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The new law clarifies the intention of the old law. Consequently, if rent is due on or before the first day of the month as specified in the TAA leasethe late charge can be assessed on the third day of the month.
The law allows an owner or a manager of an apartment building to impose a service charge of not more than 9 percent of the costs related to submetering allocated to each submetered rental or dwelling unit. However, the new law does not allow owners or managers to impose the service charge on a resident of a unit that has received low-income housing tax credits or Section 8 assistance.
Although the law does not apply to allocated billing service, this will assist owners who bill for submetered water service. On or before the 21st day before the date a city takes action to consider, review and recommend the adoption of or amendment to a national model code governing the construction, renovation or use or maintenance of buildings in the city, the city is required to publish notice of the proposed action on the city s Web site and encourage public comment on the proposed change.
This section only applies to a city with a population of more thanand does not apply to a city that has established an advisory board to obtain public comment on the proposed adoption of or amendment to a national model code.
Recently, a number of smaller cities around Houston have adopted code provisions that affect the apartment industry without giving the apartment industry notice and an opportunity to participate in the discussion of the proposed change.
Although the city of Houston has an advisory board and is not required to comply with the new law, and most of the cities around Houston have a population of less than , if we continue to have issues, the law forms the basis for future discussion of bills that require smaller cities to give notice of proposed ordinance changes.
If requested by a resident as an accommodation for a person with a hearing-impairment disability or if required by law as a reasonable accommodation, a smoke detector must, in addition to complying with existing law, be capable of alerting a hearingimpaired person in the bedrooms it serves.
Under the Fair Housing Act, if a hearing-impaired resident requests a smoke-detector capable of alerting a hearing-impaired person as a reasonable accommodation, the housing provider would be required to provide the accommodation.
If the request is considered to be a request for a modification to the premises, the housing provider would be required under the Fair Housing Act to allow that the modification be made by the resident at the resident s expense. Consequently, the law requires that the owner provide the detector which would imply that the owner has to pay for it. The new law sets up a procedure whereby a city can appoint a receiver for hazardous properties. A home-rule municipality may annually certify one or more nonprofit housing organizations to bring an action under this chapter for the appointment of a receiver in district court against an owner of property that is not in substantial compliance with one or more municipal ordinances.
The receiver can be appointed if the court finds that it is necessary for: The court may only appoint a receiver if the court also finds that: The receiver s powers will be subject to the control of the court; however, the receiver will have all powers necessary and customary to the powers of a receiver under other laws and may: Under current law, a city had the authority to bring an action in district court against an owner that was not in substantial compliance with a municipal ordinance regarding fire protection, structural integrity, zoning or disposal of refuse.
Similar to the current law, the court was required to appoint a receiver that was a nonprofit organization with a demonstrated record of rehabilitating properties. The new law provides for more detail with respect to the powers and authority the receiver may have and specifically addresses the issues of a receiver s power to sell the property or demolish structures on the property. Aresident filed a complaint with HAA to dispute charges after moving out.
The resident said she showed the problem to the manager and that the manager said she would have the maintenance supervisor look into the problem, which the resident said did not happen. The resident believed that because she followed the procedure in Paragraph 31 of the lease she should released from her lease obligation. The manager responded to the resident s letter and met with her personally, along with the maintenance supervisor.
The system functions were explained to the resident in detail by the maintenance supervisor. On January 5, management made an attempt to make repairs to the resident s apartment, but she would not give management access to her apartment and dead-bolted her front door.
The resident did not call to set up another appointment as requested in a letter from management and then gave management a written notice to vacate on March 4; however, she did not vacate the apartment until March The resident had not contacted management to get permission to stay beyond her written notice.
Management attempted to contact the resident by phone shortly after March 4 when no keys had been turned in. The resident did not return management s call. Her lease expired on June 30, and management believed the resident was charged according to the terms of the lease.
An owner of a development supported with a housing tax credit allocation may not: An owner is required to include a conspicuous provision in the lease prohibiting the owner from engaging in the practices that are no longer allowed and must remove any provision in the lease that is contrary to the new law. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is required to adopt rules requiring housing sponsors to submit a quarterly report to the department.
The report must include information that identifies the number of vacant units in development and the number of days that each unit has been vacant.
The department is then required to provide a report to any member of the legislature upon request that segregates the information collected in the report by zip code in the member s district. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is required to adopt rules to implement and enforce the new law not later than November 1. If you are a housing sponsor of an apartment community that receives financial assistance from the state or federal government, you will be required to follow rules to submit a quarterly report to the department.
Additionally, if you are an owner of a development supported by a housing tax credit allocation, lock-outs for nonpayment of rent and landlord s liens are prohibited. An individual who is an employee of the owner or management company is not personally liable for criminal or civil penalties resulting from a violation of a county or municipal rule or ordinance if the individual provides the property owner s name, street address and telephone number to the enforcement official who issues the citation or the official s superior.
The law has been modified to require that this information be given to the enforcement official or the official s superior not later than the fifth calendar day after the date the citation is issued. Additionally, the law has been changed to state that an employee of the owner of the management company to whom a citation is issued is considered the owner s agent for accepting service of the citation.
Previously, the law provided that the employer was the owner s agent for service of process only if the owner s street address was not in Texas. The new law also provides that the county or city issuing the citation must mail the notice of the citation to the property owner at the address provided by the employee.
On-site personnel shall be equipped with the owner s name, current street address and telephone number so that the information can be promptly provided to a county or city official who issues a citation due to the condition of the property.
If the information is not given when the citation is issued, the information must be given within five days from the date the citation is issued or the employee runs the risk of being personally liable for the citation. When the county or city gives a ticket, the employee is a proper person to receive the ticket as the owner s agent.
While the ticket should still be in the name of the owner, the ticket to the owner can be given to an on-site employee. Even though the city is also required to mail the citation to the owner, proper action should be taken by the on-site personnel to notify the owner as well. It should also be noted that compliance with the registration requirements of the city of Houston crime ordinance shall be deemed to meet the requirements of sections and of the Local Government Code.
The crime ordinance requires that properties register certain information regarding the owner and then post a true and correct copy of the registration statement in the business office at the property or, if no business office is maintained at the property, in a common area or other conspicuous place accessible at all times to the residents of the property.
If you have not done so, you should register with the police department under the crime ordinance and then post the registration statement as required by the ordinance. This will protect you not only from a citation issued under the crime ordinance for failure to follow the registration requirementsbut will also provide you with a defense against individual manager liability for municipal citations.
An owner, manager, operator or other attendant in charge of an interactive water feature or fountain is required to maintain the feature or fountain in a sanitary condition. The bacterial content of the water in an interactive water feature or fountain may not exceed the safe limits prescribed by the standards adopted in the new law. Any water feature or fountain supplied entirely by drinking water that is not recirculated is not subject to the bacterial content requirements.
A county, city or other department is authorized to require that the owner or operator of the feature or fountain obtain a permit in order to operate the feature or fountain.
If the fountain or feature is in violation of the new law, the county, city or other department may close the water feature or fountain.
If your property has a water feature or fountain, proper steps should be taken to meet the requirements of the new law. Note that the term interactive water feature or fountain includes water sprays, dancing water jets, water falls, dumping buckets or shooting water cannons that are maintained for public recreation. A resident may terminate the resident s rights and obligation under a lease and may vacate the unit if: Under the old law, the order from the family court had to pertain to the protection of the resident or an occupant from family violence committed by a co-tenant or occupant of the unit.
However, if the family violence is committed by a co-tenant or occupant of the unit, the resident may exercise the right to terminate the lease without giving the day notice. A resident may terminate the resident s rights and obligation under a lease if the resident is a victim of sexual assault or a parent or guardian or a victim of sexual assault that took place during the preceding sixmonth period on the premises or at the unit and the resident provides the owner with a copy of: A resident may exercise the right to terminate the lease if: A resident who terminates a lease is released from all liability for any delinquent, unpaid rent owed to the owner if the lease does NOT contain language substantially equivalent to the following: Residents may have special statutory rights to terminate the lease early in certain situations involving sexual assault or sexual abuse.
Previously, the law required that a resident could only terminate a lease if family violence was committed by a cotenant or occupant of the dwelling.
Michigan Legislature - Act of
The new law allows the resident the right to terminate the lease if family violence is committed by anyone, not necessarily another person who lives in the unit. Additionally, the right of a resident to terminate the lease as a result of sexual assault or abuse is similar to the right that a resident has to terminate the lease in the event of domestic violence or as a result of military leave.
The TAA lease will be modified accordingly to protect an owner s rights to collect delinquent unpaid rent as of the date a resident exercises the option to terminate the lease due to sexual assault or abuse.
If you do not use the TAA lease, your lease should be reviewed to add the appropriate language so that you will not lose the right to collect unpaid rent if a resident terminates the lease under the new law.
A few unintended consequences may arise as a result of this law. Although the proof of sexual assault or abuse is required by virtue of documentation from a licensed health services provider, there is nothing to prove that the assault or abuse occurred within the past six months or that it occurred at the apartment community or in the unit.
Additionally, while the law allows the victim to terminate the lease, the law does not extend to co-residents who were not a victim of assault or abuse.
Consequently, you may run into a situation where one resident is entitled to terminate the lease but a co-resident is not. You may be left with a resident who would not otherwise qualify to rent the unit. As with any new laws, time will tell whether these issues become a problem.
Although the new laws may present some challenges, on the whole it appears to have been a fairly successful legislative session for the apartment industry. It s more than just puppy love here s the doggone best in show: It s the go-to book to connect with the multifamily industry. Also, the lease must include the following statement: Michigan law establishes rights and obligations for parties to rental agreements. This agreement is required to comply with the Truth in Renting Act.
If you have a question about the interpretation or legality of a provision of this agreement, you may want to seek assistance from a lawyer or other qualified person. The lease cannot include a provision that does any of the following: However, there are some exceptions. Changes required by federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation Changes in rules relating to the property meant to protect health, safety, and peaceful enjoyment Changes in cost of rent to cover additional costs incurred by the landlord due to increases in property taxes, increases in utilities, or increases in property insurance premiums Lease Renewal Provisions in Michigan Fixed Term Leases Fixed term leases are assumed to end when the lease term is over.
However, many fixed-term leases have provisions that change it to a month-to-month tenancy when the lease term is over. Periodic Leases For periodic leases, the lease renews at the end of each rental period at the end of each month for a month-to-month lease.
To terminate a periodic lease, the landlord or tenant must provide the other party with notice of their intent to terminate the lease. The amount of notice must be equal to the interval between rent payments. Make collecting rent a reward, not an errand. The lease should state if the landlord has any preferences regarding the payment of rent.
If possible, landlords should accept some form of online payment from the tenant. Landlords can accept online payments through Avail. To ensure rent is paid on time every month, landlords should complete a thorough tenant screening. Screening your tenants has never been so simple. Use Avail to screen your tenants online. Michigan Laws on Repairs: The tenant should notify their landlord beforehand of his or her intent to use either remedy.
Withholding Rent If the tenant is withholding rent, he or she should put the rent payments that would have been paid to the landlord in an escrow account. An escrow account is a bank account or other account held by a third party, established in the name of the tenant, into which rent payments are deposited to show that the tenant was ready, willing, and able to pay the rent.
Once the problem is resolved, the escrowed rent amount will be released to the landlord. The tenant should send the landlord notice of their intent to withhold rent by certified mail, with return receipt requested. The notice should state: Why the tenant is withholding rent The name and address of the bank of the escrow account for the withheld rent That the escrow account will release the rent to the landlord once repairs are completed. Repair and Deduct Before making repairs to the apartment, the tenant should get a couple estimates for repairs.