Sunday, March 7, 2010

April 2010 - Ask the Expert - Lead Paint and Lead Abatement

April 2010 Topic – Lead Paint and Lead Abatement

This month’s expert is Nick Norman, Manager of Landlord Resources Network which specializes in lead paint issues in NH. Nick is a landlord of residential apartments and is a former NH Lead Commission Member representing NH landlords.

Submit any questions you might have for Nick regarding lead paint and lead abatement to The dealine for submitting questions is March 15th so don't delay.

We will post the Questions and Nick’s Answers on April 1st.

How to Avoid A Lead Abatement Order

Nick Norman, Manager
Landlord Resources Network 603-432-5549
Member of RPOA, Rental Property Owners Association
Past NH Lead Commission member.
(on the landlord's side)

Since early 2007, I have been extremely active in the lead paint issue, served for a year on the NH Lead Commission and attended countless meetings with key players in the field of lead paint throughout the state. During this time I have met with many landlords, scientists, experts and legislators in this field & have narrowed down what is the only truly financially viable solution to the lead paint issue.

From of this experience, I have pooled resources and knowledge into the creation of a workshop specifically designed for property owners, property managers and maintenance personnel called
"How To Avoid a Lead Abatement Order".

So far, it has been attended by 142 property owners, property managers and maintenance personnel representing 2210 units. These units are now well on their way to drastically reducing their risk of getting a lead abatement order while at the same time keeping children safe.

In this course you will learn:
Quick Highlight of the drastic Lead law changes 1/1/08 & changes in 2009.
The 3 step approach to solving the lead issue.
The precise formula to get an Order for Lead Hazard Reduction (So you can avoid these precise Lead Order triggering items).
The tenant turn over checklist to keep the apartment lead safe.
How to perform lead safe maintenance and renovations and to eliminate potential lead hazards on your own budget on your own schedule.
How to very inexpensively do your own lead testing so you can know where to focus and that you have "Cleaned" the apartment to lead safe standards.

Now, in a continuing effort to provide resources for Landlords, Property Managers and Maintenance Personnel, we are offering the EPA/HUD certified & accredited RRP (Renovation, Repair and Paint) course in cooperation with EPA/HUD certified & accredited trainers. These courses are often $200 to $300 per person in New England area. We are able to offer discounts bringing the course cost down to $150 to $200.

We are very dedicated to helping the landlords of NH both small and large. Our next set of RRP and "How to Avoid a Lead Abatement Order" workshops are planned to be offered back to back on a Friday Saturday combination in May. Stay tuned for dates and location. We hope to see you there.

Monday, March 1, 2010

IMPORTANT: Three NH Senate Bills affecting Landlords

IMPORTANT: Tuesday, March 2nd there will be several hearings at the State House. Our power has been out since Thursday Evening so we apologize for the lateness of this email. Many of you have expressed an interest in attending these hearings and making your voices heard. Now is your chance. All three bills wil be heard between 2:30 and 3:00 pm tomorrow, Tuesday March 2nd 2010.

Senate Bill 341 -
Title: Relative to Remedies available to Landlord-Tenant Actions
Next Hearing Date: March 2 at 2:30 PM
Location: SH 103

Senate Bill 415 -
Title: AN ACT relative to remedies against landlords. This bill prohibits the assessment of a daily fine for certain violations by landlords prior to service of a complaint.
Next Hearing Date: March 2 at 2:45 PM
Location: SH 103

Senate Bill 431 -
Title: AN ACT relative to housing and tenancy protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
This bill prohibits lessors and owners of restricted property from terminating a tenancy, refusing to renew a tenancy, or refusing to enter into a rental agreement based on the tenant, rental applicant, or household member of a tenant or a rental applicant having been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Next Hearing Date: March 2, 2010 at 3:00 PM
Location: SH 103

April 1st Ask The Expert
Topic: Lead Abatement.

If you have any questions regarding Lead Abatement, please email your questions to Questions will be accepted until March 14th.

March 2010 - Ask the Expert Q&A with Attorney Fred Mayer

March 2010 – Ask the Expert

Thank you Attorney Fred Mayer for hosting our first Ask the Expert column.

About Attorney Mayer

Fred K. Mayer III is a sole practitioner in Nashua, NH, where his practice is focused on the representation of landlords. Although he appears most frequently in the Nashua and Derry District Courts, his landlord/tenant cases have taken him to 21 district courts in various counties throughout the state, to the Worcester and Northeast Housing Courts of Massachusetts, to the New Hampshire Supreme Court and, on one occasion, to federal court. He has represented landlords and property management agents in evictions, RSA 540-A:4 petitions, security deposit disputes and other landlord/tenant litigation. He lectures frequently on topics relating to landlord/tenant law. On occasion, Attorney Mayer has testified before committees of the New Hampshire legislature when bills affecting landlord/tenant practice were being considered. Mr. Mayer received his B.A., with distinction, from George Washington University and his J.D. from Georgetown University. He is on the Board of Directors of Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Nashua. He is also a member of the New Hampshire Property Owners Association. You can contact Attorney Mayer at 603-881-9876

1. How many days does a landlord have to respond to a tenant’s request?

If the request is for the repair of a code violation, consistent with RSA 540:13-d,I(b), the repair should be performed within 14 days of the receipt of a written request or, in an emergency, as promptly as conditions require.

2. One of my tenants is two weeks late paying their rent. I served them a Notice to Quit and Demand for Rent but I don’t know what I should do next if they don’t pay their rent or move out.

Notices to Quit are now called "Eviction Notices." The day after the Eviction Notices expire, the landlord can file a Landlord and Tenant Writ in district court.

3. I handed my tenants a Notice to Quit and Demand for Rent and now they’ve given me half of the money owed. Can I continue with the eviction?

To preserve his right to continue with the eviction process upon receipt of a partial payment, a landlord must give the tenant written notice of his intent to proceed with the eviction despite the payment. The relevant statute, RSA 540:13,VII, does not specify exactly when the written notice should be given to the tenant, but the conventional wisdom is that the notice should be given to the tenant right away.

4. My tenant moved out and didn’t leave a forwarding address. I know I have to notify them about their security deposit within 30 day. What if I can’t find them? Will I be in trouble?

Per RSA 540-A:8,II, a landlord shall not be liable nor forfeit any rights if his failure to comply with the security deposit statute is due to the failure of the tenant to notify the landlord of his new address upon termination of the tenancy.

5. I heard that it’s illegal in NH to ask for the last month’s rent. Is this true? What can I ask for legally?

Generally speaking, RSA 540-A:6 permits a residential landlord to take a first month's rent and a security deposit. Because of the way RSA 540-A:5 defines the term "Security deposit," a landlord will indeed violate the statute if the landlord requests or accepts a last month's rent in addition to a security deposit.

6. I was in the process of evicting a tenant and they moved out leaving most of their belongings behind. How long must I hold on to their belongings? Can I move them to another location so I can rent the apartment?

RSA 540-A:3,VII requires that a landlord maintain and exercise reasonable care in the storage of the personal property of a tenant who has vacated the premises, either voluntarily or by eviction, for a period of 28 days after the tenant has vacated.

7. How long after a tenant leaves without any notice is the apartment considered abandoned? I haven’t seen anyone living there in over a month and no rent has been paid.

Neither the statutes nor the cases decided by the New Hampshire Supreme Court offer clear guidance as to when an apartment can be considered abandoned. There is, however, a case in which a tenant was gone for two-and-a-half months and the landlord was nevertheless held liable for an unlawful eviction. Therefore, in the absence of a written surrender of premises, I would serve a demand for rent and eviction notice at the premises and then complete the eviction process, including the service of a Writ of Possession.

8. I filed for a LT hearing at the district court and now the tenant has also filed against me. What should I do now?

If the tenant filed an Appearance, a notice of hearing will issue. The landlord should bring three copies of all relevant documents to the hearing to present as evidence. In a nonpayment of rent case, this would include the demand, the notice, the lease and a rent ledger.