Sunday, May 17, 2015

Legislative Update: Low Landlord Turnout hurts Eviction Law

Howdee everyone,
 
Important Updates:
HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
Important action item below.
The public Senate hearing was this week.  The tenant advocates came out fairly strong against this bill especially against the provision relating to unauthorized pets.  The landlord turn out was very poor.
 
Were you thinking, “oh some one else will handle it?”
That kind of thinking defeats the entire Legislative Initiative.  We need every one showing up and contacting legislators.
 
It is very likely we lost some ground on this important bill because of the lack of landlord involvement.  Please get involved.  See action items below.
 
 
HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property
Again, not much landlord turn out at the hearing on this bill.  Fortunately, it does not have a strong push back so we may still prevail on this one.
 
Please get involved.  See action items below.
 
 
SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes
The House has passed SB135 as amended which includes our requests.
 
You can see the version that passed the House at
 
Next will be to have a “committee of conference” with both Senate and House represented to resolve differences in the bill.  We will likely need to stay involved all the way through the process.  Stay tuned.
 
 
Action items this week:
1. HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
NHLA wants to remove 7 day eviction notice for unauthorized animals from the bill.
 
Review talking points for this bill much further below, (use control-F for find).
 
Contact the committee, and stress why having these new 7 day eviction notices are important especially stories about problems with unauthorized animals and why we need to get the animals out quicker.  The longer an animal is in the apartment the more damage it will cause.
 
Email committee at
 
2. HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property
Contact the committee
, and ask them to support passing HB309.
 
Email committee at
 
 
Hearings this week:
None scheduled so far.
 
 
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.  It’s not terribly hard to get but not straight ahead either.
 
SB235     
Title: relative to the condominium act and the land sales full disclosure act.
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
House Status: 
Senate Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
 
HB309     
Title: permitting landlords to remove tenants' property in certain circumstances.
Property Owner Position: For
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
 
HB315     
Title: relative to termination of tenancy.
Property Owner Position: For
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
==============================================
Full details on all bills above:
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:
 
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
 
 
Email to Committee: 
Subject: SB235 
 
Analysis Stated in Bill: 
 
Talking Points:
The bill does not seem to have any direct effect on the residential rental market.
=====================
HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property
05/12/2015 at 09:50 AM    SH 100
Title: Title: permitting landlords to remove tenants' property in certain circumstances.
 
Summary: The landlord shall be able to remove property (without penalty) that creates a hazard or blocks access to common areas. No notice is required.
 
The Landlord shall be able to remove property with notice for property such as unregistered vehicles, or anything else prohibited in the lease, provided that two notices are given at least 24 hours apart.
 
Property Owner Position: For
 
 
Email to Committee: 
Subject: HB309 
 
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 most of which we agree with,
 
Currently, RSA 540-A:3 III specifically prohibits a landlord directly or indirectly denying a tenant access to the tenant’s personal property other than by proper judicial process.  This would include having a tenant’s vehicle or other property towed or removed from the landlord’s property.  Without this bill, if the landlord towed a tenant’s vehicle to comply with local ordinances or to provide access for emergency vehicles or to stop tenant’s car from blocking the driveway or another tenants parking spot, etc, etc, the present statute would subject a landlord to a $1,000 fine, plus a $1,000 a day fine for each day the tenant does not have his or her car after a court issues an order.  If the car was towed, the landlord, to stop the $1000/day fines, would have to pay all towing and storage fees.  The landlord would also be subject to paying the defendant’s attorney fees and costs.
 
HB 309 would eliminate this risk for landlords in certain limited circumstances. If the bill is enacted, and a tenant’s property is in a travel lane, common driveway, fire lane, the entrance or exit to any of these, or is in the entrance to a parking area or blocks a dumpster , then a landlord could legally remove a tenant’s property without notice to the tenant, and at the tenant’s expense.
 
For less egregious scenarios the bill would also allow a landlord to remove tenant’s property, after two notices to the tenant, with the second notice not to be delivered to the tenant until 24 hours after the first notice.  These scenarios include if the tenant’s property is located in a posted no parking area, is an unregistered or uninspected motor vehicle, is leaking fluids that are damaging the parking surface or are an environmental hazard, or is parked or stored in a manner that is in violation of the lease.
 
We need everyone’s full support for this bill. If passed, it will aid us in maintaining our properties, and in removing junk from our parking lots & handling tenants who just flatly refuse to follow their lease requirements regarding parking.   The bill is necessary in order to keep our properties clean and safe & to legally comply with local ordinance and zoning laws which require removal of certain offensive property.
 
The bill also offers protection for tenants who don't realize they are breaking a lease requirement. Once notified they would have the ability to correct the problem or the landlord will have the authority to correct it.
=====================
HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
05/12/2015 at 10:05 AM    SH 100
Title: 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
 
 
Email to Committee: 
Subject: HB315 
 
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.
=====================


==========

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Legislative Update - Attend Hearing Tuesday Morning, Lead Law Update



Howdee everyone,
 
Important Updates:
SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes
The House has passed SB135 as amended which includes our requests.  Good job for everyone that participated and contacted our legislators.  The system we are using here really works.
 
You can see the version that passed the House at
 
Next will be to have a “committee of conference” with both Senate and House represented to resolve differences in the bill.  We will likely need to stay involved all the way through the process.  Stay tuned.
 
 
HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
We are in conversation with NHLA on some changes.  Important action item below.
 
HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property
This bill allows landlords to remove tenant’s property in certain situations that we need to handle but presently don’t have the authority to do.  Please support this bill by attending hearings and writing to the committee.
 
 
Action items this week:
1. Set aside time in your schedule to attend the hearing for
HB309      05/12/2015 at 09:50 AM    SH 100
HB315      05/12/2015 at 10:05 AM    SH 100
 
2. HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
NHLA wants to remove 7 day eviction notice for unauthorized animals from the bill.
 
Attend the hearing Tuesday morning 10:05am (see schedule below).  It is critical to sign in as in favor of the bill.
Speak if you like.
 
Review talking points for this bill much further below, (use control-F for find).
 
Contact the committee, and stress why having these new 7 day eviction notices are important especially stories about problems with unauthorized animals and why we need to get the animals out quicker.
 
Report back to me any stories you would want presented at the hearing to justify the shorter eviction notice for unauthorized animals.

Email committee at
 
3. HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property
Attend the hearing Tuesday morning 9:50am
 (see schedule below).  It is critical to sign in as in favor of the bill.
 
Contact the committee, and ask them to support passing HB309.
 
Email committee at
 
 
Hearings this week:
05/12/2015 at 09:50 AM    SH 100
HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property
Level of Response: Attend hearings, Email & Call Legislators
Property Owner Position: For
 
05/12/2015 at 10:05 AM    SH 100
HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
Level of Response: Attend hearings, Email & Call Legislators
Property Owner Position: For
 
 
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.  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
 
HB180     
Title: (New Title) 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: 
 
HB286     
Title: relative to permits issued by building inspectors.
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE
 
SB135     
Title: relative to lead poisoning in children.
Property Owner Position: Mostly For, Some Against, Some Neutral, Changes recommended
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: PASSED / ADOPTED
 
HB480     
Title: relative to policies for property and casualty insurance.
Property Owner Position: You Decide
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED
Senate Status: PASSED / ADOPTED
 
HB309     
Title: permitting landlords to remove tenants' property in certain circumstances.
Property Owner Position: For
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
 
HB315     
Title: relative to termination of tenancy.
Property Owner Position: For
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
Senate Status: IN COMMITTEE
==============================================
Full details on all bills above:
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 
 
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.
=====================
HB180, Real Estate Transfer Tax, Clarify “Contractual” Transfer
04/07/2015 at 09:30 AM    SH 103
Title: Title: (New Title) 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
 
 
Email to Committee: 
Subject: HB180 
 
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…
=====================
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
 
 
Email to Committee: 
Subject: HB286 
 
Analysis Stated in Bill: 
 
Talking Points:
Provided in update only to give notice to those that may be affected.
=====================
SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes
04/09/2015 at 01:00 PM    LOB 205
Title: Title: relative to lead poisoning in children.
 
Summary:
NOTE: THIS INFORMATION HAS NOT BEEN UPDATED SINCE THE hOUSE AMENDMENT WHICH HAS MADE SEVERAL CHANGES THAT WE REQUESTED IN THE NOTES BELOW.
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="" class="" data="" dl="" does="" get="" have="" it.="" like="" not="" number="" says="" simply="" something="" span="" 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
 
Property Owner Position: Mostly For, Some Against, Some Neutral, Changes recommended
 
Link to Committee Info: 
 
Email to Committee: 
To:
Subject: SB135 
 
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="" class="" data="" dl="" does="" get="" have="" it.="" like="" not="" number="" says="" simply="" something="" span="" 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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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: 
 
Email to Committee: 
To:
Subject: HB480 
 
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.
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HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property
05/12/2015 at 09:50 AM    SH 100
Title: Title: permitting landlords to remove tenants' property in certain circumstances.
 
Summary: The landlord shall be able to remove property (without penalty) that creates a hazard or blocks access to common areas. No notice is required.
 
The Landlord shall be able to remove property with notice for property such as unregistered vehicles, or anything else prohibited in the lease, provided that two notices are given at least 24 hours apart.
 
Property Owner Position: For
 
 
Email to Committee: 
Subject: HB309 
 
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 most of which we agree with,
 
Currently, RSA 540-A:3 III specifically prohibits a landlord directly or indirectly denying a tenant access to the tenant’s personal property other than by proper judicial process.  This would include having a tenant’s vehicle or other property towed or removed from the landlord’s property.  Without this bill, if the landlord towed a tenant’s vehicle to comply with local ordinances or to provide access for emergency vehicles or to stop tenant’s car from blocking the driveway or another tenants parking spot, etc, etc, the present statute would subject a landlord to a $1,000 fine, plus a $1,000 a day fine for each day the tenant does not have his or her car after a court issues an order.  If the car was towed, the landlord, to stop the $1000/day fines, would have to pay all towing and storage fees.  The landlord would also be subject to paying the defendant’s attorney fees and costs.
 
HB 309 would eliminate this risk for landlords in certain limited circumstances. If the bill is enacted, and a tenant’s property is in a travel lane, common driveway, fire lane, the entrance or exit to any of these, or is in the entrance to a parking area or blocks a dumpster , then a landlord could legally remove a tenant’s property without notice to the tenant, and at the tenant’s expense.
 
For less egregious scenarios the bill would also allow a landlord to remove tenant’s property, after two notices to the tenant, with the second notice not to be delivered to the tenant until 24 hours after the first notice.  These scenarios include if the tenant’s property is located in a posted no parking area, is an unregistered or uninspected motor vehicle, is leaking fluids that are damaging the parking surface or are an environmental hazard, or is parked or stored in a manner that is in violation of the lease.
 
We need everyone’s full support for this bill. If passed, it will aid us in maintaining our properties, and in removing junk from our parking lots & handling tenants who just flatly refuse to follow their lease requirements regarding parking.   The bill is necessary in order to keep our properties clean and safe & to legally comply with local ordinance and zoning laws which require removal of certain offensive property.
 
The bill also offers protection for tenants who don't realize they are breaking a lease requirement. Once notified they would have the ability to correct the problem or the landlord will have the authority to correct it.
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HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
05/12/2015 at 10:05 AM    SH 100
Title: 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
 
 
Email to Committee: 
Subject: HB315 
 
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.
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