Monday, March 2, 2015

Legislative Update: Contact your Legislators regarding changes to Landlord/Tenants Laws

This Legislative Update was provided by Nick Norman, Director of NH Landlord Legislative Affairs

You can contact Nick at nicknorman@yahoo.com


Howdee everyone,
 
Important Updates:
 
SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes
There is an amendment based on testimony at the hearing and our input to the stake holders group.  Some changes and clarifications allow us to upgrade our Property Owner Position on the bill.  This bill continues to be a moving target as concerns are addressed and incorporated.  So stay tuned.  The good news is the changes continue to improve the bill from our viewpoint.
 
Full Detail further below.
 
HB203, Representation Landlord/Tenant Court
The RPOA Amendment, now Amendment #2015-0284h, was adopted by the Judiciary committee and passed by a vote of 7 to 6.  Next it goes to the full house for a vote.
 
HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
The RPOA Amendment, now Amendment #2015-0298h, was adopted by the Judiciary committee and passed by a vote of 11 to 7.  Next it goes to the full house for a vote.
 
Action items this week:
1. Review sections entitled Finding your legislator contact info and
Contacting legislators immediately below this email.
 
2. Contact legislators on these high importance bills

HB203, Representation Landlord/Tenant Court
Is going to the full house for a vote.  We only won by a slim margin of 7 to 6.  Because of that slim margin it is critical that we contact our representatives and the full house and urge them to vote in our favor to pass the bill as modified by the Judiciary committee with amendment #2015-0284h.  It’s time to do that NOW.  Not later, not I’ll get around to it.  Make contact now.
 
HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
Is going to the full house for a vote.  We will only won by a small margin of 11 to 7.  Because of that small margin it is critical that we contact our representatives and the full house and urge them to vote in our favor to pass the bill as modified by the Judiciary committee with amendment #2015-0298h.  It’s time to do that NOW.  Not later, not I’ll get around to it.  Make contact now.
 
3. Study SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes (full detail below)
This is a very large bill and yes it requires some study.  However, we have a summary and talking points that walk you through the bill.
 
Read the summary and talking points (in Full Detail section).
Let us know if you differ from our position.  We continue to work with the Stake holders on this bill so we can still get you input into the discussions.
 
 See more info in Summaries & Full Detail for each bill further below. (includes property owner position, contact info, Talking points, and more).
(to jump right to bill detail, use Control-F, Find).

 
Hearings this week:
3/02/2015 at 09:30 AM    SH 103
SB232, Exempting Certain Leases From The Real Estate Transfer Tax
Level of Response: You Decide
Property Owner Position: You Decide
 
03/02/2015 at 10:00 AM    LOB 202
HB571, Interest And Dividends Taxation Of Trusts
Level of Response: Email Call Legislators
Property Owner Position: Against
 
03/02/2015 at 09:45 AM    SH 103
SB121, Current Use Taxation
Level of Response: Email Call Legislators
Property Owner Position: Against
 
 Hearings next week:
None scheduled so far
 
 
Further below is:
Bills Updated Status summary:
Full details on all bills above
(Which includes property owner position, contact info, talking points, and more)
 
Love & Light,
Nick Norman
Director of Legislative Affairs
==============================================
We only list the committee reports on the most important bills affecting the real estate business.  If you want to get the committee report on one of the other bills contact me & I will show you how to get them on line.  Its not terribly hard to get but not straight ahead either.
==============================================
Bills Updated Status summary:
We only list the committee reports on the most important bills affecting the real estate business.  If you want to get the committee report on one of the other bills contact me & I will show you how to get them on line.  It’s not terribly hard to get but not straight ahead either.
HB342, Consent for smart meter gateway devices
Property Owner Position: For
House Status:
Senate Status: none
 
HB222, Exempting Homeowners Over 80 Years Of Age From Statewide Education Tax
Property Owner Position: Not analyzed. Believed to be Limited Impact.
House Status:
Senate Status: none
 
HB636, Forfeiture Of Property
Property Owner Position: Against
House Status: RETAINED IN COMMITTEE
Senate Status: none
 
SB232, Exempting Certain Leases From The Real Estate Transfer Tax
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status: none
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
 
HB571, Interest And Dividends Taxation Of Trusts
Property Owner Position: Against
House Status: IN COMMITTEE
Senate Status: none
 
SB121, Current Use Taxation
Property Owner Position: Against
House Status: none
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
==============================================
Full details on all bills above:
HB342, Consent for smart meter gateway devices
02/10/2015 at 02:00 PM    LOB 304
Title: HOUSE
 
Summary: This bill is a correction to RSA374:62. It includes Water, Gas, propane and utility distribution as well as electricity.
Property owner's consent is required by utilities.
 
Property Owner Position: For
 
Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H24
 
Email to Committee:
To: ~HouseScienceTechnologyandEnergy@leg.state.nh.us
Subject: HB342
 
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0342.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
 
Talking Points:
The bill should be updated to reflect all utility service providers.
=====================
HB222, Exempting Homeowners Over 80 Years Of Age From Statewide Education Tax
02/13/2015 at 10:30 AM    LOB 202
Title: HOUSE
 
Summary:
 
Property Owner Position: Not analyzed. Believed to be Limited Impact.
 
Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H28
 
Email to Committee:
To: 0
Subject: HB222
 
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0222.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
 
Talking Points:
 
=====================
HB636, Forfeiture Of Property
02/19/2015 at 01:30 PM    LOB 208
Title: HOUSE
 
Summary: This bill would revise the New Hampshire forfeiture laws – the laws that allows the state to take property that is contraband, property obtained due to a commission of a crime, and instrumentalities a person used in the commission of the crime.
 
Property Owner Position: Against
 
Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H10
 
Email to Committee:
To: HouseJudiciaryCommittee@leg.state.nh.us
Subject: HB636
 
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0636.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
 
Talking Points:
The state will have the right to seize property that it believes was used in the commission of a crime.
 
Prosecutors only have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the property is related to the crime, therefore subject to forfeiture.
 
Law enforcement has a profit motive to pursue forfeitures.
 
Once property is taken, the burden lies on the innocent owner to defend against the forfeiture.
=====================
SB232, Exempting Certain Leases From The Real Estate Transfer Tax
03/02/2015 at 09:30 AM    SH 103
Title: SENATE
 
Summary: This bill would exempt from the transfer tax any lease, including any sales, transfers, or assignments of any interest in the leased property, where the term of the lease, including all renewals, is less than 99 years.
 
Property Owner Position: You Decide
 
Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/committees/committee_details.aspx?cc=S17
 
Email to Committee:
To: dboutin1465@comcast.net; 0; chuck.morse@leg.state.nh.us; andy.sanborn@leg.state.nh.us; dalas@leg.state.nh.us; ;
Subject: SB232
 
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/SB0232.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
 
Talking Points:
This bill seeks to clarify that a real estate transfer has not taken place with leased property.
=====================
HB571, Interest And Dividends Taxation Of Trusts
03/02/2015 at 10:00 AM    LOB 202
Title: HOUSE
 
Summary: This bill would tax the interest and dividends earned by trusts in excess of $2400 a year.
 
Property Owner Position: Against
 
Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H28
 
Email to Committee:
To: 0
Subject: HB571
 
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0571.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
 
Talking Points:
Trusts used for estate planning purposes have been attractive to NH residents. In the past, I/D tax has only been imposed on distributions to trust beneficiaries.
 
In 2012 NH legislators passed trust favorable legislation to introduce tax relief and to make this state more attractive to conduct business.  We have not done a thorough analysis on this bill but this bill would seem to be going backwards and making NH less favorable for conducting business.
=====================
SB121, Current Use Taxation
03/02/2015 at 09:45 AM    SH 103
Title: SENATE
 
Summary: This bill will allow excavated land to be considered open space. Therefore, allowing more landowners to apply for current use tax savings.
 
Property Owner Position: Against
 
Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/committees/committee_details.aspx?cc=S17
 
Email to Committee:
To: dboutin1465@comcast.net; 0; chuck.morse@leg.state.nh.us; andy.sanborn@leg.state.nh.us; dalas@leg.state.nh.us; ;
Subject: SB121
 
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/SB0121.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
 
Talking Points:
Towns may bare the cost of civil engineers to determine “angle of repose” but, those costs should be paid by the applicant.
 
The reduction of taxable land within a municipality will result in higher tax bills for taxpayers.
The revenue is not lost to the town as it will be picked up by all local taxpayers. The town will likely pick up additional revenue when the land is eventually converted from current use.
 
Excavated land where the “angle of repose” creates the necessity of civil engineering to ensure it's safety, probably goes against the intent of open space.
 
This bill would increase tax burden on taxpayers in general for the benefit of the few.
=====================

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Legislative Update: Two Victories but Lead Law requires your Help


This Legislative Update is provided by Nick Norman, Director of NH Landlord Legislative Affairs
Send all comments and feedback to nicknorman@yahoo.com
 
Howdee everyone,


Important Updates:

HB203, Representation Landlord/Tenant Court


A victory!

The RPOA Amendment, now Amendment #2015-0284h, was adopted by the Judiciary committee and passed by a vote of 7 to 6.  Thank you to those that followed last week’s action items and contacted their legislators.  We are making a positive difference.  Next it goes to the full house for a vote

HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property


Judiciary had executive session on this bill.  Much of our amendment has survived. However, the bill has been put in a subcommittee to “work” on the language.  This “work” is very likely to undo parts of our amendment.  Stay tuned.

HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances


A victory!

The RPOA Amendment, now Amendment #2015-0298h, was adopted by the Judiciary committee and passed by a vote of 11 to 7.  Thank you to those that followed last week’s action items and contacted their legislators.  We are making a positive difference.  Next it goes to the full house for a vote.

SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes

As expected, there was a very large turn out for the lead law bill with most everyone in favor of it.  We are also largely in favor of the essential philosophy of the bill as long as several changes are made.  This bill is still being worked on by the stake holders.  It is large and complex and moving fast through the legislature because of deadlines already in place in the legislative season.  It is important that you take time to become familiar with the bill.  See action items this week.

Action items this week:

Contact legislators on the following high importance bills

HB203, Representation Landlord/Tenant Court

Is going to the full house for a vote.  We will only won by a slim margin of 7 to 6.  Because of that slim margin it is critical that we contact our representatives and the full house and urge them to vote in our favor to pass the bill as modified by the Judiciary committee with amendment #2015-0284h.  It’s time to do that NOW.  Not later, no I’ll get around to it.  Make contact now.

 
HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
Is going to the full house for a vote.  We will only won by a small margin of 11 to 7.  Because of that small margin it is critical that we contact our representatives and the full house and urge them to vote in our favor to pass the bill as modified by the Judiciary committee with amendment #2015-0298h.  It’s time to do that NOW.  Not later, no I’ll get around to it.  Make contact now.

Study SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes (full detail below)

This is a very large bill and yes it requires some study.  However, we have a summary and talking points that walk you through the bill.

Read the summary and talking points (in Full Detail section). Compare with the bill (attached).

Let us know if you differ from our position.  We continue to work with the Stakeholders on this bill so we can still get you input into the discussions.

See more info in Summaries & Full Detail for each bill further below (includes property owner position, contact info, Talking points, and more).

(to jump right to bill detail, use Control-F, Find).

No Hearings this week

 
HEARINGS NEXT WEEK
03/02/2015 at 09:30 AM    SH 103
SB232, Exempting Certain Leases From The Real Estate Transfer Tax
Level of Response: You Decide
Property Owner Position: You Decide

 03/02/2015 at 10:00 AM    LOB 202
HB571, Interest And Dividends Taxation Of Trusts
Level of Response: Email Call Legislators
Property Owner Position: Against

03/02/2015 at 09:45 AM    SH 103
SB121, Current Use Taxation
Level of Response: Email Call Legislators
Property Owner Position: Against


See Below for Summary Updates and Detailed information on each Bill
(includes property owner position, contact info, talking points, and more).

Love & Light,
Nick Norman
Director of Legislative Affairs

==============================================

Finding your legislator contact info
To find both your Representative & Senator go to

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/wml.aspx

To write to all House of Representatives use:

fHReps@leg.state.nh.us

=======

Contacting legislators

1st priority write to your representative for the town where you live.
Start subject line of your email with “(from ‘yourtown’ resident) vote to pass HB269, First, Last Month’s Rent & Security Deposit”
In the body of the email identify yourself.  At the very beginning urge them how to vote.  Then if you like and have time go into more details about your position on the bill.

It is also much more effective to call them directly.

 2nd priority write to your representative where you own property,
Start subject line of your email with “(from ‘yourtown’ property owner) vote to pass HB269, First, Last Month’s Rent & Security Deposit”
In the body of the email identify yourself.  At the very beginning urge them how to vote.  Then if you like and have time go into more details about your position on the bill.

3rd priority write to all representatives
Start subject line of your email with “Vote to pass HB269, First, Last Month’s Rent & Security Deposit”

==============================================

Bills Updated Status summary:

We only list the committee reports on the most important bills affecting the real estate business.  If you want to get the committee report on one of the other bills contact me & I will show you how to get them on line.  It’s not terribly hard to get but not straight ahead either.

HB203    
Title: relative to the unauthorized practice of law.
Property Owner Position: For
House Status:
Senate Status: none

HB208    
Title: (NT) relative to allowance sales under the New Hampshire regional greenhouse gas initiative program.
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status: IN COMMITTEE
Senate Status: none

HB315    
Title: relative to termination of tenancy.
Property Owner Position: For
House Status:
Senate Status: none

HB350    
Title: establishing a commission to study the impacts of the property tax on New Hampshire's residents, businesses, municipalities, and the economy.
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status:
Senate Status: none

HB348    
Title: allowing municipalities to adopt a property tax credit for elderly homeowners for the extent their tax bill exceeds 10 percent of income.
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status:
Senate Status: none

 HB199    
Title: relative to tax relief information contained on a property tax bill.
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status:
Senate Status: none

SB156    
Title: prohibiting discrimination against employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Property Owner Position: Not Analyzed yet.  Probably does not affect property owners
House Status: none
Senate Status:

HB227    
Title: relative to eminent domain on public lands.
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status:
Senate Status: none

==============================================

Full details on all bills above:

HB203, Representation Landlord/Tenant Court

01/20/2015 at 01:30 PM    LOB 208

Title: relative to the unauthorized practice of law.

Summary: This bill expands the number of landlords who can represent themselves in the circuit court in eviction cases and in small claims cases

Property Owner Position: For

 

Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H10

 

Email to Committee:

To: HouseJudiciaryCommittee@leg.state.nh.us

Subject: HB203

 

Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0203.html

Analysis Stated in Bill: This bill allows certain persons who are not authorized to practice law to represent a trust that owns the premises on matters in the circuit court of New Hampshire on landlord tenant issues.

 

Talking Points:

Prior to last year’s enactment of RSA 540:30, landlords who owned rental property in their own names, and not in a corporation, LLC, Trust or any other entity, could always represent themselves in evictions.  Any other landlord could only represent the legal entity three times per year.

 

With the enactment of last years HB590, a landlord who owns a building titled in a corporation, LLC or a partnership, upon filing the appropriate affidavits, can represent the entity in eviction proceedings.  However, if the building is owned by a trust, or the building is operated by a property manager, the three times a year rule applies.  Further, RSA 540:30 does not include small claims actions where the subject of the law suit is a landlord/tenant dispute.

 

HB 203, if enacted, would allow trustees to represent the trust in eviction actions.  It would also permit property managers to represent the owners of buildings in eviction actions.  The affidavit requirements would apply to trustees and property managers. In addition, if the bill is enacted, landlords who hold buildings in corporations, LLCs, partnerships, all with five or less members and property managers can represent the building owners in small claims cases where the subject of the suit is a landlord tenant dispute.

 

With many people transferring their properties into trusts, and hiring property managers, this bill would simply put these landlords in the same position as the landlords who have their buildings in 5 or less member LLCs, corporations, or partnerships.  It would save the expensive cost of hiring an attorney for a relatively straight forward matter, especially with non-payment of rent cases.  Cases may even move faster without professional litigators involved.  The same holds true for small claims actions, which in landlord tenant matters are either for unpaid rent or damages.

 

This bill was proposed by the Rental Property Owners Association, and is sponsored by one of our members who is a legislator. We are very much for this bill and ask all landlords to call and email legislators.  Further we need as many people as possible to attend the committee hearings on the bill.

=====================

HB208, Repealing The New Hampshire Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

01/22/2015 at 10:00 AM    Representatives Hall

Title: (NT) relative to allowance sales under the New Hampshire regional greenhouse gas initiative program.

 

Summary: We have heard concerns related to REGI, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  However, we don't have specific input for you on this bill.

 

Property Owner Position: You Decide

 

Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H34

 

Email to Committee:

To: 0

Subject: HB208

 

Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0208.html

Analysis Stated in Bill:

 

Talking Points:

If you are familiar with concerns related to RGGI Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiativem, please contact & update us so we can get the info to other property owners.

 

One of our analysis team put together this info:

This bill repeals the greenhouse initiative that was passed a while back. We should support this bill. The fiscal impact statement says it all. It is very expensive. The money saved comes from our pockets. Government never generates revenue, they take it from the citizens.

 

The biggest greenhouse gas is water vapor. That is 95 percent of all greenhouse gases. All the other greenhouse gases (including CO2) make up the remaining 5%.  We can do very little to control the water vapor.

 

You can read an interesting study that refutes man made global warming here:

http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm

 

FISCAL IMPACT:

        The Public Utilities Commission and the Department of Environmental Services state this bill, as introduced, will decrease state restricted revenue and expenditures by $8,000,000 in FY 2015, $20,500,000 in FY 2016, $25,500,000 in FY 2017, $28,000,000 in FY 2018, and $28,000,000 in FY 2019, and decrease local revenue by $2,000,000 in FY 2015 and each year thereafter. This bill may have an indeterminable fiscal impact impact on county and local expenditures, and county revenues.

=====================

HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances

01/28/2015 at 01:00 PM    LOB 208

Title: relative to termination of tenancy.

 

Summary: This bill reduces the eviction notice from 30 days to 7 days in the following instances:

Someone staying in the unit who is not on the lease for more than 14 days consecutive or 30 days in a calendar year.

Pets or animals that are not in the lease.

Failure of tenant to put utilities in their name when required to do so.

 

Property Owner Position: For

 

Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H10

 

Email to Committee:

To: HouseJudiciaryCommittee@leg.state.nh.us

Subject: HB315

 

Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0315.html

Analysis Stated in Bill:

 

Talking Points:

We need everyone to show up at the hearing in favor of this bill & call and write to legislators to support this important bill.  Stay tuned for changes.  We have met with NHLA who has proposed changes.  Some we agree with, some need further work.

 

New Hampshire law allows a landlord in most residential tenancies to evict tenants by serving the tenants either a 7 days Eviction Notice or a 30 days eviction notice. Presently the 7 days eviction notice can only be used in certain limited circumstances.  Those circumstances are: (a) non-payment of rent  (b) substantial damages caused by the tenant, members of his family or guests (c) behavior by the tenant, members of  his family or guest that adversely affects the health, safety of the landlord or other tenants or failure to accept temporary alternative housing during lead paint abatement.  All other evictions require a 30 days Eviction Notice.

 

HB 315, if enacted, would add three additional circumstances where a landlord could use a 7 days Eviction Notice.  These three are:

(1) a person staying in the leased premises who is not a party to the lease, and does not have the consent of the landlord, for more than 14 consecutive days or more than 30 days in a calendar year

(2) having a pet or animal in the premises in violation of a lease or rental agreement

(3) failure to establish utilities in the tenant’s or terminating utility service when the tenant is required to pay such under the terms of the lease. Please note, that each of the above categories has to be a breach of the lease. For those landlords who do not use leases, or do not prohibit these categories in their leases, they would not be able to use the provisions of this bill, if it became law.

 

This bill has major advantages for landlords in dealing with the tenants who are purposely breaking the terms of a lease in the three circumstances outlined above, or do not have the financial means to abide by the terms of the lease.

 

Extra people who move into our apartments, especially if the landlord pays for heat and hot water, use these utilities solely at the expense of the landlord.  The additional people not only increase utility usage but also wear and tear of the apartment, again at the landlord’s expense. These people also are not parties to lease, many times do not know or care about the terms of the lease or the rules and regulations of the landlord, and have nothing to lose if they violate the terms of the lease. Since they are invited into the apartment by the tenant, the police are reluctant to issue a no trespass order. Basically, these extra people are living for free at the landlord’s expense. Some may even consider these people stealing our services.  And what about those cases where an invitee of a tenant takes over the apartment saying they are the tenant but have never signed or agreed to any terms of the lease.  People who are “crashing” at someone's apartment, can be a danger to the landlord and other tenants unless properly screened and approved.

 

Many of us charge more rent for people with pets in order to offset the damage some pets do to our buildings, and since the rent is higher, charge a higher security deposit equal to one month’s rent.  The tenant who sneaks a pet in without our consent is depriving us of the ability to charge the higher rent and obtain more security deposit from that tenant to offset the extra wear and tear and damage from the pet. It also makes it much more difficult to collect the additional rent from other tenants who have pets once they hear about what the “sneak” did at no additional cost.

 

Unauthorized dogs could bite someone, triggering a lawsuit. The landlord could have his insurance policy cancelled just by the dog being there, especially in the case of “aggressive” breeds.  This has forced the property to go on surplus insurance at a much greater cost with less coverage.

 

Pets can be destructive.  The longer the pet is in an apartment, the more destruction it can do.  For instance, a cat clawing on the wood work or using the carpets as a litter box, will cause more damage the longer it is in the apartment. Also if the animal has flees, and sooner that animal is out of the building, the less likely the fleas will spread to other units. (There seems to be a direct correlation between the people who sneak a pet in, and the people who do not take proper care of their pet).  Reducing the time it takes to evict the tenant, by 23 days, substantially reduces the time the pets can damage the rented unit.

 

If a tenant does not put utilities into his or her name, or terminates utilities or has utilities shut off on them, one of two things could happen.  The first is creating a risk of the building freezing during the winter. The longer the utilities are off, the greater the risk of damage to the building. The second is that the utilities are often transferred into the landlord’s name, and the landlord has to pay for services that the tenant agreed to pay for when the tenant signed the lease. Since a landlord may not terminate utilities on a tenant the landlord then remains stuck paying for a tenant’s utilities which the tenant should be paying per the lease agreement. Reducing the time that tenant had to use someone else’s services, would reduce the loss to the landlord. This is no different than a non-payment of rent, especially since rents are reduced when utilities, principally heat, is not included.

 

Landlords often get complaints from other tenants at the property about these issues.  This bill would help landlords to more quickly address the concerns of other tenants in the building & enforce the terms of the lease more efficiently.

=====================

HB350, Commission To Study Impacts Of The Property Tax

01/28/2015 at 02:00 PM    LOB 202

Title: establishing a commission to study the impacts of the property tax on New Hampshire's residents, businesses, municipalities, and the economy.

 

Summary: Establish a commission to study the impacts of the property tax on New Hampshire’s residents, businesses, municipalities, and the economy.

 

Property Owner Position: You Decide

 

Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H28

 

Email to Committee:

To: 0

Subject: HB350

 

Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0350.html

Analysis Stated in Bill:

 

Talking Points:

This bill is to establish a commission to study the impact of property taxes on New Hampshire businesses, residents, municipalities, and the economy. Such shall include:

 

(a) Options for establishing tax rates.

 

(b) Options for a broader range of exemptions consistent with the New Hampshire constitution, including a more robust homestead exemption.

 

(c) Property tax incentives to achieve public benefit goals such as affordability of housing and achieving municipal land use goals.

 

(d) An evaluation of the costs and effectiveness of property tax incentives as a tool for promoting economic development on both a local and      statewide basis.

 

(e) Enabling municipal or inter-municipal taxation and revenue sharing structures.

 

(f) Evaluating the impact of property taxes on small and capital-intensive businesses

 

 

If  it passes, we should participate with the study committee as it could impact our businesses.

=====================

HB348, Elderly Tax Credit

02/05/2015 at 09:30 AM    LOB 301

Title: allowing municipalities to adopt a property tax credit for elderly homeowners for the extent their tax bill exceeds 10 percent of income.

 

Summary: Allowing a property tax credit in the amount excess 10% of income of a person 65 years or older.

Income shall not exceed 20k per person. Can not have assets in excess of 250k, including value of primary residence.

 

Property Owner Position: You Decide

 

Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H18

 

Email to Committee:

To: ~HouseMunicipalandCountyGovt@leg.state.nh.us

Subject: HB348

 

Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0348.html

Analysis Stated in Bill:

 

Talking Points:

Bill will have very little impact on property owners as any modest income will offset the exclusions.

=====================

HB199, Low Or Moderate Income Property Tax Relief

02/05/2015 at 10:30 AM    LOB 301

Title: relative to tax relief information contained on a property tax bill.

 

Summary: Adding the term of low or moderate income to the tax relief statement on property tax bill.

 

Property Owner Position: You Decide

 

Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H18

 

Email to Committee:

To: ~HouseMunicipalandCountyGovt@leg.state.nh.us

Subject: HB199

 

Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0199.html

Analysis Stated in Bill:

 

Talking Points:

Bill will have very little impact on property owners.

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SB156,

02/05/2015 at 02:00 PM    SH 100

Title: prohibiting discrimination against employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

 

Summary:

 

Property Owner Position: Not Analyzed yet.  Probably does not affect property owners

 

Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/committees/committee_details.aspx?cc=S37

 

Email to Committee:

To: sam.cataldo@leg.state.nh.us; david.pierce@leg.state.nh.us; donna.soucy@leg.state.nh.us; represcott@represcott.com; jeb.bradley@leg.state.nh.us; ;

Subject: SB156

 

Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/SB0156.html

Analysis Stated in Bill:

 

Talking Points:

 

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HB227, Eminent Domain On Public Lands

02/12/2015 at 09:15 AM    LOB 301

Title: relative to eminent domain on public lands.

 

Summary: none developed so far.

 

Property Owner Position: You Decide

 

Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H18

 

Email to Committee:

To: ~HouseMunicipalandCountyGovt@leg.state.nh.us

Subject: HB227

 

Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0227.html

Analysis Stated in Bill:

 

Talking Points:

none developed so far.

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SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes
02/17/2015 at 01:00 PM    LOB 101
Title: relative to lead poisoning in children.

Summary: This is a very large bill effective many different sections all with the intent to reduce childhood lead poisoning.  There has been stake holder meetings for several months with some landlord representation resulting in this legislation.  The stake holders continue to meet regularly.  We’re sure that there will be continued push and more lead legislation for a long time coming.  We are mostly for or are neutral on this bill.

The Conservation Law Foundation, CLF, specifically, Tom Irwin, has specifically been at the forefront of pulling together the interested parties hearing all sides and working with all stakeholders to draft this language.  Tom has worked well with us to hear and incorporate our input.

The bill is large, references many RSAs by number, and is divided into 14 sections.  Therefore for clarity in understanding the bill our analysis will walk you through the bill in order section by section.

Property Owner Position: Mostly For, Some Against, Some Neutral, Changes recommended

Link to Committee Info:

Email to Committee:
To:
Subject: SB135

Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/SB0135.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:

Talking Points:
Section 1:  Laboratory Reporting
Property Owner Position: Neutral

This section relates to having DHHS, Department of Health & Human Services track and report screening rates.  That is how many children are being screened (asked questions) and or tested each year.  The screening rates have always been way below long established state guidelines.

Landlords stand aside on the issue of screening so we have no position on this section.


Section 2:  Child Lead Screening
Property Owner Position: Neutral

This section stresses health care providers are responsible for screening for lead and to follow state guidelines.  If they don’t meet the guidelines by 2017 then DHHS will adopt rules to require them to do so.

Landlords stand aside on the issue of screening so we have no position on this section.

Section 3:  Property Owner Notification of Elevated BLL
Property Owner Position: For

This section is quite good for us in that when we are notified of low levels of lead we can work with the tenant family and be proactive at taking all precautions to eliminate the poisoning in a common sense way before it escalates to higher levels which will more greatly harm the child and trigger a lead abatement order.  Many times the tenant family and the landlord can work together in a common sense way before an order is triggered and solve the issue easily before the extreme expense of an order is triggered.

There has been a request for DHHS to notify property owners and parents at ANY level.  The thinking which we agree with is that the earlier everyone is notified the sooner everyone can take measures to be sure the child’s BLL does not rise and only goes down from here.  DHHS wants to be able to give notice at any level but their old software system and some test methods are not as reliable when readings are <5ug a="" able="" accurately="" actually="" almost="" an="" and="" anyone="" are="" at="" be="" behind="" br="" but="" change="" could="" create="" data.="" data="" dl="" do="" does="" get="" give="" have="" hold="" hour="" in="" it.="" just="" levels.="" like="" lower="" modern="" nbsp="" not="" notice="" number="" s="" say="" says="" simple="" simply="" software="" something="" spreadsheet="" systems="" that="" the="" their="" they="" time.="" to="" towards="" update="" we="" where="" why="" working="">
Because capillary testing at low levels is less reliable and because of the data complications expressed in the above paragraph, there is language like “the data is deemed reliable by the department”.  When their systems are updated in the future this language allow them to report lower numbers with out having to make yet another change in the state law.

All landlords we have spoken to are for this section.


Section 4:  Parent Notification of Elevated BLL
Property Owner Position: For

This section is quite good for us as well in that when parents are notified of low levels of lead they will usually become proactive at taking all precautions to eliminate the poisoning before it escalates to higher levels which will more greatly harm the child and trigger a lead abatement order.  Many times the tenant family and the landlord can work together in a common sense way before an order is triggered and solve the issue easily before the extreme expense of an order is triggered.

(Similar notes as section 3 above).

All landlords we have spoken to are for this section.


Section 5:  Civil Suits
Property Owner Position: Against

The bill also would amend RSA 130-A:18 by creating a statutory duty of landlords and child care facilities to take reasonable care to prevent exposure to, and the creation of lead hazards.  In addition it would make the actions or inactions of landlords and child care facilities of compliance with laws and regulations regarding lead admissible as evidence in a civil lawsuit, presumably seeking damages for injuries as a result of lead exposure.  It would also make admissible evidence of a tenant disturbing lead paint admissible.

I think that we should oppose this section at this time.  The study committee this bill proposes is charged with developing programs of reasonable care in maintaining housing and child care facilities regarding lead. Until that committee finishes its work let’s not change the rules of evidence.

The bill also does not address subsequent repairs.  New Hampshire generally does allow into evidence subsequent repairs to prevent further injuries as proof of nonnegligence. The reason for this is not to discourage these repairs.  The language of the bill does not address this doctrine.


Section 6:  Lead Screening Commission & Essential Maintenance Practices Task Force
Lead Screening Commission
Property Owner Position: Neutral

Essential Maintenance Practices Task Force
Property Owner Position: Most For, some Against

Basically, the committee would set up a standard of care to be followed by all owners of such property. The committee is to study similar programs in other states, Vermont is the primary example, work with public health officials in formulating such a program, and look into incentives for compliance. 14 people are to be appointed to the committee from various occupations related to public health and rental housing.

The fundamental idea here if such a program would be put in place is likely that rental property owners would need to submit an annual report stating that they have inspected the rental property and fixed any lead hazards using lead safe techniques.  Also there could easily be a program requiring old leaded windows not yet replaced to at least be fitted with a system of simple vinyl strips and window will inserts to eliminate the friction surfaces of the leaded portion of the windows.

In exchange for this standard of care the property owner would receive a reduction in liability in lead law suits.  At the stake holders meetings, an attorney representing interest of trial lawyers said the legal protection for landlords will be killed by the trial lawyers.  So the “carrot” portion of this proposal definitely needs substantial work.

At one of our landlord meetings it was suggested that to get a limit in liability landlords should just keep a maintenance log and that the  landlord’s property maintenance log be admissible evidence in defending landlord liability. This idea eliminates the beauracracy and still give us possibility of some protection.

Also what if tenant denies us access to make repairs. Law should state that tenant has to give landlord access, similar to bedbug provision.


Some background:
I have been partially involved with the lead stake holders meetings that resulted in this legislation.  Most of the stake holders wanted to simply put an Essential Maintenance Program in place with this bill.  My strong comment to them was that more time was needed to analyze and come up with a plan that landlords could agree with.  They decided to take my advice and create a task force instead.  Most but not 100% of the landlords I speak with are in favor of this section because it will give landlord’s voice in the process & more time in designing the Essential Maintenances Program.  Forcing in place a program that was not well thought out could have been very detrimental to landlords.

However, we recommend several modifications to the proposal in this bill.
Most importantly, like many study commissions, the proposed membership is extremely biased against landords.
We would like to see way more landlord membership from “small, medium, large” landlords.  One recommendation came in suggesting 1/3 of the commission be landlord representation.   We are suggesting having 7 landlord members.
For ease of definition small could be <=10 units, medium >=25 units, large >=50 units.

Child care member should be from a property pre1978.
In home day care should be included from a property pre1978.

Since there most likely will be a proposed essential maintenance practices program coming from the committee that may become law, we should have some way to review the proposal and have input on it before the committee makes its final recommendation to the legislature.  We ask that the meeting minutes and proposed essential practices be posted on a website of the general court & the general public be allowed to make written comments to the committee  and such comments be reviewed by the committee before it makes any recommendations to the legislature.

We also recommend that a minority report option be made available for the final report.


Section 7:  Child Care License/Permit Suspension, Revocation, Denial
Property Owner Position: Neutral


Section 8:  Child Care License/Permit Suspension, Revocation, Denial
Property Owner Position: Neutral


Note: Sections 9, 10, 11 form a connected group all about prohibited practices and remedies.
Section 9:  Add Complying with Public Health Laws and Regulations Concerning Lead to Property Owner Prohibited Acts
Property Owner Position: Mixed some, for some against,  Read notes on section 9, 10, 11 as a connected group.

Simply adds that property owners must comply with applicable public health laws and regulations concerning lead


Section 10: RSA 540A Remedies
Property Owner Position: Mixed some, for some against,  Read notes on section 9, 10, 11 as a connected group.

Allow court order and financial penalty for all prohibited acts.
Note in existing law court orders forcing compliance and financial penalty only apply to
RSA 540-A:3, I, II, or III
I No landlord shall willfully interrupt utilities
II No landlord shall willfully deny tenant access to tenant’s premises
III No landlord shall willfully deny tenant access to tenant’s property

With the change in this bill court orders forcing compliance and financial penalty would also apply to
IV. No landlord shall willfully enter into the premises of the tenant without prior consent, other than to make emergency repairs.
V. No tenant shall willfully refuse the landlord access to the premises to make necessary repairs…
V-a. No landlord shall willfully fail to investigate a tenant's report of an infestation of insects, including bed bugs…
V-b. No tenant shall willfully refuse the landlord access to the premises to:
       (a) Make emergency repairs as authorized in paragraphs IV and IV-a of this section; and
       (b) Evaluate whether bedbugs are present…
V-c. No tenant shall willfully refuse to comply with reasonable written instructions from a landlord or pest control operator to prepare the dwelling unit for remediation of an infestation of insects or rodents, including bed bugs…
V-d. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a landlord may only enter a tenant's dwelling unit without the consent of the tenant:
       (a) To make emergency repairs pursuant to paragraphs IV and IV-a; or
       (b) If the landlord has obtained an order authorizing the entry…
VI. No tenant shall willfully damage the property of the landlord.
VII. Other than residential real estate under RSA 540-B, a landlord shall maintain and exercise reasonable care in the storage of the personal property of a tenant who has vacated the premises…


Section 11:  RSA 540A Remedies
Property Owner Position: Mixed some, for some against,  Read notes on section 9, 10, 11 as a connected group.

Add exemption to “$1000/day fine” for property owner not complying with “applicable public health laws and regulations concerning lead”.

So in final analysis of Section 9, 10, 11.  It adds that property owners must comply with applicable public health laws and regulations concerning lead.
In existing law only some prohibited acts of property owners are subject to court order and fines.  This bill would change it so that all prohibited acts of landlords AND tenants would be subject to court order and fines except complying with applicable public health laws and regulations concerning lead.

The law and regulations regarding lead are complicated and will only be more complicated. Any tenant who thinks he or she knows the law can file a petition, many will be without merit. This may be done by a tenant to establish a retaliatory eviction defense.  This will be time consuming for a landlord, and costly depending upon the situation. Unlike an unlawful entry where there is no other place a tenant can quickly turn for relief, with health laws there is the local building inspector and the department of health and human services.  Lead mediation can be far more complicated that stopping unlawful entries, or remediating bedbugs. I suggest we oppose this section.

Although section 9, 10, 11 give the ability to court order and fine tenants for violating a prohibited act some of us feel the intent here is better handled by present building & health departments rather than opening up another avenue for tenants to file a retaliatory eviction defense.


Section 12:  Building Permits To Require RRP If Applicable
Property Owner Position: Mixed some, for some against, 

This section essentially says that before a building permit is granted the contractor doing the work must either certify that no lead will be disturbed or chow that the contractor is up to date with RRP (lead safe work practice) certifications.
An owner doing their own work would simply be given information on lead.

Section 13:  Repeal  Essential Maintenance Practices Task Force on Completion
The EMP Task force would need to be complete by 11/1/15.


Section 14:  Effective Dates For Different Sections