Real estate agents from Sarasota and Manatee counties joined thousands of colleagues to lobby members of Congress last week on matters from mortgage rules to real estate taxes. “Supporting homeowners and property owners through smart legislation is so important for families, communities and the nation’s economy,” said Linda Formella, president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, “so we will continue to work with lawmakers to ensure they are protected.”

Nearly 8,900 certified Realtors gathered in Washington, D.C. from May 9 through 13 for the 2016 Realtor Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Specifically, professionals urged lawmakers to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, which prevents distressed homeowners from receiving excessive income tax bills on forgiven home loan debt. The national organization also called for reforms to the Federal Housing Administration condominium rules and said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage guarantee fees should not be extended, increased or diverted away for unrelated spending.

“It is imperative we connect with our lawmakers to ensure they understand the issues that face the real estate industry, markets and their constituents. Realtors are on the ground every day fighting for property owners in their communities, and we demonstrated we will do the same here in our nation’s capital with our elected officials,”