By next July every state my have new model landlord-tenant legislation to consider from the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) and there are several components that are of concern to the apartment industry. In response the National Apartment Association has formed the NAA Landlord/Tenant Working Group to develop recommendations for consideration at the ULC drafting committee’s fall meeting on Nov. 15-16 of this year. Here’s a small sample of items that might concern apartment industry members:
Security Deposit – A property owner may not require a security deposit in an amount that exceeds one month’s rent. The term “security deposit” is defined as including damage deposits, key deposits, prepaid rent and fees. Application fees and pet deposits are exempt as well as deposits that cover if a lease is for a furnished dwelling unit, or if the tenant makes alterations to the unit as permitted by the lease, the property owner may collect an additional security deposit in an amount commensurate with the additional risk of damage.
Domestic Violence – A tenant may terminate his or her lease prior to the lease term if 1) the tenant or an immediate family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and 2) the tenant gives the landlord written notice and provides supporting documentation of the abuse. The current draft allows the tenant to use verification by an attesting third party to validate incidents of abuse. “Attesting third party” is defined as a law enforcement official, a licensed health-care professional, a victim’s advocate, or a victim-services provider that has had contact with a tenant or an immediate family member who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Abandoned Property – The URLTA draft addresses the responsibilities of the property owner with property that is either abandoned by the tenant or property of a deceased tenant. Both provisions impose upon the property owner responsibilities outside of their scope of business: specifically the duties of finding an executor of the deceased tenant, estimating value, protecting, transporting, and ultimately disposing of the property – all the while assuming a level of liability for each of those actions.
You can read the full URLTA draft here. If you’re interested in joining NAA’s working group please contact Nicole Upano, Manager of State and Local Government Affairs, at email@example.com or 703-797-0646.