HAMILTON COUNTY TREASURER CHARLIE WINBURN OFFERS PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT PLAN FOR PROPERTY OWNERS WHO ARE BEHIND ON THEIR PROPERTY TAXES
Hamilton County Treasurer Charlie Winburn announced his property tax payment plan to assist homeowners and commercial business owners by giving them an opportunity to clear up delinquent property tax obligations and avoid a possible tax lien sale or foreclosure.
Click here to see more details.
MULTIFAMILY EFFICIENCY GRANTS AVAILABLE! PROPOSALS DUE MAY 21, 2021
The City of Cincinnati and Duke Energy Ohio are pleased to announce the WarmUp Cincy Matching Grant Program is now accepting applications from owners of multifamily buildings with low-income tenants. The grant is focused on electricity efficiency for buildings, with two or more units, that have tenants at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and are located within the city limits. It provides matching dollars to building owners energy efficiency investments.
The second round of grant money is available for apartment building capital upgrades in Cincinnati for those buildings with income-eligible tenants. These are 1:1 matching grants of up to $5,000 for a selected list of upgrades. The first round was very successful with awards to 10 building projects across the city. A grant briefing has been scheduled for May 13th from 3 - 4 PM so building owners can get details on the grant as well as ask questions.
Building owners can register for that briefing at: https://bit.ly/grantreview2021
For more information and access to all grant documents click here or visit the OES website.
HOUSE APPROVES RENTAL PROTECTION BILL
FRANKFORT— Tenants plotting revenge on a landlord who evicts them might think twice before doing so if Senate Bill 11 becomes law. The Kentucky House of Representatives approved SB 11 today. If the Senate concurs on a slight change the House made to a definition in the bill, it will be sent to the governor’s desk for his signature or veto.
SB 11 would specify in statute that intentionally causing significant damage to a rental property is criminal mischief.
“It’s not for things like nail holes or common wear and tear,” said Rep. C. Ed Massey, R-Hebron, on the House floor. “This is for circumstances where premises have been left with food in refrigerators that were unplugged, holes punched into walls, feces on the floor and all kinds of bizarre scenarios that cost these rental property owners thousands upon thousands of dollars to repair.”
Massey said SB 11 would make intentional damage totaling to more than $1,000 a class D felony.
Although criminal mischief law already addresses this issue to a degree, Massey said this would give property owners the opportunity to seek restitution for the damage.
In explaining her vote, Rep. McKenzie Cantrell, D-Louisville, expressed concern about how this bill might impact domestic violence victims since holes punched in the walls and food left in unplugged refrigerators can often indicate a domestic violence situation.
“They can easily be the situation of someone who’s fleeing their abuser, who has to flee very quickly, and then an abuse survivor who is on the lease with an abusive partner can be held liable for the damages that the abusive partner caused,” Cantrell said.
The House approved SB 11 by a 75-17 vote. It will now go back to the Senate for concurrence.
CLERK OF COURTS UPDATE: EVICTIONS SUMMONS
In January of this year, the Clerk of Courts launched two new tools to help landlords and tenants navigate the eviction process. A newly designed eviction summons was sent out starting in early January. The previous summons was written in difficult to understand legalese and was confusing regarding the basic eviction process. The new summons is more readable and easier to understand. The Clerk of Courts partnered with the Stanford Legal Design lab to redesign the new summons and will be observing its effectiveness in increasing appearance rates at evictions hearings.
At the beginning of January, the Clerk of Courts in partnership with Stanford, launched a newly designed Help Center website and a one of a kind Eviction Help website. The new Help Center website was created to increase access to legal information and step-by-step guides covering all Municipal Court issues. The Eviction Help website covers housing issues in depth. It provides step by step guides to landlords and tenants through each step of the eviction process as well as sample forms and “how-to” maps. COVID has made the need for greater access to remote options more important. The website is on a platform that is designed specifically to communicate complex legal issues in an understandable way. Check out the new Help Center Website at cincyhelpcenter.org and the Eviction Help Website at cincyhelpcenter.org/housing.
To download a sample of the newly designed form(s), click here.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY GRANT AVAILABLE TO CINCINNATI PROPERTIES WITH LOW INCOME RESIDENTS
The City of Cincinnati and Duke Energy Ohio announce The Energy Efficiency Matching Grant Program for owners of multifamily buildings with low-income tenants. The grant is focused on electricity efficiency for buildings with two or more units that have tenants at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. The grant is part of the suite of energy efficiency and energy equity programs being created by Cincinnati's Office of Environment and Sustainability to achieve the Green Cincinnati Plan's goal of reducing household energy burden by 10%.
The Energy Efficiency Matching Grant Program provides multifamily building owners an opportunity to double the impact of their energy efficiency upgrades by matching their investment, up to $5,000, on capital improvements. The grant is funded by Duke Energy Ohio. Applicants can be non-profit organizations or for-profit corporations. Grant application, criteria and funding guidelines can be downloaded below:
Grant criteria and funding guidelines
Grant evaluation example
Materials can also be found on the OES website. All application materials are due by Friday, December 4 at 5 p.m. and must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
NAA RESPONDS TO CDC EVICTION MORATORIUM
As you know, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the direction of the President, filed an order in the Federal Register yesterday to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. National Apartment Association (NAA) members should prepare for the order to go into effect this Friday, September 4. It will bar evictions of renters in residential housing until December 31, 2020. Here is what you need to know about the order.
CINCINNATI RENTAL REGISTRATION REQUIREMENT FORMS AND FAQS
Notice of Rental Registration Requirement Letter
FAQs - Residential Rental Registration (RRR), City of Cincinnati
Notice of Residential Rental Inspection Certification Requirement (sample)
FAQs- Residential Rental Inspection (RRI) Program
Residential Rental Inspection Program Pre-Inspection Guide & Checklist
Cincinnati Rental Connection
Letter from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regarding Coronavirus
CINCINNATI RENTERS CHOICE
The City of Cincinnati has passed new legislation regarding the newly minted term "Renters Choice." The law purports to lower the financial threshold to housing, making it easier for renters to access better housing options. The link to the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial article covers the details pretty well. This will go into effect approximately mid-April 2020. A copy of the final version of the language is here.
Over the past several months there have been multiple versions of this bill, with the first giving a single company a mandated monopoly. The association repeatedly stated opposition to the bill, even meeting with the Enquirer Editorial Board. Numerous changes were included to improve the bill, including several exemptions. There has been no hew and cry for a resolution to security deposits, instead it has been a manufactured problem with a solution that places some owners at increased risk. Ideally, the law minimizes who is at risk, but it still places owners at risk with additional regulation and private enforcement.
In short, if you own or control more than 25 rental units in the City of Cincinnati, and require a security deposit greater than 50% of the 1st month’s rent, then you need to provide one or more options for your customers to choose between paying the deposit upfront or:
As this was a straightforward bill, there are no additional regulations planned. To be clear there are 2 key exemptions from having to provide one of the alternatives:
A few additional considerations:
Additional comments will be added to the Legislative page as new considerations are raised.
HUD GUIDANCE ON EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS
HUD has finally released its long awaited guidance on Service/Support animals on January 28th, 2020. Rather than acknowledging that the Justice Department, which handles the overarching ADA law, would be the best to handle the regulations, HUD justified its own need to weigh in under the Fair Housing Act. The irony is that they even recognized in the guidance that their previous guidance has caused over 60% of the lawsuits and complaints they deal with are all related to their bastardization of Emotional Support Animals from the very real and necessary WORK performed by Service Animals. So much fraud has entered this arena that over 37 states are considering or passed laws to mitigate some of the abuses under HUD’s previous guidance.
While the 19 page guidance (here) is still under industry review for its impact, I would like to lower your expectations on there being a resolution any time soon, by sharing this one sentence on page 16, “Housing providers may not require health care professionals to use a specific form (including this document)…” In other words, owner/operators cannot cite the guidance document that HUD is using to guide the owner/operators…
Only in government…
As industry guidance is developed to make sense of this latest mess, we will share it! Hang in there.
EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL UPDATE
The government, specifically the State of Ohio, through the Civil Rights Commission, has approved a new Emotional Support Animal document. Please find linked 6 pages of muddled up confusion over the definitions and requirements for all involved. One more thing the GCNKAA will work on correcting...
FAKE SERVICE DOG IDS USED TO TRAVEL WITH PETS
Stretching the rules to take pets into grocery stores, amusement parks and restaurants has become so commonplace that online merchants are selling official-looking service animal certificates and vests for as little as $50. For full story, click here.
METROPOLITAN SEWER DISTRICT SEWER BACKUP CLAIM FORM
Use this form in the event of losses due to sewer backups in the MSD service region.
NAA EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL TOOLKIT NOW AVAILABLE
The National Apartment Association (NAA) has recently released the “NAA Toolkit, Emotional Support Animals: A Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation Requests.” Property owners have seen a significant increase in reasonable accommodation requests for emotional support animals in recent years and are concerned about possible abuse. While NAA seeks legislative and regulatory solutions to address concerns, NAA felt it was important to provide members with resources giving practical guidance on this emerging issue.
As background, a lack of clarity in federal regulations opens the door for abuse and imposes an unfair burden on property owners, undermining the intent of the Fair Housing Act to help those truly in need of an emotional support animal. In cases where a property owner may request documentation on the disability-related need for an emotional support animal, the regulations allow for a broad range of individuals to provide the verification. These individuals include a physician, psychiatrist, social worker or other mental health professional.
Additionally, an individual certifying the resident’s need for an emotional support animal is not required to have an actual treatment relationship with the resident. In some cases, the documentation supplied to property owners is in the form of a letter purchased online for a fee. This documentation may be obtained with little or no contact with a mental health professional, other than a brief consultation, and not as a result of an actual treatment relationship.
In light of these concerns, NAA organized a working group of members, affiliated association staff and attorneys specializing in fair housing to collaborate on resources to help members navigate this complicated issues; the resources are compiled in the toolkit, including:
RENTAL DROP BOX – WARNING
Several years ago a group of self-proclaimed “gypsys” was travelling through Ohio and created quite a stir by perfecting the theft of checks and money orders from rental drop boxes. Cincinnati has been updated to consider these types of crimes as a regular threat from organized and non-organized criminal elements.
PLEASE BE AWARE: Utilize lighting and video, as well as regular clearing of the drop boxes, to help minimize the threat.
If additional reports occur, we will recommend the temporary suspension of these boxes.
Internal boxes are safer, but not perfect.
If your community has been hit by this kind of theft recently, please let us know.
Thank you for your attention to this issue!