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Legislative Update

 US Senate Bill 1017

Supporters of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit cheered the introduction of the long awaited Senate bill. Senators Bob Grahm (D) and Connie Mack (R) of Florida introduced S. 1017, a bill to increase the per capita cap on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit from $1.25 to $1.75 and index it for inflation. The legislation will give states more funds to allocate to projects and prevent inflation from eroding the value of those funds. Forty-five Senators are sponsoring the bill already. The same bill was introduced in the house, H.R. 175, in January and has 264 sponsors.


Arkansas 

Senate Bill 412

Summary: Allows a prosecuting attorney to require a landlord to terminate an occupant's tenancy for drug or prostitution violations. If the landlord doesn't begin eviction proceedings within five days, the prosecutor can do so in place of the landlord.

 Status: 2/9/99 -To Senate Committee on Judiciary. 


Arizona 

House Bill 2139 

Summary: House Bill 21 39 would allow landlords to charge tenants separately for utilities, such as water, wastewater, gas, electricity, and solid waste removal. To separately charge tenants, the bill requires, landlords to install 'a ratio  billing or sub metering system:

Status: 1/27/2000  - To House Committee of the Whole.

House Bill 2090

Summary: House Bill 2090 states residential property regularly used in the commission of a crime is a nuisance, and such nuisances should be prevented. The bill amends prior law by creating liability for "other persons" responsible for the property. If there is reason to believe a nuisance exists, anyone who is affected by the nuisance may sue the owner, the owner's managing agent, or any other person responsible for the property. The court will only assess a penalty if the owner, managing agent, or other person responsible knew or had reason to know of the activity. The owner, managing agent, or other person responsible for the property is deemed to know or have reason to know of the nuisance if one of them has received notice from a governmental authority that criminal offenses are occurring on the property.

Status: 1/1/2000 - Passed Home Committee on Judiciary.


California 

Senate Bill 1572

572 requires that notices be sent to tenants and affected public entities six and twelve months in advance of termination of housing assistance. The Bill also contains provisions relating to notice given by landlords or tenants to terminate tenancies. Signed by governor 9/24/2000

Senate Bill 1745

1745 requires an additional 30 days notice for proposed rent increases that, either by themselves or when coupled with rent increases in the prior twelve months, raises rent more than 10 percent. Also revises procedures for providing 30 days notice for termination or changes in month-to-month tenancies. Signed by governor 9/24/2000

Assembly Bill 860

AB 860, of 1999, will allow California residents of condominiums, planned unit developments, mobile-home parks, and every other form of common-interest housing to keep pets, regardless of management regulations. A similar bill in 1998 was passed by the Assembly, then vetoed by then-Governor, (Republican) Pete Wilson. 

The new (Democrat) Governor, Gray Davis, may sign the bill. The legislation will force people who purposefully and freely choose to live in pet free housing, for many reasons, to live with untethered dogs and prowling cats, whether they want to or not.

Assembly Bill. 760

Summary: Assembly Bill 760 makes it illegal for a landlord to cause or knowingly permit rental properties under his or for control to be used for drug car gang-related crime. The bill also makes it illegal for a landlord to permit a tenant to use or reside in the rental property if the tenant is involved in gang activities on the premises.

Status: 1/04/2000 - Returned to Chief Clerk.


Senate Bill 2143

Summary: requires the landlord to provide each
residential unit tenant with a copy of the notice from from a registered structural pest control company-if a contract for periodic post' control has been executed.

Status: 3/16/00 - To Senate Committee on Judiciary.


Senate Bill 1373

Allows a landlord to withhold consent to the transfer of a tenant's lease if the new property use conflicts with the landlord's moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.

Status: 2/3/2000 -  To Senate Committee on Judiciary.


Connecticut 

House Bill 6463

Eliminates municipal responsibility for removing and storing evicted tenants' possessions. Presumably, it will give landlords the right to dispose of such property.

 Status: 1/25/99 - To Joint Select Committee on Housing.


 Delaware 

Delaware Senate Bill, 323

Summary: allows private citizens, community
groups, and houses of worship affected by illegal drug activity to sue the owner, landlord, manager or tenant of any building habitually used by drug dealers.

Status: 3/03/00 - To State Committee on Combating  Drug Abuse.


Senate Bill 279

Summary: Senate Bill 279 allows a landlord to immediately end a lease and regain possession of a rental property if a tenant engages in, or permits others to engage in, weapons and drug-related crime.

Status: 1/31/2000 - Sent to Senate Committee on Administrative Services.


Georgia 

House Bill 1221

Allows the owner of a building containing at least four residential units to charge tenants separately for water usage. 3/15/00 - Eligible for Governor's desk.

House Bill 405

Allows state and local officials - and tenants - to file lawsuits to prevent the continuance of a drug-related nuisance on the premises. The person filing the lawsuit must prove a resident or owner of the property knowingly or recklessly maintained property where persons gathered to engage in illegal drug-related activities. 2/2/99 -To House Committee on Judiciary.


 Hawaii

House Bill 2965

Summary: House Bill 2965 makes it illegal for landlords to prohibit elderly and disabled tenants from owning an animal in a condominium, cooperative, or planned unit development with six or more units.

Status: 2/09/2000 - Held in House Committee on Human Services and Housing.


Iowa 

House Bill 134

Requires a landlord who collects rental deposits to keep the funds in an interest - bearing trust account (the account can be a common trust account). All interest earned on deposits for properties with four or more dwellings must be turned over to a state housing improvement fund. 1/25/99 -To House Committee on Local  Government.


Maine 

Senate Bill 385

Clarifies a landlord's right to access a tenant's premises. Prohibits a tenant from changing the locks to a residential unit without giving the landlord 48 hours' notice and requires the tenant to give the landlord a duplicate key within 48 hours of the change. If the tenant doesn't give the landlord a key, in an emergency the landlord may gain access through whatever reasonable means are necessary and charge the tenant reasonable costs for any resulting damages. Landlords can terminate the tenancy with a seven-day notice if a tenant refuses to provide a duplicate key. 2/11/99 - House agreed with Senate reference.


Maryland 

House Bill 250

House Bill 250 mandates the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in new dwelling units. House Bill 250 also establishes requirements for the repair and replacement of such detectors. 1/26/00 - Sent to House Committee on Environmental Affairs.


House Bill 75

Under House Bill 75, the interest paid on security deposits over $50 under a residential lease must be the passbook rate then prevailing at the financial institution where the deposit is held. It also requires the interest rate to be the prevailing rate on January 1 and July 1 of each year for each six.-month period, or part of each six-month Period, of the tenancy that follows those dates.
1/07/2000 - To House Committee on Economic Matters.


Michigan

SMALL CLAIMS COURT

The Michigan Legislature has raised the jurisdictional limits for Small Claims Court. As of January 1, 2000, claims for as much as $3,000 (up from $1750) can be brought in that venue


Minnesota 

House Bill 9?9

Allows landlords to apportion utility payments among residential units. 3/23/00 - Signed by Governor.


House Bill 3132

Summary: provides interest rates on security deposits. The rates are three percent per annum until May 1, 2004, and four percent per annum thereafter. 3/24/00 - Signed by Governor.

House Bill -763

States a tenant commits criminal theft if the tenant's rent check is dishonored. 2/15/99 -To House Committee on Crime Prevention.

House Bill 2528

Summary: House Bill 2528 requires rental property managers to undergo periodic criminal background checks. 2/01/2000- Sent to House Committee on Crime Prevention.


New Hampshire 

House Bill 1110

Summary: House Bill 1110 establishes a committee to review existing landlord-tenant laws. The committee will consist of four members of the House of Representatives, and three members of the Senate. The committee will review all landlord tenant laws, giving special consideration to the appeals process and potential remedies for landlords. The committee will develop recommendations for revisions of existing laws, including the possibility of imposing criminal liability for tenant offenders. Results of the committee will be published on of before Nov. 1, 2000. To House Committee on Judiciary.1/5/2000


Senate Bill 306

Summary: Senate Bill 306 prohibits a tenant from willfully refusing to allow a landlord access to the tenant's premises at a reasonable time after, adequate notice.  1/5/2000 - To Senate Committee on Public Affairs.


New Jersey

Assembly Bill 2119

Allows the governor to prevent rent inflation in declared state of emergency areas. From the Senate Committee on Community and Urban Affairs, 10/19/2000

Senate Bill 1679

Excludes weekends and holidays from a five day grace period for senior citizens and disabled persons. To the Senate Committee on Community and Urban Affairs, 10/19/2000

Assembly Bill 2631

Creates a new legal action to allow landlords to control access to certain premises while eviction proceedings are pending. From Assembly Committee on Housing, 10/16/2000

Assembly Bill 611

Allows tenant organizations to be billed to maintain certain utilities. Signed by governor 9/8/2000

Assembly Bill 1513

Requires landlords to notify tenants if the property in located in a flood area. From the Senate Committee on Community and Urban Affairs, 9/14/2000

Assembly Bill 2740

States that electric rate reductions must be passed through to tenants. Sent to Assembly Committee on Telecommunications and Utilities.9/25/2000

New York 

Assembly Bill 1821

Makes anyone purchasing rental property at a foreclosure sale responsible for returning the tenants' security deposits, regard regardless of whether the previous owner turned over the deposits to the new owner.  1/19/99 -To Assembly Committee on Judiciary.

Assembly Bill 3627

Summary: Allows tenants to repair and deduct for building code violations if the tenant notified the landlord and the landlord failed to make repairs. Limits cost of such repairs to 80 percent of one month's rent. 212/99 - To Assembly Committee on Housing.


Assembly Bill 653

Assembly Bill 653 prohibits property owners from evicting tenants 62 years of age or older from buildings subject to a cooperative or condominium conversion plans. 1/05/200 - To Assembly Committee on Rules.


Pennsylvania

House Bill 2715

Includes penalties for lead poisoning and provides for its prevention and control. Sent to House Committee on Health and Human Services.

PA Senate Bills 541 and 542

Jeff Piccola (R-Dauphin). Amend the Third Class City Code and the Optional Third Class City Charter Law respectively. These new laws create a specific statutory authorization for the municipal adoption of property maintenance codes, and set a penalty structure applicable to violations of all real property-based codes. The sponsors of these bills felt that there was insufficient authority in the existing law for the adoption of property maintenance codes and that the existing penalty structure offered little deterrence.
      As originally drafted, the penalty provisions in these bills did not differentiate between minor violations (ie. number of light sockets in a room), and those of a more serious nature. The Pennsylvania Rental Operators Association (PROA) was able to work with the sponsors of the bills, as well as those sponsoring similar House bills, to amend into the legislation a two-tiered penalty structure that reserved the harshest penalties to repeated violations that pose a serious threat to public health and safety.
      The package of mostly House bills dealing with the issue of housing decay will be re-introduced next session. PROA will continue to advocate to the General Assembly and the Administration that we are an important component of community development initiatives, and that efforts to go after so-called "slumlords" should not do so at the expense of law-abiding residential property owners.

Status: Signed into law December, 1999 by Governor Ridge 


Tennessee

House Bill 713

Prohibits apartment tenants farm being charged separately, for water unless each tenant has a water meter Also prohibits additional fees for the act of billing consumers. 3/25/00 - Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs recommends passage with amendment.


Utah 

House Bill 115

Requires notice be given to condominium occupants prior to management's entry. 3/13/00 - Signed by Governor.


Vermont 

House Bill 669

Under House Bill 669, in the absence of a written rental agreement a landlord who has contracted to sell the building may terminate a tenancy by actual notice given to the tenant at least 60 days prior to the termination date specified in the notice. Under prior law, the term of notice was at least 30 days prior. 1/12/2000 - Introduced


Virginia

Legislative updates provided by: RHOL Contributing Editor, Wallace Gibson

House Bill 1316

Prohibits a security deposit from being increased when there is automatic renewal of the rental agreement. 3/06/00 - Signed by Governor.


House Bill 1546

Under House Bill 1546, a landlord is not liable for lead poisoning damage if the landlord gives proper notice, the notice is acknowledged by the tenant in writing, and the landlord maintains the premises within the provisions of the building code. 3/09/00 - Eligible for Governor's desk.

Legislative updates provided by: RHOL Contributing Editor, Wallace Gibson

House Bill 1342/1343

(Drake, R-Norfolk) Provides that a landlord shall give written notice to tenants in the event that damages to the rented premises exceed the amount of the security deposit, and upon doing so, the landlord will be granted an additional 15 days to itemize damages and estimate the cost of repair.

House Bill 1546 

Summary: (Drake, R-Norfolk) Property owners and their agents will now enjoy significant protection from suits alleging lead poisoning. The measure will grant immunity to landlords and their agents when certain conditions are met. To be exempt from liability, an owner or agent must (1) provide the purchaser/lessee with EPA-approved lead hazard literature, (2) disclose knowledge of the existence of lead based paint or hazards, and (3) secure written acknowledgement from the purchaser or lessee. Additionally, any work performed must be in compliance with the state laws and regulations, including but not limited to the Uniform Statewide Building Code, and applicable federal laws and regulations. 


House Bill 1303  

Summary: (McClure, R-Centrevrlle) will speed the unlawful detainer process to require an initial hearing within 21 days, or as soon as practicable from the service of the summons. 


House Bill 1205 

Summary: (Cantor, R-Henrico) provides that issuers of eviction notices should effect and file the return of such notices within 7 days of issuance, or as soon as practicable.


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