “Florida continues to be a priority in this NDAA, with funding for military construction projects across the state, including the recovery of Tyndall Air Force Base,” says Rubio. “The legislation also included the Intelligence Authorization Act, which includes provisions to strengthen our Intelligence Community, safeguard our elections, and better position our country to defend against Chinese, Russian and other foreign threats.”

 The FY20 NDAA supports a total of $738 billion in funding for national defense and authorizes more than $1.5 billion in funding for Tyndall Air Force Base to continue reconstruction following Hurricane Michael’s devastation. The base is located east of Pensacola.

The bill also includes several provisions aimed at addressing the military housing situation, including the creation of a Military Tenant Bill of Rights, increased oversight, and a fair dispute resolution process for military tenants.

 NDAA impact on Florida real estate

 Disaster recovery: In addition to over $1.5 billion for the reconstruction of Tyndall Air Force Base, it includes a call for the restoration using innovative construction methods, materials, designs and technologies in order to achieve efficiencies, cost savings, resiliency and capability. It allows an open architecture design and efficient ergonomic enterprise for members of the Air Force in the 21st century.

 Military construction: The FY20 NDAA authorizes $192 million in funding for Military Construction projects across Florida in additional to the Panhandle disaster-related funding.

Military family housing: The NDAA implements “the most substantial overhaul of the Privatized Military Housing Initiative since its creation in 1996,” according to a news release from Rubio. “These reforms address the considerable gaps in oversight and accountability seen at all levels of housing management from ineffective housing offices, to substandard property management, to under-engaged military leadership.

The conference report requires the Pentagon to establish a Tenant Bill of Rights that sets minimum acceptable livability standards, requires better communication, creates greater transparency, addresses establishment of a formal dispute resolution process, bans the use of non-disclosure agreements as a condition of moving out of military housing, and enhances protections against reprisal.

Specifically, the conference report:

  • Requires the Department to establish a standardized assessment tool in evaluating military housing for certain risks, including lead and mold
  • Directs each military service to develop guidelines for a dispute resolution process that includes the ability to withhold Basic Allowance for Housing until the dispute is resolved
  • Requires disclosure of major repairs/remediation prior to lease signing
  • Reinforces the need for the Government Housing Office to be present as the advocate for military families
  • Requires new quality control measures and increases health and hazard inspections
  • Authorizes additional funding to ensure installation housing offices are properly staffed
  • Provides for a temporary direct hiring authority for government housing personnel to increase oversight of private contractors
  • Suspends the Resident Energy Conservation Program until the Secretary of Defense can certify that homes are accurately metered

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