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Is Connecticut Ready To Tackle This Issue Next? Companion Pet Legislation Passed in Alabama

Are you ready for the 2020 Legislative Session? Session Begins February 5th

Landlords Still Unfamiliar With Connecticut's Bed Bug Statues Years After Passage

January 2020

EPA Announces New Lead Dust Standards Are you Compliant?

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FEATURED ARTICLES Page: Publisher’s Message: The 2020 Legislative Session is right around the corner. Take a look at what’s going on Nation Wide and Locally with proposed Real Estate Legislation

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News & Views From The Capitol: Cooperation is key to Success at the Capitol. Connecticut's Local Real Estate groups work together to achieve legislative success

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Lead Paint: HUD and the EPA changes their guidelines in regards to Lead Dust.

8 Going Buggy!: Landlords are still unfamiliar with Bed Bug Laws, Get an In 15 depth look at what to do when it comes to these pests. Check Out: Our Event Calendar for meetings across Connecticut.

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Everyone at CTPOA would like to wish you a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2020.

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Publisher’s Message “ Helping Property Owners Since 1994” - Bob De Cosmo, President

On February 5th, the 2020 Connecticut General Assembly session begins. Bob De Cosmo began purchasing and managing rental real estate in 1982 and is a strong advocate for private property ownership right's and neighborhood revitalization efforts.

Published by CTPOA Our goals; Educate our members on “Best Practices” for maximum efficiency Increase profitability by lowering operating expenses via vendor discounts Provide access to “Core Services” needed to better manage and maintain properties

Our Team: Carmine DeCosmo Melissa DeCosmo Paul Jenney

Equally concerning was legislation that erased an individual’s criminal past by creating arbitrary cutDuring the 2019 session, there were numerous bills off dates to conceal attacking the foundations records. of property owner rights There is no statute of and it was a truly eyelimitations on reporting criminal records and that is opening experience. designed purposefully to Many of the proposals caused great consternation protect the public’s health, safety and welfare. amongst landlords and Real Estate agents alike; fortunately, all Bills were defeated. Last year, our biggest concern was centered around, of all things, “Criminal’s Rights.” There were proposals to grant full civil rights protections to convicted felons.

HUD has already issued guidance in 2016 on how to use criminal records in tenant screening and it’s clear what is and is not allowed.

Removing the right of a property owner or agent to exercise proper diligence when screening rental applicants is treacherous Imagine, the people who created real victims would and poses an unnecessary now, themselves, become risk to the public “victims” and would be Everyone connected to able to sue agents and real estate and the rental landlords if their public property industry must be criminal record was used prepared for another against them during the assault in 2020 on private rental application process. property rights and brace This same law would have for more anti-business made agents and landlords proposals. criminals if they were found guilty of violating this new proposal.

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New York State already passed harmful tenant/ Connecticut landlords and agents need to be onguard starting in February and ending in May. landlord legislation this past summer, including: increasing the time to evict a tenant by a about month while outlawing an owner or agents right to consider a tenant’s previous eviction records when screening rental applicants. Up to our north in Massachusetts, there is legislation queued for: rent control, tenants’ first right of refusal and free lawyer representation for tenants in housing court.

Consider some of the issue on our radar already: Lead Paint

Companion Pets

Evicted Tenant Possessions

Tenant Rights

1. It’s the tenant’s 1. Rent control items. They 2. Rent must pay. stabilization 2. It should be 3. Right to considered housing abandoned property 48 4. Longer hours after the eviction execution is timelines 4. Annual Lead 4. What animals served. 5. Free lawyers Safe are okay to in housing Certificate have? Cats, dogs, court ponies, sheep? 5. Section 8 Owners have 30 days to fix 1. Lower Blood 1. Need Proof of Lead Levels disability % 20 --> 5 2. Limit number of ug/dl pets 2, 3, or 10? 2. Forced Unit 3. Breed Inspections restrictions on 3. Strict dogs regarding Liability insurance

New Fees

1. Licensing of multifamily owners

Public Record Concealment 1. Limits on lookback periods.

2. Owners are 2. Landlord now criminals if Registration violated 3. Differential 3. Full Civil Rights Mill Rate protections 4. Buyer sought conveyance 4. Crime severity? tax What’s excluded? Murder, rape? 5. Doesn’t deal with repeat offenders well

We look forward to the upcoming Legislative session and hopefully landlords and agents will become active once again! A lot of the bills we defeated last year will be back. 5


By: Bob DeCosmo - CTPOA - President

Cooperation is key to our success!

Unity is often achieved in the face of adversity and this still rings true as the groups that represent CT landlords are coming together and collaborating for the first time in Connecticut history.

These groups are the Connecticut Coalition of Property Owners (CCOPO), the CT Real Estate Investors Association (CTREIA) and the CT Property Owners Alliance (CTPOA). Each has existed for nearly twenty years, but they have seldom worked together or hosted any joint events and that could be changing.

The reason behind this new dynamic was a result of this past legislative session when many anti-business and harmful housing policies made their way into proposed legislation. The groups had no choice but to collaborate as they covered different parts of the state and represented different interests and constituencies. They discovered, in an exchange of ideas and information, the principals in running the different associations had much Members from all 3 groups after a meeting in April of in common with each other. 2019 with the Governor’s staff. However, the differences proved invaluable in generating new In the past, these groups didn’t necessarily communicate approaches. or try to work together. Each group operates a little In Connecticut, there are three differently than the other and each has carved a niche different entities representing the out for itself, offering different benefits. They all have interests of multi-family property owners that hold meetings and their own thing going and as a result, they found out that events on a regular basis. they can exist in the same sandbox without kicking sand on each other. 6


Who Are These Groups? The CTREIA has the biggest following and turns out nearly two hundred people each month at their meetings. They focus primarily on providing education and private coaching to those that want to learn about investing in Real Estate. They also have seasoned landlords and Realtors attending their meetings. The CCOPO has been active in several CT cities and has had a lobbyist on their team since they started. They meet and discuss issues monthly at a luncheon and help support individual landlord groups from different cities that are part of their coalition. They also host a wonderful cruise down the CT River in June that they have been doing for many years now for their members! The CTPOA also operates in several CT cities and has led a grass roots political advocacy effort at the Capitol since the late 1990’s. They provide educational resources to their members and network with many real estate agents and Realtor Boards across Connecticut. Their website contains informational resources for their paid members. Before closing, we would also like to mention a fourth entity called the CT Apartment Association. It is a chapter of the National Apartment Association operating in CT. The Association largely represent apartment complex operators which are mainly property managers and maintenance staff rather than investors and landlords. They have offered invaluable advice on several housing matters through their lobbying firm, CT Capital Group, and have been a pleasure to work with. We hope these groups continue to build their relationship with one another. We are looking forward to working with our fellow landlord / investor associations. All of us are striving to improve the housing conditions in our cities, educate their members and create economic prosperity for our state. We wish each group well and hope the best for their current members and the next generation of investors as they will soon purchase and make needed 7 private capital commitments into Connecticut’s housing stock.


EPA and HUD Announce New Lead Dust Standards To Protect Children’s Health

On June 21, 2019 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, along with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, announced new, tighter standards for lead in dust on floors and windowsills to protect children from the harmful effects of lead exposure. “EPA is delivering on our commitment in the Trump Administration’s Federal Lead Action Plan to take important steps to reduce childhood lead exposure,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Today’s final rule is the first time in nearly two decades EPA is issuing a stronger, more protective standard for lead dust in homes and childcare facilities across the country.”

“EPA’s updating its standards for lead dust on floors and windowsills in pre1978 homes and child-occupied facilities is an important advance,” said Secretary Carson. “We will use this new rule in updating the lead safety requirements for the pre-1978 housing we assist.” Since the 1970s, the United States has made tremendous progress in lowering children’s blood lead levels. In 2001, EPA set standards for lead in dust for floors and windowsills in housing, however since that time, the best available science has evolved to indicate human health effects at lower blood lead levels than previously analyzed.

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To protect children’s health and to continue making progress on this important issue, EPA is lowering the dust -lead hazard standards from 40 micrograms of lead per square foot (µg/ ft 2 ) to 10 µg/ft 2 on floors and from 250 µg/ft 2 to 100 µg/ft 2 on window sills. The more protective dust-lead hazard standards will apply to inspections, risk assessments, and abatement activities in pre-1978 housing and certain schools, childcare facilities and hospitals across the country.

Lead-contaminated dust from chipped or peeling lead-based paint is one of the most common causes of elevated blood lead levels in children. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure because they their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. They can be exposed from multiple sources and may experience irreversible and life-long health effects. Lead dust can be generated when lead-based paint deteriorates or is disturbed.

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“Providing legal services to our client’s in a cost effective and timely manner, while maintaining the highest ethical and professional standards is the cornerstone of my firm.”

Real Estate—Purchases/Sales and Refinancing Tenant Evictions

Business Formations

Personal Injury

General Litigation

212A New London Turnpike, Glastonbury, CT 06033

Attorney Clinton has been practicing law since 1988 and limits his landlord/ tenant practice solely to landlord representation statewide and handled thousands of eviction cases. His practice also includes residential and commercial real estate, wills and estate planning, probate, personal injury, small business formations and representation. Attorney Clinton may be reached at (860) 633-5263 or through his web site www.ClintonLawOffices.com.

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LandlordsBy:Still Unfamiliar with Connecticut Bed Bug Attorney Michael Clinton Infestation Statute Years After Passage

On

May 26, 2016 our state legislature enacted House Bill Number 5335, Public Act Number 16–51 entitled, “An Act concerning the Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants Regarding the Treatment of Bedbug Infestations”. Since then, the Act has been codified as Connecticut General Statutes section 47a-7a (Here’s the link to the statute) Incredibly, three years after its enactment, many landlords are still not familiar with the Bed Bug Statute and how it works. I receive numerous calls throughout the year indicating that tenants are uncooperative or failed to prepare for bedbug treatments. In fact, many landlord’s express frustration because when one tenant is uncooperative, the problem continues to spread throughout their buildings. This is where the Bed Bug Statute can come in handy. While I will not address every provision of the Statute, I do want to touch upon the important portions and how landlords should address them when dealing with a bedbug problem.

While the statute requires the tenant to promptly notify their landlord orally or in writing when the tenant knows or suspects of the bedbug problem, often the landlord finds out about the problem from a neighbor, during a routine inspection, or in some other informal fashion (e.g. after a notice to quit is filed, surprising right?), many times, the tenant is not the notifying party. In my view, how the landlord finds out is not important, just that the landlord has notice. In any event, once a landlord hears about the problem, most landlords will inspect the premises and then commence treatment if a problem is found. However, the Bed Bug Statute requires a landlord to provide notice to the tenant within two days of inspection indicating whether bugs have been found to be present. This notice requires the landlord to indicate whether or not the unit is infested with bed bugs and inform the tenant that if the tenant is still concerned that the unit is infested with bedbugs, that the tenant may contact the local health department and the landlord shall provide

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relevant contact information on said notice. To date, I have not received any information from a client that they provided this notice and in particular, the contact information for the city. In addition to the notice, if the unit inspection determines that there are bedbugs, the landlord shall treat the bedbug infestation within five days.

comply with the preparation for any bed bug inspection or treatment measures that are the tenant’s responsibility. As a matter of good business practice, this obligation should be conveyed to the tenant, in writing, as the language of the statute uses the term “shall offer” but does not indicate in what form. Prudence leads me to conclude that this offer should be in writing.

The statute goes on to indicate that the landlord “shall be responsible for all costs associated with inspection for and treatment of bedbug infestation.” Obviously, many clients become upset knowing that they have to pay for these treatments when the condition is caused by tenants. Unfortunately, when an outbreak occurs, it is difficult if not impossible, to identify the cause of the outbreak. Another issue which landlords find of concern is the inability to enter the premises because of an uncooperative tenant, and/or the tenant is not prepared properly for the bedbug treatment, thereby impairing the effectiveness of the pest control procedures. The Bed Bug Statute does contemplate this scenario and states that a tenant must “comply with reasonable measures to permit the inspection and treatment of the bedbug infestation… and such tenant shall be responsible for all costs associated with preparing a dwelling unit for such inspection and treatment. The tenants knowing and unreasonable failure to comply with such bedbug inspection and treatment measures shall result in the tenant being held liable for those bed bug treatments of the dwelling unit and contiguous units arising from such failure.” Landlords should be cognizant of their obligation to offer to make reasonable assistance available to any tenant who is not physically able to

There are additional requirements for the notice, including disclosing the cost of providing the assistance and the landlord may, at their discretion, charge the tenant a reasonable amount for such assistance, provided such charge is subject to a reasonable repayment schedule not to exceed six months, unless the landlord and tenant agree to one or more extensions of such repayment schedule. Note, failure to repay the charges does not relieve the landlord of the duty to treat the unit, nor does it give the landlord the right to terminate the lease for nonpayment. Rather, should payment not be made under this agreed provision, the landlord may deduct such sums from the tenant security deposit in accordance with C.G.S. 47a-21. 14


Finally, landlords who encounter obstinate tenants who are unwilling to comply with reasonable requests for entry, inspections, preparation and/or treatments can rely upon subsection (2) of the Bed Bug Statute to apply to the Superior Court to obtain injunctive relief. Many landlords are not familiar with the procedures permitting injunctive relief under C.G. S. ยง47a-18, but essentially the process

allows an expedited hearing in which the tenant must show cause as to why an injunction should not issue, thereby permitting the landlord to address the bedbug problem. The statute goes on to provide the measures of relief that a landlord may request. This procedure requires service of a Verified Complaint (meaning sworn to by the plaintiff) and service of the Verified Complaint and a Show Cause Order with an application for injunctive relief with the court.

Landlords should be aware that the strongest cases are founded upon great paperwork. Landlords should be conscious of the obligation to provide notices as set forth in statute and should document in writing the outcomes of the investigations for bedbugs in the notices provided in order to permit the tenants to contest the findings as set forth in the statute. Further, all pest control records should be kept available should the landlord need to avail herself of the injunctive relief set forth in the statute.

As always, I recommend that you have an experienced and qualified attorney to help you with your problem tenants and to protect you from documentation and notice mistakes that can cost you money and delay your relief.

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Companion Pet Legislation Passed In Alabama appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of the Assistance and Service Animal Integrity in 1901, as amended, because the bill defines a Housing Act. This Act states that if a person with new crime or amends the definition of an a disability that is not readily known or apparent existing crime. requests a policy exception to allow animals on the property because the applicant requires the Section 7. This act shall become effective on the use of an assistance animal (which qualifies as a first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise reasonable accommodation under the federal Fair Housing Act), the landlord may require the becoming law. person to produce reasonable documentation of the disability. It further imposes penalties for making a false claim about the need for an assistance animal.

The Alabama legislature recently enacted

Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the Alabama Assistance and Service Animal Integrity in Housing Act. Section 6. Although this bill would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds, the bill is excluded from further requirements and application under Amendment 621, now 16


Section 2. For the purposes of this act, the following terms shall have the following meanings: (1) ASSISTANCE ANIMAL. An animal, other than a service animal, that qualifies as a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act, Public Law 90-284, 42 U.S.C. Section 3601, et seq., or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Public Law 93-112, 29 U.S.C. Section 794. This term includes an emotional support animal when the animal qualifies as a reasonable accommodation. (2) DISABILITY. A physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. (3) LANDLORD. A person or company that owns, manages, or enforces pet policies in housing subject to the Fair Housing Act or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. (4) RELIABLE DOCUMENTATION. Documentation allowed to be requested upon receipt of a request for reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act or Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The term only includes documentation from a medical provider of the person in need of the reasonable accommodation. (1) The disability, only if the disability is not readily apparent or known to the landlord. (2) The disability-related need for the animal, only if the disability-related need is not readily apparent or known to the landlord. (1) Misrepresents to another person that a person has a disability or disabilityrelated need for the use of an assistance animal or service animal in housing. (1) Creates a document that misrepresents an animal as an assistance animal or service animal for use in housing. (2) Provides a document to another person falsely stating that an animal is an assistance animal or service animal for use in housing. (2) Upon a second or subsequent offense, a violation of subsection (a) shall be a Class B misdemeanor.

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Do You Know Your Landlord Tenant Laws? By: Bob DeCosmo—CTPOA President

People do not require any special training to become a landlord and often that comes back to haunt them when they make ill-informed decisions about tenants. Here’s a recent example. There was a post on Facebook on one of the landlord pages that asked this question - can I change the locks on my apartment because the tenant was arrested and can't post bail? They haven’t paid rent and it looks like they will be doing time in jail. I was literally floored by the number of people telling this person to change the locks. Without hesitation I linked the CT Police Training Manual to the thread that clearly states you need a court order to change the locks once a tenant gains possession of the unit. Please read the Landlord/Tenant Disputes Police Training Manual so that you can save yourself from the embarrassment of reading a newspaper story about your arrest and the financial setback that comes along with performing illegal activities against tenants in rental housing.

Click here to see a list of new Connecticut laws that went into effect in 2020. 18


What’s Happening Near You? The Statewide Events and Meetings calendar is a resource for local landlords and property owners to meet up, network and grow your real estate opportunities.

Hosting an Event? Let us know!

Email info@ctpoa.com we will post it on our calendar

Get Involved, Stay Informed. 19


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New Haven Property Owners

County Real Estate Investors Meet up

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Place: Sheraton Four Points Meriden

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Place: Grace Omalley’s Fairfield

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Date & Time: January 20 2020 6:00 PM-9:00 PM

Date & Time: January 21 6:00 PM-9:00 PM

Date & Time: January 29 7:00 –9:00 PM

Date & Time: January 27th 6:30-9:00PM

Anatomy of a multifamily deal with Charles Dobens

Anatomy of a multifamily deal with Charles Dobens

Mix and Mingle with other Real Estate Investors and Industry Professionals.

Join Property Owners with experience and insight into being a Landlord

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CT REIA Introductory Class Place: CT Reia Training Center 415 Silas Deane Highway Suite 304A Wethersfield CT Date & Time: February 1. 10:00AM-1:00PM Introductory CTREIA Class with Ron Faraci

Greater Enfield Landlord Association Place: Enfield Town Hall Date & Time: February 5. 7:00 PM—8:00 PM Informational meeting for Landlords, Learn State Laws and how to become a seasoned Landlord

CTPOA Bristol Kickoff

Norwich Property Owners Association

Place: Bristol Public

Place: Dimes Savings Bank

Library Date & Time: February 12. 6:00 PM—8:00 PM CTPOA Bristol Kickoff with Mayor Ellen ZoppoSossa

Date & Time: February 6. 7:00 PM—8:00 PM NPOA Distributes information and educates Property Owners about Evictions, lead, Education and other policies

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Local real estate agent calls NPU security policy into question - hurting both landlords & renters. Here’s an update to the ongoing story concerning Norwich Public Utilities policy regarding security deposits on new customer’s accounts.

There has been some headway but NPU has a monopoly and we don’t have any other utility choices. There are ways around the deposits for landlords, and they will consider exceptions, but the exceptions must include the fact that you have a great payment history. If a tenant has absolutely no utility history in their name, there will be a one-month deposit consisting of the average utility use of that unit over the course of a year. They can have that payment split over a 2-month period if requested. For tenants with a good history of utility payments (not just in Norwich), there will be no deposit required.

Leo Chomen (pictured above) is a local realtor concerned about the NPU security deposit policy.

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Original story appeared in the CT Real Estate Today October Issue

For tenants with a poor payment history, there will be a 3-month deposit required. If you are a landlord doing thorough background checks you should be able to figure out the type of tenant you’re renting to. You can also ask the tenant if they have had utilities in their name previously, that way you can prepare them for what to expect cost-wise. For commercial properties (this is apartments or homes for rent that are not owner occupied) there is a $500 deposit plus $100 for each unit that the landlord will be required to pay. For example, on a single family it would cost $600 while for a three family it would be $800. This can be waived if the property is not owned by an LLC, or if you sign a personal guarantee or a surety bond. You also must have 2 years of good payment history with NPU and set up autopay. If you are just starting out as a property owner you can apply for the exception waiver after 2 years of property ownership. This is probably the most onerous program out there for any town here in Connecticut. I have tried and attended a couple of board meetings and we do have some support at the top of the board but not much help below that. It is difficult convincing everyone we are a force to be reckoned with when there were only about 5 landlords showing up at these meetings. I do know that many of you have families and obligations, and the makeup of landlords is different than it used to be but we must come together if we want to make a change!

Your direct contact for discussing exceptions and other issues is Ruth Swift at Norwich Public Utilities. 23


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A special thank you to our participating REALTOR Boards for circulating CT Real Estate Today to their members.

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CT Real Estate Today allows you to hit your target audience for all things real estate.

Contact us at

Becom

info@ctpoa.com

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ADVERTISE WITH US!

Fol

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me a CTPOA Member Visit: https://ctpoa.com/

cut Property Owners Alliance is composed property managers, REALTORS and landlords to improve the business conditions for rental property owners.

llow CTPOA: https://www.facebook.com/CTPOA/

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Profile for CT Real Estate Today

Ct Real Estate Today January 2020 Issue  

The January 2020 Issue of Connecticut Real Estate Today. Information pertaining to Landlord, Rental and Real Estate Climate in Connecticut

Ct Real Estate Today January 2020 Issue  

The January 2020 Issue of Connecticut Real Estate Today. Information pertaining to Landlord, Rental and Real Estate Climate in Connecticut

Profile for ctpoa