Friday, November 30, 2012

The end is near! Is your tenant ready?

If you believe the world will end on December 21, 2012 you can skip the rest of this article.  However if you’re concerned about the increased number of natural disasters and want to encourage your renters to be prepared you may want to take notes.

Many property owners leave move-in gifts for new renters as a way to say welcome.  Why not put together a disaster kit for them?  As hurricanes, wildfires, snow storms and other natural disasters increase survival kits have become very popular.  The cost to setup a complete survival kit may exceed your budget for a move-in gift so start small with some basics.  First you will need a large plastic tub.  Fill it with a basic first aid kit, personal hygiene items, matches in a water proof container and a flash light with batteries.  Make sure to add a survival kit check list so your renters can complete the emergency kit with other items like food and water.  If you need a full list of recommended items or more information about survival kits visit

As the saying goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  It may also save the life of your renter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The election and you!

Hello Apartment Industry Advocates!

With the election a mere five weeks away, it seems appropriate to devote this edition of the Apartment Industry Mobilization Service (AIMS) communication to our role as advocates for the apartment industry in the upcoming election.

There is no denying it – this year’s election has the capacity to impact every level of government. Not only will control of the White House and House and Senate be decided on Election Day, but 11 governors and numerous state legislatures, city councils and mayors’ races, 166 statewide initiatives in 35 states and a staggering number of local community questions will also be determined.

Although media attention may be focused on the presidential election, virtually everything federal, state and local policymakers do, or don’t do, impacts your business and your bottom line. So, no matter which side of the political aisle you’re on, your participation and vote on all these ballot items are vital to our industry.

So what can you do?

Use the days before the elections to make your case for the apartment industry.

Go to town hall meetings, political events and parades and educate Congressional candidates on the issues important to our industry. Elected officials will be making important decisions during the post-election “lame-duck” session and beyond. The number one issue on the table during that session is the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

NAA and NMHC believe that Congress must extend these tax cuts. If Congress fails to act, there will be significant consequences for our members and the broader economy. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that expiration of the present-law tax rates combined with the proposed sequestration (across-the-board budget cuts) will cause the economy to contract 0.5 percent which will cause unemployment to rise to more than 9 percent by this time next year.

Looking ahead to 2013, the work only gets more challenging. We are focused on three key issues:

Tax Reform. Many apartment firms are organized as so-called “flow-through” entities (LLCs, partnerships and S Corporations). We must ensure that these businesses don’t end up double taxed as corporations or, alternatively, aren’t forced to endure a tax increase to finance a lower corporate rate.

Congress must also maintain the business interest deduction which is critical to smaller apartment firms that cannot access Wall Street or other equity sources. Likewise, the capital gains rate and carried interest are equally important to the future of the multifamily industry. Lastly, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program must be preserved as an important tool for ensuring the availability of much needed affordable and workforce housing.

Housing Finance Reform. Policymakers of all stripes have made clear that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cannot survive in their present forms. Consequently, we are encouraging them to enact a housing finance reform solution respecting the unique needs of the multifamily industry. To that end, we are crafting a plan that will keep government-guaranteed capital flowing to all markets at all times.

Federal Regulatory Burden. As everyone is acutely aware, many federal regulations cost us money and are often simply not worth the price. So we are focused on making sure regulations targeting accessibility, fair housing, energy and the environment, labor policy and telecommunications, among other priorities, do not unduly impact the multifamily business and the providers of much needed apartment homes.

As you can see, this is a crucial time for our industry. Over the coming weeks prior to the election, we encourage you to talk to the candidates running in your home state and localities. Educate them about the multifamily industry and the vital role we play in communities nationwide and then ask them where they stand on the issues important to our industry.

For starters, you might want to ask them these questions:

Tax Reform. Tax reform is likely to be front-and-center on Congress’ agenda next year. Many owners, operators and developers of apartment housing organize themselves as pass-thru entities (i.e., sole proprietorships, LLCs, partnerships, and S Corporations) and pay tax as individuals. Furthermore, many in our industry borrow to finance the construction of new apartment buildings because they are too small to access equity markets. The business interest deduction is an important tool for smaller firms. Will you support preserving the ability of real estate pass-thru businesses to file taxes under the individual income tax system, and would you support retaining the current deduction in the tax code for business interest?

Housing Finance Reform. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) have been an important source of capital for the apartment industry. While we recognize that the GSEs cannot survive in their current form, can you commit to working with us on crafting housing finance reform legislation that both respects the unique needs of the multifamily industry and ensures that capital is available in all markets at all times?

Federal Regulatory Burden. What is your view of the appropriate balance between government regulation and enabling private business to thrive and drive economic growth and job creation?

For additional information on the apartment industry’s priorities, please visit NAA and NMHC’s websites at and

Before we close, we want to thank all of the NAA affiliates and NAA and NMHC members who used the August Recess to reach out to Congress. Policymakers need to hear from the constituents who live, work and conduct business in their districts. That direct contact with you is fundamental to getting our message out on these critical issues to the multifamily industry.

We hope that you find this information valuable and welcome your suggestions on other topics for future communiqu├ęs. If you have questions or comments, please contact Kathleen Gamble at 703-797-0633 or

Gregory S. Brown
Vice President of Government Affairs
Apartment Association

Cindy Chetti
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs National
National Multi Housing Council

AIMS is the apartment industry's grassroots network operating under NAA and NMHC's Joint Legislative Program. AIMS represents more than 58,000 multifamily housing advocates.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Landlord Liability

Do you allow dogs in your rental properties?  Do you have a pet policy in place that restricts certain breeds?

Recently in a 4-3 decision, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that owners of pit bulls, mixed breed pet bulls and the landlord can be held strictly liable for damages resulting from the dogs attack.

Wikipedia states, strict liability is a standard for liability which may exist in either a criminal or civil context. A rule specifying strict liability makes a person legally responsible for the damage and loss caused by his or her acts and omissions regardless of culpability (including fault in criminal law terms, typically the presence of mens rea). Strict liability is prominent in tort law (especially product liability), corporations law, and criminal law.

The new ruling changes the current laws dealing with pit bull attacks.  The simple presence of the animal on the property is enough to establish a case for damages.  The Maryland Court of Appeals concluded that pit bulls and mixed breed pit bulls are “inherently dangerous”.  The justices also believe that their danger justifies imposing greater duties on the pet owner and landlord to hold them liable for any attacks.

What does this mean for you the property owner and how could it affect you?  If you think this doesn’t have anything to do with you because you don’t have property in Maryland your wrong.  Court rulings in one state tend to spread across the country.  Law makers in your state use decisions from other states as justification for new laws.  Attorneys reference these cases in lawsuits.  I would recommend reviewing your company pet policies.  It’s not uncommon to have breed restrictions.  Another thing to think about is requiring your renters to carry Pet Liability insurance.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Colorado Legislative Update

Apartment Association of Southern Colorado

Industry Alert

A Legislative Update


11:30 - 1:00pm

At The Antlers Hilton Hotel

Come hear from Nancy Burke as she informs us on current issues within the industry. See what changes took place during the 2012 Legislative session.
$35/$45 - Members $52.50/$62.50 - Non-Members
Late Registration goes into effect after May 15th!
To Register Via Fax, Click here. To Register Online, Click here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Attention Washington Clients!

If you have not been following Senate Bill 6315, you need to read the following link.

Senate Bill 6315

If you do not have written criteria in place please contact Rental Services.  We can provide you with criteria that can be customized to meet your needs.

Account Updates

Each year Trans Union, Equifax and Experian add additional requirements to individuals and companies that access credit information.  To make sure all of our clients stay in compliance with the new rules we audit client files each year.  If your file is missing information we will contact you to update your account.  Please make sure that you return any forms or documentation in a timely manner.  Files not in compliance may be suspended until they are updated.