May 2014

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE


Ron Senecal - Vermont Rental Property Owners Association

Ron Senecal

Hello Everyone:

The May meeting was great.  We had 12 members attending. Bob and Michael from the City of Rutland did a great job and every one attending learned a lot about refurbishing run down buildings in the city.  The meeting lasted about 1 hour and was very informative.

The next meeting will be September 3, 2014 and the guest speaker will be announced in the August newsletter.

I want to remind everyone that this was the last meeting until September 3, 2014. The office will be open and if no one answers please leave message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

The guest speakers were Bob Barrett and Michael Brookman who are the city building inspector and the Health inspector and officer.  They handed out pamphlets with regard to the vacant property ordinance that was passed in 2013.

Previously there were 130 vacant buildings and now there are 90.  50 of those properties have been inspected and there are remediation plans for about 35 of those and we are working on the others.  Here is a copy of the ordinance, there is a registration form and cover letter to explain what we are doing and why.  It is a way to get more information back to us to put in registries in order to go and inspect the property.  

The Notice to Inspect is the first piece of correspondence.  We spend about 15 minutes looking at the exterior of the property, the grounds, the building, handrails and this is for vacant properties only.  We get a majority of them sent to office, the banks get some as well but they are the slowest to get the ball rolling.  We will take pictures, we have an inspection sheet/checklist sheet we fill out with certain things we look at like for instances, tires laying around, debris, vehicles that have been abandoned that are non inspectable,  the window coverings etc. We want the place to look livable in the neighborhood.  

After an inspection has been completed, we will send a report to the owner or the bank.  We will outline the building inspection what the issues are and what needs to be done to the property.  Next, we will send a letter for a remediation plan and you can call or email us to set something up.  We will put it into writing the plan that will work for you.  If there is a schedule we will all know it, we know it’s tough out there.  There are 30 days for you to complete the work and if you fail to call us to extend the time or fail to comply with the law you will get a citation.  There are tickets issued daily and the fines will go from $50 to $250 quickly.  It’s a ticket a day and that doubles.  

Member:  How long to make a ….?
Guest:  If you figure it at 75 days, notices etc but if there are say 6 violations, every violation gets a ticket each day.  When it gets to 70 tickets, it goes to the City Attorney to go to court.
Guest:  We have knocked down two houses. You are encouraged to work with the people when you receive the notice.  Banks send letters also and we work with a few people to get out the correspondence and we want to work it out with you.
Member:  There’s a fine everyday – I still owe the fines through the State of Vermont.  The Rutland municipal ticket is put out on the violations and the house has been knocked down for failure to comply???
Guest:  The house goes back to the city.  By this point, they have given up the right to the house anyway.
Guest:  Both houses we took down were in such disrepair that we sent the letter saying that is was not structurally sound, a 24 hour notice that is from the VT Statute.  Then they retain the property.
Member:  What is the cost to take down a house?
Guest:  One was about $20,000 the other not so much. Sometimes it just depends on what’s on it, like asbestos.  With the second property, the owner took it down. We haven’t written any tickets on vacant properties yet because they have come back with a remediation plan. Even the banks, they want to sell the houses.  We are not going after property owners that give them away.  We are not going to get anything out of them.  The banks have a lot of fixing up to make their money back.  We have been through 54 houses and a dozen or so had plans and have completed the work.  Some had no issues; just to be cleaned up, mowing etc. Some are good, some are bad and there are a few to come down.  A few people have gone so far as to look for grants to buy them to fix them up and take care of them.  The initial target area has been the northwest area.  Some inspections have also been done in other areas.
Member:  When did you start?
Guest:  November.
Member:  Why would you offer somebody money?
Guest:  They..
Member:  Wouldn’t it be better to go through the process?
Guest:  Not really, because you have to go to court etc.
Member:  It’s cheaper then.
Guest:  It’s the tax payer’s money. Everyone has been very cooperative. The ordinance was adopted from another town and it was there and working and it was tweaked to work for us.  It was all done by a lawyer.  We have a list, we try to do 10 a month or so.  We send follow up letters that go out after the initial inspection; there is a lot of correspondence.   We have to follow the ordinances and it’s tough.  There isn’t a lot of money for the single family owner occupied residence.
Member:  Question on the state collecting the money?
Guest:  The State of Vermont collects that money and they reimburse the city.  They are Vermont Municipal tickets.  The state is just doing the collecting.
Member:  Usually a municipal gives back only 90%.
Guest:  With all the tickets that are out there, there are 50 right now, total about $500 and that may be just for one piece of property. The property that was torn down has a new one being put up in its place.  That was located on Williams St and that is a plus.  A couple of others that are up for renovation; its stuff that just has to be done on the outside.  The goal is to make it look as good on the outside as the rest of the neighborhood.  We want the building to be safe, no holes, nails, bottles etc. We want to make it secure even though no one is in there.  I swear sometimes we have gone in the front door and gotten the feeling that someone was going out the back door.
Member:  Have you come across any illegal activity?
Guest:  It’s either been a rental property or a family property that has been around for so long, the parent is gone so the only correspondence is with the bank and they don’t generally show up, just an owner or someone else.  There are issues with a place on Cherry St. and we are working to get that accomplished now. There is a lot of bad publicity in the papers, news etc.  Of all the inspections in the last three years that I’ve done, I’ve not seen one needle or anything around.  Not sure where and when they are finding them but I haven’t seen it yet.
Member:  But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a drug problem.
Member:  What is the occupancy out there with the apartments etc?
Guest:  80 CO’s were done last month.  We have 34 new ones just today.  Some are new changeovers, some are building permits also.  It’s been a busy month.  Jim Simonds still does the zoning.  We have a part time guy also that works about 3 days a week.  Member:  What are the criteria when inspecting for a certificate of occupancy?
Guest:  We follow the housing standard.  IBC, IAFAP1 (?), smoke detectors, working CO detectors and so on. Usually Fire and Safety regulations are applicable.  All if this stuff is pretty much in the housing standard requirements.
Member:  Where can a landlord find out this information to make sure they are up to code?
Guest:  You can always go to City Hall.  There are some pamphlets there with the housing standard information and you can also check the website.  The housing standard requirements may be just on the State website, I’m not positive.  We follow mainly Chapter 11 of the book and those are the housing standards we have printed out.  We are out there.  We will work with the landlord and we like to get things taken care of.  Call us with any questions, we are here to help.
Member:  I have recommended to all landlords to get the CO done and be done with it.  It works in our favor to have someone on our side in case we need to go to court over a tenant etc. You guys are either on our side or the tenant and it’s much better when you are on our side.
Guest:  We will help you.  We get subpoenaed often to go to court.  We will work with you.  It’s free for us to come and do the CO.  We will do a walk through, give you a list of repairs if applicable or whatever, and you can call us when they are done and we will write your CO if they are approved.
Member:  Is there a fresh date on the CO?
Guest:  We date them daily when we do them.  They are good for five years so I would say no more than that.  Mainly that has to do with the fact that safety regulation and issues change so often.
Member:  What are you doing about fire extinguishers?
Guest:  Statewide, there is no need for them in single family and two family residences. They are however required in 3 family residences and up.(?) Fire and Safety generally deals with all hotels, motels etc.  We have gone through those places with them on several occasions.  People are only allowed to live in them for 27 days so they move out and move on to another motel, hotel.  As long as the state has the money in these certain organizations to cover the cost, this will keep happening.  They will just keep moving from one to another.  These people are probably the ones best known to landlords.  

Meeting adjourned.

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

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.

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.

NEXT GENERAL MEETING


Date: September 3, 2014
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 September 3, 2014 and the guest speaker will be announced in the August newsletter.

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.

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.

Again I repeat do your EMPs, as there are now fines that can be imposed.

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.

BUILDING CODES


Ron Senecal, Patrick Riordan

No report.

TREASURER’S REPORT


Patrick Riordan

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.

 GENERAL NOTES


If you would like to have your newsletter sent to you electronically, please notify Patrick @ 802-775-3660 or PMRofVRPOA@AOL.COM. Please put the letters VRPOA in the subject box if you use email.  This will help us cut down on our mailing expenses.

Please Note: Please send all news and notes for the August newsletter no later than August 15, 2014.

The Rutland County Housing Coalition has changes its name to the Homeless Prevention Center and has moved its offices to 56 Howe St. Patch Place, Building A, in Rutland, Vermont.

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.

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.

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.

There has been some inaccurate information in our newsletter regarding the cancellation notice for our general meetings. The WJJR website (www.catamountradio.com) is now used for school closings only. Henceforth the best course of action is to call either Ron (802-725-8194, 802-773-9707 or 802-483-6141) or Pat (802-775-3660) to check the status of that night’s meeting. We are going to eventually have that information on our web site (VRPOA.ORG). VRPOA regrets any inconvenience that this may have caused any of our members.

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.

All VRPOA forms are available with a phone call.

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.

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.

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.

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).

CONGRATULATIONS: 50/50 Winner – Ronna Charlton

LEGISLATIVE


Ron Senecal, Thaddeus Lorentz

Nothing to report.

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.

VRPOA

E-mail Attached documents should be formatted as text (.txt), WordPerfect (.wpd), or Word (.doc) documents to:
WEB Page: www.vrpoa.org
Ron Senecal: ronofvt@gmail.com
Patrick Riordan: PMRofVRPOA@aol.com

We are in the process of upgrading our website. If any members have any suggestions please let me know at either PMRofVRPOA@aol.com or call me at (802) 775-3660. If the email option is chosen please include the letters VRPOA in the subject line.

TENANT: Patrick Riordan

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 Homeless Prevention Center, 56 Howe St. Patch Place Building A, Rutland Vermont.

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 Homeless Prevention Center at (802) 775-9286 or BROC at (802) 775-0878 as both agencies can help eligible tenants with short-term rental assistance.

CREDIT REPORTS


Ron Senencal

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.

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.

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.

FUEL PROGRAM


Patrick Riordan

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.

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.

If you are enrolled in the 2014-2015 VRPOA fuel program, then there will be an upper case “S” at the bottom right hand corner of the address label for your VRPOA newsletter. In the event that you signed up for the 2014-2015 fuel program and there is not an upper case “S” in the mailing label area, then notify Patrick Riordan @ (802) 775-3660 or pmrofvrpoa@aol.com as soon as you can. Please put the letters VRPOA in the subject box if you use email.

HANDYMEN & ODD JOBS


Chris Pidgeon 802-773-6067
Rob Stubbins, Electrical & General
Andrew Christie – Freelance Web Development – 802 282-2892
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 800-350-0220

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.

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

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.

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

BUY


Wanted:  18 cf refrigerator with freezer on top.  Call Mike or Sherry at (802) 775-0952.

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.

SERVICES


AAA HOME INSPECTION SERVICESDetailed inspections.  Easy to read report. Excellent references. CD of pictures included.

Discount for VRPOA members. Call for info. 779-1033.

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.

CLEANING SERVICES: Rental Properties and/or Residential.  Excellent references. Exceptional work. Frig/Stove/Windows.  Call for flyer 773-2374 or E-mail: mrutl@myfairpoint.net.  Discount for VRPOA members.

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.

EMP INSPECTIONS/PAPERWORK – Expert service by AAA Home Inspection. Paperwork done for you. Time is Money/save both. Call for info. 779-1033.

CD of pictures included. Discount for VRPOA members.

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.