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  • Friday, December 20, 2013 10:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    At the Annual Holiday party on Wednesday, December 18th, the Klamath Rental Housing Association collected 112 pounds of food and more than $300 cash for the Klamath/Lake Counties Food Bank.

    food display


  • Sunday, October 27, 2013 2:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Are you missing out on a major part of the rental market? You might be if you allow smoking on your property.

    As research on the harms of smoking and anti-tobacco policies continue to emerge, more people are trying to protect themselves from toxic secondhand smoke and fire hazards. In Klamath County nearly 80 percent of adults don’t smoke, and of those who do, 69 percent report that they want to quit. In fact, more than half of them made a quit attempt in the past year.

    What does this have to do with rental housing? According to ORS 479.250 to 479.300, landlords must disclose: whether smoking is permitted; allowed on the premises; or allowed in limited areas. Thanks to this law, renters will know if they will be impacted by secondhand smoke before they sign a lease.
    As a property owner, protecting your housing investment and meeting the market demand are at the top of your list, and smokefree policies are an easy way to meet the demand.

    Secondhand smoke is incredibly destructive in your rental property: stained the walls and fixtures; carpets saturated with stubborn odors; and burns to countertops and flooring. When turning over the property, the cost of cleaning a unit that has been smoked in can be 2 to 3 times higher than in properties with no-smoking policies.

    Furthermore, allowing smoking in even one unit can cause damage and negatively impact health of tenants in neighboring units. The Centers for Disease Control states that secondhand smoke travels through doors, windows, and ventilation systemsundefinedseparation of smoking and smokefree units is inadequate.

    Landlords may be hesitant prohibit smoking on their property in fear of losing renters, but there is a rapidly growing market for smokefree rental properties.

    A survey conducted by Campbell DeLong Resources Inc. in 2008 found that 70 percent of renters would prefer to live in a smokefree building, and 40 percent would even pay a little more rent to do so. Safe and healthy homes should be a given, not a luxury.

    A no-smoking policy does not mean no-smokers. Seventy four percent of adults in Klamath County report that they already have no-smoking rules in their home.

    Plus, no-smoking rules are legal! It’s similar to prohibiting pets or setting limits on the number of tenants that can occupy the unit. The Fair Housing Council of Oregon states “property owners have every right to restrict smoking in and on property.”

    In 2008, Oregon’s largest property management company, Guardian Management successfully took its 12,000 properties smokefree and has received very positive feedback. Seventy five percent of tenants are happy with the policy, 50 percent of smokers have made a quit attempt, and 43 percent have reduced the number of cigarettes they smoke.

    Are you ready to protect your investment and establish a smokefree rental property?
    Here’s what to do:

    1: Get Input from Tenants and Give Adequate Notice

    “More cooperation than expected. Take time for resident involvement and input.” –Kris Still, Director of Leased Housing, Northeast Oregon Housing Authority

    2: Develop the Policy and Update Your Lease

    Forms are available through your rental housing association.

    3: Transition the Property

    You can wait until a lease is up or simply phase in the policy.

    “Once the property is clean and restored, keeping it smokefree leads to many benefits for the property manager and owner. We have seen more timely lease-ups, increased rents, and a very satisfied client.” –Barb Casey, Kennedy Restoration

    4: Market Smokefree as an Amenity

    For more information and support go to smokefreehousinginfo.com or contact Jennifer Little at Klamath County Public Health at 541.882.8846.


  • Sunday, September 01, 2013 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Other Provisions

    Notices

    The first provision clarifies when some notices begin or end. For daily notices, a notice ends at midnight of the end of the last day of the notice. For hourly notices that are posted-and-mailed, this clarifies that the notices begin at 11:59 pm of the day they are posted-and-mailed. (Hourly notices that are personally served still begin at the time they are served.) – (Section 4)

    Keys & Credit Card Fees

    It is confirmed that landlords may charge tenants for the cost to replace keys lost by tenants and that landlords may pass through to the tenant any processing fees charged to the landlord by a credit card company for processing rent and other payments by the tenant. In order to pass these fees along, however, landlords must also allow tenants to pay in cash or by check. – (Section 8)

    Abandoned Property

    The new law further confirms that a landlord is responsible for abandoned property and shall store, sell or dispose of abandoned personal property as provided by law. This includes the provision that landlords must give abandoned property notices prior to storing, selling or disposing of abandoned property. – (Sections 12 & 13)

    Use of Premises

    Finally, the law clarifies that rent means any payment to be made to the landlord under the rental agreement, periodic or otherwise, in exchange for the right of a tenant and any permitted pet to occupy a dwelling unit to the exclusion of others and to use the premises. The key here is “use of premises”. Although I haven’t heard from any ORHA members that this issue has come up for them, apparently there have been instances around the state where landlords and tenants have needed to clarify that rent pays for the land that accompanies the premises (unless explicitly excluded in the rental agreement) and not for just the premises itself. – (Section 13)
  • Sunday, September 01, 2013 12:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Foreclosure

    The law provides that a tenant may give their landlord 60 day notice to vacate regardless of the duration of a fixed-term lease if they are notified that the rental is in foreclosure. Landlords have 30 days after the receive notice from their tenants to prove the property is no longer in foreclosure, if applicable. (Tenants in month-to-month rental agreements still have the option of giving their landlord a 30 day notice to vacate.)
  • Sunday, September 01, 2013 12:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Smoke Alarms/Carbon Monoxide Alarms

    A landlord may charge a tenant up to $250 unless the State Fire Marshal assesses the tenant a civil penalty for the conduct (tampering with smoke alarm). A landlord must provide a carbon monoxide alarm within a structure that contains a carbon monoxide source and the dwelling unit is connected to the room in which the carbon monoxide source is located by a door, ductwork or a ventilation shaft.

    So this law confirms the $250 fee that most landlords were already including in their rental agreements, clarifies that landlords cannot charge this fee if the State Fire Marshall assesses a civil penalty, and confirms what most landlords had already been doing in practice – installing carbon monoxide alarms only for those units which are connected to a carbon monoxide sources by a door, ductwork or ventilation shaft.
  • Sunday, September 01, 2013 12:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Security Deposits

    This provision clarifies that landlords may claim from security deposits only amounts reasonably necessary. Specifically, damages for which a landlord may recover include:
    1. costs associated with carpet that was cleaned or replaced after the previous tenancy or the most recent significant use of the carpet and before the tenant took possession
    2. loss of use of the dwelling unit during the performance of necessary cleaning or repairs, for which the tenant is responsible if the cleaning or repairs are performed in a timely manner.
  • Sunday, September 01, 2013 12:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Temporary Occupants

    This law clarifies that a written temporary occupancy agreement may be made between a landlord, tenant & temporary occupant. It specifically delineates that temporary occupants do not have tenancy rights. Their temporary occupancy agreement may be terminated by the tenant at any time without cause and by the landlord only for cause for material violation of the agreement (with no right of the temporary occupant to cure the violation). No written notice of termination to the temporary occupant is required. A landlord may screen the temporary occupant for conduct and criminal record, but cannot screen for credit history or income. A tenancy cannot consist of one sole temporary occupant so, if the tenant vacates, the temporary occupant cannot stay on and basically become the tenant.

    One of the provisions most helpful to landlords states that a temporary occupant will be treated as squatter if he doesn’t leave the premises after a temporary occupancy agreement is terminated as noted above. This is tremendously important to landlords. This is because temporary occupants that have refused to leave the premises when required have been able to create quasi-tenancy situations that, when landlords have tried to remove them, local police have considered a civil, not criminal, matter. That can mean you end up going through the evictions process to remove the temporary occupant. We hope that with the passage of this bill, temporary occupants legally designed as squatters will be viewed as criminal trespassers by local police and will be removed as a criminal offense (potentially saving landlords that eviction). We’ll have to see how individual police departments respond as this law goes into effect.
  • Sunday, September 01, 2013 11:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Non-Compliance Fees

    During our negotiations with tenant advocates, landlords made some reasonable concessions surrounding renters’ insurance and the screening process. Tenant advocates, in turn, met our demands to return some non-compliance fees to the list of fees which landlords may charge tenants who are not in compliance with their rental agreements.

    Non-compliance fees must be in the landlords’ written rules, policies or rental agreements, and must be disclosed to tenants. (This just makes sense – you must let tenants know the possible penalty for behavior in violation of the rules or contract. This will, we hope, be a disincentive against poor behavior.)

    With this bill, the following non-compliance fees may be assessed by landlords for violations of written rules, policies or rental agreements for:
    1. late payment of utility or service charge
    2. failure to clean up pet waste from a part of the premises other than dwelling unit
    3. failure to clean up garbage, rubbish or waste from a part of the premises other than dwelling unit
    4. parking violations
    5. improper use of vehicles on the premises
    6. smoking in clearly designated non-smoking unit or area of premises, and 
    7. unauthorized pets capable of causing damage to persons or property.
    (items 1-5 are currently allowed, items 6-7 are newly returned under this law to the list of fees permitted)

    (Other non-compliance fees remain legal, such as late payment of rent fees, returned check fees, and smoke alarm/carbon monoxide alarm tampering fees.)

    In order to access the seven non-compliance fees referenced above, a landlord must give a written warning notice of the initial non-compliance violation which includes the possible fees if the same or similar violation occurs within one year. Within one year of initial warning notice, landlords may assess a $50 non-compliance fee for a second same or similar violation, and a $50 non-compliance fee plus 5% of the current rent amount for subsequent same or similar violations. So, if you have a property that rents for a $1,000 and your tenant commits the same or similar non-compliance violations within one year (repeated parking on the lawn, for instance), the first time you warn them. The second time within one year, you assess a $50 non-compliance fee. Each violation thereafter within the year merits a $100 non-compliance fee ($50 plus 5% of rent - $50+$50).

    One warning on this. You can assess a non-compliance fee or you can evict for non-compliance, but you can’t do both.
  • Sunday, September 01, 2013 11:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Screening Applications – Criminal Arrest History and Conviction History

    This law makes completely clear that while processing applications, landlords cannot consider prior arrest history if the arrest(s) did not result in a conviction. (There is no ambiguity here, and frankly, this just makes sense. In the United States you are innocent until proven guilty, and a simple arrest does not prove guilt.) However, this provision does not apply if the charges for the arrest were not dismissed at the time of the application was made. In those instances where the arrest is pending and unresolved, there is nothing in this bill that prevents landlords from taking those arrests under consideration.

    With regard to considering past charging history or criminal convictions while processing applications, landlords MAY consider criminal convictions or the applicant’scharginghistoryiftheconviction or charge is for conduct that is: 1) drug- related crimes, 2) person crimes, 3) sex offenses, 4) crimes involving financial fraud, including identity theft and forgery, and 5) any other crime if the conduct for which the applicant was convicted or charged is ofanaturethatwouldadverselyaffectthe property of the landlord or a tenant or the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises of residents, the landlord or the landlord’s agent.

    So, while any other crimes that do not fit into this list are probably unrelated to the landlord-tenant relationship and, therefore, should not be considered, be very thorough in your review of any crimes listed. Look closely to determine whether those crimes fit into category #5 and may affect your property, yourself, or the other tenants. If so, then those crimes do fit into the categories which you may consider during your application process.

    To reiterate, item #5 means anything that you can reasonably relate to your individual property, yourself and your tenants. So let’s be clear – this provision of the law is not as restrictive as it seems. Different landlords set different standards for which they screen applications – some landlords hold some criminal history to be more problematic than other landlords do. (Let’s use DUI convictions, for instance. Some landlords feel strongly against them and screen applications for DUI. Some landlords feel it doesn’t impact their rentals and ignore them completely.) This law doesn’t change your ability to set those screening standards if you can reasonably and in good-faith relate your screening standards to the provisions of item #5. If you have been careful to screen your applications for criminal background as it relates to the landlord-tenant relationship, this law is probably not going to change your screening options much, if at all.
  • Sunday, September 01, 2013 11:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Screening Applications – Prior FED/evictions

    Tenant advocates have long complained that unscrupulous landlords have held prior FED/evictions against applicants during the screening process, even if the FED/evictions were dismissed by the court (without a finding in favor of the landlord) or even in cases where the tenants won the FED/eviction. This law clarifies that landlords cannot consider prior FED/ evictions during the application process if:
    1. the FED/eviction was dismissed or a judgment was made in favor of applicant prior to submission of current application. (Thus, landlords may consider FED/ evictions which are still pending at time the current application was submitted)
    2. landlords may not consider FED/eviction judgments made against the applicant that occurred five years or more prior to submission of application.

    So, at first glance, it appears that if your applicant has an FED/eviction judgment against him that occurred five years or more before they filed an application with you, then a landlord must completely ignore the FED/eviction. Fortunately, that’s not quite right. While the law specifically prohibits landlords from denying an application based on the FED/eviction, it does not prevent us from denying applications based on poor rental references. So, as you would with any FED/eviction that you turn up while processing an application, you are going to want to contact the landlord who filed the FED/eviction and obtain a rental reference from them. (Applicant didn’t list this landlord as a reference? Be sure to obtain the contact information for the FED/eviction landlord from the court records.) If this landlord gives you a poor rental reference for your applicant, you may deny the application based on the poor rental reference, just not the simple fact that there was an eviction.
link to Oregon Rental Housing
link to Fair Housing Council
link to Klamath County Chamber of Commerce

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