COVID-19 & RENT PAYMENTS

Due to layoffs related to the coronavirus outbreak, almost one third of all residential tenants did not pay rent during the first week of April!  The National Multifamily Housing Council says 31% of renters didn’t make their payment in the first week of April.  However, a NAR flash survey reported that one-third of residential property managers cited having no issues with their tenants paying their rent, compared to more than half of individual landlords. The expectation is that next month could be even worse if renters don’t get government assistance in time to pay May rent.

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

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 not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER!

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THE NEW NORMAL – THE VIRUS

Despite social distancing, we are still here to help you. We’re all in this together!  Stay healthy.

Follow all CDC guidelines including, but not limited to the following:

  • Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds! Many times during the day!
  • DON’T touch your face!
  • Stay at home!
  • If you must go out, Practice social distancing, JUST DO IT!!!!
  • If you feel sick, CALL your doctor!

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

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 not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing. IN addition, follow all CDC guidelines and the laws of your state. When in doubt, contact your doctor!

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EVICTIONS AND THE VIRUS

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, evictions are currently banned state wide. Besides Seattle banning evictions for 60 days, the King County Sheriff’s office has suspended service of eviction orders until further notice in order to protect their officers and redirect resources.

At the state level, on March 18, 2020, Governor Inslee announced a 30-day ban on residential evictions across the State of Washington.

Finally, President Trump placed a freeze on evictions in HUD rentals until the end of April.

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

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 not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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CORONAVIRUS AND RENTAL PROPERTIES

There are many new issues for rental properties when it comes to the coronavirus.  Per the Landlord Tenant Act, tenants have the “reasonable” right to say no to a proposed appointment to view the property, either for an inspection or to show the property to a potential buyer or tenant.  Whether it is reasonable for a tenant to say they don’t want the property entered because they are worried about exposure to the COVID 19 virus is an unknown.  Whatever restrictions are imposed, whether limiting showings or requiring visitors to use a sanitizer before entry, apply them to everyone.

Per THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTOR’S advisory, “you can ask about travel and signs of respiratory illness and refuse to drive consumers who may be at high risk for coronavirus due to travel or symptoms of respiratory illness,” but you must do this indiscriminately. Follow this link for details. https://www.nwrealtor.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Coronavirus-Guidance-for-REALTORS-03-05-20.pdf

Landlords need to understand that they may be assuming potential liability if they require access and a tenant becomes ill with the coronavirus, even if the source of the illness is unknown.

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

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 not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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BED BUGS

Bed bugs are becoming an increasing problem in rentals.  Under state law landlords are obligated to manage infestations in rental units, except in single family residences or when the infestation is caused by the tenant.  In order to hold the tenants responsible, the owner would have to be able to demonstrate that the infestation was caused by the tenant, which can be difficult to do.  Also, it may not be in the owner’s best interests to have the tenants attempt to exterminate pests that cause property damage.

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

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 not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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RENTING IN SEATTLE?

Half of Seattle residents lived in rentals in 2018. Seattle had its highest percentage of home ownership in the 1960s when two thirds of all residents lived in owner-occupied residences.  Per census data, since then the percentage of renters has been steadily increasing.  Between 2013 and 2018, the number of renters increased by 16%.  This is largely because 75% of new residents are adults under 40, many of whom aren’t able to purchase and/or are not interested in owning.

In some neighborhoods of Seattle, the percentage of renters is as much as 93.2%.  See interactive map, showing percentages by neighborhood throughout King County*.

The city with the highest percentage of renters last year was Miami, at 67%, followed by New York City (64%) and Boston (63%). The lowest percentage was in Virginia Beach (33%).

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

*https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/the-rise-of-the-renter-for-the-first-time-in-decades-seattle-has-as-many-renters-as-homeowners/

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 not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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ASSISTANCE ANIMALS (back in the news)

HUD has issued guidance regarding assistance animals in rental properties*  Highlights of the guidance includes the definition of a service animal as a DOG that is trained to do work or perform tasks for someone with a disability.  An assistance animal, including an emotional support animal, is a domesticated animal that is traditionally kept in the home for pleasure.

HUD also addressed certificates that can be purchased online, “In HUD’s experience, such documentation from the internet is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal.”  However, HUD also noted that there are, “legitimate, licensed health care professionals” who “deliver services remotely, including over the internet.”

In order to verify that a request for a reasonable accommodation regarding an assistance animal is legitimate HUD suggests a best practice is documentation which includes: (a) the patient’s name; (b) the nature of the professional relationship with the person seeking the accommodation; and (c) the type of animal for which the reasonable accommodation is sought.

The entire notice is 19 pages long:

*https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PA/documents/HUDAsstAnimalNC1-28-2020.pdf

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

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 not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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365 DAYS A YEAR!

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SHORT TERM RENTALS? BEWARE!

Clients considering purchasing an investment property to be used as a short-term or vacation style rental need to be aware of laws that don’t apply to long-term rentals?  Short-term rentals are defined as those rented for less than 30 consecutive days.  These rules vary by state, county and city. 

  • State law requires the landlord to post information in all short-term rentals, which shall include a floor plan with emergency exits indicated and maximum occupancy limits.  Short-term rentals must register with the state Department of Revenue, pay retail sales tax plus applicable local lodging taxes.
  • In Pierce County, the owner or representative shall provide notification of the presence of the vacation rental to all adjacent neighboring property owners; file a “Vacation Rental Affidavit” and supply a “Good Neighbor” brochure to all guests.
  • In Snohomish County, when the entire dwelling unit is rented, a maximum of five people who are travelling together as a group are allowed. 
  • In Seattle, the Convention and Trade Center tax on short-term rentals is 7%; elsewhere in King County, it is 2.8%.  Seattle short-term rentals also owe a $14 nightly tax.
  • Brier and Woodway have recently banned short-term rentals.  Other jurisdictions with rules are about short-term rentals include Clyde Hill, Kirkland and Tacoma.

This is not an exhaustive list.  An increasing number of communities are moving to regulate the industry and to increase tax revenue.

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

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 not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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