Understanding the Affordable Connectivity Program in the Infrastructure Act
When politicians push for and pass new legislation, it can be hard to keep up with every little detail embedded in the hundreds of pages of documents. The Infrastructure Act passed by congress in 2021 is a great example of this, and one of the details many people missed has a major impact on landlords across the country. Landlords need to be aware of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and how it impacts their properties.
What the program does
Essentially, the ACP allows qualifying low-income households to get a $30 reduction on their monthly internet bill for high-speed internet. Congress deems high-speed internet to be a necessity in the modern world and is opening a gateway to allow more families access to the services. This won’t impact many landlords as most tenants need to go directly through their internet service provider to sign up and pay their internet bills.
Low-income households who qualify and already have an ongoing contract with an internet service provider still qualify. This means active contracts can be altered to reflect the new $30 reduction on the monthly bill. So, what does that mean for landlords?
Who it impacts
As we mentioned above, landlords whose tenants go through internet service providers on their own likely won’t have to worry about the program. Florida landlords who have bulk cable agreements, however, need to be aware of this. That’s because the ACP prevents landlords with bulk cable agreements from forcing qualifying low-income tenants to pay full fees, even if the tenants are already under a lease agreement that states the total monthly payment.
Options for landlords with bulk agreements
Landlords who have these agreements have two options essentially:
- Fulfill the $30 discount from the previously agreed price under the bulk agreement; or
- Allow qualifying tenants to forego the monthly fee and seek their own internet services to which they would apply the $30 discount
If you go with the first option, the internet service provider that you have a bulk agreement with will need to file for reimbursement from the government for the loss. The program is meant to prevent anyone from taking a loss on bulk agreements already in place, but it’s important for you and the provider to document which households are taking the discount and how much reimbursement is owed.
If you choose the second option, you run the risk of taking a loss on each qualifying household for the bulk agreement.
At Atlas Law, we advocate for landlords in Florida and want to make sure you have the tools and information to run your business. It’s important to stay up-to-date on changes like this that impact your tenants and your bottom line. If you need a law firm that is willing to stand by you and keep you in the loop on important changes to the law, contact Atlas Law today.