Newsletter September 2013

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE September 25, 2013


Ron Senecal - Vermont Rental Property Owners Association

Hello Everyone:

The September meeting was held and we had 5 people attending and I want to thank those who did attend.

The guest speakers were Emily Marchinkowski and Rebecca Ryan and they discussed going smoke free. They did a great job but the recorder screwed up and didn’t record the meeting so we had to put it together from the handouts and notes.

The next meeting will be October 2, 2013 and the quest speaker will be Michel J Messier from Jackson Hewitt who will be talking about taxes.

THE MEETING ATTENDANCE HAS BEEN VERY LOW AND THE BOARD IS CONSIDERING LOWERING THE NUMBER OF GENERAL MEETINGS WE HAVE EACH YEAR. PLEASE SEND ANY INPUT TO LOWERING THE NUMBER OF MONTHLY MEETINGS TO RONALD SENECAL FOR THE BOARDS DISCUSSION.

I just want to remind members that the VFW bar is open and we usually go for a little refreshment before we go home.

Due to a tape malfunction we’re going have to rely on the handouts that were provided. The guest speakers were Emily K Marchinkowski of the Rutland Area Prevention Coalition and Rebecca L Ryan of the American Lung Association in Vermont.

Rebecca L Ryan:

There is NO risk free level of exposure for secondhand smoke(SHS). SHS is both what the smoker exhales and what comes off the end of the cigarette, cigar, joint, etc. There are more than 7,000 different compounds and chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic, and at least 69 that cause cancer.

Who is hurt by SHS? Everybody: If you smell it, you breathe it. Some groups are at increased risk of health effects of SHS: Children, Pregnant women, and people with health problems, especially heart and lung disease.

For SHS and adults there is:

- Increased risk of heart attack, even if brief exposure.
– Increased risk of lung cancer.
– More severe asthma.
– Slight increased risk of breast or cervical cancer.

For SHS and children there is:

- Higher risk of learning disabilities.
– Low birth weight babies.
– Increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infants Death Syndrome).
– More severe asthma.
– Respiratory & ear infections.

For SHS and pets:

- Lung and Nasal cancer in dogs.
– Malignant lymphoma in cats.
– Chewing cigarette butts can cause serious respiratory reactions in dogs.

For SHS and apartments:

- Smoke doesn’t stay in the apartment of the smoker.
– Smoke moves through outlets, microscopic cracks in walls & floors, shared ventilation systems in and out of opened window and doors, and can even seep through closed windows.
– Smoking is one of the if not the primary causes of house fires

What is the solution?

“The only way to effectively eliminate health risks associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity.”

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers

Why adopt smoke free?

- It’s legal to do so.
– It’s economical.
– The transition isn’t that difficult
– Enforcement isn’t that difficult.

Smoke Free Policies are legal as there is no right to smoke.

Is there a market for smoke free housing?
– 80% of Vermonters don’t smoke.
– Over 90% over 65 don’t smoke.
– Many smokers don’t want smoke in their homes.

Smoking adds costs:

- In a survey from housing authorities and subsidized housing facilities in New England, the monetary impact for general cleaning, painting, and maintenance the turnover cost for a non-smoker’s apartment was $560.00, for a light smoking apartment it was $1,810.00 and for an apartment with a heavy smoker it was $3515.00.

- Many property casualty insurance companies offer discounts for smoke free housing. Call them as policies and discounts differ among carriers.

Transition to Smoke Free Housing

- To implement a policy where smoking is currently permitted:

- Establish a date to begin the policy.
– Decide about grandfathering.
– Add a smoke free clause to house rules.
– Make smoke free policy a part of the tenant’s lease.

Regarding enforcement:

- Provide adequate signage to remind both tenants and their guests of the policy.
– Offer tenants information or access to cessation/treatment programs available. (i.e. www.vtquitnetwork.org).
– For properties with high smoking rates, and land, create outdoor designated smoking areas.

Remember … It’s about the smoke NOT the smoker!

Smoking and Fire safety scope of the problem:

- Smokers are seven times more likely to have a fire than a non-smoker.
– Smoking fires accounted for 365 deaths and 925 injuries.
– There were 2010 smokers responsible for a total of 90800 residential fires.
– Smoking related fires don’t just kill smokers.
– Around 25% of the 365 fatalities were non-smokers.
– More than half of that 25% were other family members.
– Smoking related fires account for $326 million dollars in property loss.
– While smoking related fire accounted for only 2% of all residential structure fires they were responsible for 14% of the residential fire fatalities.

Some solutions:

- Continue the educational efforts on fire safety for people who choose to smoke.
– Keep trying to quit.
– Smoke outside and away from the residence.
– Don’t smoke when tired or impaired.
– Used high sided, metal ash trays.
– Wet the cigarette butt to ensure that it is out.
– Ensure that all residential dwellings have WORKING smoke alarms.
– It’s best that these are interconnected throughout the dwelling.
– This includes smoke alarms in each bedroom. – many smoking related fires start in bedrooms.

For more information contact:

Rebecca L Ryan
Director, Health Promotion and Public Policy
American Lung Association
rryan@lungne.org
(802) 876-6862
www.smokefreehousingvt.org

Emily K Marchinkowski, BA, CPS
Rutland Community Programs, Inc
Rutland Area Prevention Coalition
78 South Main St
Rutland VT 05701
emarchinkowski@rmhsccn.org
www.rapvt.org

Meeting adjourned.

I can’t stress enough the importance of getting your EMPs done. I’m hearing stories and getting phone calls from members who have been contacted by the attorney general’s office about not filing their EMPs and the fines that can be imposed by his office.

The board has done everything it can think of to keep members interested and aware of the changes in the laws to landlords but this all comes with a price tag so please pay your membership dues promptly. Please tell your fellow landlords that are not members that they are missing the boat by not keeping up with the changes in the laws.

If you know anyone who rents property you might want to ask him or her to be part of VRPOA as it will make the organization stronger and help him or her with any problems that can occur from being a landlord. Again I repeat do your EMPs, as there are now fines that can be imposed.

The list of available apartments will no longer be offered by VRPOA. We have not had landlords remove outdated listings and have had no new listings.

In regard to tenant fuel forms, we are not responsible for tenant fuel forms and it is the landlord’s responsibility to get the forms to VRPOA not the tenants. So please don’t send tenants in with fuel forms. We will not communicate with tenants.

If you are enrolled in the 2013-2014 VRPOA fuel program, then there will be a lower case “r” at the bottom right hand corner of the address label for your VRPOA newsletter. In the event that you signed up for this year’s program and there is not a lower case “r” in the mailing label area, then notify Patrick Riordan @ (802) 775-3660 or pmrofvrpoa@aol.com as soon as you can.

I have been continually asked to copies. I will make copies for any of the landlords and the rates are $.25 for one to ten copies, $.10 for ten copies and over. Two sided documents are considered two copies and legal size copies are $.25 for each page.

Ron Senecal

NEXT GENERAL MEETING


Date: October 2, 2013
Time: 7:00 P.M. (Doors open at 6:45)
Where: V.F.W. 15 Wales Street Rutland, VT (main room)
Program: The next meeting will be Wednesday October 2, 2013 and the guest speaker will be Michel J Messier from Jackson Hewitt who will be talking about taxes

EMP


The State of Vermont is no longer going to be giving EMP (Essential Maintenance Practices) courses but you are still required to have them in conjunction with EPA certificates. Therefore, VRPOA in conjunction with Carl Anderson will start giving them. We need a minimum of 20 people and the cost will be $50.00. If you need an EMP class contact Ron Senecal at 773-9707 and get on the list.

The phone number for enrollment is 802-728-4015. The new law is in effect and it is EPA rule CRF 745 and it applies to Renovation of Residential Homes, Apartments, Child Care Facilities and schools built before 1978. This requires an 8-hour course and has a cost of $195.00.

At this time we have no Instructor for EMPs so they will be put on hold until we do.

BUILDING CODES


Ron Senecal, Patrick Riordan

All landlords that haven’t done their EMPs had better get on board as they will be checking all aspects of the Lead law. MAKE SURE YOU SEND IN YOUR EMPs. The attorney general has mailed 18 letters to those people who are not following through on the EMPs and there will be fines imposed. They are not getting the names from the lead department because you took the EMP class; they are getting them from income tax filings. ANYONE WHO IS PAINTING COMMERCIAL PROPERTY, SUCH AS AN APARTMENT HOUSE, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ARE FOLLOWING THE EMP GUIDELINES.

TREASURER’S REPORT


Patrick Riordan

VRPOA has recently discovered that a local entity has been offering the EPA required lead course. They gave a class recently. So it will be awhile before another one is offered.

The association has placed all of its forms on a DVD. It is available to our members for $25.00. Contact Ron at 802-773-9707 to order a copy. If we must mail it to you, there will be a $5.00 postage & handling fee.

There are nine changed pages in the self-help eviction kit. These pages will be in a future VRPOA newsletter. It is very important that these approved documents are used or the filing will be rejected. The superior court clerks are not allowed to give legal advice so they cannot help you with your case. If you’re filing a pro se eviction case before the forms are in our newsletter, contact VRPOA for the updated pages.

There have been a few bills introduced by area legislators regarding housing: H-036 proposes that rental assistance be paid directly to a landlord if an individual receiving assistance is one month or more behind in rental payments; H-079 aims to impose criminal penalties on landlords who knowingly allow the selling of illegal drugs on their property; H-103 would permit criminal trespass procedures to be brought against any person who uses or sells drugs on abandoned property; and H-092 deals with allowing municipalities to enact regulations regarding rental housing, uninhabitable residences, and panhandling. The status of these bills can be followed by going to the website www.leg.state.vt.us/ and looking under Legislative Research.

The legislature recently adjourned for the year. It will be January 2014 at the earliest that we’ll have anything to report about these bills.

CLOSING THE COMMUNICATION GAP


Board of Directors Meeting – If any member would like to attend or has any questions that Pat or Ron can’t resolve, please make an appointment to talk to the board. The board of directors strongly suggests that all VRPOA members use credit checks on any potential tenants. Credit checks are the single best screening tool available for any landlord. In addition to the screening, it is recommended that all landlords update their tenant’s credit information. This will  provide a credit trail for the future. No tenant wants it known that he is a bad credit risk. The board of directors is continually looking for guest speakers for the monthly meetings. If you have a topic or know someone who would like to be a guest speaker, please let us know.

VRPOA


E-mail attached documents should be formatted as text (.txt), WordPerfect (.wpd), or Word (.doc) documents to:

Website: www.vrpoa.org
Ron Senecal ronofvt@gmail.com
Patrick Riordan PMRofVRPOA@aol.com

A general meeting in the past was cancelled due to the inclement weather. We try to make the decision whether to hold the meeting or not as soon as we can due to severe weather. If you’re not sure whether the meeting is going to be held go to the website www.catamountradio.com and click on School Closings and Cancellations which is located under the Main Menu to the left of the screen. When that information comes up on the screen, scroll down to the heading Business Closings & Cancellations to see if our meeting has been cancelled. We’ll try to make the decision whether to hold the meeting or not as soon as we can.

BUY .. SELL .. TRADE ..


Members only are asked to fill out the enclosed “CLASSIFIED AD” slip and mail it to VRPOA or drop it off in the “Classified Ads” box at the general meeting. Your ad will run for one month only. You must resubmit it in writing again to have it printed in the next newsletter.

House – Seeking house with property and workshop space. Buy/Rent. Call Nick Santoro – (802) 786-8099

SELL


Magic Chef - 30 in. propane range/stove from 1990s. Electronic ignition, sealed burners, self-cleaning oven. Black glass oven door and backsplash, white sides and top with wood grain accents. Good condition, clean. $200.00 firm. (802) 235-2376.

Empire Propane - direct vent wall furnace with blower, model #DV-215-7-SG. Approx. 30 inches high, 15,000 btu/hr. Heats approx. 400 s.f. room. With installation and owner’s guide. Good condition $100.00 (802) 235-2376.
Four nice units – Rutland/Pittsford border. 2+ acres off Route 7. Three 2BR and one 1BR. Very little work, nice cash flow. I moved to California – make me an offer. (760) 505-2632

Investment Property - Windsor VT. New kitchen appliances, electrical, windows, boiler, w/d hookups. State of VT certified. Zero maintenance. Selling well below market value due to move from area. Proven rental income. Second floor tenant in place. First floor ready for owner occupancy or rental. $129,000. Seller to pay closing costs. 508-939-0684.

Storage Shed – 3’ x 9 x 5’ w/ gable roof – $25.00. Call 802-775-3660.

Hand Auger – New and still in the box. South Bend Rod and Reel. Everything you will need to ice fish. Call Tony Cantone – (802) 773-3014.

2000 Coachman Starflyte Motor Home – Excellent condition. 34,000 miles. 22ft, sleeps 4. Self-contained. loaded, customer storage cover with versa haul carrier and mesquito scooter (excellent shape). $22,500 (802) 773-4412

Frigidaire – White gas stove, $200.00.
Kenmore – Black Dishwasher, $50.00.
G.E. – White Refrigerator with icemaker, $250.00. Take all three appliances for $450.00. Call (802) 483-2566 or (802) 353-7292.

2 Houses in Pittsfield – 2 houses and 13 acres, $390,000. Lots of possibilities. Great rental history. (802) 234-4057.

Used GE Dryers – Reconditioned $65.00 and up. Wes Richards 483-6226.

10 BRICKS RENTAL 101


Encourage any tenant to learn the fundamentals of being a great tenant by having him or her attend a course called 10 Bricks RENTAL 101. Among the topics discussed are creating a realistic budget and understanding your lease. Materials are provided free of charge. Certificates of completion will be awarded to all successful graduates. There will be classes held every Monday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Rutland County Housing Coalition, 46 Evelyn St – second floor, Rutland Vermont.

All landlords are welcome to attend the Continuum of Care meetings held every third Thursday of the month in the conference room at the Rutland Police Station. The main purpose of the meeting is to keep all interested parties abreast of the status of the housing in the Rutland area.

There is a rebate form available for landlords from Efficiency Vermont, which is available on their web site: www.efficiencyvermont.com.

If any paid up member wishes to examine the association’s books they are welcome to do so. Contact Patrick Riordan at (802) 775-3660 for more information.

If any of our members have tenants who fall behind on their rent, please contact Economic Services at (800) 479-6151 and ask to speak to their caseworker. If they do not have a caseworker, encourage the tenants to contact Economic Services, as they may be eligible for some rental assistance.

If the tenants are not involved with Economic Services they should be encouraged to contact the Rutland County Housing Coalition at (802) 775-9286 or BROC at (802) 775-0878 as both agencies can help eligible tenants with short-term rental assistance.

Whenever a member changes telephone numbers, please remember to alert VRPOA of the switch. If we are not notified, it creates a tremendous inconvenience for us if we need to contact you.

If you’re planning to be away for any substantial amount of time, please either change your mailing address or notify us so that we don’t send newsletters to “dead” addresses. The Post Office simply destroys the newsletter and then charges us $.50 for notifying us of what they did.

CREDIT REPORTS


The charge per report is $16.00 per person and the application has to be filled out properly. In regard to credit reports, the criteria for running one, is that the application has to be filled out completely and legibly. The form at the bottom of the page has to be signed by both the tenant and landlord. The new forms for getting credit reports are very lengthy and have to be filled out or I can’t run credit reports for you.

On another note, if we are faxing you a credit report make sure you have a dedicated fax-line and long distance is $1.00 extra per report.

The hours to draw credit reports are from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM Monday through Friday.

We receive many requests for additional forms. All the forms that members require are in the newsletter or the new member packet. The association is not responsible for forms that are lost, misplaced or used up. As long as you are a member in good standing, you are free to make as many copies of our forms as you wish for your own use. Members may NOT give copies of our forms to non-members. When seeking replacement forms you will be charged for them.

Each member’s expiration date is listed in the lower right hand corner on the mailing label in the format of mm/yy. It would save VRPOA time and money if our members would send in their dues before they become due.

A few notes about the fuel program:

If you have any points to make about the fuel program please take one of the following steps:

A. Call either Ron (802-773-9707) or Pat (802-775-3660) with your remarks.
B. Write a letter to the board of directors with your concerns.
C. Appear in person at a board of directors meeting. (Call Ron or Pat to be scheduled)

Do not make any comments about the fuel program immediately before the general meeting, at the general meeting or immediately after the general meeting.

The landlords are responsible for their tenants in the fuel program. VRPOA will not supply them with forms nor will we answer their questions. If the landlord cannot answer the tenant’s question then the landlord must contact VRPOA.

There have been a few problems with the tenant’s form for the fuel program. There should only be ONE name on the tenant name line and that name should be PRINTED LEGIBLY. The tenant location lines are for the physical location of the building NOT the mailing address. E.g. Cold River Road goes through at least three different towns. A building’s town of location may be different from its postal address.

We can no longer guarantee a quick entry into the fuel program. In the past it had been our policy to have the names to the dealer within a week. However, this is no longer practical.

A VRPOA board member has been attending the regular meetings of the Housing Now group, which consists of representatives of various local and state agencies involved with housing for at risk tenants. If you have any issues regarding tenants/housing feel free to get in touch with Pat (802-775-3660).

SERVICES:


BLUE RIDGE REAL ESTATE – Members of VRPOA may utilize our website FREE for apartment or house rentals. Email information, terms, contact information and photos (optional) to LindaDuke@comcast.net

CARMOTE PAINT STORE– Paint and brushes for sale. We sell Miele vacuums and accessories. Also do vacuum repairs on all makes and models. Call (802) 483-6141.

COUNTERACT –Electronic Rust Protection for your vehicles. The only proven electronic process for controlling corrosion in open air. For more information visit our web-site at: www.counter-act.com or call us (802) 352-4700. 20% discount (self-install orders).

CRITERIUM LALANCETTE ENGINEERS Offers $50.00 off any home inspection for a VRPOA member. (802) 747-4535.

REAL ESTATE

Susan Bishop at Lang, McLaughry & Spera (802) 774-7007 ext. 33or (802) 558-2180. Professional and personal service.

ROOFS- R- US – (802) 459-0085. Call for all your roofing needs. We also have a 1-ton dump truck with plow and sander for hire. Call Rick.

SKIP TODRIFF – 802-747-8877. Tree work, painting, apartment cleaning and renovating. Carpet and vinyl installation also available.

TOOLCRAFT and Green Mountain Rental give a 10% discount on rentals only for showing your membership card.

BUSINESS SERVICES


All members wishing to offer their services or products to the membership at a special discount rate may do so through the newsletter. (*) Denotes a new or changed notice. Note: Please limit your ad to 4 lines in the newsletter.

ACCOUNTING/ADJUSTORS:

ACCOUNTING ALTERNATIVES – (802) 775-1679 Accounting, bookkeeping & tax prep. Services for business & individuals. Free estimates.

BUSINESS BASICS –Bookkeeping and office services. Initial consultation free. 20 Charles St. Rutland, VT. Call Pam Skillin (802) 775-0931.

DIETZ INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC ADJUSTERS, INC. Adjuster for the insured. P.O. Box 504, Tozier Hill Road, Pittsfield, VT 07762 Phone (802) 746-8494, Fax (802)
746-8884

APPLIANCES:

HOME & FARM CTR (802) 773-3877. Multi-billion dollar buying group members enables special discount for VRPOA members – Also 15% discount on service or parts. Special deal on 18” DSS.

SEARS COMMERCIAL SALES – KENMORE APPLIANCE WHOLESALE For catalog – prices – product of account info. Steve Mulcahy 1-508-797-0588 press 3 – ext. 1910.

ATTORNEYS/LEGAL SERVICE:

THADDEUS LORENTZ (802) 775-0128. 10% discount on all Landlord – Tenant work, members only.

CONSTRUCTION/SUPPLIES:

LAVALLEY BUILDING SUPPLY INC. Rutland, Preferred pricing available to all VRPOA members. Call (802) 775-0834 or (800) 639-0834, fax (802) 775-8535.

LAFLAMME’S INC. – 15% off flooring, furniture and mattress for all VRPOA members. Flooring installation and delivery available. (518) 642-9155. Ask for Chris or Rob.

ROTELLA BUILDING MATERIALS & KITCHEN & BATH DESIGN CENTER. 5% Disc. & up on qualified materials available. Phone (802) 775-4383 or 773-3100. Fax 775-7457 or 773-3100.

COMPUTER PROGRAMMING:

COMPUTERIZED BUSINESS SERVICES – (802) 775-6927. For all of your PC programming needs. First consultation is free.

HANDYMEN & ODD JOBS


Chris Pidgeon: (802) 773-6067
Rob Stubbins, Electrical & General Contractor: (802) 775-1484
R.W. King Carpentry: (802) 775-4913
Jon Kiernan: (802) 775-2745
Precision Pros Painting: (802) 747-7914
Dan Colomb: (802) 770-2871
Tom Rennert – Novus Windshield Repair: (802) 747-0220 or (800) 350-0220

GENERAL NOTES

Please Note: Please send all news and notes for the 
October newsletter no later than October 15, 2013.

CONGRATULATIONS

50/50 Winner – Lori Serrani

LEGISLATIVE

Ron Senecal, Thaddeus Lorentz