Monday, January 14, 2013

IMPORTANT! Landlord bill hearing on Tuesday Jan 15th

2013 Legislative Update #1
Provided as a courtesy to our members from Nick Norman, Director RPOA, Legislative Affairs
Landlord bill hearing on Tuesday Jan 15th

We need you to attend; more landlord bills on the way

Howdee everyone,

The 2013 legislative season has begun and started with 820 LSR’s (proposed bills).

The legislative offices have been slow this year to get bills converted from LSR (proposal) to actual bill language. Of the 47 LSRs we have already identified as potentially affecting our real estate business only 9 have actual bill text so far. Being we’re at mid January this seems very slow. (5 were withdrawn).

What that means is we are likely to be flooded with the newly released bills over the next few days. So please get ready to be active emailing and calling your legislators. It might be challenging at first to keep up with the volume.

This week:
HB106: Lease Charges In Demand For Rent, Eviction Liquidated Damages, Agent Registration
DATE  & TIME: 01/15/2013 at 01:00 PM
Location: Legislative Office Building (LOB) RM 208

Please email, call legislators and attend the hearing to support the bill. See more detail below.

Mark Warden
Phone: 603-391-2888

Joseph Pitre
Phone: (603)755-2447

Donald Lebrun
Phone: (603)886-1725

Laura Jones
Phone: (603)948-2264

AnchorEmail the Judiciary COMMITTEE:

Next week:
Still waiting for bills to be released and scheduled.

Full details on HB106

Love & Light,
Nick Norman
RPOA Director of Legislative Affairs

Full detail on HB106
Bill Name: Lease Charges In Demand For Rent~Eviction Liquidated Damages ~ Agent Registration
Property Owners Position: FOR
Level of Response: Email, Call Legislators, Attend hearing

1. Allow Demand For Rent to include any unpaid financial obligation per the lease agreement
2. Increase Eviction Liquidated Damages from $15 to $160
3. Repeal town landlord-agent registration

Landlord Talking Points:
1. Presently a landlord can only include in a Demand for Rent that is due. No other charges can be included in the amount demanded. If the tenant owes, pursuant to the lease, late fees, utility bills, a fee for a bounced check, reimbursement for damages, the landlord cannot include these in the amount demanded. If the tenant pays the amount stated in the Demand for Rent plus, under current law $15.00, the tenant will defeat the eviction action and be allowed to stay even though the tenant has not paid their other financial obligations per the lease.

One dollar of rent is the same as one dollar of a utility payment to a landlord. Why should non-payment of “rent” be treated different than non-payment of any other financial obligation of the tenant?

The Lease Agreement clearly identifies the amount of the rent, late fees, utility charges, etc. Failure of the tenant to pay any one or all of these items results in a financial loss to the landlord.

If a tenant pays their rent and does not pay for their heat, electricity, water… Is justice served?

This is further confused by attempting to separate 7 day notice requirements and 30 day notice requirements.
Under current law a landlord must give a tenant 30 days notice for a breach of a material term of the lease, such as non-payment of utilities.

To evict for both non-payment of rent and utilities a landlord either has to serve a 30 day notice at the same time as the 7 days notice, or serve the 30 days notice just after the tenant pays all arrears within the 7 day period. This is expensive and totally confusing.

This is even worse in the case of a tenant who has agreed to pay their own heat & electric but is not doing so. If it is winter, the landlord may have to pay the tenant’s electric and heat just to keep the property from freezing.
The required 30 day eviction (for non-payment of utilities) would not force the tenant to pay up until probably 9 to 12 weeks (if the tenant requests a court hearing).

How much simpler is this?
If HB 106 becomes law, a landlord can demand all charges owed by a tenant, that the tenant agreed to pay when entering into the lease agreement, on a single 7 day Eviction.

2.The $15 fee for service of the Eviction Notice has not changed since at least 1985, 28 years ago. The actual costs of preparing the document, even using the forms on the internet, and serving the forms including travel, far exceeds the $15. (Our time is valuable and we deserve to be paid for this if we do not hire others to prepare the forms for us and serve them.)

Further, if a landlord does not hire an attorney and does not account for their time , the cost of filing a landlord-tenant writ at the district court is $101 and the cost to have the Sheriff serve the notice is typically around $60 (Sheriff fees are variable based on the number of names served and the travel time from the Sheriff’s office). $160 is a minimum number that would cover out of pocket expenses for a typical eviction.

3.The third provision of the bill would simply eliminate the requirement that owners of restricted residential property register with the city or town clerks, naming a person for service of process.

Obviously the towns already know who to serve because they bill us for the property taxes.

Further, RSA 540:1-b is unnecessary because all real estate transfers in the State of NH are reported to the State and the municipalities have access to this information. If they can collect taxes than they should be able to serve legal notices. If they cannot collect taxes, than they have the power to lien the property…

The record keeping for RSA 540:1-b is cumbersome & useless for the local towns and we have heard representatives from town governments saying they don’t want it.

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