The Most Impactful
2023 Legal Updates

Key Takeaways

  • Importance of Compliance: Understanding and adhering to new legal updates is crucial for landlords to ensure compliance and avoid legal pitfalls.
  • Proactive Communication: Effective communication with tenants, especially regarding changes in lease terms or property standards due to legal updates, is essential for maintaining positive landlord-tenant relationships.
  • Utilizing Resources: Leverage available resources such as tenant screening services, legal blogs, and webinars to stay informed and effectively implement new legal requirements.
  • Handling Tenant Screening and Reports: Familiarize yourself with the guidelines on tenant screening and the use of portable screening reports to make informed decisions while respecting tenant rights.
  • Pet Management Policies: Understand the implications of new laws regarding pet management, including how to handle pets during evictions and setting pet-related fees.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Be prepared to respond to environmental public health emergencies by understanding your responsibilities for maintaining habitability and providing alternative housing if necessary.
  • Engaging with the Community: Participate in landlord communities and forums to share experiences, seek advice, and stay updated on best practices and regulatory changes.
  • Feedback and Continual Learning: Embrace feedback from tenants and legal experts to refine practices and policies, ensuring they align with current laws and tenant expectations.

Transcript

Krista Reuther:

Hello, hello. We are officially kicking off the most important legal updates of 2023. So a couple of notes here at the jump. We are recording the session for you as we record most of our sessions and we will send you a copy of both the deck and the recording within two business days of this presentation. So keep an eye on your inboxes for that. We have of course the wonderful Samantha Yadav, not Yadav.

If you’ve heard that on the internet, it was a lie. It’s Samantha Yadav. She is our landlord experience specialist. Also waiting in the wings, we have Jeanne. She is a part of our legal team. She’s fantastic. Most of the research here is actually hers.

I cannot take credit for it. So she will be here to answer your questions either in chat or at the end via voice. So you get to hear her lovely voice. And of course we have Jonathan here as well. He is our link maestro. So if there are any resources that you’re curious about or we mention a blog, webinar, etc., that you want more information on and you just can’t wait until we send you this deck, feel free to ask in the chat.

And if we ask nicely enough, he will give us that link. I’m Krista. I am the senior content marketing writer here at TurboTenant, which means I get paid to talk to all of you about the ins and outs of this industry. So of course we are here to talk about the legal aspects today, but feel free to drop any and all questions in the chat or Q &A as we move through. We’ll make sure to have a Q &A section at the very end of the presentation, but we’ll also take some pauses in between so that we have a chance to chat because a lot of this presentation is going to be us talking about laws that don’t apply necessarily to your state and then talking through how it could, how you feel about it, what your thoughts are. So without further ado, let’s rumble right in.

Samantha Yadav:

So to kick you off, we have a poll to get started. This is going to help us understand a little bit more about who is in the audience today watching our webinar.

It also helps us just collect some demographics on who likes to see our content. So we would appreciate if you take a couple minutes to let us know how many years you have experience as a landlord, how many rentals you own or manage, if you’ve attended an event before, and if you have a TurboTenant account. Beautiful.

Krista Reuther:

Very excited about today’s presentation. One, because of course I get to chat with all of you, but also because we have a lot of folks in the room with well-informed opinions on various aspects of rental property management. So of course, we have Jeanne from our legal team who I mentioned earlier. She’ll have her time to shine. But Samantha also has a wealth of rental property management experience, which I like to brag about at the start of these things. Samantha, do you want to color the context of your experience with multifamily property management?

Samantha Yadav:

Yeah, so I was a multifamily property manager for just about a decade in North and South Carolina, as well as here in Colorado. I’ve worked for a few big management companies and my portfolios ranged from 250 doors up to like 1500 at one time. So I’ve seen it all, I’ve heard it all, and I’m excited to share stories and hear stories and just make better landlords. Absolutely.

Krista Reuther:

Couldn’t have set up better myself. All right, here we go. So for a sense of who’s in the room, it is quite mixed. In fact, probably more mixed than we usually see in webinars, which is very exciting. We have something for all of you, so stay tuned in. And of course, looking at smaller portfolios for now, but we’ll still have stuff for you big guys.

In fact, there are a couple of laws that are specific to you that we will touch on. And some of you are celebrating your very first TurboTenant event, but we have way more folks who have attended before. Thank you for coming back. Glad we didn’t scare you off. We are here and freshly in Blazers just to chat through everything with you today. So let’s start with what you should take away from the day.

Samantha Yadav:

All right, so here are some key takeaways. The first is that laws passed in other states can end up impacting your rental property business. So even if it’s a law that is enacted in another state, it’s important to know what’s going on because that could impact your business. It’s also important to invest your time in staying up to date on the latest legislation at the very minimum on the local level where your rentals are located. And then finally, we’re reporting on the most current research that is conducted by our legal team and all of the laws that we are going to discuss have been passed. Of course, we do have the chat in the Q&A available for you, but this is what we’re going to focus on. Beautiful.

Krista Reuther:

And of course, if you want to start your research into your local landlord-tenant laws, we do have pages that can help you with that. We’ve linked it out here. So once you get the deck, feel free to click into our landlord-tenant law pages. Now, I will say this is a good starting place. I fully endorse the resources that we’ve put there, but I also want you to know that to do your due diligence, you want to make sure you’re also looking at governmental pages. So often our pages link out to different government sites so that you can get the most up-to-date information for your locality specifically, but make sure you’re taking that extra step just in case things update or there’s something on the books that haven’t passed yet and you want to have your opinion in the mix.

That’s the best way to stay informed is to keep your thumb on the pulse. So in terms of today, we are there are so many different legislative sessions across the United States. It would have been impossible for us to go through every single state in an hour and all of the legal updates that have been proposed that have passed. So that’s why we are focusing on laws that have passed. And specifically, we’re focusing on these sections that I have listed on the screen. So we have chunked out the laws that we’ll discuss today based on these sections and where they fall. But of course, put your messages, comments, questions in the chat as we move through.

We’ve built in pause breaks so that we can chat through all of this because really it is going to be a big discussion today. One last plug for doing your research since it will come up. If you need help, let’s say you’re not as familiar with how to get the best results from Google that say, okay, we are here to assist to research your local laws after this presentation. Google the name of your city or locality where your rentals are located along with the phrase landlord-tenant laws and dot gov. That should point you to a government page that can give you the most up to date information in your area.

All right. So if you’re a really good guesser or you know you read the screen before, you’ll know we’re starting off with tenant screening. Now this is of course one of the most crucial parts of the rental management process because this is how you best protect your investment and find someone who’s going to pay your monthly rent. So, it’s going to be interesting to see what laws have passed recently that could be impacting your business. All right.

The very first one we’re going to discuss comes to us from my home state Colorado. And it is about portable screening reports. So inherently, applicants are going to be able to reuse a screening report that was pulled within the last 30 days. If it comes from a reputable screening report service, they can’t just put something together in a Word document and give it to you. So it does have to come from an actual service and you must disclose this right to reuse their report.

If they choose to use a portable screening report, they cannot be charged an application fee. So, that is something that is going to change here in Colorado. Now, I also believe that this is already enacted in New York, but otherwise I believe it’s pretty much a newer concept in the game.

Jeanne, feel free to chime in if I’m incorrect on that, but I’m pretty confident. What does this mean? Well, it means that when a tenant has their screening report, they’re going to be giving it to you. You can still review it. You can still look at it with the same lens that you would any other screening report that you had run personally. Just make sure that it is actually from within the last 30 days, if you are in Colorado, because otherwise, you know, if it’s outside of that time period, you can ask them for a new one and then, you know, a port, excuse me, an application fee could be charged at that point.

You could review the new screening report and they would then be able to use that new one for the next 30 days. Interesting stuff, right? So tell us, well, we’ll get to more of the discussion in the chat, but bear in mind as we go through these. I’d love to know if the law already exists in your state. Remind us where you’re tuning in from and any other thoughts you have, like if you hear this portable screening report law and it makes you a little nauseous or a little anxious. Tell us in the chat.

You’re probably not the only one feeling that way. All right. A couple more notes on the portable screening report. So, in order to protect the landlord, the applicant must give a statement that no material change has been made to the report. So, if their name, address, bankruptcy status, eviction history, or criminal history has changed in the last 30 days, they have to pull a new report. They cannot reuse a screening report, even if it’s within the 30-day time period, if this kind of crucial information has changed. So that’s very important to note. All right. So landlords, how would you feel about tenants in your state or locality being allowed to reuse screening reports? Is that something that you’ve dealt with before? We have a poll going now we would love to know.

And then tell us in the chat too. Samantha, I know that this was not on the books in North Carolina when you were running tenant screening, but do you have any thoughts about this one? Yeah.

Samantha Yadav:

So this is actually a question that we asked. We have a Facebook group for TurboTenant landlords. It’s called Better Landlords, and I just dropped the link there in the chat.

But we were just talking about this in that group. How do landlords feel about having portable screening reports or having a tenant bring you a report and saying, here’s my report, I want you to use this. And overall, a lot of landlords are not into it. There’s a lot of ways that you can fake a lot of information.

We know that fake pay stubs are a big thing that we’ve dealt with before. So it’s important, as you mentioned in that other slide, to verify that the information hasn’t changed, to have that confirmation from the tenant and to see that date from a reputable screening provider as well. But if you wanted to join in on the conversation that we’re having in the Facebook group with other landlords, that link is available in the chat.

And I see that some people are commenting in the chat too. So if we want to read through those that looks like in Montana, you can use a portable screening report or as long as it’s rep, rep readable, like from TransUnion. Let’s see CJ is saying rentals are all but one in Arizona. Haven’t heard of this. Does anybody else have rentals in Arizona?

So chime in if you are in Arizona landlord. Let’s see. What’s the chance of people altering their screening report?

That’s a good question. It is a concern and that’s why it’s important to look at that information, not just on the screening report but the verification from the tenant, the authorization signature, and all those fun things that we need to collect with the application.

Krista Reuther:

Yeah, absolutely. And if I can say that’s why the tenant screening report is a really important factor of your whole process. It shouldn’t be the only factor. You know, request more information. Talk with their former landlord if possible. If you need any tips or questions that you can ask their former landlord, we do have a blog on that very subject for you.

So maybe if we ask nicely and cross our fingers and turn around three times, Jonathan will drop the link when he gets a chance to that blog. Otherwise, it looks like most of y’all are opposed to this law, which makes sense. I know that there is a huge fear of fraud and as Samantha mentioned, fake pay stubs abound. It can be very easy to fake a pay stub and very quick. So to combat this, if this were to come onto your ballot, one of course, civic discourse, you could talk with your representatives.

But let’s say you wake up tomorrow, you missed all the conversations in its past. What I would advise you do is revisit your tenant screening policy, make sure that you know the reputable screening report companies that are out there, the different service providers. You don’t have to know every single one. But if you know enough of them, then especially the most common ones, you’ll be able to see at a glance when a screening report belongs to that company. And also remember to do your due diligence and explore all of the avenues that come with the screening process, such as checking in on their former landlord and seeing how they were as a tenant then. Anything you would add, Samantha?

Samantha Yadav:

Yeah, so Jeanne has chimed in the chat to let us know the major credit reporting agencies are trans union, Experian and Equifax, and has also let us know that the applicant, there was some comment about not being able to download the report. So the applicant is allowed to upload their report and send to the landlord. That is allowable. Let’s see if there’s anything else in the chat here. Yeah, so it looks like we’ve got a lot of a lot of opinions going on in the chat about the screening report.

Krista Reuther:

Yeah, totally fair. Feel free to keep chatting through it as we scoot on to our next section, unless there are any final questions up there.

Samantha Yadav:

I would just note that if this is not a law in your area and it’s something that you want to keep an eye on, you can always contact your local representatives to let them know that’s not something you’re open to and have your voice heard participate in local landlord groups that work with the legislation and the legislative teams so that you can maybe not have it on the books, but definitely a good idea to keep a close on what’s happening in your own area. Absolutely.

Krista Reuther:

So let’s talk about another hot subject, which is of course animals in rentals. Now we’ve seen quite a few laws pass this legislative session about animals, starting off of course in Colorado. Now, before we go any further, let me tell you, I did not specifically pick on Colorado just because I’m here and I have a lot of state pride. Instead, Colorado was just popping off in this legislative session. We had a lot of different laws proposed. And so that is why you’ll see so much of us represented here. But of course we have other states are going to cover as well.

So just bear that in mind. Back to my hometown. So, pet ownership has been a huge subject that we’ve talked about both in terms of Turbo tenant events and largely in the industry. There’s a lot of back and forth on whether or not people should allow pets, what kind of fees they should charge damages how to deal with that, etc, etc. So, in this latest legislative session, Colorado decided that Colorado landlords cannot charge more than $300 for pet security deposits. And this pet security deposit must be refundable. So you treat it similarly to a regular security deposit and so far as if there are damages, you would provide an itemized receipt of the cost and withdraw that from the security deposit itself, returning whatever is left over. However, with with pet security deposits, you have to use those on pet damage pet issues things that were caused by the pet. You would not be able to, for example, say, oh, the wall in here has a huge dent, but it’s, you know, I level that couldn’t have been your dog Fido, but I’m going to take money from the pet security deposit to fix it. No, go, that’s not allowed.

Don’t do that. Only use the pet security deposit for pet issues. In line with this new law, landlords in Colorado can’t charge more than $35 or 1.5% of rent crop rent cost for additional pet rent. So you’re still allowed to charge a monthly rent for the pet or pets, but it is a cap on that amount. And which this last part might be your favorite, depending on what you’ve struggled with with different pets, but your landlord insuring insurance carrier cannot deny you a policy based on a tenant’s animal type. Unless of course it’s known to be or declared to be a dangerous animal, but that gets rid of redistrictions. So if your tenant has a pit bull, your insurance carrier cannot deny you coverage based on it being a pit bull. If your tenant has a murderous parrot who has killed three men, then they could say, yeah, unfortunately that is a dangerous animal and we are not providing coverage based on that.

But how many murders parrots do you really know, you know, just one, that’s one. That’s all you need. Okay, extending on this so that’s the pet ownership piece and there are also additional rules regarding pets and evictions. So specifically in Colorado, when there’s the fiction, all and any pets must be returned to the tenants. It feels a little bit like common knowledge and common sense. But obviously since it’s become a lot there have been enough questions and situations that it was not common sense.

So, here we are. If the tenant isn’t there for some reason, if they’ve abandoned the property or something has happened that they are not present. Then you can call local animal control to collect any animals left on property. And you must there is no way that you can just leave an animal on the property that is inherently what this portion of the law is saying. When you call animal control you must pass along the tenant’s name and information so that they can reach out and reunite the pet with its owner. And of course, then you have to actually let people know so you have to post that the animals were taken to this specific facility, probably put out the address and phone number. Make it as easy as possible for your tenant to recover their pet. One, it’s just a good thing to do to that avoids issues for you down the line. And lastly, probably the most important point in no event will animals be left unattended on the property during a physical eviction. So, when the eviction is happening. The animals just cannot be left there on their own.

Not doable, probably not safe depending on the animal. So, it’s a no go for Colorado landlords from no one. All right. So all of that being said that’s where Colorado is at, but let’s take a look at more pet protections in cases of evictions on the other side of the country. Specifically, we’re looking at Maryland, if you’re not up to date on your state abbreviations. Don’t worry about it.

But a lot of the same themes are going carrying on here. Basically, you need to have a fact sheet on how to take care of their pets in the event of an eviction. And law enforcement officers must return any pets to either the tenant or take them to an animal shelter so no abandoning pets on the property in any way.

That is just not going to be allowed similarly to how it’s not allowed in Colorado. So common themes like I said, information spreading and taking care of the actual animal making sure that they are not abandoned on the property. That’s good for the animal, of course, because then that minimizes the likelihood that they’ll get hurt, but it’s also good for you, particularly because you know sometimes when animals are left by themselves, especially in that kind of stressful environment, there can be property damage or other things that go wrong.

So this kind of protection while adding another step to the already long eviction process is one that feels more in line with taking care of both the landlord and the tenant. Although, of course, I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts. Still in Maryland, which also had a heyday for animals. We’re going to talk briefly about service dogs. So if you are new to the term a service dog is specifically a dog that is providing a service for those who are disabled. So typically like a seeing eye dog or a dog who can sense seizures and help anyone with epilepsy, things of that nature. This is separate from an emotional support animal.

Okay. So specifically we’re talking about dogs who have animals who have a specific accreditation and have a job to do that is very well defined. And with that said, this lot is really just following in line with the Fair Housing Act, saying once again, you cannot discriminate against people who have a service dog or a guide dog. It’s always interesting to see this kind of law come into play because again it is something that has been laid out in the Fair Housing Act, but there have been enough issues where they have to really underline and say no, you cannot discriminate against these folks just because they have a disability and that requires a service dog or a guide dog. If you have more questions about the difference between a service dog and an emotional support animal, we do of course have a blog on that topic. So check it out because it’s really good to know the nuances, especially during the tenant screening process and tenant management, because it’s always possible that you have a tenant who’s lived in your property for however many months and then they come to you and say, hey, I have a need for an emotional support animal. What do we do? And as a landlord, you need to know what to do next. This blog will help.

So check it out. Otherwise, Virginia is also speaking about service animals, but this time this is a law to protect the landlord specifically. So it prohibits applicants from providing fraudulent supporting documents to prove that they need a service animal.

So if you are in our… Oh, we’ve had quite a few different chats about fair housing and service animals. So if we’ve chatted about this before, you know that there is a huge fear that people are faking their ESA letters. Completely understand why there are definitely services out there where an applicant or a tenant can go in, provide information and get a letter from someone that they’re not actually seeing on a regular basis. However, this kind of law is looking to ban the practice by making sure that any kind of supporting documents that are provided are actually passing the different metrics they need to be considered suitable to prove that this person actually needs the service animal.

Okay. If someone breaks this law, they will be assessed civil penalties. So again, it’s protecting you as the landlord by making sure that people are providing real supporting documents. So hopefully that mitigates some of the fear that you might have had about this, particularly if you live in Virginia. If you don’t, it’s good to know that this kind of law is out there.

I know that Florida similarly in the last couple of years has talked about passing a law or it makes it illegal for applicants to seek out letters from providers who are outside of their state or they have to have a certain number of visits with that provider before they can have an ESA housing letter written on their behalf. So keep your eyes to the skies because this is going to be a constant conversation. Speaking of, got a quick question for you. And also, I’d love to know your gut reaction in the chat. Do you allow pets at your rentals? Yes, no, maybe so.

Samantha Yadav:

Interesting that we ask this. We asked in the key, which is our weekly newsletter. We have a community question every week. And so we asked this a few weeks ago and out of all of the landlords who responded, 47% have no pets at their rentals. They allow zero pets, 47%. And that was a lot larger than I had thought. And then it came back to 29% allowed only dogs and 14% accepted only cats.

And then 8.78% of landlords accept both. So kind of wild to see that it’s all over the place there. And I’m interested to see what our webinar attendees are doing. Absolutely.

Krista Reuther:

So we’ll give you five more seconds here. Trickle on in. Okay. Oh, this is pretty interesting. So looks like the majority of you allow pets, although it’s a pretty even split. Samantha, did you allow pets when you were in property management? Was that something that was permissible?

Samantha Yadav:

Yeah, all of the communities I worked out were pet friendly and there were breed restrictions, which are, you know, the industry standard applied breed restrictions and weight limits that you have in multifamily housing.

So lots of pets, lots of dogs, lots of emotional support animals. I see somebody in the chat mentioned that fake letters for ESA or rampant in Texas. So would be excited to see that law pass in Texas. So right to your legislators.

Krista Reuther:

Yes, right in call in, let them know that this is something that matters to you because they do take note. And who knows, you could maybe impact change. Are there any other questions or thoughts that we should cover in the chat about animals before we move on to tenant management?

Samantha Yadav:

Yeah, so someone was asking, is there a cost to have a pet specialist come get the pet? So I’m assuming this is in the eviction scenario when you’re calling animal control. I wouldn’t be okay doing this by myself with a dog that may see unfriendly or bitter. And then a second question to follow up that, is there a cost or if there is a cost, can that be charged back to the pet owner?

I have called animal control before to collect abandoned animals on property and there was not a charge to do that. It was a handful of years ago, though, here in Colorado. So that may have changed. And my gut would be that, yes, you could charge the tenant back because it’s part of their eviction proceedings. You can put that in your charges, but I’m not sure if Chris or Jeanne have anything else to add there.

Samantha Yadav:

I was going to agree with you that while in the Colorado law, there’s no specific language that says you can’t do this. I would definitely do it. Sometimes when they’re printing the law into the statutes, they’ll kind of start defining things or years from now, they’ll do some cleanup language, things that haven’t been well defined, and that could change, but nothing in there now. And definitely like animal controls, they do not the county, they do not charge. So that would be a great resource.

Krista Reuther:

Well said. I will chime in and say a couple of things. One, I believe most of the time there is a fee when the person goes to reclaim their animal from animal services, but I don’t believe there’s a fee to call them. So if that’s the case, you call your tenant’s animal gets taken to that provider’s office, and then the tenant pays when they collect their animal. If that’s not the case, where you live, you’ve got a, well, at least one option, which would be, I would make sure that there’s language in your lease, either in the original lease itself, or if you have to write up an addendum that explains what would happen if you did have to call animal control.

Namely, that you would call them and that any of the fees that would be in crude would be the responsibility of the tenant, not you, because then you have in writing, hopefully you never need to use that information, but at least then you have it. Heck yeah. All right. One more time, any questions here before we scooch along? We look good.

Beautiful. Okay, let’s talk about tenant management. So, we are staying in Virginia for a hot second here, and larger landlords, this is a law that I think you should specifically pay attention to. If you have multifamily properties. So, basically, if you have a multifamily property and you fail to renew either 20 or more month-to-month leases, or 50% of the month-to-month tendencies within a consecutive 30 day period in the same building, then you have to provide a written notice for each tenant, at least 60 days prior to their tendencies expiration.

So what does that mean? Basically, if a lot of people are not renewing, and in fact, it’s very specific to month to month tendencies, if a lot of your month to month tendencies are not renewing, then you have to let folks know at least 60 days ahead of time, their tendency is expiring. But this is not going to hold true if you have tenants who fail to pay rent. Okay, so if you have someone who is not paying rent. And so they are not renewing their lease or otherwise you’re starting to move in a different direction maybe you’re going through the eviction process. This doesn’t grant them any additional notice. This is strictly for people who are falling into one of these two categories.

And it’s also quite specifically the greater of either of them. So if you have 50% of the month-to-month tendencies within 30 days, failing to renew, let’s say that that adds up to 60 of your month-to-month tendencies, then you’re in a tough spot. That is where you have to actually give people noticed at least 60 days prior so that you can maintain your tendency levels. It’s kind of funky. But that’s what Virginia has going on there at the moment.

All right. In a different realm of tenant management, we need to talk about the habit habitability of residential premises. So we are back in Colorado, like I said we had a very pop-in legislative session. And this law aims to tackle environmental public health issues. So specifically if there is a condition that springs up due to environmental public health, then your tenant has to let you know that this uninhabitable condition has happened. And you have 24 hours as a Colorado landlord to respond. You have to let them know the timeline to fix the problem and the plan for remediation.

So it really requires you to be on your toes and be proactive about taking care of this issue. In the event that an environmental public health issue would make the rental inaccessible. Then you have 72 hours to respond to your tenant after receiving notice.

Okay, so slightly different notification periods. At that point you have to remediate the property at your expense. You also have to provide alternative housing during the remediation period. So that’s very important. You can’t just push them out and say, yeah, I know that this issue happened, but go find housing. No, it’s going to be your responsibility as a Colorado landlord. There’s some additional thoughts on this as well. It’s a pretty beefy law.

So you have to let your tenants have a copy of any documentation that demonstrates your compliance with applicable standards from the American National Standards Institute, which is a fancy way of saying you have to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a line, your T’s crossed your eyes dotted so that you can say yes, this rental lives up to standards and here are the standards that it lives up to. So that’s a good thing to do. You have to of course make sure that the premise is good for them to move back into before they take that step. So if something has happened, they had to move out, you can’t just blindly shove them back in, you’ve got to make sure that it is good to go before you have to move back in.

And perhaps the most important part of this law, if your rental is uninhabitable after the event, your tenant has the right to terminate the lease if you as a landlord haven’t been able to remediate the premises within 60 days of receiving their notice, and they give you notice of these uninhabitable conditions, and you can’t provide adequate housing. So that’s why I said you can’t just shove them out into the street you really have to work with them through every step. Keep them as informed as you are, and you’ll mitigate this issue you won’t hopefully run into it.

However, if it does play out this way they will be able to terminate the lease with no penalty. Also, it’s very important to note that making your insurance claim for damages caused by the environmental public health event is not considered evidence of remediation. So that’s something that you have to do. But it is not going to serve the purposes of this law this would not qualify as you making steps toward what you have to do in this case. Okay. It’s a pretty complicated one so I know we will likely have some thoughts. The good news is I have a question just right here, asking if your property has ever been found uninhabitable.

Samantha Yadav:

And Jeanne did share in the chat that examples of environmental public health events would be something like a wildfire flooding or toxic chemical spill. So probably not going to impact us or affect us frequently, but it is obviously a big deal when it does impact or affect your rentals. Absolutely.

Krista Reuther:

Thank you for those examples Jeanne. Of course. It’s just so scary to think that something can happen like a wildfire. And when you might be stressed as a landlord thinking okay what’s going on, you have to still be very on the ball, which is why it pays to know about these laws ahead of time so that you can understand okay. This night might not be in place in my state, but there’s this understanding of having this tight timeline being in constant communication, and that’s something that you could carry over into natural disasters in your own area, hopefully they won’t happen but you can carry over that information and better serve your tenants, even though it’s not along your state.

Samantha Yadav:

Alison in the chat is asking in this kind of event, who would be the party to issue the a and si compliance documentation, where does that come from? Hmm. It’s a good question, Jeanne. Do you know?

Jeanne Sanford:

I’m looking at the law I believe they did state the agency so let me find that and I’ll put it in the chat. So, thank you.

Krista Reuther:

Okay, and it looks like most of our attendees here have not had an uninhabitable property event but we do have 12% of you who have. So if you feel comfortable sharing what that looked like the remediation process. Any kind of thoughts or feelings you had associated with it.

That’d be really valuable for your fellow landlords. So feel free, but if you’re like, nope, it was horrible and never want to talk to about it again. That’s okay.

We are not here to traumatize you. But we are here to talk about money now. That’s the next subject of course. Oftentimes our favorite subject when it comes to the rental property game, rent and financials. What are people doing across the nation in terms of laws here. Bopping right back over to Maryland.

This law is going to basically require landlords to provide a notice of rent increase. Any other way that is not electronically. So specifically they call out sending that notice by certified mail. If you choose not to do that. If you elect a text or email the notice, you can, you have to obtain proof of the delivery, but you cannot make the tenant accept the rent increase. So, but don’t do that. Don’t do that to yourself if you need to increase the rent. Go ahead and provide at least 60 or excuse me 90 days notice for leases of one month or more. So 90 days notice do it by certified mail. Do not send a text do not send an email. If you text or email, they do not have to accept the rent increase and you will get yourself in a sticky situation.

So, don’t do that. You could of course, use an electronic notice in conjunction with the certified mail, certified mail notice. However, do you really want to add an extra step. You’ve got to really think if that makes sense for your business or if there’s some kind of documentation need that you have there. Otherwise, just stick to certified mail they have to sign off on it you have proof that it was sent out. You’ve done your due diligence at that point.

Okay. Hey look Florida. So Florida had a couple of laws during this legislative session but nothing you would expect necessarily at the scope, given how big they are and how active their political scene is. But this particular act is very much in favor of the landlord in so far as it is basically prohibiting local governments to adopt or maintain any laws rules or ordinances that would impose rent control. So it provides an exception for specific land purposes, but by and large rent control is off the table in Florida due to this law.

Okay. So we do mention here add Valorant tax exemption for portions of property used to provide affordable housing that meets specific requirements. But again, for the mass, the vast majority of Florida landlords.

This means you don’t have to worry about rent control. Interesting stuff. Okay.

And like I said if you have questions keep dropping them in the chat we will have another place to pause here in a moment. And I know we’re going through some some interesting laws with a lot of different aspects to them. In that same thing, let’s head over to Nevada and take a gamble on maintenance and fees. So this law specifically says that your tenant can’t be made to pay any fees for certain repairs, maintenance tax, or other work that you have to do to make sure that your rental is habitable. So, I asked Jeanne what this meant because it’s all legalese. And she was kind enough to explain that the bill provides an exception from the prohibition for any fee or other charge for the performance of repairs maintenance task or other work necessary for a condition caused by a deliberate or negligent act or a commission by the tenant, or the tenant’s guest. So inherently, if your tenant specifically ruin something let’s say that they just like punch a hole in the wall they’ve got so many feelings. They would still be responsible for paying to fix that.

However, if the toilet gurgles its last breath and you have to replace it, as long as that wasn’t caused by the tenant specifically, then that would fall on you as a landlord to replace it. Okay. And one last note on rent increases we’re heading back to Virginia. This might be particularly applicable for those of you with more units rather than fewer or those of you who have multifamily units that are more on the commercial side in terms of size. If you have more than four units, and you are looking to increase rent, then you have to let your tenants know, no less than 60 days before the end of their current lease. So, this law also would give, or excuse me, another law in conjunction with this one would give Virginia landlords an extra 15 days to provide their tenants with itemized damages and cost of repairs after move out. So that’s a small win a little bit more time to go through itemize any kinds of damages, take that out of the security deposit and pass that information along. But very important here and with the rest of these laws a big theme is good communication.

Keep that in mind as you look at laws in your own state and ways that you can implement some of these ideas into your business practice, if you choose to. Okay. Okay. I have said a lot of words. I see 88 comments in the chat. What questions are out there.

Samantha Yadav:

Yeah, a lot of these are actually just chatting so I’m not going to read through all 88 of them. So, I’m not going to read them, but to answer Allison’s question that we had a little while ago in this kind of event, who would be the party to issue the a and s i compliance documentation. Jeanne has let us know down here in the chat compliance standards would come from American National Standards Institute for remediation and cleanup after environmental public health event.

So if you are looking for that specific wording, it is there in the chat, but that is where those compliance standards will come from. Somebody is asking as it relates to the notices being delivered in certified mail. They’d like to know if you can deliver the notice in person or what happens if they don’t sign the certified mail notice.

Krista Reuther:

Yeah, I mean, I would not recommend delivering it in person unless you’re going to have them sign off that they have received it in person. Take a picture. I am echoing advice that Samantha had given about how she used to do this. But when you send this kind of documentation via certified mail. You’ve already done your part. You have put it out there you have the documentation to backup that they have received it or at least that it’s been sent. If they choose not to sign it at that point, then unfortunately that’s their choice. And they would be responsible for the consequences that fall out from that, but you would not be held liable because you’ve already done your portion of trying to communicate the information to them. Anything else to add something to you.

Samantha Yadav:

Yeah, so with my in-person delivery method, which is taking the notice, having somebody sign it taking a picture and giving them the physical notice that was in conjunction with certified mail. It never replaced the certified mail, you always do the certified mail first and then anything else you do on top of that is just going the extra mile to try to communicate with your tenants.

But the certified mail is what’s important again you’ve got a receipt you’ve got a timestamp you’ve got attempted delivery and as Christa mentioned if they don’t sign that is not on you. Let’s see. And that was for Maryland correct. The certified mail.

Krista Reuther:

I believe so I’m double-checking the slides now but yes. Yep, it’s Maryland.

Samantha Yadav:

Perfect. It looks like one of these Marissa said is already along Nevada didn’t specify which though so let’s see can you deliver notices through TurboTenant you can share documents on TurboTenant you can send electronic signature requests via TurboTenant, but that should not replace the certified mail either.

Krista Reuther:

Yes, specifically in Maryland because they made sure to say in the language of the law that any kind of digital or electronic notification is not something that your tenant has to abide by in so far as rent increases go. So, still a great service still love turbo tenant but really you need to lean on certified mail for that one. Yes.

Samantha Yadav:

Let’s see. Oh, so Marissa was clarifying 60 day notice is already a law in Nevada. That’s great. Let’s see if somebody wants more information on the portable credit reporting usage. Where can they go to find more information. Yeah.

Krista Reuther:

Yeah. So if you are just curious about it in general I would Google portable screening report and doing it right now to see what pops up. If you are curious about the law that I mentioned in Colorado, then I would look up the number the legislative number which I’m going to try and drop in the chat. Let’s see here.

Look at me go. So, I have just dropped the actual title portion of the bills that you can look it up if you want to see the language in its entirety. Otherwise, Google portable screening reports to learn more. Yeah.

Samantha Yadav:

Let’s see Lucas has let everybody know that the messaging in TurboTenant allows you to send files and docs within a conversation, and it keeps a record and you can see if they have read the messages. Yes, absolutely. We love these features. But again, in Maryland certified mail still.

Krista Reuther:

Yes, for rent increases certified mail.

Samantha Yadav:

And Jeanne has left a tip in the chat. If you type in the year sometimes it helps you get there quicker so HP 23 dash 1099 HP House bill. That’ll help you find that a little bit faster if you have the year that it was enacted. Beautiful. Awesome. It looks like I am caught up on questions in the chat.

I do see that we’ve had. It looks like 14 landlords already requested to join that Facebook group since we’ve been on today so I’ve just dropped that link back in as well if you want to get in on the conversation. So, thanks for the invitation. You do have to be a turbo tenant landlord and I will check. So don’t try to sneak in there if you don’t have a turbo tenant account, but if you don’t have a turbo tenant account, you should probably just get one.

Krista Reuther:

Yeah, absolutely sign up it’s free. We will help you manage every single part of the landlord journey for a better cost than you’ve probably been paying if you’ve been paying for software. Or for free, if that is what you were looking for. We got options.

Samantha Yadav:

So many options. Let’s see CJ is asking in all states should certified mail be sent for increases.

Krista Reuther:

Ooh, my gut says it’s a good practice because again it covers. It covers you it documents your entire procedure and so far as like you’ve actually sent this out you have the record of that. But Jeanne, what do you think?

Jeanne Sanford:

I definitely think that’s always a good practice, you know having a paper trail I mean it won’t hurt you.

Krista Reuther:

Yeah, better to have it. Mm hmm. Absolutely.

Samantha Yadav:

Janina is asking, could you still increase the rent, even if the tenant didn’t sign. Hmm.

Samantha Yadav:

I think that goes along with if you can show your proof that you tried, then rely on that and just, you know, and then feel free to use a different method posting or if you want to go that extra step that’s all you can do.

Krista Reuther:

So, yes, as long as so specifically talking about Maryland, as long as you didn’t try and inform your tenant of the rent increase by like an electronic means right and you give them the proper notice. Then even if they don’t sign you should be, as you said, well within your rights. However, if you do give them an email and that’s the only way you notify them that this is going to happen, or you don’t give them enough notice at that point, you are not following the law. And so it would probably not be applicable.

Samantha Yadav:

Okay, scrolling back up into the chat I see that Joe had responded to somebody asking a question earlier. So Joe had said to the person asking if they could charge a pet deposit and rent in California. In terms of pet deposit California law stipulates refundable pet deposits can be charged, but the total deposit amount, including the pet deposit can’t exceed two months of rent in total.

This limit increases to three months’ rent for furnished properties. So it all sounds accurate to Eugene. Perfect. Perfect.

Thank you for sharing that Joe. All right, CJ, if they accepted a new lease with an increase in California, can a tenant then deny that they didn’t receive the notice. It sounds silly since they signed but just curious.

Krista Reuther:

I’m going to agree with you on that one. That’s yeah, it’s a little different one.

Samantha Yadav:

Let’s see, how to join TurboTenant. Well, TurboTenant.com is a great way to get your email and we can get you started that way as well. Yeah. If you’ve notified a tenant of a rent increase properly, then the tenant does still not pay the increased amount, but the old amount is the next option to evict. To me, that would be a notice of nonpayment.

Samantha Yadav:

And attendee or whatever the time period is, but there’s usually a time period where they can cure that. And if they don’t, they have to leave. Absolutely.

Samantha Yadav:

And Jonathan, drop that link to get started with TurboTenant if you’re wanting to sign up for that now. Let’s see, is a lease renewal notice 60 days?

Krista Reuther:

Ooh, that’s going to vary based on where you live. So be sure that you’re checking your local landlord-tenant laws. I know that’s an annoying answer to hear. I wish that I knew all of these things offhand. But the issue is that these laws change even from county to county sometimes.

So the best thing for us to do is to point you toward information so you can make sure that you know the rule for where you are, instead of where I am.

Samantha Yadav:

Let’s see. Ernadette, yes. Typically tenants don’t read the renewal of lease agreement with the new increase of fee that happens. Yeah. And that was actually, that’s a question that we had in our, the key last week is do you review the lease agreement with your tenant before they sign it? Especially as we get into electronic signatures, we’re kind of conditioned to scroll past all of the words and just sign, right?

And then move on. That’s not just tenants. That’s also landlords. That’s anybody who has an iPhone is accepting the new updates, right? So if you’re concerned that your tenants aren’t reading the lease, then you could take that first step and just communicate the lease agreement.

You could have a sit down with them to make sure that you’re both on the same page just to encourage that reading and understanding of the lease agreement that you’re both signing into. Thank you. Let’s see, Lucas. Does TurboTenant have a rent increase letter generator in the forms collection? There is a notice of a rent increase in the forms pack for month-to-month lease agreements.

And then all of the forms pack documents are download downloadable, fully customizable, and then of course you can send them for signatures or storage in your TurboTenant account. Let’s see. Marissa, we review the agreement via zoom and record it. I love that idea. I think that is fantastic and a Gold Star for you Marissa.

Krista Reuther:

Yeah, as long as it meets your the recording laws in your state where it’s a two-party consent state so both parties are excuse me one-party consent state so that only one person has to know that you’re recording, or you could just tell them upfront, say hey, going to be recording the session so we know what we said with the questions were asked, then you’re good to go, Golden.

Samantha Yadav:

Okay, I think I’m caught up on the chat.

Krista Reuther:

Okay, well, if any lingering questions come to y’all please feel free to drop them in. Otherwise, we do have one final poll for you. So, just trying to check in to see how we did for you today. Always looking to improve. So let us know in this little chat.

Samantha Yadav:

And we have at the conclusion of our webinar when we end it you’ll get a pop-up for a survey. So that’s going to be a little bit more feedback than just these two to poll questions, but we do read all of the anonymous survey responses.

There are some basic check-the-box questions as well as opportunities for you to type in information. So if you’re able to provide us with feedback, we love it. We love hearing how our presentations are going and how we can improve them for the future. And don’t worry about hurting our feelings because we want to do better for you all so any feedback you have to offer we love to hear it.

Krista Reuther:

Yes, exactly that. We’re also really open to any of your ideas for topics you’d like us to cover so when you see that survey at the very end of this presentation there is a box. Feel free to tell us what you’d like us to chat about next we love doing research. So, let us know.

Samantha Yadav:

And Jonathan passed a link down in the chat for our Academy courses, one of which is the onboarding course where I walk through every single feature of using TurboTenant.

It is self-paced so you get to do it at your own leisure and click on the sections that work for you and of course, there’s a discussion option if you do have questions. You can find that in the Academy tab of your landlord portal, or the link is right there. Beautiful.

Krista Reuther:

Well thank you so much for joining us today we will go ahead and send out this presentation within two business days so keep an eye out. Let us know if you have any feedback and we hope to see you in our Better Landlords Facebook group. Oh wait, I shouldn’t have said by support is asking about a tornado. Oh no. Please. I’m reading. This is a this only for the folks who stayed. Um, tornado.

Samantha Yadav:

I think the question was what do you do if a tornado goes through the rental. That would not be an environmental. That would that fall under the floods and the flooding and the fires. I would think it.

Samantha Yadav:

Yeah, it could but I think the biggest question is the property uninhabitable. I mean, did this damage cause that. And if so, then you have to follow the guidelines to bring your property back up to have it on status. And I am not sure what state you’re in so each state will have different requirements on that. So.

Samantha Yadav:

Yeah, someone saying Colorado, and we did have tornado in Colorado last week. Yeah. In Illinois supports in Illinois. Interesting. If you are in our Facebook group. Feel free to ask in the Facebook group and we’ll get you the answers. Otherwise, you can always email me at [email protected] Thanks so much everyone. We’ll talk to you later.

Presenters

Krista Reuther
Krista Reuther
Senior Content Marketer
Jeanne Sanford
Jeanne Sanford
Senior Paralegal
Samantha Yadav
Samantha Yadav
Landlord Experience Specialist

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