Friday, November 13, 2009

RECO Case Studies





I know this is hard to read if you need a better copy please contact me and I can send you a clean copy.

Do you own rental property in Boulder Colorado?

The City of Boulder is propsing some changes to the rental licensing program that could cost you $1,000 - $2,000 per unit. Please take a look at the propsed program below.





Draft Energy Efficiency Proposal and Compliance Options

This document outlines potential options for an energy efficiency code for existing rental housing. The code is proposed to be a local amendment (Appendix B) of the International Property Maintenance Code.

Background
In order to increase the energy efficiency of Boulder’s rental housing stock, the city is proposing to initiate both education programs for tenants and regulatory requirements for property owners.

Education and Occupant Behavior
While there are limited ways in which energy conservation education and occupant behavior can be addressed through codes, the following summary outlines how these issues are being addressed through other city and collaborative community efforts.
(See document XXX for more information – refers to open house document still being developed)

Climate Action Plan programs – Residential Energy Action Program, Neighborhood Sweeps, CU Green Teams, new “two techs and a truck” program
CU- COPIRG Energy Program
Boulder County Energy Corps
Proposed market- Based Approach: RentSmart
· Developing an energy rating system for rental housing would inform renters which properties are the most efficient.
· Properties which exceed the minimum code levels for efficiency could be listed in a centralized RentSmart database.
· A marketing campaign/recognition program could be developed to raise awareness among renters about the total cost of occupancy of a rental unit.
· A campaign would encourage renters to ask for the efficiency rating of the property.
· If renters choose properties based on the rating of the property, landlords could have an incentive to upgrade their properties to remain competitive in the market.
· Details associated with the design and cost of developing and maintaining this system will be explored in early 2010.

Code Requirements
Review Criteria
The proposed code and compliance options were developed to meet the following criteria:
Upgrades the existing housing stock through energy efficiency improvements
Makes improvements while recognizing the limitations of commercial ownership
Considers the rental housing contribution to the community greenhouse gas emissions goal
Presents flexibility for compliance:
Prescriptive list uses a menu – property owners choose measures that correlate to the age and type of construction of their particular buildings
Performance system uses a third-party rating system to determine the level of energy efficiency to be attained
Include options for carbon offset purchases[1]
Accommodates multi-family units (MFUs) –most likely will choose the performance compliance path (only a sampling of the units in a building are tested for performance)
Accommodates older buildings – most likely will choose the prescriptive compliance path
Equitable across dwelling units
Manageable to both city staff and stakeholders

Additional work to be done
Ø Staff will be developing accommodations for Home Owner Association (HOA)- controlled condominiums
Ø Staff is developing financing, rebates and technical assistance programs to support property owners as they retrofit their buildings (Refer to document XX for information on rebates, financing, and the development of a “Two techs and a Truck” code compliance program - refers to open house document still being developed)

Summary of Code Options: Appendix B of International Property Maintenance Code
Scope: Applies to all rental licenses

Exceptions
Property constructed after July 2001
Property meets or exceeds the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)

Compliance (must complete one or the other):
Performance: Property owner can demonstrate energy performance of building. Performance is measured by a third-party energy rating system.
Reduction in energy and water consumption would be verified by a third-party energy audit compared to established local baseline by ICC Certified Energy inspector.
Prescriptive: List of energy and water efficiency improvements with corresponding points; property owners can choose options on list that add up to the minimum required point level (20 points)
Compliance will be verified through an International Code Council (ICC) Certified Energy Inspector.
Energy efficiency upgrades in rental units installed prior to this process going into effect can be included in the energy measures point tally upon verification by an ICC Energy Inspector.
Performance
Propose building to meet 120 on Home Energy Rating System (HERS)[2]

Prescriptive
The following prescriptive options were adapted from the National Green Building Standard (NGBS), a national code developed by the National Home Builders Association (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC).
Code for green buildings and remodels, includes options for addressing existing buildings
Proposed to include references in Appendix B refer to a few sections of the NGBS
Staff can amend specific standards. Based on community feedback and recommendations, pieces from the prescriptive list can be further clarified or modified to be relevant to Boulder’s existing housing stock.

NGBS contains a point rating system for prescriptive measures:
} Will be incorporated into proposed voluntary “RentSmart” campaign.20 points: Proposed required level for Smart Regs Energy Efficiency
Bronze = 30 points
Silver = 60 points
Gold = 100 points
Emerald = 120 points
Sample* prescriptive list from sections 703, 704, 705, and 801 of NGBS:
Measure
Points**
Energy Efficiency Measures – Proposed 20 points required

Air Sealing and Insulation 3 or 15
Window replacement Up to12
HVAC Upgrades 6-15
Water Heater 1-10
Lighting 1-8
Appliance Upgrades 3-7
Renewable Energy 1-20
Duct & HVAC reconfiguration 1-15
Energy Consumption Control Devices e.g., programmable thermostats, energy monitoring device 2-7
Verifiable tenant education by landlord
Staff amendment, points to be determined.
Water Efficiency Measures – Point requirements TBD
Water-conservation appliances 2-8
Showerheads 1-3
Faucets 1-5
Water closets and urinals 4-18
*This list is not exhaustive; please refer to NGBS for complete list.
**Points are shown in ranges. The ranges refer to various factors such as efficiency of equipment or 3rd party inspectors.

Phasing Options for Compliance

1. Date Certain: All properties comply by December 31, 2012.
2. Two rental license cycles to comply
· First rental cycle: At time of renewal*, property owner can:
o Purchase four years of carbon offsets at a predetermined rate and amount OR
o Property demonstrates compliance
· If purchase offset option was chosen, property must demonstrate compliance with the code at the time of renewal of the following rental cycle.
· No spending threshold would be included in this option.
*If renewal is due within one year after the ordinance is effective, a one–year, temporary license will be available.

3. Spending threshold until compliance
· Property owner must invest $1,000 (per multi-family unit)/$2,000 (per single family unit) until compliance is achieved. As an alternative, offsets may be purchased at a rate 0.175 tons per point.
§ Offsets example: At 0.175 tons/point and a code requirement of 20 points, 3.5 tons/year would be the required purchase amount. At the current Colorado Carbon Fund rate this would equal $3.5/point which would equal $280 for a four year rental cycle.
· Maximum of one rental cycle of offset purchases allowed without some building improvement investment.

4. Spending threshold until compliance – no offset time limit
· Property owner must invest $1,000 (per triplex or greater multi-family unit)/$2,000 (per single family unit) until compliance is achieved. As an alternative, offsets may be purchased at a rate 0.175 tons per point.
§ Offsets example: At 0.175 tons/point and a code requirement of 20 points, 3.5 tons/year would be the required purchase amount. At the current Colorado Carbon Fund rate ($20/ton CO2) this would equal $3.50/point which would equal $280 for a four year rental cycle.
· Offsets can be purchased for an unlimited number of rental cycles.

5. Participation threshold until compliance - “2 techs approach”
· Property owner must participate in the city’s “Two Techs and a truck” program which will buy the property owner a prescribed standard of basic upgrades (*see below for sample list); the materials will be purchased at a competitive rate and will be installed by a third-party certified contractor or may be able to be installed by the property owners maintenance contractors where applicable.
· As an alternative, offsets may be purchased at a rate of 0.15 tons/point.
i. Offsets example: At 0.175 tons/point and a code requirement of 20 points, 3.5 tons/year would be the required purchase amount. At the current Colorado Carbon Fund rate($20/ton CO2) this would equal $3.50/point which would equal $280 for a four year rental cycle.
· Maximum of one rental cycle of offset purchases allowed before participation in the “Two techs” program
· Property is compliant once upgrades are complete with “two techs” program.

* Prescribed standard of upgrades for “2 techs” option could be:
Items 1-4 required
Lighting > 40 lumens/watt
Air sealing: 0.5 Natural Air Changes per Hour (NACH) or if NACH >1, improve by 50%
Programmable thermostat
Showerhead <> R-38
Wall insulation: Fill cavity
Storm windows or thermal pane glass



[1] Offsets would allow greenhouse gas emissions reductions to be purchased while allowing time for property owners to raise capital to invest in building improvements. If the Governor’s Energy Office Colorado Carbon Fund (CCF) is the offset provider, a percentage of the offset investments would be reinvested in Boulder projects. The current rate through the CCF is $20/ton. The code would allow offsets to be purchased at a predetermined number of tons per dwelling unit. Example: 0.175 tons/point = $3.50/point. 20 points =3.5 tons/dwelling unit; $70/year; $280/4 years
[2] The HERS scale rates homes by the energy performance compared to a baseline 2004 energy code home. The lower the number on the HERS scale, the better the energy performance. The 2004 energy code home is 100 on the HERS scale. The proposed 120 performance level would be 20% worse than the 2004 energy code. New homes in Boulder must be rated between 35 – 70, depending on house size. Further research needs to be completed on the proposed 120 level and its correlation to the prescriptive requirements.



The City will be hosting two open houses this coming week – Mon and Wed (Nov 16 and 18) at the Sr. Center at 9th & Arapahoe. This is designed so that you can drop in anytime during the 4:30-7:30 period to watch a video about the city goal and then talk one on one with city reps in order to voice your opinions. It is suggest that you write up a BRIEF statement of your views on this and bring it with you to hand to the reps. Your voice is less likely to be “dropped” if they have your thoughts on paper.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Warranty of Habitability

If you own rental property in the state of Colorado you need to make sure you’re aware of the new warrant of habitability statute that was past in 2008. As the end of 2009 approaches I still talk with property owners that are not aware of this rule. A complete copy of the House Bill is listed below for your review.


HOUSE BILL 08-1356

SECTION 1. 13-40-111 (1), Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

13-40-111. Issuance and return of summons. (1) Upon filing the complaint as provided in section 13-40-110, the clerk of the court or the attorney for the plaintiff shall issue a summons. The summons shall command the defendant to appear before the court at a place named in such summons and at a time and on a day which shall be not less than five business days nor more than ten calendar days from the day of issuing the same to answer the complaint of plaintiff. The summons shall also contain a statement addressed to the defendant stating: "If you fail to file with the court, at or before the time for appearance specified in the summons, an answer to the complaint setting forth the grounds upon which you base your claim for possession and denying or admitting all of the material allegations of the complaint, judgment by default may be taken against you for the possession of the property described in the complaint, for the rent, if any, due or to become due, for present and future damages and costs, and for any other relief to which the plaintiff is entitled. If you are claiming that the landlord's failure to repair the residential premises is a defense to the landlord's allegation of nonpayment of rent, the court will require you to pay into the registry of the court, at the time of filing your answer, the rent due less any expenses you have incurred based upon the landlord's failure to repair the residential premises."

SECTION 2. 13-40-123, Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

13-40-123. Damages. The prevailing party in any action brought under the provisions of this article is entitled to recover damages, reasonable attorney fees, and costs of suit; except that a residential landlord or tenant who is a prevailing party shall not be entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees unless the residential rental agreement between the parties contains a provision for either party to obtain attorney fees. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the entry of judgments in any single proceeding in excess of the jurisdictional limit of said court.

SECTION 3. Article 12 of title 38, Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW PART to read:

PART 5
OBLIGATION TO MAINTAIN RESIDENTIAL PREMISES -
UNLAWFUL REMOVAL

38-12-501. Legislative declaration - matter of statewide concern - purposes and policies. (1) The general assembly hereby finds and declares that the provisions of this part 5 are a matter of statewide concern. Any local government ordinance, resolution, or other regulation that is in conflict with this part 5 shall be unenforceable.

(2) The underlying purposes and policies of this part 5 are to:

(a) Simplify, clarify, modernize, and revise the law governing the rental of dwelling units and the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants;

(b) Encourage landlords and tenants to maintain and improve the quality of housing; and

(c) Make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this part 5 throughout Colorado.

38-12-502. Definitions. As used in this part 5, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Common areas" means the facilities and appurtenances to a residential premises, including the grounds, areas, and facilities held out for the use of tenants generally or whose use is promised to a tenant.

(2) "Dwelling unit" means a structure or the part of a structure that is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by a tenant.

(3) "Landlord" means the owner, manager, lessor, or sublessor of a residential premises.

(4) "Rental agreement" means the agreement, written or oral, embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a residential premises.

(5) "Residential premises" means a dwelling unit, the structure of which the unit is a part, and the common areas.

(6) "Tenant" means a person entitled under a rental agreement to occupy a dwelling unit to the exclusion of others.

38-12-503. Warranty of habitability. (1) In every rental agreement, the landlord is deemed to warrant that the residential premises is fit for human habitation.

(2) A landlord breaches the warranty of habitability set forth in subsection (1) of this section if:

(a) A residential premises is uninhabitable as described in section 38-12-505 or otherwise unfit for human habitation; and

(b) The residential premises is in a condition that is materially dangerous or hazardous to the tenant's life, health, or safety; and

(c) The landlord has received written notice of the condition described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection (2) and failed to cure the problem within a reasonable time.

(3) When any condition described in subsection (2) of this section is caused by the misconduct of the tenant, a member of the tenant's household, a guest or invitee of the tenant, or a person under the tenant's direction or control, the condition shall not constitute a breach of the warranty of habitability. It shall not be misconduct by a victim of domestic violence or domestic abuse under this subsection (3) if the condition is the result of domestic violence or domestic abuse and the landlord has been given written notice and evidence of domestic violence or domestic abuse as described in section 38-12-402 (2) (a).

(4) In response to the notice sent pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection (2) of this section, a landlord may, in the landlord's discretion, move a tenant to a comparable unit after paying the reasonable costs, actually incurred, incident to the move.

(5) Except as set forth in this part 5, any agreement waiving or modifying the warranty of habitability shall be void as contrary to public policy.

(6) Nothing in this part 5 shall:

(a) Prevent a landlord from terminating a rental agreement as a result of a casualty or catastrophe to the dwelling unit without further liability to the landlord or tenant; or

(b) Preclude a landlord from initiating an action for nonpayment of rent, breach of the rental agreement, violation of section 38-12-504, or as provided for under article 40 of title 13, C.R.S.

38-12-504. Tenant's maintenance of premises. (1) In addition to any duties imposed upon a tenant by a rental agreement, every tenant of a residential premises has a duty to use that portion of the premises within the tenant's control in a reasonably clean and safe manner. A tenant fails to maintain the premises in a reasonably clean and safe manner when the tenant substantially fails to:

(a) Comply with obligations imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building, health, and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;

(b) Keep the dwelling unit reasonably clean, safe, and sanitary as permitted by the conditions of the unit;

(c) Dispose of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste from the dwelling unit in a clean, safe, sanitary, and legally compliant manner;

(d) Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, elevators, and other facilities and appliances in the dwelling unit;

(e) Conduct himself or herself and require other persons in the residential premises within the tenant's control to conduct themselves in a manner that does not disturb their neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of the neighbors' dwelling unit; or

(f) Promptly notify the landlord if the residential premises is uninhabitable as defined in section 38-12-505 or if there is a condition that could result in the premises becoming uninhabitable if not remedied.

(2) In addition to the duties set forth in subsection (1) of this section, a tenant shall not knowingly, intentionally, deliberately, or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the residential premises or knowingly permit any person within his or her control to do so.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize a modification of a landlord's obligations under the warranty of habitability.

38-12-505. Uninhabitable residential premises. (1) A residential premises is deemed uninhabitable if it substantially lacks any of the following characteristics:

(a) Waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls maintained in good working order, including unbroken windows and doors;

(b) Plumbing or gas facilities that conformed to applicable law in effect at the time of installation and that are maintained in good working order;

(c) Running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times furnished to appropriate fixtures and connected to a sewage disposal system approved under applicable law;

(d) Functioning heating facilities that conformed to applicable law at the time of installation and that are maintained in good working order;

(e) Electrical lighting, with wiring and electrical equipment that conformed to applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order;

(f) Common areas and areas under the control of the landlord that are kept reasonably clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, and garbage and that have appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin;

(g) Appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin throughout a residential premises;

(h) An adequate number of appropriate exterior receptacles for garbage and rubbish, in good repair;

(i) Floors, stairways, and railings maintained in good repair;

(j) Locks on all exterior doors and locks or security devices on windows designed to be opened that are maintained in good working order; or

(k) Compliance with all applicable building, housing, and health codes, which, if violated, would constitute a condition that is dangerous or hazardous to a tenant's life, health, or safety.

(2) No deficiency in the common area shall render a residential premises uninhabitable as set forth in subsection (1) of this section, unless it materially and substantially limits the tenant's use of his or her dwelling unit.

(3) Unless otherwise stated in section 38-12-506, prior to being leased to a tenant, a residential premises must comply with the requirements set forth in section 38-12-503 (1), (2) (a), and (2) (b).

38-12-506. Opt-out. (1) If a dwelling unit is contained within a mobile home park, as defined in section 38-12-201.5 (3), or if there are four or fewer dwelling units sharing common walls or located on the same parcel, as defined in section 30-28-302 (5), C.R.S., all of which have the same owner, or if the dwelling unit is a single-family residential premises:

(a) A good faith rental agreement may require a tenant to assume the obligation for one or more of the characteristics contained in section 38-12-505 (1) (f), (1) (g), and (1) (h), as long as the requirement is not inconsistent with any obligations imposed upon a landlord by a governmental entity for the receipt of a subsidy for the residential premises; and

(b) For any dwelling unit for which a landlord does not receive a subsidy from any governmental source, a landlord and tenant may agree in writing that the tenant is to perform specific repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, and remodeling, but only if:

(I) The agreement of the parties is entered into in good faith and is set forth in a separate writing signed by the parties and supported by adequate consideration;

(II) The work is not necessary to cure a failure to comply with section 38-12-505 (3); and

(III) Such agreement does not affect the obligation of the landlord to other tenants' residential premises.

(2) For a single-family residential premises for which a landlord does not receive a subsidy from any governmental source, a landlord and tenant may agree in writing that the tenant is to perform specific repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, and remodeling necessary to cure a failure to comply with section 38-12-505 (3), but only if:

(a) The agreement of the landlord and tenant is entered into in good faith and is set forth in a writing that is separate from the rental agreement, signed by the parties, and supported by adequate consideration; and

(b) The tenant has the requisite skills to perform the work required to cure a failure to comply with section 38-12-505 (3).

(3) To the extent that performance by a tenant relates to a characteristic set forth in section 38-12-505 (1), the tenant shall assume the obligation for such characteristic.

(4) If consistent with this section a tenant assumes an obligation for a characteristic set forth in section 38-12-505 (1), the lack of such characteristic shall not make a residential premises uninhabitable.

38-12-507. Breach of warranty of habitability - tenant's remedies. (1) If there is a breach of the warranty of habitability as set forth in section 38-12-503 (2), the following provisions shall apply:

(a) Upon no less than ten and no more than thirty days written notice to the landlord specifying the condition alleged to breach of the warranty of habitability and giving the landlord five business days from the receipt of the written notice to remedy the breach, a tenant may terminate the rental agreement by surrendering possession of the dwelling unit. If the breach is remediable by repairs, the payment of damages, or otherwise and the landlord adequately remedies the breach within five business days of receipt of the notice, the rental agreement shall not terminate by reason of the breach.

(b) A tenant may obtain injunctive relief for breach of the warranty of habitability in any court of competent jurisdiction. In any proceeding for injunctive relief, the court shall determine actual damages for a breach of the warranty at the time the court orders the injunctive relief. A landlord shall not be subject to any court order for injunctive relief if the landlord tenders the actual damages to the court within two business days of the order. Upon application by the tenant, the court shall immediately release to the tenant the damages paid by the landlord. If the tenant vacates the leased premises, the landlord shall not be permitted to rent the premises again until such time as the unit would be in compliance with the warranty of habitability set forth in section 38-12-503 (1).

(c) In an action for possession based upon nonpayment of rent in which the tenant asserts a defense to possession based upon the landlord's alleged breach of the warranty of habitability, upon the filing of the tenant's answer the court shall order the tenant to pay into the registry of the court all or part of the rent accrued after due consideration of expenses already incurred by the tenant based upon the landlord's breach of the warranty of habitability.

(d) Whether asserted as a claim or counterclaim, a tenant may recover damages directly arising from a breach of the warranty of habitability, which may include, but are not limited to, any reduction in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit, in any court of competent jurisdiction.

(2) If a rental agreement contains a provision for either party in an action related to the rental agreement to obtain attorney fees and costs, then the prevailing party in any action brought under this part 5 shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs.

38-12-508. Landlord's defenses to a claim of breach of warranty - limitations on claiming a breach. (1) It shall be a defense to a tenant's claim of breach of the warranty of habitability that the tenant's actions or inactions prevented the landlord from curing the condition underlying the breach of the warranty of habitability.

(2) Only parties to the rental agreement or other adult residents listed on the rental agreement who are also lawfully residing in the dwelling unit may assert a claim for a breach of the warranty of habitability.

(3) A tenant may not assert a claim for injunctive relief based upon the landlord's breach of the warranty of habitability of a residential premises unless the tenant has given notice to a local government within the boundaries of which the residential premises is located of the condition underlying the breach that is materially dangerous or hazardous to the tenant's life, health, or safety.

(4) A tenant may not assert a breach of the warranty of habitability as a defense to a landlord's action for possession based upon a nonmonetary violation of the rental agreement or for an action for possession based upon a notice to quit or vacate.

(5) If the condition alleged to breach the warranty of habitability is the result of the action or inaction of a tenant in another dwelling unit or another third party not under the direction and control of the landlord and the landlord has taken reasonable, necessary, and timely steps to abate the condition, but is unable to abate the condition due to circumstances beyond the landlord's reasonable control, the tenant's only remedy shall be termination of the rental agreement consistent with section 38-12-507 (1) (a).

(6) For public housing authorities and other housing providers receiving federal financial assistance directly from the federal government, no provision of this part 5 in direct conflict with any federal law or regulation shall be enforceable against such housing provider.

38-12-509. Prohibition on retaliation. (1) A landlord shall not retaliate against a tenant for alleging a breach of the warranty of habitability by discriminatorily increasing rent or decreasing services or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession in response to the tenant having made a good faith complaint to the landlord or to a governmental agency alleging a breach of the warranty of habitability.

(2) A landlord shall not be liable for retaliation under this section, unless a tenant proves that a landlord breached the warranty of habitability.

(3) Regardless of when an action for possession of the premises where the landlord is seeking to terminate the tenancy for violation of the terms of the rental agreement is brought, there shall be a rebuttable presumption in favor of the landlord that his or her decision to terminate is not retaliatory. The presumption created by this subsection (3) cannot be rebutted by evidence of the timing alone of the landlord's initiation of the action.

(4) If the landlord has a right to increase rent, to decrease service, or to terminate the tenant's tenancy at the end of any term of the rental agreement and the landlord exercises any of these rights, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the landlord's exercise of any of these rights was not retaliatory. The presumption of this subsection (4) cannot be rebutted by evidence of the timing alone of the landlord's exercise of any of these rights.

38-12-510. Unlawful removal or exclusion. It shall be unlawful for a landlord to remove or exclude a tenant from a dwelling unit without resorting to court process, unless the removal or exclusion is consistent with the provisions of article 18.5 of title 25, C.R.S., and the rules promulgated by the state board of health for the cleanup of an illegal drug laboratory or is with the mutual consent of the landlord and tenant or unless the dwelling unit has been abandoned by the tenant as evidenced by the return of keys, the substantial removal of the tenant's personal property, notice by the tenant, or the extended absence of the tenant while rent remains unpaid, any of which would cause a reasonable person to believe the tenant had permanently surrendered possession of the dwelling unit. Such unlawful removal or exclusion includes the willful termination of utilities or the willful removal of doors, windows, or locks to the premises other than as required for repair or maintenance. If the landlord willfully and unlawfully removes the tenant from the premises or willfully and unlawfully causes the termination of heat, running water, hot water, electric, gas, or other essential services, the tenant may seek any remedy available under the law, including this part 5.

38-12-511. Application. (1) Unless created to avoid its application, this part 5 shall not apply to any of the following arrangements:

(a) Residence at a public or private institution, if such residence is incidental to detention or the provision of medical, geriatric, education, counseling, religious, or similar service;

(b) Occupancy under a contract of sale of a dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part, if the occupant is the purchaser, seller, or a person who succeeds to his or her interest;

(c) Occupancy by a member of a fraternal or social organization in the portion of a structure operated for the benefit of the organization;

(d) Transient occupancy in a hotel or motel that lasts less than thirty days;

(e) Occupancy by an employee or independent contractor whose right to occupancy is conditional upon performance of services for an employer or contractor;

(f) Occupancy by an owner of a condominium unit or a holder of a proprietary lease in a cooperative;

(g) Occupancy in a structure that is located within an unincorporated area of a county, does not receive water, heat, and sewer services from a public entity, and is rented for recreational purposes, such as a hunting cabin, yurt, hut, or other similar structure;

(h) Occupancy under rental agreement covering a residential premises used by the occupant primarily for agricultural purposes; or

(i) Any relationship between the owner of a mobile home park and the owner of a mobile home situated in the park.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit remedies available elsewhere in law for a tenant to seek to maintain safe and sanitary housing.

SECTION 4. Effective date - applicability. (1) This act shall take effect September 1, 2008.

(2) However, if a referendum petition is filed against this act or an item, section, or part of this act during the 90-day period after final adjournment of the general assembly that is allowed for submitting a referendum petition pursuant to article V, section 1 (3) of the state constitution, then the act, item, section, or part, shall not take effect unless approved by the people at a biennial regular general election and shall take effect on the date specified in subsection (1) or on the date of the official declaration of the vote thereon by proclamation of the governor, whichever is later.

(3) This act shall apply to rental agreements entered into or extended or renewed on or after the effective date of this act.

Approved: June 2, 2008

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Do you have goverment contracts or participate in Section 8?

Did you know if you have a federal contract with the government you are required to use the E-Verify system. The E-Verify system is used to establish work eligibility for your employees. This rule went into effect September 8, 2009. If your not using the system to screen employees contact us and we can add it to your current screening package.

Property owners who participate in the Section 8 program may also be required to participate in the E-Verify program. If you operate a company with employees you should add this additional screening to your current package. Contact us for more details about the E-Verify program.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Changes in Section 8

Do you provide Section 8 rentals? If so you should be aware of recent changes in the Endless Lease provision. As a property owner you may now exercise the right to non-renew your Section 8 renters lease when it expires. If you need more information about the Endless Lease provision and other changes follow the link below.

http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/notices/pih/files/96-23PIHN.doc

Management 101 - Frozen Pipes

If you look outside you may have noticed the leaves on the trees starting to change colors and a chill in the air. Yes winter is around the corner and that means the possibility of frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can create extensive and expensive damage to a property. As the temperature drops water expands as it freezes in the pipe. When the pipe begins to warm up and the ice melts it often reveals small cracks or breaks in the pipes. The first sign of a frozen pipe will be an interruption of water flow. If residents report such interruption during freezing weather, you or your Community Manager should immediately check for the possibility of frozen pipes.
If you suspect freezing temperatures may hit your area we recommend taking some preventive measures on your rental properties. First remind your renters to leave cabinet doors open to expose pipes to higher temperatures. Make sure they close windows to the outside and to keep the temperature in the rental above 62 degrees. If the unit is vacant follow the same steps to prevent surprise next time you show the property to a prospective renter.
If your renter informers you of a frozen pipe or water loss you should first examine the water meter. Check for leaks. Is the frost plate (bottom portion of the meter) cracked? If so, the meter is probably frozen. Never try to thaw the water meter. You should contact the water department for more help. The actual water meter freezing is rare most likely it’s a frozen pipe. Check the basement or crawl space and any pipes that run along an exterior wall. The pipe will often have ice on the exterior. If you are not sure which part of the pipe is frozen use your hand and look for the coldest section of the pipe. Once the pipe has been located you should try to thaw the pipe. Use caution the pipe may have already been damaged but it is not leaking because the water is frozen. Do not use any type of open flame. The use of a hair dryer, light bulb or electric heat tape is recommended. You should start warming the pipe from the edge closest to the faucet that is not working and work your way backwards. Keep the heat source moving and not concentrated in one spot to prevent damage. Since the possibility of water leaking or the pipe breaking is a real possibility we recommended that you use only heavy-duty extension cords with grounded plugs. If appliances get wet you should shut off power to the property before removing them to prevent possible electrocution. If you’re not successful in thawing the pipe or are unsure which pipe is frozen it may be time to call in a professional.

Monday, August 3, 2009

2009 Economic Conference

If your involved in property management and didn't make it to the 2009 Economic Conference you really missed out on some valuable information. If you want to see what you missed out on visit http://www.erentalservicesinc.com/news.html to read about the general vacancy and rent overview for Colorado and what to expect for the future.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Management 101

RSI will be posting a series of blogs designed to address issues that face property owners. Each of the blog posts will talk about a specific issue such as frozen pipes, crime and many other. Make sure you follow this blog to stay in the loop.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Still using your dogs name as your password?

Do you currently use the www.erentalservicesinc.com website to conduct background checks? If so I’m sure you are aware of the danger and potential risks associated with placing sensitive information online. With this in mind, Rental Services, Inc. would like to make a few suggestions when using the RSI website and the internet in general.

• Do not send sensitive or personal information by email. (i.e. Rental Applications)

• When you get ready to login to a secure site make sure it starts with https and not http.

• Don’t download anything unless you are sure it’s safe.

• Never click on pop-ups.

• When you’re in a secure site don’t open up another browser windows to a different site.

• Don’t use the same password for all of your different accounts.

• Make sure your password has numbers and a mix of upper and lower case letters.

• Change your password every 90 days.

• Make sure to log out and close your browser when you’re done.

Using the RSI website places the safety of your applicant’s personal information in your hands. Keeping this personal information safe should be a priority.

Avoid fraud; don't hire a criminal. By Al Lewis, Denver Post columnist

Dear Friends,

Each month I try to talk about an issue that pertains to the Multi-Housing Industry. As I read different articles and publications I thought the following article was really important to any type of company that has employees. As many of you know Rental Services has expanded its services to include pre-employment screening. I think the following article demonstrates the importance of pre-screening employees.

Avoid fraud; don't hire a criminal By Al Lewis Denver Post columnist

Wherever there is a big pot of money, somebody is trying to steal from it.
The folks at Alliance Commercial Partners know this now.

The Lakewood-based commercial real estate firm has money flying everywhere. Since its 1996 founding, the firm has acquired or developed 72 properties across the nation valued around $775 million. Earlier this month, Alliance sold Writer Square in downtown Denver for $30.3 million. In managing all that real estate, the firm is constantly wiring funds to leasing agents, appraisers, attorneys, banks and vendors.

Enter Patricia Jagielski Ragusa, 43, who was Alliance's first employee in April 1997. Alliance made Ragusa its director of portfolio accounting and authorized her to transfer money over the Internet so bills would get paid. Alliance even gave Ragusa, a single mother of two, flexible hours and permission to work from her Littleton home.

Ragusa might have seemed innocuous at 4 feet 11 inches - a slight, white, middle-class accountant with brown eyes and shoulder-length hair.

But here's what Alliance executives didn't know: "Ragusa is a multi-state offender with a criminal history," according to a Lakewood police report. Her rap sheet includes felony theft, unlawfully carrying a weapon, and heroin possession, according to a police report. If Alliance or its employment agency ever ran a criminal background check on Ragusa, they should have found this out.

Last month, Alliance's chief financial officer, Douglas McCormick, noticed that credits to a certain account came up $76,000 short. He soon discovered that money had been wired to a bank account held in the name of Ragusa's son.

Ragusa offered no explanation at first. Later, she indicated "that someone must have gotten her password and her son's information, and made the transfer," according to an affidavit by Lakewood economic crimes detective Dave Voskamp. Why? Maybe someone just wanted to get her fired, Ragusa claimed.

A deeper look at Ragusa's story revealed 72 transactions that police say were fraudulent. Police allege that, since April 2001, Ragusa illegally wired more than $1 million to accounts held by herself, her day-trader boyfriend in California and her two teenage children. Only Ragusa has been charged. Police arrested her Sept. 16. She is free on bond.

Ragusa and her attorney, Robert Grossman, declined to comment, as did McCormick and Alliance president Richard Stone. It will be a long and embarrassing ordeal for both Ragusa and Alliance - a company that boasts a "management and staff with a combined 80 years experience in the real estate industry."

"She's a bad actor, but the company made it very easy for her," said Daniel Predovich, an independent fraud examiner in Highlands Ranch who agreed to review Ragusa's case for this column. Not only did Alliance fail to uncover Ragusa's past, but it didn't have proper internal controls for handling money, Predovich said.

The company simply was too trusting. "There should have been a segregation of duty so that three or four people were involved in a wire transfer rather than just one," Predovich said.

Predovich said embezzlement cases like this keep him in business as a private fraud investigator.
Often, these cases are not reported to police, to avoid embarrassment. They make companies - particularly those that depend on their ability to attract investors - look foolish. But Predovich says companies typically forgo criminal background checks and aren't keen about those pesky internal controls either.

"Most folks who've hired me to do a fraud investigation never expected that anybody would steal from them," Predovich said.

Trust is the basis of all business transactions. But when you give someone the combination to the safe, it's a good idea to know who they are.

"Employees with need, greed and opportunity can and will steal unless management is alert, and good internal controls are in place," Predovich said.

Al Lewis' column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Reach him at 303-820-1967 or mailto:alewis@denverpost.com

I hope this article shows how even your most trusted employees can present a risk. Quality pre-screening could help mitigate this from happening to you and your company. If you don’t currently pre-screen call us. If you currently are using a company call us for a competitive quote. If you have any questions about Pre-Employment screening please contact me at 303-420-1212.

Sincerely,


Jeff Malone
Regional Marketing Director
Rental Services, Inc.