The Fair Tenant Screening Act

The Fair Tenant Screening Act prohibits landlords from charging an applicant for screening without first posting or notifying the applicant in writing of the criteria that will be used to screen applicants?  This must include:

  • What type of information will be accessed to conduct the tenant screening;

  • What criteria may result in denial of the application; and

  • If a consumer report is used, the name and address of the screening company and the applicant’s right to get a free copy of the report in the event of denial or other adverse action and to dispute the accuracy of information in the report.

Landlords must get a signature from the applicant showing that they have seen the criteria that will be used to determine the outcome of the application.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

 There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters
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2017 SURVEY OF RENTERS

The results of a recently released 2017 survey* of renters reveals tenant priorities.  In this survey, 35% of tenants were in single family rental homes, the rest in multi-family.  32% of tenants had dogs, 30% had cats and 10% had other pets.  The top amenities that renters said are worth paying more for are:

  • Pets allowed

  • Neighborhood

  • Covered parking or garage

  • Walking distance to amenities

  • Laundry facilities

When deciding which rental to choose, the top feature was location, closely followed by price.  The number one reason for leaving was life changes (marriage, job change, etc.).  Number two was rent increases and number three was purchasing a home.

We are here to help with all aspects of the rental market.  Contact us for more information.

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

*Source: Buildium

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CAP-RATES & INVESTING

Investor clients often want to know the capitalization (cap) rate of a potential property. Cap rate is net operating income (NOI) divided by the sales price or value of the property.  NOI is gross annual income minus operating expenses, but not including income taxes and mortgage.

Cap rate = NOI/current market value.

A five-unit apartment building with gross monthly rents of $3,750 would have a maximum gross annual rent of $45,000 ($3,750 x 12 = $45,000). If the total annual expenses were $25,200, the NOI would be $19,800 ($45,000 – $25,200). If the sales value of the property was $450,000 the cap rate would be 4.4% ($19,800/$450,000).

This link will take you to a free online cap rate calculator. (Calculator is for informational purposes only and has not been verified for accuracy)

The cap rate is a more useful tool in multiplexes and commercial real estate than with single-family homes or small apartment buildings. Although small apartment buildings will often use cap rate in advertising media.  The average operating expenses will be more consistent when there are multiple rental units rather than only a few.  And, of course, most investors will want to know what their return will be after the mortgage is paid.

We are here to help with all aspects of the rental market. Both residential and commercial.

Contact us for more information.

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

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WHO THE HECK IS MRS. MURPHY?

The “Mrs. Murphy” exemption to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) doesn’t apply if a real estate professional is involved in the transaction.  The “Mrs. Murphy” exemption is that if a dwelling has four or fewer rental units and the owner lives in one of them, the home is exempt from the FHA. “Mrs. Murphy” is a hypothetical elderly widow who has converted a portion of her home into a rental apartment to supplement her limited income.  The exemption does not apply to advertising or to discrimination on the of race.  Other state regulations regarding discrimination and tenant screening regulations still apply.  So, even if it’s possible there is an exemption, best bet is to avoid even the appearance of discrimination in all cases.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.
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Tenant Marijuana Use

Despite changes in Washington State law, landlords can still prevent or restrict tenant marijuana use on a rental property.  Much like smoking cigarettes, landlords can prohibit legal activities.  As for medical marijuana usage, tenants are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act because marijuana growing and possession are still considered a crime under federal law.  However, a landlord who wants to evict a tenant solely because of marijuana usage may find it difficult to do so since it is legal under state law.  Landlords who wish to ban the production and   usage of marijuana should consider a clause in the lease that bans smoking indoors and stipulates that the production and distribution of drugs, in violation of state or federal laws, is a violation of the lease.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.
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LOVE YOUR COUNTRY – HAPPY 4TH

happy 4th from cbbain pm

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SERVICE CALL?

Vector wrench and screwdriver XXL iconThe Washington Landlord/Tenant Act specifies the length of time an owner or property manager has to respond to a problem.  The time to commence repairs will vary, depending on the nature of the defective condition.  Once begun, the repair must be completed, “as soon as possible.”

Per RCW 59.17.080, remedial action must commence, after receiving notice:

(1) Not more than twenty-four hours, where the defective condition deprives the tenant of hot or cold water, heat, or electricity, or is imminently hazardous to life;

(2) Not more than seventy-two hours, where the defective condition deprives the tenant of the use of a refrigerator, range and oven, or a major plumbing fixture supplied by the landlord; and

(3) Not more than ten days in all other cases.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.
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BUILD THEM – THEY WILL COME!

The Dupre and Scott’s March survey of 20+ unit apartments reports that almost 9,500 new apartments were opened in 2016. 12,700 are expected this year in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties and 62,000 more are planned between 2017 and 2020.

The survey shows that that new construction apartments typically get a rent premium of more than 40%.  Rent increases have averaged 3.3% annually since 1998, but in the last six months, Kitsap County had over a 4% on average increase.  The Eastside had the lowest at .75%.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.
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Squatters in Washington State

The Washington State legislature has passed a law to help property owners remove squatters. A new law passed in May 2017, which goes into effect 90 days after passage, allows property owners to have squatters removed by law enforcement without having to go through the eviction procedure. The new process will allow an owner to file a declaration that a trespasser – not a tenant – is in possession of the property.  Law enforcement will then be able to remove the person immediately rather than going through the previously required eviction process.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

 

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WHO’s RIGHT – WHO’s WRONG???

The majority of landlord-tenant disputes are arguments over the landlord withholding part or all of the tenant’s damage/security deposit.  Typically, disagreements arise when landlords and tenants disagree about whether the tenant is responsible for repairs or cleaning and/or whether tenants believe the charges are unreasonable.

Unresolved disputes may result in a trip to small claims court.  Judges will want to see a lease with clauses that support the charges against the tenant’s deposit.  A complete move in/move out inspection report showing both the condition when the tenant took possession and at move out will be critical.  Copies of invoices documenting charges will be needed.  Judges will also check to see that the landlord complied with all aspects of the Residential Landlord Tenant Act, including mailing a “full and specific” deposit accounting within 21 days of the tenant vacating the property.  Judges tend to put the burden of proof on landlords so document everything!

 We are here to help you and your clients with all aspect of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

 There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.
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