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  • October 24, 2019 7:51 PM | Anonymous

    October is our planning month for the following year and the TVRA board has put together a list of 31 events for 2020.

    To start the year, we will have the Annual Membership Banquet and Elections on Saturday,  January 25th, 2020.  This is going to be a fun event with good food, local and state news, games, and an election of four New Board Members.  Please think about being a Board Member, as you get the most up-to-date information on a continual basis.  But most of all, we are hoping to have more fun this year, so please come out and join us.

    We will conduct five local and free workshops for members, two paid Seminars from the Portland and Lane County Presidents, and four new member training classes.  Even if you have been a member for a while, the new member trainings will cover everything you need to know, what is available for you and your business, and what you should setup to be successful in the rental housing industry.   If you haven't attended them, please do so.  You must sign up for these classes, so we know how many people are coming. Click the register now button on the event emails or click on the TVRA Calendar and sign up directly on the website.

    Overall, this gives you eleven chances to receive training, ask questions, meet other landlords, and meet industry associates offering services that can help you.  It's going to be a great year for education, and we don't want you to miss any opportunity to better your business. 




    To download a copy of the 2020 Calendar, please click the link below:

    TVRA Calendar 2020.pdf


  • October 24, 2019 6:58 PM | Anonymous

    Payment standards are established according to HUD's FY FMR 2020 and HAMHC's rent comparable.  All amounts have been increased by 110%.  

    Effective 10/01/2019




    For a copy of the standards, click on the link below:

    10.01.19 HUD Malheur County Payment Standards.pdf



  • September 26, 2019 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    The Oregon’s Office of Economic Analysis has decreased the permissible rent increase for 2020. State law sets the permissible rent increase at 7% plus CPI. CPI fell from 3.4% to 2.9 %.  

    This makes the allowable statewide rent increase cap 9.9% for 2020.


    For those of you planning to issue a rent increase, effective January 1, 2020, you would need to serve/deliver your rent increase notice by October 1st, 2019 and use the new CPI (no more than 9.9%) for 2020.


    Click the orange box below for more detailed information. ​

     

    Oregon Maximum Annual Rent Increase for 2020


  • August 13, 2019 5:54 PM | Anonymous

    Attached is an update to the Oregon State Bar Seminar pertaining to the Senate Bill 608, The Tenant Protection Bill.

    Legal Q&A: An Update to Landlord/Tenant Law in Oregon

  • July 26, 2019 7:40 PM | Anonymous

    Email from:

    Good morning,

    As you are all familiar, the Law and Rule Required Course (LARRC) is updated following the regular legislative session and after changes to real estate law and rule. Per Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 696.425(3), the Real Estate Board “shall create or approve a real estate continuing education course for real estate licensees based on recent changes in real estate rule and law.”

    Previously, Agency staff would develop a draft course outline for the Real Estate Board to review and approve.  For this LARRC update, the Board is taking an active role in creating the course outline. 

    A timeline of public meetings and the comment period associated with LARRC can be found at https://www.oregon.gov/rea/about_us/Documents/LARRC-Schedule.pdf.

    Sincerely,

    Madeline Alvarado | Customer Service Manager

    Oregon Real Estate Agency

    530 Center St. NE Ste. 100, Salem, Oregon  97301-2505

    503-378-4590 | Fax: 503-378-2491

    madeline.c.alvarado@oregon.gov | www.oregon.gov/rea

    The Oregon Real Estate Agency is conducting a customer satisfaction survey. Your participation and comments are important to us and we would appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete the survey.  The survey can be found here:

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MDD9LPP


  • July 26, 2019 7:30 PM | Anonymous

    Members,

    The new 2019 Forms Manual is here!

    Complete with updated information about completing your Landlord/Tenant forms to comply with the new SB 608 Tenant Protection Bill requirements, it is a MUST for your Business.

    This is the most important tool in your landlord or property management toolbox, so much so, that we will be changing our next regularly scheduled TVRA workshop to teach you how to use your Forms Manual appropriately. 

    Don’t miss this Workshop! 

    _______________________________________________

    2019 ORHA Forms Manual Training

    by Cloud Miller

    The most important tool for Landlords and Property Managers is the Forms Manual.   Come learn how to use the manual and prepare your Rental Forms properly.  

    You can purchase your 2019 ORHA Forms Manuals before the event, starting today at Pine Valley Property Management, 95 SW 4th Ave, Ontario, OR 97914

    or

    You can buy a manual before the event at Matsy's Restaurant from 5:00pm-5:45pm.  We have only 50 Manuals available, so don’t delay!

    This is a very long class, so please do not be late. 

    ___________________________________________________

    August 27th, 2019

    6:00 – 9:00pm

    Matsy's Restaurant, 1241 SW 4th Ave, Ontario, OR 97914

    *****No Registration Needed*****

    But seating is limited, so be early, if you can!

    _____________________________________________________


  • July 26, 2019 7:27 PM | Anonymous

    Members,

    SB 608 – the Tenant Protection Bill has considerably changed the Landlord/Tenant Laws.  The Oregon Rental Housing Association has spent a considerable amount of time and effort producing new forms that are compliant with the new Laws. 

    It is imperative that you start using the new forms to protect your business and investments, today!

    Unfortunately, due to the amount of time and legal review needed to prepare these forms, prices have gone up. 

    The New Forms Pricing are as follows:

    Leases and Rental Agreements are $2 each

    NCR – 3 page carbon forms are $2 each

    All other forms are $1 each

    Lead-based paint pamphlets are $1 each

    Applications are 50 cents

    But, you can print your own applications for FREE!  Yes, that right…..ORHA is now giving away applications and form completion instructions for FREE. 

    Just visit the ORHA Forms Store at https://store.oregonrentalhousing.com/ and download your free copy today. 

    Photocopying is allowed for this form only!  We will still stock the printed forms at Pine Valley, but they will cost you 50 cents to acquire, as we have to order the printed forms from the ORHA office in Salem.

    2019 FORMS MANUALS are $50 each

    2019 LAW BOOK are $50 each and will be available at the end of the year

    LANDLORD BOOTCAMP BASIC TRAINING CLASS BOOK 2019 is $30. 

    This is the best comprehensive “beginning to end” Landlord/Property Management Manual, we have ever seen.  If you didn’t attend the class by Tia Politi, the Lane County President, then you definitely need the manual. 

    Prices and availability for the manual is limited, so get yours immediately, while supplies last.  We only have 30 copies left.

    Remember, some forms are “Online Purchase Only” and you will need to visit the ORHA Forms Store at https://store.oregonrentalhousing.com/ to purchase those forms.

    Also, when the Pine Valley office is closed you can purchase the forms online 24 hours a day. 

    Forms are $6.99 each for non-members and $2.99 each for members. 

    Use the your TVRA Membership Code:   TVRA.2011    

    This code is good until 31 August 2019 and a new code will be issued to only members on 1 September 2019.

    I have attached the TVRA Order Form, which lists all available Forms and Manuals.  The Order form lists each of the 67 Forms, Manuals, and Class Books that available and their current price. 

    You can complete this form and take it to the Pine Valley office to acquire your forms or complete the form at the office.

    Remember, you can write off your publication & forms purchases to your business and/or personal taxes, so please don’t hesitate to get the best industry forms available


  • July 26, 2019 4:46 PM | Anonymous

    By Tia Politi, ROA President


    With the passage of SB 608, buyers, sellers and realtors are finding that the law’s mandates are dramatically changing the world of property sales when there are tenancies of more than one year in place. The new law restricts a landlord’s ability to terminate a tenancy of more than one year to a for-cause termination, or for one of four Qualifying Landlord Reasons: 1) the property is being demolished or converted to a different use within a reasonable time; 2) the landlord intends to undertake repairs or renovations to the property within a reasonable time and the property will be unsafe or unfit for occupancy during repairs or renovations; 3) the landlord intends for the landlord or a member of the landlord’s immediate family to occupy the dwelling unit as a primary residence and the landlord does not own a comparable unit in the same building available that is available for occupancy; or 4) the landlord is selling the property separately from any other unit to a buyer who intends in good faith to occupy the dwelling unit as their primary residence.

    It’s becoming clear that especially for sellers of single-family homes, planning will need to start well in advance of offering their property for sale.

    Buying or Selling a Single-Family Home

    For an owner selling a single-family home occupied by a tenant for longer than one year to a buyer who wants to occupy the home as their primary residence, the new law requires that the tenant be provided with a 90-day notice of termination, and that at the time the notice is delivered the landlord also provide written evidence of the offer to purchase the unit not more than 120 days after acceptance (names and private information can be blacked out), and state that the buyer intends in good faith to occupy the dwelling unit as a primary residence.

    How is a seller to know if a buyer will want to keep the property as an investment and be willing to take on the existing tenancy, or if they want to purchase the home to live in? They won’t until they get an offer. If a buyer does want to live in the property and makes an offer, most buyers will need to get a mortgage to purchase, have an interest rate lock that expires in 45 days, and be required to occupy the home within 30 days after closing, so what are buyers and sellers to do?

    For a full cash sale, once the offer is accepted, the seller can provide the tenant(s) with ORHA Form #5A - Notice of Termination-Qualifying Landlord Reason, check the correct box, provide the evidence of the accepted offer to purchase, and pay the tenant the relocation expense of one-months’ periodic rent unless exempt. (Owners of four or fewer dwelling units are exempt from the payment of relocation expenses.) The notice must be prepared and served in accordance with ORS 105, and will remain in effect for the next owner. Even with an all-cash sale, however, the buyer could end up purchasing a huge liability if the seller failed to prepare and serve the notice in accordance with the law. The tenant could choose to stay and challenge the notice. If the buyer proceeds to eviction court, and they have inherited a defective or imperfectly served notice of termination, they could lose the case in court, have a judgment against them, possibly have to pay the tenant’s attorney, and start over again.

    In a case where a seller believes that it is likely the property would be sold to a buyer who wants to live in the property, and will need to get a mortgage to purchase, the best option may be to remove the tenant for another Qualifying Landlord Reason, such as the owner intends to undertake repairs or renovations to the unit within a reasonable time and the unit will be unsafe or unfit for occupancy during repairs or renovations.

    The question then becomes, how significant do the repairs or renovations need to be in order to claim the right to terminate? It depends. The owner may be challenged and have to justify their decision to a judge, so need to be prepared to think about this ahead of time. Many repairs or renovations would make a property unsafe or unfit for occupancy, and most contractors will refuse to do substantial work in a unit with tenants in place, but sellers should make sure they can justify the level of work they are doing to prepare to sell.

    Realtors encourage sellers to spruce up the unit prior to marketing, so a full interior repaint would likely qualify as would replacement of flooring throughout, kitchen or bath remodels, etc., but things like new windows may not as new windows can be installed from the outside and would not make the property unfit for occupancy during the install. (As a side note, remember that your insurance company will likely not provide full coverage for your unit if it is vacant for more than 30 days, so sellers should have a plan for that, such as a house sitter.)

    The Duplex Rule

    SB 608, does provide a narrow exception to the new termination rules for owners with two units on the same tax lot where one unit is their primary residence. The new law continues to allow termination of tenancy for no-cause with a 60-day notice, or with a 30-day notice if the property is to be sold and the buyer intends in good faith to occupy the tenant’s unit as their primary residence. If the buyer does not intend to occupy the tenant’s unit as their primary residence, then the tenant comes with the property. There are pitfalls in this scenario as well, and while the exemption exists for this type of property, landlords are still obligated to payment of the relocation expense of one-months’ periodic rent at the time the notice is delivered, unless exempt. (Owners of four or fewer rental dwelling units are exempt from payment of the relocation expense.) Use ORHA Form #5C – Notice of Termination – Two-Unit/Owner-Occupied Property.

    If the duplex is being held as an investment property and the seller does not live in one unit, but the buyer wants to occupy one side as their primary residence after closing, the same rules would apply as if for a single-family home. If the tenancy has been in place for more than one year on the side the buyer wants to live in, the seller would either have to issue the 90-day notice of termination – Qualifying Landlord Reason, for one of the four reasons allowed by law, or sell the property as-is and the buyer can issue the notice for the qualifying reason of wanting to live in the unit as their primary residence. Once the notice expires and the tenant vacates, the buyer can then move in.

    Cash for Keys

    This is a tried and true method for regaining possession of a property and nothing in the new law prohibits both parties from making a mutual termination agreement. Just make sure that the terms are clearly spelled out in writing, and that the agreement states what will happen if the tenant complies and what will happen if they don’t comply (It’s a smart decision to have an attorney draft the agreement). Also, don’t hand over the cash until the resident is ready to hand over the keys.

    Marketing an Investment Property

    SB 608 does not impact property sales where the seller and buyer are both investors and the buyer won’t be living at the property, but there are still issues that can make the property easier or more challenging to market – mostly in regards to the price of rents, the quality of the tenancies, and the completeness of the seller’s documentation.

    Owners who have under-market rents will find that their properties cannot prove sufficient cash flow to meet the demands of sophisticated investors, and they won’t be able to command the same price. If you are planning to sell an investment property in the not-too-distant future, and your rents are below market, plan ahead to increase rents within the limits imposed by SB 608 until your rents are market rate so that your property can command the best sales price.

    The quality of the tenants can help or hurt investment property sales as well. Residents who are keeping to their lease and caring for the property are a fantastic marketing asset for sellers; problem residents are not.

    The completeness of the seller’s tenancy documents can also help or hurt the sale. If there are gaps or flaws in your paperwork, fix them now before you market your property for sale, or be prepared to accept a lower price as a buyer will have to agree to accept the increased liability and correct the deficiencies.

    Paperwork Pitfalls

    What does good paperwork look like? The rental agreement and all addenda are complete, initialed, signed and dated by all adult occupants; the seller has good documentation on the condition of the units on move in; there are accurate tenant ledgers; and good notes and copies of notices regarding lease violations during the tenancy.

    Without good paperwork, a buyer may be purchasing liability. For example, the seller is marketing their property built prior to 1978, but has no signed lead-based paint disclosure. The penalty for this violation if reported to the EPA, is $6000. The buyer could require as part of the sale, that the seller fixes the deficiency in the paperwork so that they are not taking on that kind of liability. Or the buyer could agree to accept responsibility for fixing that problem after the sale, but use that deficiency to negotiate a lower price. To ensure they are fulfilling their fiduciary duty to their clients, Buyer’s Agents should request copies of all leases, addenda, and tenant ledgers and review them for completeness, or have an attorney review them. Also, any existing notices of termination should be reviewed by an attorney or professional consultant to ensure that they will hold up in court if the buyer purchases a property before a notice of termination expires.

    Planning ahead

    Depending on the timeframe required for renovations, if owners are planning to renovate ahead of marketing their property, they should think about providing notice to vacate in November, December or January to hit the sweet spot on the sales season. I can’t stress enough how essential it is that owners ensure their notices of termination are prepared and served perfectly. A defective notice of termination can result in a loss in court. For sellers that can mean a lost sale; for buyers it can mean a long delay in being able to occupy the property; and for both it can mean a court judgment against them, payment of attorney fees to the prevailing tenant, and starting the process all over again.

    Also, sellers need to consider that even with a good notice of termination in place, the tenants may not move out, requiring an owner to initiate an eviction action in court. If uncontested, the court process takes two or three weeks, with more time added if there’s substantial abandoned property to address; if contested, the process can be delayed further, so owners should factor that into the timing of the notice to vacate. And just to complicate matters even more, remember that tenants may still provide just 30 days’ notice to vacate which could throw off the timing as well.

    The takeaway

    A property sale with tenants in place for more than one year now requires better advance planning by sellers, more thorough investigation by buyers, and for realtors, it requires a higher level of due diligence than ever before. Fulfilling their fiduciary duty to their clients means educating themselves on the mandates of SB 608 and all of its intricacies to provide their clients with the best information possible as to the benefits, drawbacks and possible outcomes of selling rental property.

    This column offers general suggestions only and is no substitute for professional legal counsel. Please consult an attorney for advice related to your specific situation.


  • July 01, 2019 4:45 PM | Anonymous

     Assistance Animals: Best Practices for Landlords

    Federal Fair Housing laws prohibit discrimination against people who are members of protected classes, in the advertising, sale or leasing of real estate. For rental owners, that means making exceptions to your standard policies or allowing a modification of the premises in order to allow a member of a protected class (in this case a disabled person) the opportunity to enjoy the dwelling unit the way a non disabled person could by allowing the keeping of an animal that is not a pet. Under the law, an animal that assists a disabled person is seen as an assistive device.

    When it comes to things like wheelchair ramps, visual smoke alarms or shower grab bars, rental owners by and large have no objection to making an exception. Some accommodations such as longer grace periods for rent payments or a dedicated space in a first-come, first-served parking lot, can generate some grumbling. But absolutely nothing causes more upset and opposition than the idea of assistance animals – especially for “no pet” rental owners.

    Much of this attitude is based on hard experience in regard to the damage that animals can inflict on a rental property. In my experience, more than half of all residencies involving animals generate at least some animal-inflicted damage to the house or grounds. With pets, rental owners can charge higher deposits and higher rent to offset the financial risks. They can also restrict the size, breed, or types of pets, as well as the number of pets on the property. With assistance animals, rental owners lose a lot of control over those decisions. This seems unfair as they are the ones faced with the expense of repairs that may go beyond the amount of a traditional security deposit. Even though assistance animal owners are responsible for any damage caused by their animal, it can be frustrating to pursue them to repay damages, and difficult to collect.

    Also tenants seem to have become more aware of their rights in this regard, leading to a noticeable increase in those who report disabilities and are able to obtain a prescription or other care provider authorization. While we can all see the need for a blind resident to be allowed their seeing-eye dog, a diabetic their blood sugar-detection dog, or an epileptic their seizure-detection dog, the surge in “comfort” animals is creating bad feelings among landlords whose perception is that residents are blatantly abusing the system.

    As a rental owner, I completely understand the angst this generates, but guess what? I personally have two dogs and find great comfort in their presence. Numerous studies have shown that the presence of an animal in a residence leads to better mental health for their owners. Dog owners enjoy a markedly reduced risk that their home will be burglarized or that they will become the victim of a violent crime. Now if I were a person seeking a rental, could I make the case that without Stella and Bandit I would suffer? Probably. I certainly would feel more vulnerable to crime and miss their comforting presence. Does that mean I’m disabled and could not get by without them? Maybe. I don’t feel disabled, but I’m thankfully not in a position of having to choose either. I guess the point of telling you that is we often can’t see the invisible anxieties, disorders, fears, conditions, and past traumas of another person that necessitates an assistance animal, and under federal law meets the definition of a disability.

    What is a disability?

    “The term "disability" means, with respect to an individual a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.

     Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

    A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

    An individual meets the requirement of "being regarded as having such an impairment" if the individual establishes that he or she has been subjected to an action prohibited under this chapter because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity.

    The ADA does not apply to impairments that are transitory and minor. A transitory impairment is an impairment with an actual or expected duration of 6 months or less.

    The definition of disability shall be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted.

    An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability.

    An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.

    The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as medication, medical supplies, equipment, or appliances, low-vision devices (which do not include ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses), prosthetics including limbs and devices, hearing assistances and cochlear implants or other implantable hearing devices, mobility devices, or oxygen therapy equipment and supplies; use of assistive technology; reasonable accommodations or auxiliary assistances or services; or learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications.”

                                                                                                                      -ADA website

    Additionally, the term physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impediments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction, and alcoholism.  This definition doesn’t include any individual who is currently using illegal drugs or is a current user of alcohol who poses a direct threat to property or safety (24 CFR 100.201).

    Fair Housing law provides that rental owners shall, without regard to normal rules imposed on tenants, allow for an accommodation to relax those restrictions in order for a disabled individual to enjoy the rental unit the way a non-disabled person could. To the extent that a specific request is “reasonable” a rental owner must allow an exception to accommodate an individual’s disability. That includes allowing animals when they would otherwise be prohibited. Both rental owners and residents have misconceptions about what requirements are lawful to impose upon the owner of an assistance animal. I hope you find the following FAQ helpful in achieving a better understanding of your rights and responsibilities as a landlord:

    Is a resident required to ask for the accommodation for an assistance animal in advance?A reasonable accommodation request may be made at any time, including during the eviction process, and the failure to do so does not mean you have a right to automatically decline the request whenever it’s made.

    Am I obligated to inform residents of their right to an assistance animal if they have a disability?No, the request must be initiated by the resident or by another on the resident’s behalf, but rental owners are obligated to consider all reasonable accommodation requests from their residents.

    Does the request have to be in writing?No, a verbal request is also required to be honored.

    Is there any difference between a service animal, an aid animal, a companion animal, a comfort animal or an assistance animal?Not under the law. Any of the above terms may be used to describe an animal that meets the disability-related need of a resident.

    Can I restrict the size or breed of an assistance animal?No.

    Can residents have both pets and assistance animals?Yes, if your policies allow for pets.

    Does an assistance animal have to be specially trained?While many assistance animals are specially trained to assist their owners with physical disabilities, many assistance animals simply provide comfort and peace-of-mind to their owners, ameliorating the effects of mental, psychological, social, or anxiety disorders in the affected party. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common diagnosis for combat veterans, rape or assault survivors, or protected classes who have, historically, experienced discrimination. Often children with disabilities find great comfort and stability by relating to and caring for animals. The bottom line is, you are not qualified to determine whether or not someone needs this type of accommodation and should never try to be the final arbiter of whether an individual’s condition requires an assistance animal for purposes of considering a reasonable accommodation request. It is the care provider alone who determines whether or not someone meets the definition of a disabled person.

    Can I ask what the disability is?No. That is private information and you are not entitled to have it. At my company, however, we are seeing many doctors, nurses and social workers telling us what the condition is in direct violation of HIPAA privacy statutes, yikes! But that’s their liability, not ours.

    When I asked an applicant for a care provider authorization, they presented me with a card saying the animal was a service animal and told me it was illegal to require more. Is that true?No, there is often a misunderstanding among disabled people with service or assistance animals that they are allowed to bring an animal onto a rental property with only a service animal ID card they obtained legitimately or one they printed off the internet. While that is often all that is required for access to public stores and buildings under the ADA, it is not true for assistance animals in housing. You can require a care provider authorization in most cases, but remember, if a person’s disability is obvious, it is considered a violation to require that they verify their obvious disability.

    What kind of paperwork or verification can I require of a tenant with an assistance animal?You may require a verification from a qualified care provider who has direct knowledge of the disability (unless the disability is obvious, then you may not require the verification). You may require that the animal be vaccinated and licensed as required by law or ordinance. In most cases you may also request that the animal be spayed or neutered (more on that later), and proof of such provided to you. You may request a photograph of the animal. You may request that the tenant name a responsible party who agrees to take the animal and care for it should the tenant be unable to do so.

    What is the definition of a “care provider”?A care provider can include a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, a counselor or clergy person, a social worker, or a parent or other family member. Basically, any other individual who provides or has provided care to the disabled person, has direct knowledge of the applicant’s or tenant’s disability, and verifies that the animal is needed to allow the disabled resident to enjoy the unit the way a non-disabled resident could. If an applicant or resident provides a recent care provider verification, it is okay to contact the care provider for verification that they issued the verification, as long as you don’t use that as an excuse not to allow the animal to move in in a timely fashion. Also, it can be construed as improper to require them to re-verify their prescription in writing.

    What if the verification says the person would “benefit” from an animal?Well, I would benefit from a million dollars, but that doesn’t mean I’m disabled. It is required that the care provider verify that the person meets the definition of a disability and that they need the animal to meet their disability-related need. You could decline a request when the care provider has determined that the individual does not meet the definition, but be prepared for them to correct the deficiency in their verification, which then obligates you to reconsider the request.

    Can I require that the paperwork be completed prior to the animal taking up residency?That depends. You may not place unreasonable barriers in the way of someone seeking an accommodation, but if an applicant makes a request as opposed to an existing tenant, I usually request that they get their care provider authorization in prior to the animal taking residency. But I also work with people whose records are packed away or need time to get their dog licensed because they just moved to town.

    One of the more irritating things rental owners have been experiencing are last-minute notifications that an approved applicant makes (often at the time of move-in) that they have an assistance animal. But many tenants are rightfully wary to disclose this due to concern that a rental owner will find another way to deny their application, so they wait until the time of move in to disclose, or wait until they move in and you discover the animal. To try to prevent some of this, we have changed the ORHA application (ORHA form #1) to say: “If your service or companion animal requires a reasonable accommodation please inquire with Owner/Agent.” This can help avoid surprise requests, giving both parties enough time to take care of the paperwork prior to the animal taking up residency. If you have older applications you should get new ones.

    Can a rental owner have an assistance animal removed pending a care provider verification of the need for the animal?That is extremely risky and could be seen as placing a barrier in the way of a disabled person. Remember, the disabled individual is asserting that they need that animal to assist them with their disability. You don’t want to be guilty of creating a breakdown for the resident or otherwise causing them to fear discriminatory treatment, which could result in a claim against you even if you eventually approve the accommodation. It’s best to assume, until proven otherwise, that the request is legitimate.

    What if a guest brings an assistance animal onto the property, do I have to allow that?Likely, yes, but the visitor is also required to prove that the assistance animal is legit by completing the same paperwork as a resident.

    Can I charge a deposit or higher rent for an assistance animal?  No.

    Can I require that the assistance animal be spayed or neutered?That is disputed. Even among well-educated people within the Fair Housing agency itself, there is some disagreement on this matter. It is certainly okay to REQUEST that the animal be spayed or neutered, but be open to an explanation of why that may not be possible or advisable. For example, I have a tenant with a balance disorder who has a large specially trained purebred dog that walks beside her to provide stability and keep her from falling. She has a contract with the breeder that prevents her from spaying the dog until it is at least five years old, so I made an exception for that. Also, once an animal is beyond a certain age, it can be physically risky to subject them to that surgery, which could be another good reason to make an exception. Remember, you can’t place unreasonable barriers in the way of the person seeking accommodation.

    Can I require that the assistance animal be licensed and current on vaccinations?Yes, if applicable. Owners of assistance animals must still comply with all codes and laws regarding vaccination, registration and licensing of their assistance animal.

    How many animals can be allowed per person?That is not defined under the law. Each animal must qualify on its own in regard to the service it provides to the disabled person. And, no, assistance animals are not entitled to their own assistance animal!

    What types of animals are allowed to serve as assistance animals?Domestic animals are clearly allowed, but vermin can be excluded. Review each request on its own merits and make exceptions when reasonable to do so. For example, under current law you are not required to allow farm animals as assistance animals, but one of the more popular animals for visual assistance for the blind is a miniature horse. They are no larger than many dogs, can be house-trained, and live up to three times as long as a seeing-eye dog, making them a better long-term investment. Current rules don’t require that you consider allowing vermin species such as most rodents, snakes or even fish, but this area of law is always evolving and if you don’t want to end up as a test case, best to consider ALL requests and grant them when it is reasonable to do so. There was a recent case where a guinea pig was determined to be a valid assistance animal. Could I see a scenario wherein watching fish swim in their tank or have a boa constrictor squeeze your arm have a calming effect related to a resident’s disability? What do you think?

    What if I have a severe allergy to a specific type of animal?All requests must be reasonable. The definition of reasonable is open for debate, hence the opportunity for litigation, resulting in case law that provides clarity as to what is or is not allowed. I had a potential client once who had purchased her dream home and intended to live in it during retirement which was a few years away, but wanted to rent it out in the meantime. She had a life-threatening allergy to cats and asked me if she could exclude cats from residing at the property even if they were assistance animals. I discussed it with staff at the Fair Housing Council of Oregon, who agreed that it could be justification for declining assistance cats, but that the woman should be very sure she could prove it if a complaint were filed against her. I would go further and recommend that you obtain your own verification of disability from your care provider in advance, so that if this issue ever arises you will be prepared.

    What if the assistance animal damages the property or the resident won’t clean up after it?Assistance animals, just like pets, are not allowed to be destructive, dangerous, or disturb the covenant of quiet enjoyment. Residents are required to take proper care of the animal and clean up after it. Non-compliance fees may be charged and tenancies terminated for failure to clean up animal waste outside the dwelling unit. Residents must pay for any damage caused by their assistance animal and their tenancy may be terminated for failure to pay.

    What if an assistance animal disturbs the peaceful enjoyment of neighbors?After a good faith effort to allow the tenant to fix the problem, you would be justified in having the animal removed or ending the tenancy. I got a complaint from a resident in a four-plex that his neighbor had a dog and when she left it would bark continuously, interfering with his right to quiet enjoyment. She was also failing to clean up its waste. I served her a Pet Violation notice and she contacted me to let me know her daughter had brought her the dog and it was an assistance animal. I sent her our assistance animal paperwork, but told her that since this animal had already proven itself to be disturbing the peaceful enjoyment, she would either need to find a way to stop the incessant barking or find a different assistance animal. I also reminded her of the obligation to clean up after the dog and that any further instances would result in the possible assessment of non-compliance fees, leading to either the removal of the dog or a termination of her tenancy. She removed the dog, but of course we remained open to her obtaining another assistance animal. If she had kept the dog, but continued to allow it to disturb the neighbor’s right to quiet enjoyment or failed to clean up after it, I would have served a Notice of Termination with Cause (ORHA form #38) for the violation(s), resulting in either a cure of the notice or termination of the tenancy.

    What steps should I take if I see an unauthorized animal in my unit?I start by serving a 10-day Pet Violation Notice (ORHA form #6), requiring the tenant to remove the animal or their tenancy will terminate after 10 days. I also send along a Warning Notice (ORHA form #35) letting them know that if the animal is not removed within 48 hours, they will be assessed a $250 noncompliance fee, with additional fees being charged for every 48 hours the unauthorized pet remains on the property. That usually gets a response. About half the time the resident asserts that the animal is an assistance for a disability.

    When that happens, take at face value that it really is an assistance animal until proven otherwise, then provide the necessary paperwork (Reasonable Accommodation Request and Verification – ORHA form #53). Follow up with the resident to make sure that their verification is valid and the animal is spayed or neutered (unless you have made an exception), current on vaccinations, and licensed if required by law. Once the verification is complete, the tenant fills out and signs the Assistance Animal Agreement (ORHA form #46), recording the pertinent information about the animal as well as a Responsible Party Certification. The form also reminds the resident about the rules for their assistance animal and the consequences of violating those rules. Get a photograph of the animal for your records and keep it with the tenant’s file.

     

    Sometimes providing verification of things like spay/neuter records, vaccinations or licensing can take time to accomplish, especially if all the requirements haven’t been met and the resident doesn’t have the funds. There’s no set timeframe within which the resident must fully comply, and there are conflicting thoughts on what is reasonable in regards to compliance, so err on the side of caution. If you terminate a tenancy based on a resident’s failure to provide assistance animal documentation, make sure you are not placing barriers in their way. For example, requiring that everything be completed in two weeks may not be a problem for one resident, but could be a burden to another on a fixed income with no transportation. Sometimes it can take time to get a vet appointment, or come up with the money for licensing.

    What is the risk to me for denying an assistance animal?The potential consequences are expensive. The Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) is the enforcement arm of Fair Housing in our state. The system is complaint-driven. What happens after a complaint is filed depends on the nature of the complaint, but testing is often the first step in determining whether or not discrimination has occurred. In one prominent local case a few years back, a rental owner who was advertising their “no-pet” rental was contacted by a prospective applicant who told the owner he had an assistance animal. The owner responded by saying, “We don’t take pets.” The individual filed a complaint with the Fair Housing Council of Oregon, who tested the rental owner several more times. He failed and was fined $16,000 by BOLI for discriminating against the disabled. Discrimination penalties are often much, much higher, going into the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars for large cases where a pattern of continuing discrimination is identified.

    So, what have we learned?

    This is how things are. You may not like it, but you have to follow the law or risk very painful consequences. Can’t bear it? Then go into a different business. Never try to dissuade someone from making a request for an assistance animal. If you get a call on your no-pet rental and are asked whether it’s okay to have an assistance animal, just repeat the following: “I do not discriminate based on any protected class, and I will consider a reasonable accommodation request for an assistance animal at any of my properties. Would you like an application?” Evaluate each request in relation to the reasonableness of the request and the verification provided, and do not make any decision before you have all of the information.

    Despite the risks, rental owners are obligated to follow fair housing law, so my best (non-legal) advice to you: Deal fairly. Inspect regularly. Enforce consistently.

    This column offers general suggestions only and is no substitute for professional legal assistance. Please consult an attorney for advice related to your specific situation.

    About the writers of this article:

    Tia Politi, Lane ROA President, with assistance from

    Victoria Smithweiland, Operations Director for Womenspace


  • March 26, 2019 10:51 AM | Anonymous

    PROPERTY TAX HIKE, HB 3349, VOTED OUT OF COMMITTEE

    Tuesday March 26, 2019 1 

    By Taxpayer Association of Oregon

    OregonWatchdog.com

    On Monday March 26th, the House Human Services & Housing Committee voted HB 3349 which is a $150 million tax on Oregon property owners out of Committee and to the Revenue Committee. HB 3349 removes home mortgage interest deductions based on income levels and also removes the deduction for all secondary homes.

    Here is our statement on the bill:

    No on HB 3349 on $150 million property tax:

    It is unconstitutional, creates poverty & increases rent

    1. Illegal property taxes increase

    HB 3349 raises $150 million in new property taxes while bypassing the 60% vote rule for all taxes. This is unconstitutional and against the will of voters.

    2. Hitting people at a very vulnerable financial weak point

    HB 3349 raises taxes by eliminating and reducing the home mortgage interest deduction for certain higher income earners for both their home and/or second homes. People have made the biggest financial decision of their lives based around the historic home mortgage interest deduction. HB 3349 will soak homeowners with higher taxes. Homeowners have built their jobs, income streams and their retirement plans based on how it aligns with this longstanding promise of this deduction.

    3. Raising taxes on people who are already over-taxed.

    Oregon homeowners already pay higher property taxes than the average state. They also pay higher state taxes overall (gas, income, business…) than the average state. Raising taxes on people who already paying more creates more poverty and less economic mobility.

    4. Makes the homeless and housing crisis worse.

    Oregon’s affordability housing crisis is a result of (1) Oregon’s unique urban growth boundary as a regulatory chokehold that artificially inflates home prices (2) Higher than average property taxes and (3) high home development charges and housing regulations not found in other states. Increasing property taxes on an already over-inflated system will make the housing crisis worse — not better.

    5. Increases rent.

    Raising taxes by thousands of dollars on homeowners who rent within their existing home or their second home is guaranteed to increase rents.

    6. The first step to raising taxes on all homeowners.

    HB 3349 is the first step to destroying the home mortgage interest entirely and on all income levels, which has been proposed before. Raising taxes on over-taxed people is never a lasting solution to anything but rather perpetuating and feeding the problem of out-of-control spending and fiscal mismanagement which makes the problems worse and more difficult to solve.

    — Call your lawmaker toll-free to oppose this measure. 1-800-332-2313 or write 900 Court St. NE, Salem Oregon 97301

    Story link on Facebook


    https://oregoncatalyst.com/43907-property-tax-hike-hb-3349-voted-committee.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook
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