Sunday, April 12, 2015

Legislative Update - Important Landlord Representation Hearing on Tuesday

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
We had the public hearing. As expected with any lead law change there were many people in attendance.  The bill will be sent to a subcommittee with more time for input. There are some small changes coming so stay tuned. Please write to the committee asking them to approve our changes.
 
HB203, Representation Landlord/Tenant Court
Now scheduled for public hearing Thursday 10am.
Please show up and support the bill.  This is important because it will allow us to represent ourselves in District Court for landlord tenant matters rather have to hire an attorney if the property is owned by an entity.  See bill detail below.
 
Action items this week:
 
1. Email, call committee for SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes.  Ask them to support our 2 changes.
(Email to House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee (HHSEA@leg.state.nh.us) )
 
A. Change appointment to Study Commission of “large” landlord from Granite State Managers Association to being appointed by the Apartment Association of NH (who’s membership is specifically targeted to property owners of higher number units).
 
B. Either remove section 6 civil suits or adopt our language changes listed immediately below this email which more fairly balances liability between landlord AND tenant.
 
Latest version (same as last week) is at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/SB0135.html
 
2. Attend HB203, Representation Landlord/Tenant Court
Public hearing and at least sign in to support the bill.
Speak if you feel compelled to.
04/14/2015 at 10:00 AM    SH 100
Read through full detail below.
 
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:
04/14/2015 at 10:00 AM    SH 100
HB203, Representation Landlord/Tenant Court
Level of Response: Attend hearings, Email & Call Legislators
Property Owner Position: For
 
04/16/2015 at 11:00 AM    LOB 101
HB480, Insurance/Criminal Offense
Level of Response: You Decide
Property Owner Position: You Decide
 
04/16/2015 at 11:15 AM    LOB 101
HB481, Mortgage Guarantee Insurance
Level of Response: LimitedImpact; You Decide
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
 
04/15/2015 at 09:15 AM    LOB 101
HB427, Adopting 2015 Fire Code Regs
Level of Response: LimitedImpact; You Decide
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
 
 
Hearings next week:
04/21/2015 at 10:00 AM    LOB 301
SB235, Condominium Sale Recording & Financial Disclosure Requirements
Level of Response: LimitedImpact; You Decide
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
 
 
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
==============================================
SB135 Section 6 change.
We are suggesting the following change to the tenant responsibility side of this section.
"
130-A:18 Civil Suits. Owners and tenants of pre-1978 rental housing and childcare facilities shall take reasonable care to prevent exposure to, and the creation of, lead hazards. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the mere presence of a lead base substance shall not constitute negligence on the part of an owner of any dwelling. To establish negligence on the part of an owner, the plaintiff in a civil suit shall demonstrate actual injury caused by the lead base substance. Evidence of actions taken or not taken by the owner or tenant or tenant's invitees of a pre-1978 rental property or childcare facility in compliance with applicable public health laws and regulations concerning lead may be admissible evidence of reasonable care or negligence. Remedial actions taken by a property owner or tenant after a lead exposure has occurred shall not be admissible evidence for purposes of establishing liability. Evidence of disturbance of lead based substances by the tenant, his guests, invitees, or pets shall be admissible evidence. Failure of the tenant to notify the landlord, as required in written lease or rental agreement, of any peeling, chalking, cracking or disturbance of lead based substances shall also be admitted into evidence. In addition, the mere presence of a lead base substance in a dwelling shall not by itself violate any warranty of habitability.
If these changes survive in the amendment we would upgrade our position from against to neutral.
==============================================
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.
 
HB175    
Title: (New Title) establishing a committee to study improving the efficiency of the financial approval process for housing subdivisions used by the department of justice.
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: PASSED / ADOPTED
 
HB203    
Title: relative to the unauthorized practice of law.
Property Owner Position: For
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
 
HB480    
Title: relative to policies for property and casualty insurance.
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
 
HB481    
Title: relative to commercial insurance.
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
 
HB427    
Title: relative to the definition of the New Hampshire fire code.
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
==============================================
Full details on all bills above:
SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes
04/09/2015 at 01:00 PM    LOB 205
Title: Title: relative to lead poisoning in children.
 
Summary: This is a very large bill with 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 and is divided into several 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:  Capillary Blood Testing
Property Owner Position: For
“Capillary Blood Test” is what you might call a finger prick test that draws a few drops of blood as opposed to a venous test which actually draws blood from a vein using a needle.
 
Capillary blood tests are said to have less accuracy than a venous draw.  Partly because the portable test modules are not as accurate as a sample sent to a lab and partly because the people operating the capillary test machines are not trained medical staff.  Occasionally, lead on the persons finger ends up in the sample.
 
We have been a push for parents and landlords to receive ALL test results of ANY level.  This is because earlier detection allows both family and landlord to take well thought out reasonable measures to prevent the lead exposure before an entire lead abatement order becomes issued if the level reaches 10ug/dl.
 
DHHS is extremely reluctant to take on the reporting responsibility for values below 5ug/dl ostensibly because of the expected enormous work load required and no budget for it.  The have to find contact info for the landlord whereas the parent contact info is already on the reporting forms.  Also past results show there would be about 1000/y reportings required at 5 and above.  We don’t know how many reports would be required at less than 5.  Presumably way more.
 
Note that the version passing the Senate committee adds a duty to the study commission to look at the issue of reporting results <5ug dl.="" span="">
 
This provision of section 2 advises the family to get a venous draw test so they get an accurate picture and eliminate “false alarms”.  It also recommends that the tenant inform the landlord which is in part accomplishing what we have been asking for. 
 
It further recommends the tenant contact the landlord rather than do anything regarding the lead hazards on their own.  This moves again in a direction we have been asking for.  It makes some movement toward solving the issue of tenants creating the lead hazards.
 
Section 3:  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 4:  Property Owner Notification of Elevated BLL
Property Owner Position: For
 
The latest revision as the bill leaves the Senate committee is that landlords are only notified of venous draw tests and not capillary tests.   This is a little watered down from the original bill where we would be notified of both venous and capillary test.  (See below about DHHS’s resistance to the work load of giving these notices).
 
Something is better than nothing and presently we are not getting any notices in the range of 5-9.9ug/dl so 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.
 
The back ground for this is that 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 actually="" an="" behind="" but="" data="" dl="" does="" get="" have="" it.="" like="" not="" number="" says="" simply="" something="" span="" style="mso-spacerun: yes;" the="" they="" where="">  They are working towards a software change to update their systems and be able to accurately give notice at lower levels.  We say why not just create a simple modern spreadsheet to hold the data.  Almost anyone could do that in an hour’s time.
 
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.
 
Also DHHS is extremely resistant to notifications below 5ug/dL primarily because they can not handle the work load.  Part of the issue is the unreliability of capillary tests, (operators of test are often not medical staff and actually introduce lead to the skin surface before the pin prick is made). 
 
Part of the issue, harder to solve, is the extra time spent for DHHS to find the owner of the property.  There are about 1000 BLL levels reported per year from 5-10 ug/DL.  Less than 5 is believed to be a much larger number.
 
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.
 
Notice that the parents get reporting of both capillary and venous testing while landlords only get notification of venous testing.
 
All landlords we have spoken to are for this section.
 
(Similar notes as section on Landlord Notification above).
 
 
Section 6:  Civil Suits
Property Owner Position: Against
May be upgraded to Neutral if amended.
 
Technically, this section does not change the understanding of civil liability so we’re not sure why it is needed.
 
The Senate committee amendment does add a sentence to address the subsequent repairs concern. (Previously flagged as an issue).
 
We are suggesting the following change to the tenant responsibility side of this section.
Section 6:  Civil Suits
130-A:18 Civil Suits. Owners and tenants of pre-1978 rental housing and childcare facilities shall take reasonable care to prevent exposure to, and the creation of, lead hazards. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the mere presence of a lead base substance shall not constitute negligence on the part of an owner of any dwelling. To establish negligence on the part of an owner, the plaintiff in a civil suit shall demonstrate actual injury caused by the lead base substance. Evidence of actions taken or not taken by the owner or tenant or tenant's invitees of a pre-1978 rental property or childcare facility in compliance with applicable public health laws and regulations concerning lead may be admissible evidence of reasonable care or negligence. Remedial actions taken by a property owner or tenant after a lead exposure has occurred shall not be admissible evidence for purposes of establishing liability. Evidence of disturbance of lead based substances by the tenant, his guests, invitees, or pets shall be admissible evidence. Failure of the tenant to notify the landlord, as required in written lease or rental agreement, of any peeling, chalking, cracking or disturbance of lead based substances shall also be admitted into evidence. In addition, the mere presence of a lead base substance in a dwelling shall not by itself violate any warranty of habitability.
 
If these changes survive in the amendment we would upgrade our position from against to neutral.
 
 
Section 7:  Lead Screening Commission & Essential Maintenance Practices Task Force
In the amendment both would be combined into one commission with subcommittees one for Lead Screening and the other for
Essential Maintenance Practices Task Force
 
Lead Screening Commission
Property Owner Position: Neutral
 
Essential Maintenance Practices Task Force
Property Owner Position: For
 
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:
As of late, I have been 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.
 
The commission membership at our recommendation was raised from 1 to 4 landlord representatives which addresses our major concern.
 
The Child care member was amended to be from a property pre1978. Which is one of the concerns we raised.
 
We recommend a few modifications to this section of the bill.
 
Should an in home day care 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.
 
None of us on the analysis team had heard of the Granite State Managers Association.  In doing some research it appears that the Granite State Managers Association is affiliated with NHHFA and would have input skewed towards managers of tax credit properties, public housing authority properties and other assisted properties. 
 
On the other hand the Apartment Association of NH has long been comprised of actual property owners of higher number units across all sectors of the rental market.
 
We will be asking that instead of the 50+ unit landlord appointed by the Granite State Managers Association rather have the 50+ unit landlord be appointed by the Apartment Association of NH (who’s membership is specifically targeted to property owners of higher number units).
 
Notes on some other good things.
This version as amended by the Senate committee adds some duties to the commission including:
VI. The commission shall explore and examine options for assisting property owners in the abatement of lead-based paint hazards.
 
VIII. The commission shall assess the feasibility and benefits of requiring the department to provide notice to landlords and parents pursuant to RSA 130-A:6-a and RSA 130-A:6-b when a child has been found to have a blood lead level less than 5 micrograms per deciliter.
revious Section on Child Care License/Permit Suspension, Revocation, Denial
has been removed.
 
Previous sections related to RSA 540-A prohibited acts
has been removed.
 
Previous section related to Building Permits To Require RRP If Applicable
has been removed.
 
Section 8:  Repeal  commission on Completion
 
Section 9:  Effective Dates For Different Sections
=====================
HB175, Study Committee, Remove Dept. Of Justice From Financial Approval For Residential Condominium & Housing Subdivisions
04/02/2015 at 02:00 PM    LOB 101
Title: Title: (New Title) establishing a committee to study improving the efficiency of the financial approval process for housing subdivisions used by the department of justice.
 
Summary: The bill would establish a committee to study removing the department of justice from the financial approval process for residential condominium and housing subdivisions.
 
Property Owner Position: You Decide
 
Link to Committee Info:
 
Email to Committee:
To:
Subject: HB175
 
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0175.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
 
Talking Points:
Pursuant to RSA 21-M:9 The Dept of Justice shall administer and enforce the provisions of residential condominium and housing subdivisions.
 
This bill seeks to establish a committee to study the benefits of removing the DOJ from that duty.
This is the only direction that is given to the committee in the bill.
=====================
HB203, Representation Landlord/Tenant Court
04/14/2015 at 10:00 AM    SH 100
Title: 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/Senate/committees/committee_details.aspx?cc=S10
 
Email to Committee:
To: bette.lasky@leg.state.nh.us; gldaniels@myfairpoint.net; david.pierce@leg.state.nh.us; sharon.carson@leg.state.nh.us; sam.cataldo@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.
=====================
HB480, Insurance/Criminal Offense
04/16/2015 at 11:00 AM    LOB 101
Title: Title: relative to policies for property and casualty insurance.
 
Summary: Would ban coverage for a fine or penalty for a criminal offense, but allow payment of defense costs.
 
Property Owner Position: You Decide
 
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: HB480
 
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0480.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
 
Talking Points:
Requested by the insurance department.
If the fines were covered by insurance then the punishment for the offense would have little affect.
 
Punishment should not be paid by a 3rd party.
=====================
HB481, Mortgage Guarantee Insurance
04/16/2015 at 11:15 AM    LOB 101
Title: Title: relative to commercial insurance.
 
Summary: The bill would clarify that RSA 417-C would not apply to mortgage guarantee insurance.
 
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
 
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: HB481
 
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0481.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
 
Talking Points:
After the housing collapse of 2008, PMI insurance companies suffered losses and are making changes to lower their risk.
=====================
HB427, Adopting 2015 Fire Code Regs
04/15/2015 at 09:15 AM    LOB 101
Title: Title: relative to the definition of the New Hampshire fire code.
 
Summary: Regarding the definition of the state fire code.  Simply change from a 2009 version of the Uniform Fire Code to a 2015 version.
 
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
 
Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/committees/committee_details.aspx?cc=S06
 
Email to Committee:
To: sharon.carson@leg.state.nh.us; Jeff.Woodburn@leg.state.nh.us; sam.cataldo@leg.state.nh.us; donna.soucy@leg.state.nh.us; john.reagan111@gmail.com; ;
Subject: HB427
 
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0427.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
 
Talking Points:
How will this impact sprinkler requirements?
 
State fire marshal has recommended the state adopt changes to the Life Safety Code as follows:
    a. Atriums Used As Part of Separated Occupancies
    b.Vestibules Separating Normally Unoccupied Spaces from Exit Enclosures
    c. New Occupant Load Factors
    d. Alcohol-Based Hand-Rub Dispensers (ABHR)
    e. Stairway Video Monitoring in High-Rise Buildings
    f. Life Safety Evaluations in Assembly Occupancies
    g. Multiple-Level Buildings in Day Care and Board and Care Occupancies
    h. Disguised Doors in Health Care
    i. Reduced Corridor Width in Nursing Homes
    j. Ambulatory Health Care Rewrite
=====================================================

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Legislative Update: Lead Law Hearing this week. Bill Status Updates

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

Howdee everyone,
Important Updates:
SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes
Referred to House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs
Public hearing Thursday 1pm
HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property
Referred to Senate Judiciary committee
HB203, Representation Landlord/Tenant Court
Referred to Senate Judiciary committee
Action items this week:
1. If not done already 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.  Latest version (same as last week) is at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/SB0135.html
2. Email to House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee (HHSEA@leg.state.nh.us) about SB135
Express our support and concerns.  See full detail of bill analysis.  (you have had several weeks now to study this). Note that at this point we are mostly in favor of or are neutral about the bill.

Concerns:
Ask for one change on the membership of the study commission.  Instead of the 50+ unit landlord appointed by the Granite State Managers Association ask that the 50+ unit landlord be appointed by the Apartment Association of NH (who’s membership is specifically targeted to property owners of higher number units).
Also ask that Section 6 Civil Suits have the following added:
"Evidence of disturbance of lead-based substances by the tenant, his guests, invitees, or anyone else he or she brings into the leased premises, or the tenant’s pets shall be admissible evidence. Failure of the tenant to notify the landlord, as required in written lease or rental agreement, of any peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking or disturbance of lead based substances shall also be admitted into evidence."
3. Attend SB135 Public Hearing Thursday 1pm
See more info in Summaries & Full Detail for each bill further below including property owner position, contact info, Talking points, and more.
(to jump right to bill detail, use Control-F, Find).'
Hearings this week:
04/07/2015 at 09:30 AM    SH 103
HB180, Real Estate Transfer Tax, Clarify “Contractual” Transfer
Level of Response: Email Call Legislators
Property Owner Position: For
04/08/2015 at 09:15 AM    LOB 102
HB286, Permits Issued By Building Inspectors
Level of Response: LimitedImpact; You Decide
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide

04/08/2015 at 09:45 AM    SH 100
HB208, Repealing The New Hampshire Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Level of Response: You Decide
Property Owner Position: You Decide
04/08/2015 at 10:00 AM    LOB 102
HB227, Eminent Domain On Public Lands
Level of Response: You Decide
Property Owner Position: You Decide
04/09/2015 at 11:00 AM    LOB 202
SB232, Exempting Certain Leases From The Real Estate Transfer Tax
Level of Response: You Decide
Property Owner Position: You Decide
04/09/2015 at 01:00 PM    LOB 205

SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes

Level of Response: Attend hearings, Email & Call Legislators

Property Owner Position: Mostly For, Some Against, Some Neutral, Changes recommended
Hearings next week:
None scheduled so far
Hearings week after:
04/21/2015 at 10:00 AM    LOB 301
SB235, Condominium Sale Recording & Financial Disclosure Requirements
Level of Response: Limited Impact; You Decide
Property Owner Position: Limited Impact; You Decide
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.  It’s not terribly hard to get but not straight ahead either.

HB180    
Title: (NT) relative to the definition of "price or consideration" under the real estate transfer tax and relative to the exception for transfers by devise under such tax.
Property Owner Position: For
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
HB286    
Title: relative to permits issued by building inspectors.
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
HB208    
Title: (NT) relative to allowance sales under the New Hampshire regional greenhouse gas initiative program.
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
HB227    
Title: relative to eminent domain on public lands.
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
SB232    
Title: exempting certain leases from the real estate transfer tax.
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status: IN COMMITTEE
Senate Status: PASSED / ADOPTED
SB135     
Title: relative to lead poisoning in children.
Property Owner Position: Mostly For, Some Against, Some Neutral, Changes recommended
House Status: IN COMMITTEE
Senate Status: PASSED / ADOPTED
SB235    
Title: relative to the condominium act and the land sales full disclosure act.
Property Owner Position: Limited Impact; You Decide
House Status: IN COMMITTEE
Senate Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
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Full details on all bills above:
HB180, Real Estate Transfer Tax, Clarify “Contractual” Transfer
04/07/2015 at 09:30 AM    SH 103
Title: Title: (NT) relative to the definition of "price or consideration" under the real estate transfer tax and relative to the exception for transfers by devise under such tax.
Summary: This bill attempts to clarify a “contractual” transfer of Real Estate.
Property Owner Position: For
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: HB180
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0180.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
Talking Points:
This bill, if enacted, would marginally clarify what is price or consideration to base the amount of tax to be paid in real estate transactions.  Currently, non-contractual transfers, which basically are gifts, are not taxed.  The bill would add to the definition of price and consideration, which the amount of the taxes to be paid are based upon, the words “in a contractual transfer.” The bill is merely housekeeping, and does not change anything.
This bill will help the banks when they take a deed in lieu of foreclosure. They won’t have to pay the transfer stamps. This would be a good bill to amend transferring a property in to another entity for estate planning/asset protection. Not having to pay transfer stamps if it is still done for the above reasons.
See if we could amend the bill to help with transfer of property into LLC, LP…
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HB286, Permits Issued By Building Inspectors
04/08/2015 at 09:15 AM    LOB 102
Title: Title: relative to permits issued by building inspectors.
Summary: Limited Impact.  Not analyzed.
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
Link to Committee Info: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/committees/committee_details.aspx?cc=S27
Email to Committee:
To: 0; dboutin1465@comcast.net; bette.lasky@leg.state.nh.us; nancy.stiles@leg.state.nh.us; molly.kelly@leg.state.nh.us; ;
Subject: HB286
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0286.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
Talking Points:
Provided in update only to give notice to those that may be affected.
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HB208, Repealing The New Hampshire Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
04/08/2015 at 09:45 AM    SH 100
Title: 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/Senate/committees/committee_details.aspx?cc=S38
Email to Committee:
To: 0; 0; andy.sanborn@leg.state.nh.us; martha.fullerclark@leg.state.nh.us; jeb.bradley@leg.state.nh.us; 
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.
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HB227, Eminent Domain On Public Lands
04/08/2015 at 10:00 AM    LOB 102
Title: 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/Senate/committees/committee_details.aspx?cc=S27
Email to Committee:
To: 0; dboutin1465@comcast.net; bette.lasky@leg.state.nh.us; nancy.stiles@leg.state.nh.us; molly.kelly@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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SB232, Exempting Certain Leases From The Real Estate Transfer Tax
04/09/2015 at 11:00 AM    LOB 202
Title: Title: exempting certain leases from the real estate transfer tax.
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/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H28
Email to Committee:
To: 0
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.
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SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes
04/09/2015 at 01:00 PM    LOB 205
Title: Title: relative to lead poisoning in children.
Summary: This is a very large bill with 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 and is divided into several 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:  Capillary Blood Testing
Property Owner Position: For
“Capillary Blood Test” is what you might call a finger prick test that draws a few drops of blood as opposed to a venous test which actually draws blood from a vein using a needle.
Capillary blood tests are said to have less accuracy than a venous draw.  Partly because the portable test modules are not as accurate as a sample sent to a lab and partly because the people operating the capillary test machines are not trained medical staff.  Occasionally, lead on the persons finger ends up in the sample.
We have been a push for parents and landlords to receive ALL test results of ANY level.  This is because earlier detection allows both family and landlord to take well thought out reasonable measures to prevent the lead exposure before an entire lead abatement order becomes issued if the level reaches 10ug/dl.
DHHS is extremely reluctant to take on the reporting responsibility for values below 5ug/dl ostensibly because of the expected enormous work load required and no budget for it.  The have to find contact info for the landlord whereas the parent contact info is already on the reporting forms.  Also past results show there would be about 1000/y reportings required at 5 and above.  We don’t know how many reports would be required at less than 5.  Presumably way more.
Note that the version passing the Senate committee adds a duty to the study commission to look at the issue of reporting results <5ug dl.="" span="">
This provision of section 2 advises the family to get a venous draw test so they get an accurate picture and eliminate “false alarms”.  It also recommends that the tenant inform the landlord which is in part accomplishing what we have been asking for. 
It further recommends the tenant contact the landlord rather than do anything regarding the lead hazards on their own.  This moves again in a direction we have been asking for.  It makes some movement toward solving the issue of tenants creating the lead hazards.
Section 3:  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 4:  Property Owner Notification of Elevated BLL
Property Owner Position: For
The latest revision as the bill leaves the Senate committee is that landlords are only notified of venous draw tests and not capillary tests.   This is a little watered down from the original bill where we would be notified of both venous and capillary test.  (See below about DHHS’s resistance to the work load of giving these notices).
Something is better than nothing and presently we are not getting any notices in the range of 5-9.9ug/dl so 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.
The back ground for this is that 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 actually="" an="" behind="" but="" data="" dl="" does="" get="" have="" it.="" like="" not="" number="" says="" simply="" something="" span="" style="mso-spacerun: yes;" the="" they="" where="">  They are working towards a software change to update their systems and be able to accurately give notice at lower levels.  We say why not just create a simple modern spreadsheet to hold the data.  Almost anyone could do that in an hour’s time.
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.
Also DHHS is extremely resistant to notifications below 5ug/dL primarily because they can not handle the work load.  Part of the issue is the unreliability of capillary tests, (operators of test are often not medical staff and actually introduce lead to the skin surface before the pin prick is made). 
Part of the issue, harder to solve, is the extra time spent for DHHS to find the owner of the property.  There are about 1000 BLL levels reported per year from 5-10 ug/DL.  Less than 5 is believed to be a much larger number.
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.
Notice that the parents get reporting of both capillary and venous testing while landlords only get notification of venous testing.
All landlords we have spoken to are for this section.
(Similar notes as section on Landlord Notification above).
Section 6:  Civil Suits
Property Owner Position: Against
May be upgraded to Neutral if amended.
Technically, this section does not change the understanding of civil liability so we’re not sure why it is needed.
The Senate committee amendment does add a sentence to address the subsequent repairs concern. (Previously flagged as an issue).
We are suggesting the following change to the tenant responsibility side of this section.
"Evidence of disturbance of lead based substances by the tenant, his guests, invitees, or anyone else he or she brings into the leased premises, or the tenant’s pets shall be admissible evidence. Failure of the tenant to notify the landlord, as required in written lease or rental agreement, of any peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking or disturbance of lead based substances shall also be admitted into evidence."
If both of these changes survive in the amendment we would upgrade our position from against to neutral.
Section 7:  Lead Screening Commission & Essential Maintenance Practices Task Force
In the amendment both would be combined into one commission with subcommittees one for Lead Screening and the other for
Essential Maintenance Practices Task Force
Lead Screening Commission
Property Owner Position: Neutral
Essential Maintenance Practices Task Force
Property Owner Position: For
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:
As of late, I have been 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.
The commission membership at our recommendation was raised from 1 to 4 landlord representatives which addresses our major concern.
The Child care member was amended to be from a property pre1978. Which is one of the concerns we raised.
We recommend a few modifications to this section of the bill.
Should an in home day care 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.
None of us on the analysis team had heard of the Granite State Managers Association.  In doing some research it appears that the Granite State Managers Association is affiliated with NHHFA and would have input skewed towards managers of tax credit properties, public housing authority properties and other assisted properties. 
On the other hand the Apartment Association of NH has long been comprised of actual property owners of higher number units across all sectors of the rental market.
We will be asking that instead of the 50+ unit landlord appointed by the Granite State Managers Association rather have the 50+ unit landlord be appointed by the Apartment Association of NH (who’s membership is specifically targeted to property owners of higher number units).
Notes on some other good things.
This version as amended by the Senate committee adds some duties to the commission including:
VI. The commission shall explore and examine options for assisting property owners in the abatement of lead-based paint hazards.
VIII. The commission shall assess the feasibility and benefits of requiring the department to provide notice to landlords and parents pursuant to RSA 130-A:6-a and RSA 130-A:6-b when a child has been found to have a blood lead level less than 5 micrograms per deciliter.
revious Section on Child Care License/Permit Suspension, Revocation, Denial
has been removed.
Previous sections related to RSA 540-A prohibited acts
has been removed.
Previous section related to Building Permits To Require RRP If Applicable
has been removed.
Section 8:  Repeal  commission on Completion
Section 9:  Effective Dates For Different Sections
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SB235, Condominium Sale Recording & Financial Disclosure Requirements
04/21/2015 at 10:00 AM    LOB 301
Title: Title: relative to the condominium act and the land sales full disclosure act.
Summary: This bill makes revisions to the condominium act in regard to recording requirements and financial disclosures.
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; 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: SB235
Link to Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/SB0235.html
Analysis Stated in Bill:
Talking Points:
The bill does not seem to have any direct effect on the residential rental market.