Rental Inspections, Bankruptcy Reform, Premises Liability Reform, Occupancy Rules, Padlock Law, Property Taxes, License Requirements
Government control of you, your business
and your lifestyle are all about
Participation determines whether they do it for you or to you.
A rental housing business is heavily influenced by the rules that federal, state, and local lawmakers dictate. Even so, political action and participation has always been among the least popular landlord or tenant activities. That attitude has cost both special interests dearly.
Most lending institutions require larger down payments and charge a higher interest rate for rental property mortgages. Insurance companies charge higher premiums and require a separate tenant policy for contents. Some states charge higher property taxes, municipalities double dip water rates and add extra fees of all kinds; including registration and inspection.
In Michigan, for example, it now costs almost $200 more per month to provide a typical 3 bedroom rental home, than it would cost a homeowner to own and occupy the same property. In almost all Ontario, Canada municipalities rental apartment buildings are taxed at least twice as heavily as single-family homes and condominiums. The only long term self defense is participation in the process, particularly at the local level.
Most residential property owners and management companies are small businesses, governed primarily by state and local law. The following are a few examples of some federal legislation and regulation that have an important impact on the rental property industry.
Rental Housing Only Inspections:
Landlords and tenants in Port Huron, Michigan sued the city over a very expensive and onerous inspection ordinance. They spent more than twenty-five thousand dollars on lawyers and only won a few concessions in front of a judge who believed in government control of everything. Then they got smart. They put their money behind a new slate of candidates for city council. When they won, the city manager and city attorney were fired and the inspection law was changed.
The only way you can fight city hall and win is in the next election.
The US House and Senate finally passed bankruptcy reform legislation concerning the "automatic stay" provision in the Bankruptcy Code. Under the old provision, tenants received an automatic stay from eviction, forcing property owners and managers to petition the bankruptcy court to lift the stay - a process that took many months. The new Bankruptcy Reform Act exempts eviction proceedings from the mandatory stay if the lease has expired by a violation of its terms, such as nonpayment of rent.
The important change in the law was the result of years of lobbying efforts by several national rental housing groups, including RHOL.
Premises liability reform:
There has been a growing number of lawsuits against rental housing providers by individuals who have been the victims of crime that took place on the rental property. Not only have some housing providers been required to pay compensatory damages, they have been held responsible for crimes perpetrated by unrelated third parties and have been forced to pay punitive damages - which can be enormous. The Small Business Liability Reform Act of 2000, which passed the House in February 2000 and has been placed on the calendar for the Senate, limits punitive damages to $250,000.
State and Local Occupancy:
HUD has recommended an occupancy guideline of two persons per bedroom. However, this is a guideline, not a law. In most areas, the state or local government determines the number of occupants allowed in a unit under their building code. The local law is often, but not always, based on the HUD guideline. Be aware that any proposed changes to your area's occupancy law could serve to make your property more or less marketable. It might also impact the amount of rent you can feasibly charge. RHOL addresses the issue in great depth in the Property Management Web .
Educate, Advocate, Legislate & Collaborate
The success of any organization or interest group bears a direct relationship to their ability to educate, advocate, legislate and collaborate. This web site provides more education about rental housing than you ever knew you didn't know. We add tips, updates and relevant information every day. We advocate for landlords and tenants through our own lobbyist, former Michigan Senator Kirby Holmes and his associates in Washington D.C. We assist with legislation by providing assess to the success and failures of our peers across the U.S. and the world. However, collaboration is our specialty. This site facilitates and promotes rental housing interaction that was never before possible.
Your Vote Is Not Enough
You can make a difference. Volunteer to work in political campaigns on behalf of a party or a candidate. Make contributions. You will be earning access that will have valuable and lasting benefits. Run for office yourself. Start with prescient delegate or any local office. Learn the system and the players.
Select the organization or party of your choice and jump in. Please.
Democratic National Committee
GOP Main Street!