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Providing Landlord Education, Advocacy and Information since 1981

DECEMBER 2013

Clark County Rental Association 5620 Gher Rd., Suite H Vancouver, WA 98662-6166 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

Member of the: Washington Apartment Association 2633-B Parkmount Lane SW, H-7 Olympia, WA 98502 (360)705-0113 • www.waapt.org • waa@cnw.com

Got vacancies?

page 7

When to negotiate on rent page 13

Prevent freezing pipes page 19

L E G I S L AT I O N C O N TA C T S LEGISLATIVE HOTLINE: Governor Jay Inslee-D Office of the Governor PO Box 40002 Olympia, WA 98504-0002 (360) 902-4111 FAX: (360) 753-4110

S E N AT O R S

1-800-562-6000 (Leave a message for your Legislators)

Terry Kohl, Legislative Coordinator tkohl@comcast.net Mark Gjurasic, Lobbyist mgjurasic@comcast.net

R E P R E S E N TAT I V E S

Don Benton-R, 17th District 409 Legislative Bldg. PO Box 40417 Olympia,WA 98504-0417 (360) 786-7632 FAX: (360) 786-1999 benton.don@leg.wa.gov

Monica Stonier-D,17th District 309 John L. O'Brien Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7994 stonier.monica@leg.wa.gov

Paul Harris-R, 17th District 403 John L. O'Brien Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7976 harris.paul@leg.wa.gov

Ann Rivers-R, 18th District 405 Legislative Building PO Box 40418 Olympia, WA 98504-0418 (360) 786-7634 FAX: (360) 786-1999 rivers.ann@leg.wa.gov

Brandon Vick-R, 18th District 469 John L. O'Brien Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7850 vick.brandon@leg.wa.gov

Liz Pike-R, 18th District 122B Legislative Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7812 pike.liz@leg wa.gov

Annette Cleveland-D, 49th District 230 John A. Cherberg Building PO Box 40449 Olympia, WA 98504-0449 (360) 786-7696 cleveland.annette@leg.wa.gov

Sharon Wylie-D, 49th District 417 John L. O'Brien Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7924 wylie.sharon@leg.wa.gov

Jim Moeller-D, 49th District 430 Legislative Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7872 moeller.jim@leg.wa.gov

REMINDER:

THERE WILL BE NO MONTHLY DINNER MEETING THIS MONTH.

See you January 28th.

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ccrawa.org


board minutes

CCRA membership application From the November 5, 2013 meeting of the CCRA Board of Directors The meeting was called to order by President Lyn Ayers Members present: Pat Schaefer, Jeff Gough, Sue Denfeld, Polly & Max Hohnbaum, Quinn Posner, Janine Ayers, Ken Opp and Jackie Maze. Treasurer report was presented, discussed, and approved. Speakers: Max announced that Roy Pyatt will be speaking on Move-Out procedures at the November dinner meeting. A tax expert will be our featured speaker for January on Do’s and Don’ts of Buying Real Estate. WAA President Rob Trickler asked for a copy of our forms be sent to him. WAA wants to review them to see if they are useable as state-wide forms.

Contract Furnishings Mart has scheduled the 2014 BBQ picnic for next June, the last Tuesday of the month. Mark your calendars early! WAA PAC donation at the October meeting was $80.

includes newsletter (Payable initially on a yearly basis). $50 for each additional newsletter mailed to a separate address.

Members are being urged to attend the Trends show for landlords and managers in Seattle in December. The October article will repeat in the November newsletter.

Phone: ........................................................................ Alternate Phone: ..................................................................

It was suggested that phone blast dinner reminder be done in the morning instead of the evening.

❒ New Membership ❒ Renewal ❒ Owner ❒ Manager ❒ Both ❒ Association

New business: WAA wants to present a new website capability to the board called Rent-egration. President Lyn was authorized to coordinate the meeting.

The Board decided to decline selling No Trespassing signs. Jeff Gough will take orders and supply our membership signs that meet state law. Contact him for more information. It was moved and seconded to adjourn. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned.

Ken recommended that both hard copies & soft copies of the newsletter be sent to our legislative members. Jeff provided an update on the Members-Only section of web – similar to the WAA site. It has the

DECEMBER

Respectfully submitted, Janine Ayers CCRA Secretary pro tem

2013

Letter from the President ........................................................................1 Ad Sizes & Rates ........................................................................................2 EPA Tightens Regulations on Lead in Water Pipes ..............................4 Got Vacancies? The Top 4 Reasons Your Rentals Are Empty ..............7 CCRA Calendar ..........................................................................................8 IRS Audits on Landlords............................................................................9 Holiday Fire Safety..................................................................................11 When Should Landlords Negotiate on Rent? ....................................13

ANNUAL DUES: $99

goal of being simple and friendly to use. It is accessible now and will provide access to current and previous copies of the newsletter in a searchable format. Additional enhancements will come later.

There was discussion of additional landlord training sessions. For example, the Oakland, California rental association offers free monthly Landlord basics for new and non-members as an hour and half afternoon session.

Mentor program: Sue exhibited a sample of a new postcard she developed for new members. It provides their mentor’s specific contact information.

Mail to: Clark County Rental Association 5620 Gher Road, Suite H • Vancouver, WA 98662-6166

This month’s features

Property Maintenance Tips & Tricks ....................................................14 Snow Removal on Your Rental Property ............................................15 7 Safety Tips for Landlords ....................................................................16 What Is the Tenant’s Responsibility?....................................................17 Tips to Prevent Freezing Pipes ..............................................................18 CCRA Marketplace ..................................................................................19 Advertiser Directory ..............................................................................20 Member Application ....................................................inside back cover

Mail to: Name and/or Complex: ............................................................................................ Date: ........................ Mailing Address: ........................................................ City/ST: .............................................. ZIP:.......................... E-mail: ........................................................................ Number of Rental Units: .................................................... How did you hear about us? .................................... Applicant's Signature: ........................................................

The Benefits of CCRA Membership Meetings

Seminars

General Membership meetings are held the last Tuesday of every month.

Subjects regarding financial analysis, investments, economics, etc., given by professionals and offered at nominal cost to you.

Monthly Newsletter Our newsletter (mailed around the 15th) includes timely articles of general interest written by authorities in our industry. Published unlawful detainer lists are a helpful screening tool (complete list available back to 10/87).

Industry Subscriptions Members receive a free subscription to the Landlord Times, as well as a free, five month subscription to Mr. Landlord.

Educational Programs Through education and high ethical standards, CCRA is pledged to raise professional standards and increase efficiency of the rental property operations in our county.

Rental Forms/Books A new-member packet is given to you when you join. Forms are provided which protect your legal rights and help your business operate smoothly and more efficiently. Landlording/Landlord Tenant Law books available.

Associate Commercial Members Offering you a selection of local services and retail products, sometimes discounted.

Officers and Directors Volunteering their time and talents to be of service to you.

Legislative Representation Your interests are served on vital issues by our State Legislative Lobbyist. The need for representation on laws affecting the rental industry is a constant concern of our Association.

Washington Apartment Association Our State Association is comprised of 13 local rental property groups throughout Washington, united in the goal of preserving free enterprise and protecting owners and managers of rental property.

Tax Deduction Membership dues, and advertising costs can be written off as business expense.

A United Voice: There is strength in UNITY!

Advertiser Discounts Check our Advertisers Index for vendors/service providers who offer discounts to CCRA members.

Member Discount Members interested in joining Club Green Meadows receive a 50% discount on their initiation fee.


Advertiser Directory

Letter from the President

Accounting, CPA

Landscaping/Tree Service

Rental Forms

Peterson & Associates, P.S.....................13 360-574-0644

All Weather Tree and Landscape ..........8 360-718-1225 Frontier Tree Service ............................12 360-574-4125

Rogers Residential Rental Forms..........13 360-693-3600

Attorneys Roy D. Pyatt, Attorney ..........................19 360-696-3312 Stephen W. Sullivan, Attorney ............18 360-695-1912 Quinn Posner, Attorney ................12 360-906-1164

Carpet Cleaning/Dyeing Daisy Fresh Carpet Care ................10 360-253-2516 Modern Fiber Carpet Cleaning ............19 503-989-9760 (based in Vancouver)

Door Replacement/Repair

Property Management EQWEST LLC ..........................................15 360-896-5885 Ken Opp, RPM Services ........................19 360-693-6260 Nancy O Homes, LLC ............................19 360-608-7642 Properties West ....................................19 360-574-6143 Zenith Properties NW ............................5 360-816-9751

Affordable Doors ....................................3 Realtors 360-607-3018

Insurance Denis Marsh, InsureQ............................19 360-418-4434

Roofing

President Lyn Ayers • 693-0025 layers@wa-net.com

LYN AYERS CCRA President

Vice President - WAA Delegate Blain Cowley • 699-4900 camsonllc@aol.com

Tenant Screening MyScreeningReport.com ........................5 Prospective Renters ..............................19 Verification Service 360-573-6974 For ad insertion rates and information, call Jackie Maze at: 360.909.3414

Ken Opp, RPM Services ........................19 360-693-6260 Nancy O Homes, LLC ............................19 360-608-7642

INSURANCE

INSUREQ ....................................................................................................360.418-4434 ........................................www.insureq.com PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

EQWEST, LLC ..............................................................................................360.896.5885 ......................................www.eqwestllc.com TENANT SCREENING

NATIONAL TENANT NETWORK ................................................................503.635.1118 ....................................www.ntnonline.com SEAL COATING

ABC SEAL COATING & STRIPING ..............................................................360.910.4225 ....................................www.ABCsealsit.com

To advertise online or in next month’s issue, Call Jackie Maze at 360.909.3414 CCRAnews is designed and edited by Gough Creative Group • (360) 607-4693 • director@goughcreative.com The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the CCRA Board of Directors or newsletter editor. Please direct any questions, editorial submissions or suggestions, advertising rates & specifications, deadlines, etc., to the editor. While the Clark County Rental Association accepts advertising at face value, it cannot endorse the advertiser or otherwise guarantee the quality of the products or services being advertised. Such guarantees,written or implied, are solely the responsibility of the advertiser. The CCRA is not responsible for typographical errors in the Unlawful Detainer listings. These names appear in the public records as defendants in actions filed in Clark County. The filing of an Unlawful Detainer Action means a landlord has filed suit to evict a tenant.The outcome of the suit may be favorable to either party. No inference should be made that because a suit is filed, a tenant is automatically in the wrong.

DECEMBER 2013

2013 OFFICERS

Ed’s Economy Roofing ..........................19 360-687-2963 or 360-944-5495

Business Associates

20

5620 Gher Rd., Ste. H Vancouver, WA 98662-6166 360-693-2272 www.ccrawa.org

Restoration/Remodel Country Restoration..............................12 360-546-3259

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

When you receive this newsletter, Christmas will only be a few days away. Along with looking forward to the New Year it is also time to look back and review 2013. A few of you may recall my goals for the organization at the beginning of the year. “A Year of New Challenges” • Capitalize on low prices and low mortgage rates • Keep current on changes in laws • Continue to provide good value to members I am sure you will agree this has been a year of both new challenges and more of old challenges. In Olympia we had to advocate against many of the same detrimental bills that were presented in previous years. We had to be prepared for more tenant applicants who tried to game the system and take advantage of us. We had to learn about and understand the new laws that came down from the legislature. Some of us were able to refinance our mortgages and take advantage of the low interest rates. Rents are slowly moving up and that is good since our costs are inexorably moving up as well. It has been several years of increasing costs and little increase in rents. Our mentor program is working smoothly. We are enhancing the capabilities of the website and able to CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

provide more value for our members. Our dinner meetings continue to have informative speakers helping educate us. Periodically I want to acknowledge our officers. This is one of those times. Following are the volunteers who make the organization function so effectively. Blain Cowley as VP and WAA representative along with his wife Cheryl Cowley continue to be our connection with WAA and Olympia. Patty Silver has been our Secretary for more years than I care to count. She wears multiple hats. An example is tracking the unlawful detainers names. Janine Ayers as Treasurer keeps the organization on track when it comes to money. Taking care of the finances requires a lot of her time to deposit and track checks, pay bills as well as generate monthly reports. Pat Schaefer is one of our board members wearing two hats. She handles the WAA PAC donations and coordinates the summer BBQ. Max Hohnbaum arranges for the speakers at our dinner meetings. He spends a significant amount of time finding the best topics and presenters for us. Advertising is a significant effort. Jackie Maze has successfully expanded the number of our advertisers. If you have had questions about landlording I am sure you have talked

Secretary Patty Silver • 693-3600 silverbug5@aol.com Treasurer Janine Ayers • 693-0025 layers@wa-net.com

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Past President, WAA Ken Opp • 693-6260 rpms@pacifier.com Guest Speaker Committee Max Hohnbaum • 693-0106 ttenterprises2@aol.com Dinner Coordinator Thanks & Acknowledgements Patty Silver • 608-2086 silverbug5@aol.com Events & Entertainment, PAC Drawing Pat Schaefer • 980-0389 pkbshaefer@gmail.com Mentor Program Sue Denfeld • 896-5885 mentor@ccrawa.org WAA Secretary Cheryl Cowley • 699-4900

CCRA NEWSLETTER Designer / Editor Jeff Gough - Gough Creative Group 607-4693 • editor@ccrawa.org Advertising Jackie Maze • 909-3414

CCRA ASSOCIATES Accounting Advisor Ron Oliver, CPA • 574-0644 ron@vancouvercpa.com Legal Advisor Quinn Posner, Attorney • 906-1164 Quinn@lfplawfirm.com Information Coordinator Roger Silver • 693-2272

DECEMBER 2013

1


to either Sue Denfeld, Mentor program manager, or Roger Silver, who responds to questions on our hot line. Roger is also responsible for tracking membership and signing up new members. Our two advisors for Finances and Legal are Ron Oliver and Quinn Posner, respectively. They graciously devote time to assist the operation of the Association. I would be remiss in not mentioning Jeff Gough from Gough Creative. I am sure you will agree that he has done a superior job editing/publishing the monthly newsletter and bringing us into the 21st Century with his develop-

ment of the CCRAwa.org website. By now you have received your dues invoice for continued membership through 2014. Also included is the form outlining the vital role WAA plays in our business. Please consider including an additional check to help support this important program. I hope you decide to renew for another year. The board continues to look for ways to improve how the organization runs, improve the operation of our rentals, and improve the quality of life of our community.

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DECEMBER 2013

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DECEMBER 2013

19


Tips to Prevent Freezing Pipes Wintertime brings freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. By taking some precautions, unnecessary expenses associated with frozen water pipes can be prevented. Insulate exposed pipes and faucets: • Wrap outdoor faucets and pipes, along with pipes in unheated garages and crawl spaces, with insulating materials, including rags, newspapers, or electric heat tape. Cover the insulation with plastic and tie with string or wire. • Remove hoses from outside faucets. Drain hoses and shut off water. • Drain all underground irrigation systems. Know the location of the shut-off valve: • Find the main water shut-off valve. It is commonly located in the basement, garage, or outside by the foundation near the front hose bib or faucet. • Advise all household members where the main shut-off valve is located in case of an emergency. • Test the valve by turning the handle to be sure it is working properly and identify it with a tag. • If there is no shut-off valve, consider having one installed by a plumber.

Polly Ann Hohnbaum 7/2/1935 - 11/20/2013

Help prevent frozen pipes: • During periods of extremely cold temperatures, temporarily keep a trickle of water running from the faucet located highest in the house. The trickle should be a steady stream, about the size of the lead in a pencil.

Polly Ann Hohnbaum, 78, of Vancouver, WA, passed away on Nov. 20, 2013. She was born on July 2, 1935 to Cecil and Ruth Dailey in Elma, WA. They moved to Vancouver where she went to grade school and graduated from Vancouver High School in 1953. Polly married Max Hohnbaum in 1989.

Thawing frozen pipes: • Never thaw frozen pipes with an open flame. You could start a fire. • Use heat lamps, electric heaters, or a hair dryer with caution. Keep away from combustible materials. • Frozen pipes may also be thawed by wrapping them with rags or towels and pouring hot water over them until the water is flowing again. • If a pipe breaks, immediately close the main shut-off valve to stop the flooding and call your plumber.

She worked in the trucking industry as one of the first female sales reps in the Portland, OR area. She enjoyed traveling with the Gateway Travel Club and was an active member of the 40et8 LaFemmes, Clark County Rental Association, Red Hat Club for ladies, and was very involved at New Heights Church.

~ She was loved by all and will be greatly missed. ~ Polly is survived by her husband of 25 years, Max; her children, Bill, Anthony, Gregg and Michelle Beecher; and her step-children, Mark, Amy, Craig and Scott Hohnbaum.

Article Source: www.rentonwa.gov

A memorial service was held Fri., Nov. 29, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at the New Heights Church Main, 7913 NE 58th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98665. Donations in Polly’s memory are requested to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation at www.bafound.org.

You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Mentors

Please sign her guestbook at: www.columbian.com/obits Published in The Columbian on Nov. 29, 2013

FAST RESPONSE • 1-2 DAY TURNAROUND • SERVING LANDLORDS SINCE 1979 CCRA’s experienced mentors are here to help.

Call 693-2272 today! If you are interested in assisting our members and becoming a CCRA mentor, Call Sue Denfeld at: 896-5885 or email mentors@ccrawa.org 18

DECEMBER 2013

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

DOORS WINDOWS REMODELING REPAIRS

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DECEMBER 2013

3


EPA Tightens Regulations on Lead in Water Pipes, New Laws Reveal Growing Concern “WARNING! The drinking water in your home may contain dangerous levels of lead and may not be safe.” This is the advisement many homeowners across the US would have received more than 20 years ago had government agencies and the local utility companies been more concerned about public protection than institutional reputation and financial gain. The toxic heavy metal lead was quickly and forcibly banned from paint, gasoline and children’s toys decades ago (China’s efforts to slip batches of lead-painted toys by inspectors notwithstanding). Yet potentially dangerous levels of lead have existed for decades in many Americans’ daily lives, in the form of drinking water. Government agencies and utility companies chose to keep quiet about it until it became painfully obvious that too many unsuspecting people, mostly children, were being affected by the heavy metal. Some say authorities and scientists have known since the early 1970’s about the presence of high lead levels in the drinking water, but efforts to eliminate the problem have been sporadic and mostly reactive. The Problem Experts say water that comes from a city’s treatment plant is free from lead, but travels through the main water lines underground (large pipes usually made of iron or concrete), then through smaller pipes (made of lead in some cases), and to the taps of individual homes and buildings. The lead pipes are susceptible to corroding which, in turn, contaminates the drinking water which flows through residential taps. In an effort to resolve the issue of corroding pipes, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented the Lead and Copper Rule (also known as LCR or 1991 Rule) which regulated the amount of copper and lead found in drinking water. The EPA rule mandated utility companies replace a percentage of all lead pipes every year until all lead piping was defunct. 4

DECEMBER 2013

In 1993, the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the member association for more than 4,000 public and private utility companies, fought back rigorously on behalf of the water utility companies, in the form of a lawsuit. The lawsuit contended the EPA had not provided enough notice to water companies before enforcing the rule. Further, the lawsuit charged the EPA with usurping their authority by mandating water companies to replace lead piping leading directly to privately owned property. After several years of litigation that extended into appellate courts, the EPA lost the fight with the AWWA. As a result, in 2000 the EPA amended the 1991 rule to allow utility companies to replace only sections of the deteriorating pipes, leaving homeowners responsible for replacing the portion leading from their property line to the tap. That decision created even more problems as few homeowners were made aware of the new amendment to the rule; subsequently, even the homeowners who were made aware either refused or could not afford to replace the lead piping with safer alternatives. Thus, the leadtainted water problem remained and still exists today. Effects of Lead-Contaminated Water A number of illnesses, disorders and conditions have been associated with high levels of lead in the drinking water. Too much lead in the blood system is said to cause damage to the nervous system, brain and blood cells. The most noted damages have been observed in children and infants. One study even connects sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to high levels of lead in the water used to mix with infant formula. Adults with high lead levels are often diagnosed with high blood pressure and kidney problems. New Laws On January 4, 2014, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) will be implementing U.S. Senate Bill No. CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

What Is the Tenant’s Responsibility? by JUDY TREMORE with DEBORAH BOERSMA

ZONDERVAN

Homeowner’s and landlords’ insurance policies do not cover the contents of a tenant’s unit. Your policies will pay for damage to the apartment and fixtures, but not the tenant’s possessions. Nor will your policy cover a tenant’s losses because of criminal acts — theft, damage, or break-ins that you couldn’t anticipate — and acts of God. If a tornado takes off the roof and strews contents of the apartment for miles, the tenant has to pay to replace them. Your policy will replace the roof. If your water pipes freeze and your tenant’s property is subsequently damaged by water, your insurance does not cover their personal losses. However, some policies will pay for a tenant’s lodgings for a limited time — for “loss of use” — if he plans to return to the apartment after it is repaired. Talk to your insurance agent for more information.

Careless Smoking Fires caused by careless smoking are responsible for a lot of property damage, injuries, and deaths. Don’t assume it won’t happen to you simply because you are renting a smoke-free unit. Property losses caused by a tenant’s careless smoking are covered in your homeowner’s policy, as are your personal property losses. Your tenant’s possessions, however, will be excluded. Your insurance company will pay for repairs to the walls, floors, fixtures, appliances — anything that

belongs to you. After covering your losses, your company will then turn to your tenant’s renter’s policy to get reimbursed for expenses.

Renter’s Insurance Encourage your tenants to get a renter’s insurance policy so that their personal possessions can be replaced if they are damaged or stolen. Premiums are low and the policy reduces their loss for criminal acts and acts of God. It usually covers losses from their cars and even pays legal fees should they be sued. If your tenant refuses to get renter’s insurance even though you require it, you can protect yourself by having a paragraph in the lease that states he will not hold the landlord responsible for any personal property losses. When it is time for the tenant to sign the lease, be sure you read that section and have him sign or initial it before turning over the keys. Do everything you can to encourage your tenant to take out renter’s insurance. If your insurer has to pay for damage caused by a tenant’s carelessness, your own premiums very likely will be increased or the policy will be dropped, especially if you’ve had a lot of claims in the last few years. Article Source: www.netplaces.net

Look for the Star! If you offer CCRA discounts to CCRA members and/or we do not have your company name marked with a star on our Advertisers Index, please call the editor and let us know so we can inform our members about the special benefits you have to offer.

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

DECEMBER 2013

17


7 Safety Tips for Landlords by TRACEY

MARCH

Although most of us have heard news stories involving crimes against real estate agents–say, a mugging or attack at an open house–there hasn’t been too much media attention on crimes against landlords. Yet, landlord-tenant violence appears in newspaper headlines with some frequency. Just last week a tenant was arrested for pepper spraying his landlord, who was doing maintenance nearby. To bring some attention to the topic, we’ve compiled a short list of some of the most useful safety tips for landlords: ��� Implement and follow a fair and thorough screening process, which will help weed out troublemakers. Don’t make any exceptions. • Communicate with your tenants and avoid giving them unpleasant surprises. • Use a PO box, drop box, or electronic deposit to receive rent checks; don’t make your home address known. • Meet with potential renters in a public place before showing them your rental home. Have them fill out a contact/interest form and take photos of two forms

Stephen W. Sullivan Attorney At Law

of their identification using your smart phone. • Learn how you can de-escalate a conflict. You will inevitably be dealing with an irate tenant at some point. Skills to help you listen, stay calm, communicate, and take a break will help you. • When showing a rental, always have the potential renter go through doors first. (“After you.”) Always stay near an exit. • Show rentals during the day–not when it’s dark out. Sometimes, headlines aren’t about crimes against landlords, they’re about crimes by landlords. Whether they think their actions are justified or not, some landlords are better suited for other work. Customer service is a huge part of the property management and landlord business; having good customer service skills so you don’t lose your cool is critical. If your strengths lie in other areas, consider having a property manager help you out.

S. 3874 – The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. This new law will require all new plumbing and renovations to wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures to maintain a lead content of .25 percent or less (the original permitted level was up to 8 percent). Relevance to Landlords and Property Managers Although the new law directly affects only manufacturers and suppliers of plumbing fixtures and contractors, landlords and property managers should be aware of the new changes to (1) ensure compliance with the law in the event of renovations to existing plumbing fixtures and (2) to maintain awareness in anticipation of any future disclosure requirements.

Landlords and property managers who own property built before 1986 can also take pro-active measures to ensure lead safety in the water of their rentals by sharing EPA’s “Actions You Can Take To Reduce Lead In Drinking Water” fact sheet. Landlords should also consider a cheap solution in their rental properties: on-faucet filters, which the tenant can be made responsible for maintaining in the lease agreement, to proactively avoid future litigation. It is probably a safe bet to assume we have not heard the last of this lead-contaminated water issue, and this may arise in the future in the form or litigation by tenants suing landlords over older lead piping. Article Source: EZlandlordforms.com

Article Source: www.rentalpropertyreporter.com

Call Now to get a free, no obligation portfolio analysis so we can show you how to make more money! Call Denny Miller at 360.816.9751 • www.ZenithPro.com

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FORMS Application, Rental Agreement, Inspection, 20-Day Notice for Tenants to Terminate, Tenant’s Notice to Terminate Tenancy, 3-Day Notice, Cleaning & Security Deposit Report, Deposit/Move-Out Report, Co-Signer Agreement, Waterbed Agreement, Smoke Alarm/Hot Water Release, 30-Day Rent Increase, Notice of Intention to Enter, Holding Deposit, 30-Day Notice Change of Covenant.

All Forms are in Pads of 10 members $3.00

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Forms on CD or Disk (MSWord & PDF formats) members $35.00 non-members $50.00 Publications available at CCRA Office and at the Monthly Dinner Meetings. Cash, Check, or Money Order Accepted • Make Checks Payable to CCRA

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DECEMBER 2013

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

DECEMBER 2013

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SNOW REMOVAL ON YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY:

Landlord or Tenant Responsibility? Snow might create a pretty winter wonderland, but it’s an entire other beast when you need to get rid of it on a regular basis. If you manage property in an area that’s prone to lots of snow, removing snow frequently can be a tiring and seemingly never-ending process. However, it’s important to keep the walkways and sidewalks around your property clear and safe lest your tenants slip and fall. Snow removal is a task you need to stay on top of during the winter, but is it the sole responsibility of the property owner or management, or can you shoulder it onto your tenants? Many city ordinances require property owners to keep sidewalks clear of snow and shovel a path for delivery personnel or face fines. On a rental property, it’s even more important to maintain common areas so you’re not liable for any accidents that might happen if snow and ice are left on walkways. You could be legally and financially responsible if one of your residents slips on an uncleared path. If your city has a law requiring snow and ice removal, it’s up to you as the property manager or owner to get rid of the snow, or hire someone to do so. If you own or manage a multi-unit property, the best course of action is to either do it yourself or hire a snow removal service.

If you own a single-family rental property, you can include snow removal in your lease agreement as the tenant’s responsibility. When you create the tenant-landlord agreement, it’s important to be clear about when and where the snow needs to be shoveled. How soon after a snowfall does a path needs to be cleared, and how wide does the path need to be? Keep your resident updated on the local laws regarding snow disposal as well as some safety tips to prevent any injuries while they do it. It’s common for a landlord to offer a monthly rent discount if a tenant honors the snow removal agreement. To ensure regular shoveling of the property, you might want to provide your tenant with the salt or sand needed to prevent anyone from slipping on your property post-shoveling. In areas where it snows frequently, it might be a good cost-saving measure to make an arrangement with your tenant to help shovel your property, especially if you don’t live close by. Similar to having your tenant in charge of yard work, making them in charge of snow removal on the property can help you keep maintenance costs down, and in return, help keep your tenant’s monthly rent down. Article Source: Zillow.com

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6

DECEMBER 2013

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

HOMES • PLEXES • MULTI-FAMILY CONDOMINIUMS AND ASSOCIATIONS PERSONAL & CUSTOM SERVICES • COMPETITIVE RATES

3 6 0 . 8 9 6 . 5 8 8 5 • V I S I T U S O N L I N E A T: E Q W E S T L L C . C O M

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Got Vacancies? What? HousingSearchNW.org is a free, online property-search service that links people with the available housing in our communities. We hope HousingSearchNW.org helps you make more informed decisions about your housing options. • FREE searching and listing of rental housing • Detailed listings that can include pictures, maps, eligibility requirements (if applicable), and information about nearby amenities such as hospitals and schools • Simple and detailed search options that are easy to use • Helpful tools, including an affordability calculator, rental checklist, and information about renters’ rights and responsibilities • 24/7 access online and support from a toll-free, bilingual call center, available at 1-877-428-8844, Mon - Fri, 6:00 am - 5:00 pm PDT • Housing information that is updated daily to keep it relevant • A resource for families displaced during times of disaster

Why? Benefits to tenants • Search by rent, size, location, proximity to your work, and more • Detailed, up-to-date listings with photos • Listings of market-rate rentals, subsidized housing, special-needs housing, and more Benefits to landlords • Enjoy free marketing of your available properties • Receive more qualified inquiries

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DECEMBER 2013

• Log in online 24/7 to update, add, or remove listings • If you do not have Internet access, you can still use this service! Phone the toll-free call center to update your property information • Remove listings from public view immediately after renting to help avoid unwanted calls

Who? HousingSearchNW.org uses software created by Socialserve.com, a national nonprofit provider of housing locator services. Socialserve.com maintains the website and a toll-free call center to assist landlords and people seeking housing. Online services are always available, 24/7. The call center is open Monday - Friday, 6:00 am - 5:00 pm PDT and offers assistance in both English and Spanish. In addition to searchable, real-time, detailed listings of available housing, the site also provides helpful tools, such as a rent checklist and affordability calculator, and links to other helpful resources. HousingSearchNW.org, which initially only served King County, was originally sponsored by the City of Seattle, King County, United Way of King County, Seattle Housing Authority and King County Housing Authority. A Steering Committee - which included these five organizations plus the Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound and the Tenants Union - helped to develop the HousingSearchNW.org and provided oversight for the first year of service. HousingSearchNW.org has proven to be a vital resource in King County, and the opportunity to expand statewide presented itself towards the end of 2012.

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the Department of Commerce were both researching housing locator services beginning in early 2012. While separate market research was being conducted, both agencies reached the same conclusion around the same time: the proven effectiveness of Socialserve.com in both online tools and call center support were an excellent match for our need to create and maintain a comprehensive list of affordable housing opportunities for low-income individuals in Washington state. Commerce began researching housing locator services because HB 2048 was signed into law on March 29, 2012, directing local governments to maintain and update a list of interested landlords, including buildings with fewer than 50 units, in order to efficiently and cost-effectively provide housing to very low-income and homeless households. While expanding our pool of independent, affordable housing options for DSHS clients, Aging & Disability Services Administration (ADSA), through the Roads to Community Living (RCL) demonstration project, also identified the need for a statewide housing locator service. This dovetails perfectly with the needs of the Department of Commerce. In addition, ADSA identified the need to make a system available to track real-time openings in our residential settings, which Socialserve.com provides. All partners are excited to collaborate and help connect Washingtonians with the housing they need through HousingSearchNW.org. CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

The Top 4 Reasons Your Rentals Are Empty

Vacancies are the top profit killer that rental property owners face. If you want to avoid the financial pain of a prolonged vacancy, take a minute to see if you are making any of these mistakes:

1. The Rent is Too High Too often landlords purchase rental properties based on the appeal of the deal, not on the overall appeal of the property to renters. Investors looking for higher margins can crunch the numbers and pump up the rent. Unfortunately, renters may not play along. Be realistic and match rent to the competition available at the time the unit comes on the market. Or better yet, come in just a little bit lower than the comps. That $50 difference, spread out over a year’s lease, may be better than another month with the property generating $0.

2. Your Vacancy Occurred at the Wrong Time of the Year The rental market is generally cyclical. Whether it’s a problem tenant who left mid-lease, delayed remodeling or repair projects, or closing on a rental property late in the year, you may be set to fill vacancies during the dormant period. Look at what’s going on in the area. For instance, find out if you are missing the deadline for college students starting classes. Watch rental ads in the newspaper and watch for cycles. If you’ve had to terminate a lease, offer a shorter lease to the next tenant, then renew or re-lease during a busier time of year. CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

3. The Property Has No Appeal A poorly-maintained property will lead to unplanned vacancies. First, the lack of appeal will chase away applicants who feel they can do better. Those who are willing to settle are less are less stable tenants in the first place. The law works against landlords in this situation, and tenants may be allowed to break the lease over habitability issues. Even if they stay, they may be entitled to rent abatement, further sapping your property’s profit potential.

4. Outdated Advertising More and more, apartment seekers are using the Internet to find properties. If you are not riding the wave, you are losing out to other more tech-savvy landlords in your area. Many of the apartment listing services now offer incentives, including cash, to tenants who find rental homes. The content of your ads must maximize the property’s appeal. The standard of the industry now is to provide photos or even video tours. If you rely on a ‘for rent’ sign — still a viable option — include a flyer box with pictures and ample information to get applicants excited about the property. Periodic vacancies are inevitable as tenants move on. Be ready for a quick turnaround by keeping a checklist of needed maintenance and repairs for each unit, and line up workers in advance of move-out dates. Nurture good relationships with contractors and with tenants, and you will improve your bottom line. Article Source: www.american-apartment-owners-association.org

DECEMBER 2013

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welcome to the CCRA Welcomes the following new members: Ed Beard Ben & Katie Bortolazzo Jeffrey & Nancy Limbaugh Dan & Cheryl Loucks Jamie Rea Wade Scribaert

CCRACALENDAR

! r a d n e l a c r u Mark yo So that you will have ample time to make your reservations, mark your calendar to show that CCRA’s dinner meetings are scheduled for the last Tuesday of every month, (with the exception of August & December). DINNER RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE BY NOON ON THE FRIDAY PRIOR TO THE MONTHLY DINNER MEETING!

Don’t miss out on the great educational and networking opportunities at the monthly dinner meetings.

CCRA Statistics for December 2013

SUN

Regular Members: ........................................333 Associate Members: ......................................26 Total Units Represented:............................9,824

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Mark Miller

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In many areas of the country, rental vacancies are very low; some are at all-time lows. But that’s not the case in every market. If you’re a landlord or property manager with no available units for lease and a waiting list, you don’t need to worry about whether or not to negotiate the rent. But for those of you who have vacancies to fill, should you be considering it? Here are some tips for knowing when it might pay to negotiate the rent: When you’re in a renter’s market. When local economic conditions are such that vacancies are high and demand is low, that’s a renter’s market. Savvy tenants will read the signs: units staying vacant for months, several open units in the same complex or building, and landlords who seem anxious to get a lease signed. Your tenants moved out months ago. If you have several empty apartment units, or your rental home has been empty for more than a month, it’s probably time to consider negotiating with prospective tenants. Losing a month’s rent for too long can be difficult to make up. You don’t have other perks or amenities to offer. When attempting to attract new tenants, landlords often waive certain fees or pay for a tenant’s Internet service for several months. If you can’t offer other perks,

then rent may be your only place to negotiate and bring a tenant to the table. You have a high-quality applicant. When you have a tenant who meets your income requirements, passed your tenant screening with flying colors, has a steady job and gets rave reviews from former landlords, it might pay to negotiate on the rent. And if that applicant is willing to sign a long-term lease—such as two years—you might regret not reducing the rent if it’s a deal breaker. Your unit is overpriced. If your tenant has done her homework, she’ll know what comparable units are going for in your area. If she can walk away and rent another place for less money, you might find it difficult to get a good tenant in your building without matching—or at least coming close to—comparable units. And don’t forget that in negotiation, you also get to ask for what you want. For example, in exchange for lowering the rent, you might get your tenant to agree to pay before the first of the month, or to pay the first few months up front. You could ask for an 18- or 24-month lease. Or, you could ask the tenant to accelerate his movein date. Article Source: www.tenantscreeningblog.com

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When Should Landlords Negotiate on Rent?

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NO DINNER MEETING IN DECEMBER. January Dinner Meeting speaker will be Roy Pyatt and Randy Springer on the Do’s & Dont’s of buying Real Estate. CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

912 NW 50th Street Vancouver, WA 98663-1602 360-693-3600 RogerAg47@aol.com

on gt n i h a s t a te o r ms W S lF a nt e R Rental Forms, Rental Books, Brochures, Locks and Keys

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

Peterson&Associates, P.S. CERTIFIED

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7918 NE Hazel Dell Avenue P.O. Box 65009 Vancouver, WA 98665 FAX (360) 573-4499

ACCOUNTANTS

(360) 574-0644

DECEMBER 2013

13


IRS Audits on Landlords

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DECEMBER 2013

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

Most landlords filed their 2012 income tax return months ago and have since forgotten about the matter. For some landlords, especially those who push the limit regarding their rental business, the 2012 return won’t be forgotten for at least many months because as everyone knows, the IRS can pursue issues for three years after the April 15th filing date or, if filed during an extension period, for three years after the date the return was filed. Of course, if there is any fraud involved, there is no statute of limitations. A letter from the Internal Revenue Service creates a lot of anxiety for most taxpayers, particularly prior to opening the mail and reading the notice. Many, perhaps the majority of letters are actually quite benign – you forgot to sign your return or two digits of your social security number were interchanged. Sometimes the letter is actually good news – the IRS recalculated your data and found you’d made a math error and will be receiving a refund. Often, there is a simply a question regarding an issue that you must respond to. Perhaps the name used for an expense of your business is unusual and an explanation is required. Sometimes, however, the letter questions income,deductions or both or an explanation regarding some other entry is required. The IRS defines an audit as “a review-examination” of a return “to verify the amount of tax reported is accurate.” If you are selected for one, the agency has on its website a video guide to the process. In 2011, the IRS audited nearly 1.6 million individual returns, slightly more than 1 percent of the total filed. About three-quarters were done by correspondence, the rest through field examinations done in person by an IRS agent. Only 1 percent of people with incomes under $200,000 had their returns audited; the audit rate for those with incomes of $1 million and higher was about 12.5 percent. CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

The IRS says that the vast majority of taxpayers fills out their returns accurately and has nothing to worry about. However, they also remind us that they have a variety of screening processes to make sure they catch the people who are cutting corners. There’s no magic equation for knowing which returns the IRS will select for a major audit – i.e., your chances of getting the scary letter. Some returns are selected for audit through computer screening. The IRS is looking for unreported income. Accordingly, the IRS often focuses on taxpayers with cash earnings. An IRS computer simply compares data from your return to average numbers for that data from people in similar types of business or at income levels. Your return could be flagged for further action if your numbers are significantly different than “normal.” The computer may also compare your most recent return with your returns for previous years, looking for different types of entries compared to other years and/or for large variances from other years. Things that are reviewed include charitable contributions, interest income, and whether there are variations from averages in your income bracket or zip code. The computer will flag each significant variance. The computer will also compare various types of reported income items – e.g., interest, dividends, wages, and selfemployment – with W-2s and 1099s that were submitted to the government by those making payments to you. It’s important that you think through those items reported by third parties and make sure those are going to match up. This means that you have reported at least as much income within each category as will be reported by the payers. Reporting less thanthat reported by payers is certain to trigger questions. Reporting more than will have been reported to the government may actually be of benefit in avoiding audits. DECEMBER 2013

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Assuming that you can forget about income for which you received no W-2 or 1099 is both dishonest and risky. It’s risky because there might be some reason why you didn’t receive a copy rather than the payer didn’t follow the rules in submitting the proper reports to the government – perhaps your copy was lost by the Post Office. There’s yet another category of things that can trigger an audit of your return called “related examinations” by the IRS. Returns may be selected for audit when they involve issues or transactions with other taxpayers, such as business partners or investors, whose returns were selected for audit for some reason. Some potential issues are of similar risk for a large percentage of taxpayers. Others are more of a problem for self-employed individuals, including landlords. The IRS is well aware that landlords might be tempted to forget about some of the rents received in cash and/or to write off personal expenditures as rental expenses. In order to avoid additional scrutiny rents, including cash, should bedeposited into a bank account other than other business or employment receipts and expenditures not made by check from that account should be via a credit card or other business credit lines dedicated to the rental business. Many landlords claim deductions for a home office and this expense often attracts IRS scrutiny. However, if you qualify for the deduction, don’t be afraid to claim it. To qualify to claim expenses for business use of your home you must use part of your home: (1) exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business (as defined by the IRS), (2) exclusively and regularly as a place where you meet or deal with patients, clients, or customers in the normal course of your trade or business, (3) in the case of a separate structure which is not attached to your home, used in connection with your trade or business, or (4-6) three other uses that are not usually of concern to landlords. All landlords utilize one or more motor vehicles in managing their income properties. However, many small business owners, including landlords, do not fully comply with the IRS requirements regarding the deductibility of vehicle use and many do not even come close. Claim-

ing significant business auto expenses may result in a request that you furnish a copy of the mileage log that you were supposed to maintain contemporaneously with the business driving. There’s no particular amount for charitable contributions guaranteed to catch the IRS’ attention, but inordinate amounts relative to income might do so. However, you shouldn’t shortchange yourself. As for most issues, it’s all in thedocumentation. Find out what donated items sell for, at a thrift store, for example, or check valuation tools on the Internet. The IRS will notify taxpayers of an impending audit by telephone or mail. E-mail is not used. Just because your return has been selected for an audit doesn’t suggest you made an error or you’re dishonest. Audits can result in acceptance of the tax return without change or even result in an unexpected refund. The IRS has a Declaration of Taxpayer Rights that sets forth what you can expect from an audit, ranging from privacy and confidentiality to professional and courteous service. Taxpayers have the right to be accompanied at an audit by anyone of their choosing or to have someone else represent them rather than even appear at the audit. Taxpayers or their representative also have the right to make an audio recording of the session. They may appeal the judgment, either to the Appeals Office or to a court, and can request that penalties and interest be waived. Being accurate and having the records to confirm the accuracy is the best defense in an audit. Using tax preparation software gives significant protection against mistakes in tax code interpretation if you prepare your own returns rather than have a licensed professional do so. Again, don’t increase the odds of being audited by making careless mistakes.. Summary The bottom line is that the most important thing in an IRS audit will be paper. Maintain good records. Keep your receipts. If you maintain good records and have receipts, you should win.

“LIKE US” ON FACEBOOK Clark County Rental Association

10

DECEMBER 2013

Article Source: Youcheckcredit.com

Fire Safety Tip for Multi-Family Housing Issue: Holiday Fire Safety Fire Prevention Partners of Clark County

As the holiday season is upon us, we encourage you to use these easy safety tips to help ensure you have a safe and happy celebration! Selection, Care, and Disposal of Your Christmas Tree To select a fresh tree check the needles; they should be green and hard to pull back from the branches. If needles fall off easily the tree has dried out and it is a fire hazard. Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent and keep the tree stand filled with water. When disposing of your tree never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

City of Vancouver Fire 0DUVKDO·V2IILFH 7110 NE 63rd St. Vancouver, WA 98661 (360)487-7260 www.vanfire.org Clark County Fire Marshal's Office 505 NW 179th St. Ridgefield, WA 98642 (360)397-2186 firemar@clark.wa.gov www.co.clark.wa.us/commdev/ firemarshal/indexN.html Clark County Fire District 6 8800 NE Hazel Dell Av. Vancouver, WA 98665 (360)576-1195 www.ccfd6.org Clark County Fire & Rescue 911 N 65th Avenue Ridgefield, WA 98642 (360)887-4609 www.clarkfr.org Camas Fire Prevention Offices 616 N.E. 4th Avenue, Suite 3 Camas, WA 98607 (360)834-6191 www.ci.camas.wa.us/fire/ Washougal Fire Department 1400 A street Washougal, WA 98671 (360)835-2211 www.washougal.biz/cow/fire/

Maintain Your Holiday Lights and Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed and/or exposed wires and excessive kinking before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch. Keeping the Holiday Safe! x x

x

x x x x

Daisy Fresh Carpet Care

360-253-2516 CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

All decorations should be nonflammable or flameretardant and placed away from heat sources. Never put wrapping paper in the fireplace - when it burns it can throw off dangerous sparks and encourage roof fires. If you use candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down or accessed by children. Battery operated candles are a safe alternative. Never leave the house or go to sleep with candles burning. Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children. Be mindful in the kitchen. Don't leave your cooking unattended. Test your smoke alarms and make sure they are functioning properly.

Happy Holidays from Fire Prevention Partners of Clark County!

DECEMBER 2013

11


Assuming that you can forget about income for which you received no W-2 or 1099 is both dishonest and risky. It’s risky because there might be some reason why you didn’t receive a copy rather than the payer didn’t follow the rules in submitting the proper reports to the government – perhaps your copy was lost by the Post Office. There’s yet another category of things that can trigger an audit of your return called “related examinations” by the IRS. Returns may be selected for audit when they involve issues or transactions with other taxpayers, such as business partners or investors, whose returns were selected for audit for some reason. Some potential issues are of similar risk for a large percentage of taxpayers. Others are more of a problem for self-employed individuals, including landlords. The IRS is well aware that landlords might be tempted to forget about some of the rents received in cash and/or to write off personal expenditures as rental expenses. In order to avoid additional scrutiny rents, including cash, should bedeposited into a bank account other than other business or employment receipts and expenditures not made by check from that account should be via a credit card or other business credit lines dedicated to the rental business. Many landlords claim deductions for a home office and this expense often attracts IRS scrutiny. However, if you qualify for the deduction, don’t be afraid to claim it. To qualify to claim expenses for business use of your home you must use part of your home: (1) exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business (as defined by the IRS), (2) exclusively and regularly as a place where you meet or deal with patients, clients, or customers in the normal course of your trade or business, (3) in the case of a separate structure which is not attached to your home, used in connection with your trade or business, or (4-6) three other uses that are not usually of concern to landlords. All landlords utilize one or more motor vehicles in managing their income properties. However, many small business owners, including landlords, do not fully comply with the IRS requirements regarding the deductibility of vehicle use and many do not even come close. Claim-

ing significant business auto expenses may result in a request that you furnish a copy of the mileage log that you were supposed to maintain contemporaneously with the business driving. There’s no particular amount for charitable contributions guaranteed to catch the IRS’ attention, but inordinate amounts relative to income might do so. However, you shouldn’t shortchange yourself. As for most issues, it’s all in thedocumentation. Find out what donated items sell for, at a thrift store, for example, or check valuation tools on the Internet. The IRS will notify taxpayers of an impending audit by telephone or mail. E-mail is not used. Just because your return has been selected for an audit doesn’t suggest you made an error or you’re dishonest. Audits can result in acceptance of the tax return without change or even result in an unexpected refund. The IRS has a Declaration of Taxpayer Rights that sets forth what you can expect from an audit, ranging from privacy and confidentiality to professional and courteous service. Taxpayers have the right to be accompanied at an audit by anyone of their choosing or to have someone else represent them rather than even appear at the audit. Taxpayers or their representative also have the right to make an audio recording of the session. They may appeal the judgment, either to the Appeals Office or to a court, and can request that penalties and interest be waived. Being accurate and having the records to confirm the accuracy is the best defense in an audit. Using tax preparation software gives significant protection against mistakes in tax code interpretation if you prepare your own returns rather than have a licensed professional do so. Again, don’t increase the odds of being audited by making careless mistakes.. Summary The bottom line is that the most important thing in an IRS audit will be paper. Maintain good records. Keep your receipts. If you maintain good records and have receipts, you should win.

“LIKE US” ON FACEBOOK Clark County Rental Association

10

DECEMBER 2013

Article Source: Youcheckcredit.com

Fire Safety Tip for Multi-Family Housing Issue: Holiday Fire Safety Fire Prevention Partners of Clark County

As the holiday season is upon us, we encourage you to use these easy safety tips to help ensure you have a safe and happy celebration! Selection, Care, and Disposal of Your Christmas Tree To select a fresh tree check the needles; they should be green and hard to pull back from the branches. If needles fall off easily the tree has dried out and it is a fire hazard. Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent and keep the tree stand filled with water. When disposing of your tree never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

City of Vancouver Fire 0DUVKDO·V2IILFH 7110 NE 63rd St. Vancouver, WA 98661 (360)487-7260 www.vanfire.org Clark County Fire Marshal's Office 505 NW 179th St. Ridgefield, WA 98642 (360)397-2186 firemar@clark.wa.gov www.co.clark.wa.us/commdev/ firemarshal/indexN.html Clark County Fire District 6 8800 NE Hazel Dell Av. Vancouver, WA 98665 (360)576-1195 www.ccfd6.org Clark County Fire & Rescue 911 N 65th Avenue Ridgefield, WA 98642 (360)887-4609 www.clarkfr.org Camas Fire Prevention Offices 616 N.E. 4th Avenue, Suite 3 Camas, WA 98607 (360)834-6191 www.ci.camas.wa.us/fire/ Washougal Fire Department 1400 A street Washougal, WA 98671 (360)835-2211 www.washougal.biz/cow/fire/

Maintain Your Holiday Lights and Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed and/or exposed wires and excessive kinking before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch. Keeping the Holiday Safe! x x

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360-253-2516 CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

All decorations should be nonflammable or flameretardant and placed away from heat sources. Never put wrapping paper in the fireplace - when it burns it can throw off dangerous sparks and encourage roof fires. If you use candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down or accessed by children. Battery operated candles are a safe alternative. Never leave the house or go to sleep with candles burning. Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children. Be mindful in the kitchen. Don't leave your cooking unattended. Test your smoke alarms and make sure they are functioning properly.

Happy Holidays from Fire Prevention Partners of Clark County!

DECEMBER 2013

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DECEMBER 2013

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

Most landlords filed their 2012 income tax return months ago and have since forgotten about the matter. For some landlords, especially those who push the limit regarding their rental business, the 2012 return won’t be forgotten for at least many months because as everyone knows, the IRS can pursue issues for three years after the April 15th filing date or, if filed during an extension period, for three years after the date the return was filed. Of course, if there is any fraud involved, there is no statute of limitations. A letter from the Internal Revenue Service creates a lot of anxiety for most taxpayers, particularly prior to opening the mail and reading the notice. Many, perhaps the majority of letters are actually quite benign – you forgot to sign your return or two digits of your social security number were interchanged. Sometimes the letter is actually good news – the IRS recalculated your data and found you’d made a math error and will be receiving a refund. Often, there is a simply a question regarding an issue that you must respond to. Perhaps the name used for an expense of your business is unusual and an explanation is required. Sometimes, however, the letter questions income,deductions or both or an explanation regarding some other entry is required. The IRS defines an audit as “a review-examination” of a return “to verify the amount of tax reported is accurate.” If you are selected for one, the agency has on its website a video guide to the process. In 2011, the IRS audited nearly 1.6 million individual returns, slightly more than 1 percent of the total filed. About three-quarters were done by correspondence, the rest through field examinations done in person by an IRS agent. Only 1 percent of people with incomes under $200,000 had their returns audited; the audit rate for those with incomes of $1 million and higher was about 12.5 percent. CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

The IRS says that the vast majority of taxpayers fills out their returns accurately and has nothing to worry about. However, they also remind us that they have a variety of screening processes to make sure they catch the people who are cutting corners. There’s no magic equation for knowing which returns the IRS will select for a major audit – i.e., your chances of getting the scary letter. Some returns are selected for audit through computer screening. The IRS is looking for unreported income. Accordingly, the IRS often focuses on taxpayers with cash earnings. An IRS computer simply compares data from your return to average numbers for that data from people in similar types of business or at income levels. Your return could be flagged for further action if your numbers are significantly different than “normal.” The computer may also compare your most recent return with your returns for previous years, looking for different types of entries compared to other years and/or for large variances from other years. Things that are reviewed include charitable contributions, interest income, and whether there are variations from averages in your income bracket or zip code. The computer will flag each significant variance. The computer will also compare various types of reported income items – e.g., interest, dividends, wages, and selfemployment – with W-2s and 1099s that were submitted to the government by those making payments to you. It’s important that you think through those items reported by third parties and make sure those are going to match up. This means that you have reported at least as much income within each category as will be reported by the payers. Reporting less thanthat reported by payers is certain to trigger questions. Reporting more than will have been reported to the government may actually be of benefit in avoiding audits. DECEMBER 2013

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welcome to the CCRA Welcomes the following new members: Ed Beard Ben & Katie Bortolazzo Jeffrey & Nancy Limbaugh Dan & Cheryl Loucks Jamie Rea Wade Scribaert

CCRACALENDAR

! r a d n e l a c r u Mark yo So that you will have ample time to make your reservations, mark your calendar to show that CCRA’s dinner meetings are scheduled for the last Tuesday of every month, (with the exception of August & December). DINNER RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE BY NOON ON THE FRIDAY PRIOR TO THE MONTHLY DINNER MEETING!

Don’t miss out on the great educational and networking opportunities at the monthly dinner meetings.

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In many areas of the country, rental vacancies are very low; some are at all-time lows. But that’s not the case in every market. If you’re a landlord or property manager with no available units for lease and a waiting list, you don’t need to worry about whether or not to negotiate the rent. But for those of you who have vacancies to fill, should you be considering it? Here are some tips for knowing when it might pay to negotiate the rent: When you’re in a renter’s market. When local economic conditions are such that vacancies are high and demand is low, that’s a renter’s market. Savvy tenants will read the signs: units staying vacant for months, several open units in the same complex or building, and landlords who seem anxious to get a lease signed. Your tenants moved out months ago. If you have several empty apartment units, or your rental home has been empty for more than a month, it’s probably time to consider negotiating with prospective tenants. Losing a month’s rent for too long can be difficult to make up. You don’t have other perks or amenities to offer. When attempting to attract new tenants, landlords often waive certain fees or pay for a tenant’s Internet service for several months. If you can’t offer other perks, then rent may be your only place to negotiate and bring a tenant to the table.

You have a high-quality applicant. When you have a tenant who meets your income requirements, passed your tenant screening with flying colors, has a steady job and gets rave reviews from former landlords, it might pay to negotiate on the rent. And if that applicant is willing to sign a long-term lease—such as two years—you might regret not reducing the rent if it’s a deal breaker. (Ed. Note: Leases longer than 12 months have to be notarized. We do not recommend them because in case of sale, the new buyer must be advised of the existence of the long-term lease which can be missed or forgotten.) Your unit is overpriced. If your tenant has done her homework, she’ll know what comparable units are going for in your area. If she can walk away and rent another place for less money, you might find it difficult to get a good tenant in your building without matching—or at least coming close to—comparable units. And don’t forget that in negotiation, you also get to ask for what you want. For example, in exchange for lowering the rent, you might get your tenant to agree to pay before the first of the month, or to pay the first few months up front. You could ask for an 18- or 24-month lease. Or, you could ask the tenant to accelerate his movein date. Article Source: www.tenantscreeningblog.com

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NO DINNER MEETING IN DECEMBER. January Dinner Meeting speaker will be Roy Pyatt and Randy Springer on the Do’s & Dont’s of buying Real Estate. CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

912 NW 50th Street Vancouver, WA 98663-1602 360-693-3600 RogerAg47@aol.com

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DECEMBER 2013

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Got Vacancies? What? HousingSearchNW.org is a free, online property-search service that links people with the available housing in our communities. We hope HousingSearchNW.org helps you make more informed decisions about your housing options. • FREE searching and listing of rental housing • Detailed listings that can include pictures, maps, eligibility requirements (if applicable), and information about nearby amenities such as hospitals and schools • Simple and detailed search options that are easy to use • Helpful tools, including an affordability calculator, rental checklist, and information about renters’ rights and responsibilities • 24/7 access online and support from a toll-free, bilingual call center, available at 1-877-428-8844, Mon - Fri, 6:00 am - 5:00 pm PDT • Housing information that is updated daily to keep it relevant • A resource for families displaced during times of disaster

Why? Benefits to tenants • Search by rent, size, location, proximity to your work, and more • Detailed, up-to-date listings with photos • Listings of market-rate rentals, subsidized housing, special-needs housing, and more Benefits to landlords • Enjoy free marketing of your available properties • Receive more qualified inquiries

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• Log in online 24/7 to update, add, or remove listings • If you do not have Internet access, you can still use this service! Phone the toll-free call center to update your property information • Remove listings from public view immediately after renting to help avoid unwanted calls

Who? HousingSearchNW.org uses software created by Socialserve.com, a national nonprofit provider of housing locator services. Socialserve.com maintains the website and a toll-free call center to assist landlords and people seeking housing. Online services are always available, 24/7. The call center is open Monday - Friday, 6:00 am - 5:00 pm PDT and offers assistance in both English and Spanish. In addition to searchable, real-time, detailed listings of available housing, the site also provides helpful tools, such as a rent checklist and affordability calculator, and links to other helpful resources. HousingSearchNW.org, which initially only served King County, was originally sponsored by the City of Seattle, King County, United Way of King County, Seattle Housing Authority and King County Housing Authority. A Steering Committee - which included these five organizations plus the Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound and the Tenants Union - helped to develop the HousingSearchNW.org and provided oversight for the first year of service. HousingSearchNW.org has proven to be a vital resource in King County, and the opportunity to expand statewide presented itself towards the end of 2012.

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the Department of Commerce were both researching housing locator services beginning in early 2012. While separate market research was being conducted, both agencies reached the same conclusion around the same time: the proven effectiveness of Socialserve.com in both online tools and call center support were an excellent match for our need to create and maintain a comprehensive list of affordable housing opportunities for low-income individuals in Washington state. Commerce began researching housing locator services because HB 2048 was signed into law on March 29, 2012, directing local governments to maintain and update a list of interested landlords, including buildings with fewer than 50 units, in order to efficiently and cost-effectively provide housing to very low-income and homeless households. While expanding our pool of independent, affordable housing options for DSHS clients, Aging & Disability Services Administration (ADSA), through the Roads to Community Living (RCL) demonstration project, also identified the need for a statewide housing locator service. This dovetails perfectly with the needs of the Department of Commerce. In addition, ADSA identified the need to make a system available to track real-time openings in our residential settings, which Socialserve.com provides. All partners are excited to collaborate and help connect Washingtonians with the housing they need through HousingSearchNW.org. CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

The Top 4 Reasons Your Rentals Are Empty

Vacancies are the top profit killer that rental property owners face. If you want to avoid the financial pain of a prolonged vacancy, take a minute to see if you are making any of these mistakes:

1. The Rent is Too High Too often landlords purchase rental properties based on the appeal of the deal, not on the overall appeal of the property to renters. Investors looking for higher margins can crunch the numbers and pump up the rent. Unfortunately, renters may not play along. Be realistic and match rent to the competition available at the time the unit comes on the market. Or better yet, come in just a little bit lower than the comps. That $50 difference, spread out over a year’s lease, may be better than another month with the property generating $0.

2. Your Vacancy Occurred at the Wrong Time of the Year The rental market is generally cyclical. Whether it’s a problem tenant who left mid-lease, delayed remodeling or repair projects, or closing on a rental property late in the year, you may be set to fill vacancies during the dormant period. Look at what’s going on in the area. For instance, find out if you are missing the deadline for college students starting classes. Watch rental ads in the newspaper and watch for cycles. If you’ve had to terminate a lease, offer a shorter lease to the next tenant, then renew or re-lease during a busier time of year. CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

3. The Property Has No Appeal A poorly-maintained property will lead to unplanned vacancies. First, the lack of appeal will chase away applicants who feel they can do better. Those who are willing to settle are less are less stable tenants in the first place. The law works against landlords in this situation, and tenants may be allowed to break the lease over habitability issues. Even if they stay, they may be entitled to rent abatement, further sapping your property’s profit potential.

4. Outdated Advertising More and more, apartment seekers are using the Internet to find properties. If you are not riding the wave, you are losing out to other more tech-savvy landlords in your area. Many of the apartment listing services now offer incentives, including cash, to tenants who find rental homes. The content of your ads must maximize the property’s appeal. The standard of the industry now is to provide photos or even video tours. If you rely on a ‘for rent’ sign — still a viable option — include a flyer box with pictures and ample information to get applicants excited about the property. Periodic vacancies are inevitable as tenants move on. Be ready for a quick turnaround by keeping a checklist of needed maintenance and repairs for each unit, and line up workers in advance of move-out dates. Nurture good relationships with contractors and with tenants, and you will improve your bottom line. Article Source: www.american-apartment-owners-association.org

DECEMBER 2013

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SNOW REMOVAL ON YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY:

Landlord or Tenant Responsibility? Snow might create a pretty winter wonderland, but it’s an entire other beast when you need to get rid of it on a regular basis. If you manage property in an area that’s prone to lots of snow, removing snow frequently can be a tiring and seemingly never-ending process. However, it’s important to keep the walkways and sidewalks around your property clear and safe lest your tenants slip and fall. Snow removal is a task you need to stay on top of during the winter, but is it the sole responsibility of the property owner or management, or can you shoulder it onto your tenants? Many city ordinances require property owners to keep sidewalks clear of snow and shovel a path for delivery personnel or face fines. On a rental property, it’s even more important to maintain common areas so you’re not liable for any accidents that might happen if snow and ice are left on walkways. You could be legally and financially responsible if one of your residents slips on an uncleared path. If your city has a law requiring snow and ice removal, it’s up to you as the property manager or owner to get rid of the snow, or hire someone to do so. If you own or manage a multi-unit property, the best course of action is to either do it yourself or hire a snow removal service.

If you own a single-family rental property, you can include snow removal in your lease agreement as the tenant’s responsibility. When you create the tenant-landlord agreement, it’s important to be clear about when and where the snow needs to be shoveled. How soon after a snowfall does a path needs to be cleared, and how wide does the path need to be? Keep your resident updated on the local laws regarding snow disposal as well as some safety tips to prevent any injuries while they do it. It’s common for a landlord to offer a monthly rent discount if a tenant honors the snow removal agreement. To ensure regular shoveling of the property, you might want to provide your tenant with the salt or sand needed to prevent anyone from slipping on your property post-shoveling. In areas where it snows frequently, it might be a good cost-saving measure to make an arrangement with your tenant to help shovel your property, especially if you don’t live close by. Similar to having your tenant in charge of yard work, making them in charge of snow removal on the property can help you keep maintenance costs down, and in return, help keep your tenant’s monthly rent down. Article Source: Zillow.com

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DECEMBER 2013

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

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DECEMBER 2013

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7 Safety Tips for Landlords by TRACEY

MARCH

Although most of us have heard news stories involving crimes against real estate agents–say, a mugging or attack at an open house–there hasn’t been too much media attention on crimes against landlords. Yet, landlord-tenant violence appears in newspaper headlines with some frequency. Just last week a tenant was arrested for pepper spraying his landlord, who was doing maintenance nearby. To bring some attention to the topic, we’ve compiled a short list of some of the most useful safety tips for landlords: • Implement and follow a fair and thorough screening process, which will help weed out troublemakers. Don’t make any exceptions. • Communicate with your tenants and avoid giving them unpleasant surprises. • Use a PO box, drop box, or electronic deposit to receive rent checks; don’t make your home address known. • Meet with potential renters in a public place before showing them your rental home. Have them fill out a contact/interest form and take photos of two forms

Stephen W. Sullivan Attorney At Law

of their identification using your smart phone. • Learn how you can de-escalate a conflict. You will inevitably be dealing with an irate tenant at some point. Skills to help you listen, stay calm, communicate, and take a break will help you. • When showing a rental, always have the potential renter go through doors first. (“After you.”) Always stay near an exit. • Show rentals during the day–not when it’s dark out. Sometimes, headlines aren’t about crimes against landlords, they’re about crimes by landlords. Whether they think their actions are justified or not, some landlords are better suited for other work. Customer service is a huge part of the property management and landlord business; having good customer service skills so you don’t lose your cool is critical. If your strengths lie in other areas, consider having a property manager help you out.

S. 3874 – The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. This new law will require all new plumbing and renovations to wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures to maintain a lead content of .25 percent or less (the original permitted level was up to 8 percent). Relevance to Landlords and Property Managers Although the new law directly affects only manufacturers and suppliers of plumbing fixtures and contractors, landlords and property managers should be aware of the new changes to (1) ensure compliance with the law in the event of renovations to existing plumbing fixtures and (2) to maintain awareness in anticipation of any future disclosure requirements.

Landlords and property managers who own property built before 1986 can also take pro-active measures to ensure lead safety in the water of their rentals by sharing EPA’s “Actions You Can Take To Reduce Lead In Drinking Water” fact sheet. Landlords should also consider a cheap solution in their rental properties: on-faucet filters, which the tenant can be made responsible for maintaining in the lease agreement, to proactively avoid future litigation. It is probably a safe bet to assume we have not heard the last of this lead-contaminated water issue, and this may arise in the future in the form or litigation by tenants suing landlords over older lead piping. Article Source: EZlandlordforms.com

Article Source: www.rentalpropertyreporter.com

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DECEMBER 2013

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

DECEMBER 2013

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EPA Tightens Regulations on Lead in Water Pipes, New Laws Reveal Growing Concern “WARNING! The drinking water in your home may contain dangerous levels of lead and may not be safe.” This is the advisement many homeowners across the US would have received more than 20 years ago had government agencies and the local utility companies been more concerned about public protection than institutional reputation and financial gain. The toxic heavy metal lead was quickly and forcibly banned from paint, gasoline and children’s toys decades ago (China’s efforts to slip batches of lead-painted toys by inspectors notwithstanding). Yet potentially dangerous levels of lead have existed for decades in many Americans’ daily lives, in the form of drinking water. Government agencies and utility companies chose to keep quiet about it until it became painfully obvious that too many unsuspecting people, mostly children, were being affected by the heavy metal. Some say authorities and scientists have known since the early 1970’s about the presence of high lead levels in the drinking water, but efforts to eliminate the problem have been sporadic and mostly reactive. The Problem Experts say water that comes from a city’s treatment plant is free from lead, but travels through the main water lines underground (large pipes usually made of iron or concrete), then through smaller pipes (made of lead in some cases), and to the taps of individual homes and buildings. The lead pipes are susceptible to corroding which, in turn, contaminates the drinking water which flows through residential taps. In an effort to resolve the issue of corroding pipes, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented the Lead and Copper Rule (also known as LCR or 1991 Rule) which regulated the amount of copper and lead found in drinking water. The EPA rule mandated utility companies replace a percentage of all lead pipes every year until all lead piping was defunct. 4

DECEMBER 2013

In 1993, the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the member association for more than 4,000 public and private utility companies, fought back rigorously on behalf of the water utility companies, in the form of a lawsuit. The lawsuit contended the EPA had not provided enough notice to water companies before enforcing the rule. Further, the lawsuit charged the EPA with usurping their authority by mandating water companies to replace lead piping leading directly to privately owned property. After several years of litigation that extended into appellate courts, the EPA lost the fight with the AWWA. As a result, in 2000 the EPA amended the 1991 rule to allow utility companies to replace only sections of the deteriorating pipes, leaving homeowners responsible for replacing the portion leading from their property line to the tap. That decision created even more problems as few homeowners were made aware of the new amendment to the rule; subsequently, even the homeowners who were made aware either refused or could not afford to replace the lead piping with safer alternatives. Thus, the leadtainted water problem remained and still exists today. Effects of Lead-Contaminated Water A number of illnesses, disorders and conditions have been associated with high levels of lead in the drinking water. Too much lead in the blood system is said to cause damage to the nervous system, brain and blood cells. The most noted damages have been observed in children and infants. One study even connects sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to high levels of lead in the water used to mix with infant formula. Adults with high lead levels are often diagnosed with high blood pressure and kidney problems. New Laws On January 4, 2014, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) will be implementing U.S. Senate Bill No. CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

What Is the Tenant’s Responsibility? by JUDY TREMORE with DEBORAH BOERSMA

ZONDERVAN

Homeowner’s and landlords’ insurance policies do not cover the contents of a tenant’s unit. Your policies will pay for damage to the apartment and fixtures, but not the tenant’s possessions. Nor will your policy cover a tenant’s losses because of criminal acts — theft, damage, or break-ins that you couldn’t anticipate — and acts of God. If a tornado takes off the roof and strews contents of the apartment for miles, the tenant has to pay to replace them. Your policy will replace the roof. If your water pipes freeze and your tenant’s property is subsequently damaged by water, your insurance does not cover their personal losses. However, some policies will pay for a tenant’s lodgings for a limited time — for “loss of use” — if he plans to return to the apartment after it is repaired. Talk to your insurance agent for more information.

Careless Smoking Fires caused by careless smoking are responsible for a lot of property damage, injuries, and deaths. Don’t assume it won’t happen to you simply because you are renting a smoke-free unit. Property losses caused by a tenant’s careless smoking are covered in your homeowner’s policy, as are your personal property losses. Your tenant’s possessions, however, will be excluded. Your insurance company will pay for repairs to the walls, floors, fixtures, appliances — anything that

belongs to you. After covering your losses, your company will then turn to your tenant’s renter’s policy to get reimbursed for expenses.

Renter’s Insurance Encourage your tenants to get a renter’s insurance policy so that their personal possessions can be replaced if they are damaged or stolen. Premiums are low and the policy reduces their loss for criminal acts and acts of God. It usually covers losses from their cars and even pays legal fees should they be sued. If your tenant refuses to get renter’s insurance even though you require it, you can protect yourself by having a paragraph in the lease that states he will not hold the landlord responsible for any personal property losses. When it is time for the tenant to sign the lease, be sure you read that section and have him sign or initial it before turning over the keys. Do everything you can to encourage your tenant to take out renter’s insurance. If your insurer has to pay for damage caused by a tenant’s carelessness, your own premiums very likely will be increased or the policy will be dropped, especially if you’ve had a lot of claims in the last few years. Article Source: www.netplaces.net

Look for the Star! If you offer CCRA discounts to CCRA members and/or we do not have your company name marked with a star on our Advertisers Index, please call the editor and let us know so we can inform our members about the special benefits you have to offer.

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

DECEMBER 2013

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Tips to Prevent Freezing Pipes Wintertime brings freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. By taking some precautions, unnecessary expenses associated with frozen water pipes can be prevented. Insulate exposed pipes and faucets: • Wrap outdoor faucets and pipes, along with pipes in unheated garages and crawl spaces, with insulating materials, including rags, newspapers, or electric heat tape. Cover the insulation with plastic and tie with string or wire. • Remove hoses from outside faucets. Drain hoses and shut off water. • Drain all underground irrigation systems. Know the location of the shut-off valve: • Find the main water shut-off valve. It is commonly located in the basement, garage, or outside by the foundation near the front hose bib or faucet. • Advise all household members where the main shut-off valve is located in case of an emergency. • Test the valve by turning the handle to be sure it is working properly and identify it with a tag. • If there is no shut-off valve, consider having one installed by a plumber.

Polly Ann Hohnbaum 7/2/1935 - 11/20/2013

Help prevent frozen pipes: • During periods of extremely cold temperatures, temporarily keep a trickle of water running from the faucet located highest in the house. The trickle should be a steady stream, about the size of the lead in a pencil.

Polly Ann Hohnbaum, 78, of Vancouver, WA, passed away on Nov. 20, 2013. She was born on July 2, 1935 to Cecil and Ruth Dailey in Elma, WA. They moved to Vancouver where she went to grade school and graduated from Vancouver High School in 1953. Polly married Max Hohnbaum in 1989.

Thawing frozen pipes: • Never thaw frozen pipes with an open flame. You could start a fire. • Use heat lamps, electric heaters, or a hair dryer with caution. Keep away from combustible materials. • Frozen pipes may also be thawed by wrapping them with rags or towels and pouring hot water over them until the water is flowing again. • If a pipe breaks, immediately close the main shut-off valve to stop the flooding and call your plumber.

She worked in the trucking industry as one of the first female sales reps in the Portland, OR area. She enjoyed traveling with the Gateway Travel Club and was an active member of the 40et8 LaFemmes, Clark County Rental Association, Red Hat Club for ladies, and was very involved at New Heights Church.

~ She was loved by all and will be greatly missed. ~ Polly is survived by her husband of 25 years, Max; her children, Bill, Anthony, Gregg and Michelle Beecher; and her step-children, Mark, Amy, Craig and Scott Hohnbaum.

Article Source: www.rentonwa.gov

A memorial service was held Fri., Nov. 29, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at the New Heights Church Main, 7913 NE 58th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98665. Donations in Polly’s memory are requested to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation at www.bafound.org.

You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Mentors

Please sign her guestbook at: www.columbian.com/obits Published in The Columbian on Nov. 29, 2013

FAST RESPONSE • 1-2 DAY TURNAROUND • SERVING LANDLORDS SINCE 1979 CCRA’s experienced mentors are here to help.

Call 693-2272 today! If you are interested in assisting our members and becoming a CCRA mentor, Call Sue Denfeld at: 896-5885 or email mentors@ccrawa.org 18

DECEMBER 2013

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

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DECEMBER 2013

3


to either Sue Denfeld, Mentor program manager, or Roger Silver, who responds to questions on our hot line. Roger is also responsible for tracking membership and signing up new members. Our two advisors for Finances and Legal are Ron Oliver and Quinn Posner, respectively. They graciously devote time to assist the operation of the Association. I would be remiss in not mentioning Jeff Gough from Gough Creative. I am sure you will agree that he has done a superior job editing/publishing the monthly newsletter and bringing us into the 21st Century with his develop-

ment of the CCRAwa.org website. By now you have received your dues invoice for continued membership through 2014. Also included is the form outlining the vital role WAA plays in our business. Please consider including an additional check to help support this important program. I hope you decide to renew for another year. The board continues to look for ways to improve how the organization runs, improve the operation of our rentals, and improve the quality of life of our community.

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DECEMBER 2013

19


Advertiser Directory

Letter from the President

Accounting, CPA

Landscaping/Tree Service

Rental Forms

Peterson & Associates, P.S.....................13 360-574-0644

All Weather Tree and Landscape ..........8 360-718-1225 Frontier Tree Service ............................12 360-574-4125

Rogers Residential Rental Forms..........13 360-693-3600

Attorneys Roy D. Pyatt, Attorney ..........................19 360-696-3312 Stephen W. Sullivan, Attorney ............18 360-695-1912 Quinn Posner, Attorney ................12 360-906-1164

Carpet Cleaning/Dyeing Daisy Fresh Carpet Care ................10 360-253-2516 Modern Fiber Carpet Cleaning ............19 503-989-9760 (based in Vancouver)

Door Replacement/Repair

Property Management EQWEST LLC ..........................................15 360-896-5885 Ken Opp, RPM Services ........................19 360-693-6260 Nancy O Homes, LLC ............................19 360-608-7642 Properties West ....................................19 360-574-6143 Zenith Properties NW ............................5 360-816-9751

Affordable Doors ....................................3 Realtors 360-607-3018

Insurance Denis Marsh, InsureQ............................19 360-418-4434

Roofing

President Lyn Ayers • 693-0025 layers@wa-net.com

LYN AYERS CCRA President

Vice President - WAA Delegate Blain Cowley • 699-4900 camsonllc@aol.com

Tenant Screening MyScreeningReport.com ........................5 Prospective Renters ..............................19 Verification Service 360-573-6974 For ad insertion rates and information, call Jackie Maze at: 360.909.3414

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ABC SEAL COATING & STRIPING ..............................................................360.910.4225 ....................................www.ABCsealsit.com

To advertise online or in next month’s issue, Call Jackie Maze at 360.909.3414 CCRAnews is designed and edited by Gough Creative Group • (360) 607-4693 • director@goughcreative.com The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the CCRA Board of Directors or newsletter editor. Please direct any questions, editorial submissions or suggestions, advertising rates & specifications, deadlines, etc., to the editor. While the Clark County Rental Association accepts advertising at face value, it cannot endorse the advertiser or otherwise guarantee the quality of the products or services being advertised. Such guarantees,written or implied, are solely the responsibility of the advertiser. The CCRA is not responsible for typographical errors in the Unlawful Detainer listings. These names appear in the public records as defendants in actions filed in Clark County. The filing of an Unlawful Detainer Action means a landlord has filed suit to evict a tenant.The outcome of the suit may be favorable to either party. No inference should be made that because a suit is filed, a tenant is automatically in the wrong.

DECEMBER 2013

2013 OFFICERS

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5620 Gher Rd., Ste. H Vancouver, WA 98662-6166 360-693-2272 www.ccrawa.org

Restoration/Remodel Country Restoration..............................12 360-546-3259

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

When you receive this newsletter, Christmas will only be a few days away. Along with looking forward to the New Year it is also time to look back and review 2013. A few of you may recall my goals for the organization at the beginning of the year. “A Year of New Challenges” • Capitalize on low prices and low mortgage rates • Keep current on changes in laws • Continue to provide good value to members I am sure you will agree this has been a year of both new challenges and more of old challenges. In Olympia we had to advocate against many of the same detrimental bills that were presented in previous years. We had to be prepared for more tenant applicants who tried to game the system and take advantage of us. We had to learn about and understand the new laws that came down from the legislature. Some of us were able to refinance our mortgages and take advantage of the low interest rates. Rents are slowly moving up and that is good since our costs are inexorably moving up as well. It has been several years of increasing costs and little increase in rents. Our mentor program is working smoothly. We are enhancing the capabilities of the website and able to CLARK COUNTY RENTAL ASSOCIATION

provide more value for our members. Our dinner meetings continue to have informative speakers helping educate us. Periodically I want to acknowledge our officers. This is one of those times. Following are the volunteers who make the organization function so effectively. Blain Cowley as VP and WAA representative along with his wife Cheryl Cowley continue to be our connection with WAA and Olympia. Patty Silver has been our Secretary for more years than I care to count. She wears multiple hats. An example is tracking the unlawful detainers names. Janine Ayers as Treasurer keeps the organization on track when it comes to money. Taking care of the finances requires a lot of her time to deposit and track checks, pay bills as well as generate monthly reports. Pat Schaefer is one of our board members wearing two hats. She handles the WAA PAC donations and coordinates the summer BBQ. Max Hohnbaum arranges for the speakers at our dinner meetings. He spends a significant amount of time finding the best topics and presenters for us. Advertising is a significant effort. Jackie Maze has successfully expanded the number of our advertisers. If you have had questions about landlording I am sure you have talked

Secretary Patty Silver • 693-3600 silverbug5@aol.com Treasurer Janine Ayers • 693-0025 layers@wa-net.com

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Past President, WAA Ken Opp • 693-6260 rpms@pacifier.com Guest Speaker Committee Max Hohnbaum • 693-0106 ttenterprises2@aol.com Dinner Coordinator Thanks & Acknowledgements Patty Silver • 608-2086 silverbug5@aol.com Events & Entertainment, PAC Drawing Pat Schaefer • 980-0389 pkbshaefer@gmail.com Mentor Program Sue Denfeld • 896-5885 mentor@ccrawa.org WAA Secretary Cheryl Cowley • 699-4900

CCRA NEWSLETTER Designer / Editor Jeff Gough - Gough Creative Group 607-4693 • editor@ccrawa.org Advertising Jackie Maze • 909-3414

CCRA ASSOCIATES Accounting Advisor Ron Oliver, CPA • 574-0644 ron@vancouvercpa.com Legal Advisor Quinn Posner, Attorney • 906-1164 Quinn@lfplawfirm.com Information Coordinator Roger Silver • 693-2272

DECEMBER 2013

1


board minutes

CCRA membership application From the November 5, 2013 meeting of the CCRA Board of Directors The meeting was called to order by President Lyn Ayers Members present: Pat Schaefer, Jeff Gough, Sue Denfeld, Polly & Max Hohnbaum, Quinn Posner, Janine Ayers, Ken Opp and Jackie Maze. Treasurer report was presented, discussed, and approved. Speakers: Max announced that Roy Pyatt will be speaking on Move-Out procedures at the November dinner meeting. A tax expert will be our featured speaker for January on Do’s and Don’ts of Buying Real Estate. WAA President Rob Trickler asked for a copy of our forms be sent to him. WAA wants to review them to see if they are useable as state-wide forms.

Contract Furnishings Mart has scheduled the 2014 BBQ picnic for next June, the last Tuesday of the month. Mark your calendars early! WAA PAC donation at the October meeting was $80.

includes newsletter (Payable initially on a yearly basis). $50 for each additional newsletter mailed to a separate address.

Members are being urged to attend the Trends show for landlords and managers in Seattle in December. The October article will repeat in the November newsletter.

Phone: ........................................................................ Alternate Phone: ..................................................................

It was suggested that phone blast dinner reminder be done in the morning instead of the evening.

❒ New Membership ❒ Renewal ❒ Owner ❒ Manager ❒ Both ❒ Association

New business: WAA wants to present a new website capability to the board called Rent-egration. President Lyn was authorized to coordinate the meeting.

The Board decided to decline selling No Trespassing signs. Jeff Gough will take orders and supply our membership signs that meet state law. Contact him for more information. It was moved and seconded to adjourn. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned.

Ken recommended that both hard copies & soft copies of the newsletter be sent to our legislative members. Jeff provided an update on the Members-Only section of web – similar to the WAA site. It has the

DECEMBER

Respectfully submitted, Janine Ayers CCRA Secretary pro tem

2013

Letter from the President ........................................................................1 Ad Sizes & Rates ........................................................................................2 EPA Tightens Regulations on Lead in Water Pipes ..............................4 Got Vacancies? The Top 4 Reasons Your Rentals Are Empty ..............7 CCRA Calendar ..........................................................................................8 IRS Audits on Landlords............................................................................9 Holiday Fire Safety..................................................................................11 When Should Landlords Negotiate on Rent? ....................................13

ANNUAL DUES: $99

goal of being simple and friendly to use. It is accessible now and will provide access to current and previous copies of the newsletter in a searchable format. Additional enhancements will come later.

There was discussion of additional landlord training sessions. For example, the Oakland, California rental association offers free monthly Landlord basics for new and non-members as an hour and half afternoon session.

Mentor program: Sue exhibited a sample of a new postcard she developed for new members. It provides their mentor’s specific contact information.

Mail to: Clark County Rental Association 5620 Gher Road, Suite H • Vancouver, WA 98662-6166

This month’s features

Property Maintenance Tips & Tricks ....................................................14 Snow Removal on Your Rental Property ............................................15 7 Safety Tips for Landlords ....................................................................16 What Is the Tenant’s Responsibility?....................................................17 Tips to Prevent Freezing Pipes ..............................................................18 CCRA Marketplace ..................................................................................19 Advertiser Directory ..............................................................................20 Member Application ....................................................inside back cover

Mail to: Name and/or Complex: ............................................................................................ Date: ........................ Mailing Address: ........................................................ City/ST: .............................................. ZIP:.......................... E-mail: ........................................................................ Number of Rental Units: .................................................... How did you hear about us? .................................... Applicant's Signature: ........................................................

The Benefits of CCRA Membership Meetings

Seminars

General Membership meetings are held the last Tuesday of every month.

Subjects regarding financial analysis, investments, economics, etc., given by professionals and offered at nominal cost to you.

Monthly Newsletter Our newsletter (mailed around the 15th) includes timely articles of general interest written by authorities in our industry. Published unlawful detainer lists are a helpful screening tool (complete list available back to 10/87).

Industry Subscriptions Members receive a free subscription to the Landlord Times, as well as a free, five month subscription to Mr. Landlord.

Educational Programs Through education and high ethical standards, CCRA is pledged to raise professional standards and increase efficiency of the rental property operations in our county.

Rental Forms/Books A new-member packet is given to you when you join. Forms are provided which protect your legal rights and help your business operate smoothly and more efficiently. Landlording/Landlord Tenant Law books available.

Associate Commercial Members Offering you a selection of local services and retail products, sometimes discounted.

Officers and Directors Volunteering their time and talents to be of service to you.

Legislative Representation Your interests are served on vital issues by our State Legislative Lobbyist. The need for representation on laws affecting the rental industry is a constant concern of our Association.

Washington Apartment Association Our State Association is comprised of 13 local rental property groups throughout Washington, united in the goal of preserving free enterprise and protecting owners and managers of rental property.

Tax Deduction Membership dues, and advertising costs can be written off as business expense.

A United Voice: There is strength in UNITY!

Advertiser Discounts Check our Advertisers Index for vendors/service providers who offer discounts to CCRA members.

Member Discount Members interested in joining Club Green Meadows receive a 50% discount on their initiation fee.


Providing Landlord Education, Advocacy and Information since 1981

DECEMBER 2013

Clark County Rental Association 5620 Gher Rd., Suite H Vancouver, WA 98662-6166 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

Member of the: Washington Apartment Association 2633-B Parkmount Lane SW, H-7 Olympia, WA 98502 (360)705-0113 • www.waapt.org • waa@cnw.com

Got vacancies?

page 7

When to negotiate on rent page 13

Prevent freezing pipes page 19

L E G I S L AT I O N C O N TA C T S LEGISLATIVE HOTLINE: Governor Jay Inslee-D Office of the Governor PO Box 40002 Olympia, WA 98504-0002 (360) 902-4111 FAX: (360) 753-4110

S E N AT O R S

1-800-562-6000 (Leave a message for your Legislators)

Terry Kohl, Legislative Coordinator tkohl@comcast.net Mark Gjurasic, Lobbyist mgjurasic@comcast.net

R E P R E S E N TAT I V E S

Don Benton-R, 17th District 409 Legislative Bldg. PO Box 40417 Olympia,WA 98504-0417 (360) 786-7632 FAX: (360) 786-1999 benton.don@leg.wa.gov

Monica Stonier-D,17th District 309 John L. O'Brien Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7994 stonier.monica@leg.wa.gov

Paul Harris-R, 17th District 403 John L. O'Brien Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7976 harris.paul@leg.wa.gov

Ann Rivers-R, 18th District 405 Legislative Building PO Box 40418 Olympia, WA 98504-0418 (360) 786-7634 FAX: (360) 786-1999 rivers.ann@leg.wa.gov

Brandon Vick-R, 18th District 469 John L. O'Brien Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7850 vick.brandon@leg.wa.gov

Liz Pike-R, 18th District 122B Legislative Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7812 pike.liz@leg wa.gov

Annette Cleveland-D, 49th District 230 John A. Cherberg Building PO Box 40449 Olympia, WA 98504-0449 (360) 786-7696 cleveland.annette@leg.wa.gov

Sharon Wylie-D, 49th District 417 John L. O'Brien Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7924 wylie.sharon@leg.wa.gov

Jim Moeller-D, 49th District 430 Legislative Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7872 moeller.jim@leg.wa.gov

REMINDER:

THERE WILL BE NO MONTHLY DINNER MEETING THIS MONTH.

See you January 28th.

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CCRA news - Dec. 2013