Monday, March 28, 2011

It’s finally Spring – Don’t get caught painting outside without your EPA Lead Paint Certification

It’s finally Spring – Don’t get caught painting outside without your EPA Lead Paint Certification Next class 4/22/2011 Register today!

Brought to you by:

Contractors, Renovators, Painters, Landlords… did you know???The EPA is requiring that all contractors working on pre-1978 properties obtain RRP EPA/HUD Lead Paint certification. The HBRANH/BGNH has contracted with LeadEdu, a NH based trainer to provide this certification class to contractors of all stripes including builders, plumbers and electricians, flooring installers as well as any other person in the building trades. If you work on pre-1978 buildings you need to be certified, fines are hefty and lead paint poisoning can happen to you. Learn how to protect yourself and your customers.

Organizer: HBRA of New Hampshire
Date & Time: Friday, April 22, 2011, 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Location/Venue: The Housing Center
Address: 119 Airport Road, Concord, NH 03301
Full Course: $230 for Members $295 for Non-members.
Register Today! CALL 603-228-0351 or visit to register

Upcoming Events
April 2, 2011 Local Energy Solutions Conference Penacook,NH
April 21, 2011 Conservation Subdivision Design Manchester, NH Instructor: Randall Arendt
Home Builders & Remodelers Association of New Hampshire 119 Airport Road Concord, NH 03301
Tel: 603-228-0351 Fax: 603-228-1877 Email:

Good news for the Rental Market

Have You Considered This Way to Play Real Estate?
By Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
Monday, March 28, 2011

"Did your house ever sell?" I asked a friend over dinner last week."Yes, in a short sale," he told me.

STEVE: Did the bank forgive your debts?

FRIEND: Yes – a couple hundred thousand dollars' worth.

STEVE: Wow… You're not responsible for any of it? How did that work?

FRIEND: At first, the bank wouldn't even consider any offers on my house, because I was paying my mortgage on time. That went on for a year. So I sought out some advice, and I was told to stop paying my mortgage. I'm a responsible person. I didn't want to do that. But I was told that the bank wouldn't do anything until I was delinquent.

STEVE: So how did the bank finally accept the short sale?

FRIEND: Well I finally took the advice… I stopped paying my mortgage for three months… I became 90 days delinquent. Once I became delinquent, the bank took the offer. After a long wait with the bank pushing paper, the short sale went through.

STEVE: What happens next?

FRIEND: Well the bad news is, my credit is now screwed up for seven years. The good news is, the bank took the full hit. I'm not sure if I can buy a house for another seven years. I might be renting for a while.I hadn't thought much about this idea before: We have a new generation of renters out there. A couple days after that dinner, I got an email from a longtime friend of DailyWealth – Justin Ford of Pax Properties. He's actively involved in the residential rental market in South Florida. He said the rental market is "strong."

He explained why:

1) Millions have walked away from their homes or lost them to foreclosure, so they are now renters. [Like my friend.]

2) When houses were soaring, most people thought it was a great time to buy. Now that prices have been plunging, they think housing is a bad investment.

3) Many of the few who do recognize the compelling values still will have to rent for a while because they've had a recent foreclosure or credit problems and won't be able to qualify for a mortgage for a while.

The facts about the rental market go along with what Justin is seeing from the front lines. Justin also forwarded over a Wall Street Journal article, which said: Average U.S. apartment vacancy rates dropped to 6.6% last year from 8%, according to property-research firm REIS, while rents rose 2.3%… Occupied apartments rose by about 58,000 in the fourth quarter, the biggest increase for that period in 10 years, according to REIS.The article also quoted Green Street Advisors, my favorite real estate investment advisory firm, saying rental demand "will far outstrip supply" through 2015.
Until last week, I hadn't thought much about this potential in the rental market. But all these ideas make sense to me…This could be the decade of renters, whether it's families that are now out of their homes, like my friend… or first-time homebuyers who now choose to rent instead of buy.There might be an opportunity in here for you…You might rent out a property you own instead of selling it… Or you might find an investment in rental properties for income and some potential capital gains, like shares of a real estate investment trust (REIT) or a local opportunity.In short, chances are good we'll have a decade of renters. It makes sense to size up your own situation for any opportunities. There could be one right in front of you…
Good investing,Steve

Friday, March 25, 2011

FYI possible new Healthy Home initiative to watch out for.

Grants Available for Grassroots Advocacy Organizations
This is a potentially serious problem coming our way.

With the support of The Kresge Foundation, the National Center for Healthy
Housing (NCHH) will expand and "scale up" its efforts to eradicate
unhealthy living conditions through a new initiative called the Grassroots
Advocacy Network for Healthy Housing. The Grassroots Advocacy Network will
develop local solutions to the challenging problem of substandard housing
and neighborhoods. NCHH will facilitate peer communication, offer technical
assistance and capacity building support, disseminate promising practices
in organizing and housing policy, and provide opportunities for involvement
in national advocacy work.

Application Process: NCHH plans to award subgrants of up to $15,000 to
grassroots advocacy organizations to carry out activities such as the

  • Creating local demand for healthy housing through media
    outreach, policy advocacy, community meetings, and other activities;
  • Educating policymakers and the public about unhealthy
  • Holding public agencies accountable (e.g. to ensure that local
    housing maintenance codes are enforced);
  • Creating and sustaining valuable collaboration between the
    public and private sectors and within government.
  • Other methods most appropriate to the local content.

    Eligibility criteria: 501 (c)(3) organizations with annual budgets less
    than $1 million. Preference will be given to local community-based
    organizations and non-profits that are currently involved in tenant
    advocacy, health or housing policy, or environmental justice.

    Rolling Deadlines for Applications: You may fill out the application and
    submit it with the requested supplemental information by May 1, July 1, and
    October 1.

    Application: The application may be found at:

    Laura Vincent Ford, Public Health Program Manager
    NH Department of Health and Human Services
    Healthy Homes and Environments Section
    29 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301-6504
    phone: 603-271-5733 fax: 603-271-3991

    "As long as attention focuses on the costs of lead-paint abatement and
    ignores the costs of not abating and as long as people add up the costs of
    removing paint but not the costs of medical care, compensatory education,
    and school dropouts, substantial action is unlikely." Joel Schwartz (1994)

Monday, March 14, 2011

NHPOA Meetings - March 2011

NHPOA Meetings - March 2011

Manchester Chapter Meeting
When: Monday, March 14th at 6:30pm
Where:168 Amory Street Manchester, NH
Topic: Legislative Update, Vendor Workshop

Derry Chapter MeetingWhen:Monday, March 21st at 7:00pm
Where:Marion Gerrish Community Center
39 West Broadway(Route 102)Derry
Topic: Good Time to buy multi-families?
Speaker: Judy Nesset

Call To Action - Rent Escrow Bill

Landlords Helping Landlords

March 2011
Call to Action
Rent Escrow Bill


Dear Property Owner
We have the opportunity to get a favorable committee vote on rent escrow!!

The NH Senate Judiciary Committee
will meet on Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 1:30 pm to hear Senate Bill 44.

SB 44 allows for the payment of rent into court during an eviction proceeding. Failure to make this payment during the court action results in an eviction against the tenant.

The intent here is to reduce the number of frivolous actions by tenants who have no intentions of defending an eviction action, but do so to buy extra time. Tenants are required to pay rent to the court on a weekly basis if they intend to defend any eviction action.

AN ACT relative to payment of rent pending a landlord-tenant action.
SPONSORS: Sen. Boutin, Dist 16; Sen. Sanborn, Dist 7; Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Rep. Jasper, Hills 27; Rep. Infantine, Hills 13; Rep. W. Hutchinson, Hills 9; Rep. Packard, Rock 3
COMMITTEE: Judiciary
ANALYSISThis bill requires the tenant to pay rent on a weekly basis pending an eviction proceeding.
Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven
AN ACT relative to payment of rent pending a landlord-tenant action.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Landlord-Tenant Action; Payment of Rent. Amend RSA 540:13, II(a) to read as follows:
(a) If the tenant wishes to contest the eviction, [he] the tenant must file an appearance in the district court no later than the return day appearing on the writ and shall pay, on a weekly basis with the first payment due upon the filing of the appearance, all rent as it becomes due between the date of the appearance and the date that final judgment is issued. Otherwise, judgment shall be issued in favor of the landlord. The court shall retain 10 percent of such funds as an administration fee, and the balance of such funds shall be distributed to the prevailing party in the eviction action.
2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2012.

Various amendments to this bill have been discussed (including a change to percentage charged by the courts for collecting rent) since the original publication. Please be aware that the NHPOA has reviewed many of the suggested amendments, many of which are more favorable to landlords. An amendment may be introduced during the public hearing, so please be prepared to argue your point vigorously.

The NHPOA has been advised that we will need to fill the room during the public hearing, if we are to sway the committee in our favor. If you have never joined us in Concord before, please do so. If you will be joining us on Thursday, invite a fellow landlord to join you. The numbers are critical to our success.

We, as landlords, need to stop complaining about the laws which we find ludicrous and oppressive. We need to stand up and make our voices count. This is the time to do that. Letters and calls to your Senators do not make the same impact as your presence at the hearing. Your presence at the hearing makes it difficult for the committee to decide against us. If we don't have the numbers, the committee will believe that this issue is not that important to landlords.

Property owners in Massachusetts are also trying to pass a rent escrow law to avoid what is commonly referred to as the "free rent trick" Tenants stop paying rent. They call in the building inspector. They get code violations cited. And now they claim they are withholding rent for code violations and cannot be evicted. Some even prolong their free rent status by blocking repairs and deliberately creating more code violations. This unchecked rent withholding goes on as long as the tenants can keep it up -- many months, sometimes years. Rent escrowing would stop the free rent trick.

As landlords you are in the business of renting properties. This bill affects your business. It improves your bottom line. No-one is going to take care of your business if you don't.

Come to Concord and help us
take care of "business".

Quote of the day:
The ways things are going, pretty soon you will be able to list your tenants as "dependents" on your tax return.

Debbie Valente New Hampshire Property Owners Association
(603) 881-3682

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Catastrophic Losses and your Leases and Insurance Policies

What Does the Lease Say?
The language in a lease may specify the ownership interests of the landlord and tenant with respect to improvements and betterments and the like, which in turn could impact the question of which insurance policy or policies provide coverage for damage to or destruction of such property.

For example, a lease may provide that once affixed to the premises—whether by the landlord or by the tenant—all improvements and betterments become the sole property of the landlord, are not the property of the tenant, and cannot be removed or altered by the tenant without the express consent of the landlord. A lease may also state that furniture and equipment is the sole property of the tenant. Alternatively, a lease may provide for ownership by the landlord over certain fixtures, improvements and betterments, based on whether they were installed by the landlord or by the tenant, or based on the precise nature of the item.

In the event of a fire, explosion or other catastrophic loss, it can be extremely difficult to determine which items of property were: (1) part of the building's core and shell; (2) part of the improvements and betterments and the like owned by the landlord under the terms of the lease; or (3) part of the property owned by the tenant under the terms of the lease. In addition to the question of ownership over those items, the lease language may specify whether the landlord is contractually required to pay for the replacement of any damaged or destroyed property.

The lease may also address the question of which party is responsible for insuring the improvements and betterments. A lease may require the tenant to insure all improvements and betterments and personal property owned by the tenant. Or it may require only that the tenant insure furniture, equipment and other personal property. Or it may require the tenant to insure only those improvements and betterments or other personal property installed by the tenant. The lease may also specify which property the landlord agrees to insure.

In short, one must closely review any lease at issue to determine: (1) which party owns a given item of property within the leased premises; (2) whether the landlord is required to replace any damaged or destroyed property within the leased premises; and (3) which party was obligated to obtain insurance for a given item of property. Ideally, the lease language will address these issues consistently, so that the line drawn between property "owned" by the landlord or the tenant mirrors the line drawn between the property to be insured by one party or the other. The language is not always consistent or clear, however, which may add further complications in sorting through the parties' respective rights and obligations.

What Do the Policies Say?
A tenant lease is a contract, which governs the rights and obligations between landlord and tenant. In the event of a loss involving the property within the leased premises, another set of contracts will come into play: the landlord's property insurance policy; and the tenant's property insurance policy. The language of those policies with respect to coverage for property within the leased premises may be inconsistent from one policy to the other, and may also be inconsistent with the rights and obligations stated in the lease. Inconsistencies within and between the various contracts can create considerable uncertainty regarding which party is economically responsible for the damage or destruction of property within leased premises.

In a tenant's insurance policy, the scope of coverage for tenant improvements will typically be addressed by the general definition of "personal property" and any specific provisions that relate to coverage for tenant improvements and betterments, furniture, fixtures and equipment and the like. For example, a tenant's policy may explicitly state that personal property includes improvements and betterments installed in any premises owned, leased or occupied by the insured. Absent such an explicit provision, a general definition of personal property may refer to property owned by or in the possession of the insured.

If a tenant's lease states that all improvements and betterments are solely owned by the landlord, the tenant may be unable to demonstrate any ownership interest

in such property and the insurer may take the position that the property is therefore not covered. The tenant may argue that it was in possession of the property and had an insurable "use interest" in the property, and therefore the property was insured despite a lack of ownership. In some jurisdictions, case law may support that argument. For example, under New York law, an insurable interest in property typically includes "any lawful and substantial economic interest in the safety or preservation of property from loss, destruction, or pecuniary damage." Sigola Mfg., Inc. v. Dairyland Ins. Co., 124 A.D.2d 654, 654 (N.Y. App. Div. 1986). Where a tenant agreed in its lease to insure the premises, this argument is even stronger under New York law. Id.

In a policy issued to a landlord, the definition of "personal property" may explicitly include tenant improvements and betterments and the like within premises owned by the landlord and leased to others. Or a landlord's policy may explicitly state that the only improvements and betterments that are covered are those located within property occupied by the landlord. In that case, the insurer may argue that even if a lease between the landlord and the tenant states that the landlord owns the improvements and betterments, those items are not covered property since they are located in premises not occupied by the insured landlord.

Understanding how each policy defines personal property and whether such definitions conflict will be important in determining whether an insurer is responsible for the cost to replace or repair damaged property (or for the actual cash value of such property). This analysis can be further complicated when one or more policies at issue contains an "Other Insurance" provision that makes coverage contingent on the availability of other insurance, an issue discussed below.

What do the Policies Say About Each Other?
Many property insurance policies contain an "other insurance" provision. The language of such provisions varies, but typically they are designed to establish a requirement that in the event of a loss, any other applicable policy must respond first. In concept, a policy containing such a clause would only respond to the extent the "other insurance" was insufficient to cover the entire loss. Not surprisingly, a landlord's policy and tenant's policy may both contain such "other insurance" provisions. The case law in each jurisdiction will be significant in determining how to resolve competing "other insurance" clauses. For example, in Texas, when the "other insurance" provisions conflict, both the tenant's insurer and the landlord's insurer must share the costs. Travelers Lloyds Ins. Co. v. Pacific Employers Ins. Co., 602 F.3d 677 (5th Cir. 2010).

It is possible that both the landlord's policy and the tenant's policy explicitly provide coverage for some of the same property within the leased premises. In that circumstance, the insurers should explore whether it is appropriate to share in the cost of replacing or repairing the property at issue, either due to competing "other insurance" provisions or simply as a reasonable approach to resolving all claims.

Insurers should also be aware of the possibility of a multiple recovery for the same property, with one insurer paying the landlord the full replacement cost for the property and the other insurer paying an actual cash value claim to the tenant for the same property. Further complicating this scenario is the fact that landlords often provide cash up front at the start of a lease term for the tenant to use to fit out the premises. That up front sum is typically added to the monthly lease amount, spread out over the life of the lease. As a result, where property is damaged near the end of a lease term, the landlord may have already been repaid for the original cost to install the improvements, and then be paid again by the insurer for the cost to replace the improvements, with the tenant receiving a separate payment from its insurer for the same property.

Parties should be cognizant of any applicable case law related to these issues to determine whether such multiple or overlapping recoveries are allowed. For example, in New York there is case law supporting the argument that an insurer's contractual payment obligations to the insured cannot be offset by a recovery provided for by another policy. Foley v. Manufacturers & Builders' Fire Insurance Co. of New York, 46 N.E. 318 (N.Y. App. Div. 1897); Alexandra Restaurant, Inc. v. New Hampshire Ins. Co. of Manchester, 272 A.D. 346 (N.Y. App. Div. 1947).

In the event of a catastrophic loss involving property within leased premises, insurers, tenants and landlords should carefully review the applicable language in all leases and policies involved and consider the potential for conflicting terms. Particularly where disputes arise, the parties should consider any jurisdiction-specific case law that may clarify their rights and duties. Ultimately, an understanding of how the provisions of the policies and the lease fit together (or fail to fit together) will be essential in determining where each party's obligations begin and end.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Article provided courtesy of