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2017 Legislative Update: Week 6

Posted by paul on March 16th, 2017
Week VI
Only a few weeks left to go! Here are the bills that we are tracking that will have an impact on the Rental Housing industry.

Legislative Issues we are following
HB 202: Trespass Amendments
This bill will allow tenants to have the police help them remove guests who are not on the lease. It's a huge win for tenants and landlords, because often the only way for landlords or tenants to get rid of such people was to evict the tenant.
This bill is sponsored by Brian Greene (R), Pleasant Grove. It has been recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is being considered by the full Senate.

HB 376: Landlord-Tenant Rights
This bill will give all evictions the same process - regardless of whether they are done for non-payment or other reasons, or whether they are commercial or residential evictions. It will remove some of the ambiguity of how much leeway judges have in granting more time to tenants with extenuating circumstances. And it will remove some loopholes that were being exploited by tenant's attorneys to lengthen out the evictions process to the detriment of the tenant and the landlord.
This bill is sponsored by Rep James Dunnigan (R), Taylorsville. It has passed the House Business and Labor Committee and is awaiting final consideration before the House.

HB 83: Rental Housing Application Disclosure Amendments
This is a bill suggested by renter's advocates that would require that landlords adopt what is already considered best practice by informing prospective tenants of what criteria will be used to evaluate their applications. A compromise which we support will make it so that failure to do so does not excuse a tenant from lease compliance or create a cause of action.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Bruce Cutler, (R), Murray. It passed out of the Senate Finance Committee on Monday and is awaiting a vote from the full Senate.

HB 302: Modifications to Tax
This controversial tax overhaul bill has received significant attention for the fact that it would put in place sales tax on food. However, we are specifically concerned that it will also for the first time put in place a tax on services such as "Real Estate and Rental Leasing". Property Management is already an extraordinarily complicated business, and adding the such a requirement would be an undue hardship on the property managers as well as their clients, the individual owners.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Joel Briscoe, (D), Salt Lake City. The House Revenue and Taxation Committee is reviewing the bill.

HB 36: Affordable Housing Amendments 
This bill includes a $1 million appropriation to go to a Section 8 housing guarantee fund for landlords who are damaged by tenants on Section 8 so they can get the state to cover up to $5,000 in damages. We hope this bill will be a win/win by protecting landlords and opening up more housing opportunity for tenants who are on Section 8 vouchers, and more security to landlords who are working with them.

The bill is awaiting a final vote in the Senate, which is waiting to see how much money will be available to allocate. With the support of the UAA and other industry advocacy groups it is expected to pass with no problem. However, since in money is tight this year, we aren't certain how much funding we will receive. The bill is sponsored by Rep Becky Edwards, (R), Bountiful. 

HB 178: Good Landlord Amendments 
This bill would have prohibit cities from requiring landlords to deny applicants with criminal history. It has been amended to exclude cities such as Ogden and West Valley which have half-way houses. Our initial fear was that if the original bill had passed that some cities would have removed their Good Landlord Program entirely and and the longstanding compromise which allowed landlords who agreed to engage in low-risk business practices to receive a discount from the cities higher disproportionate impact fees. However, with the changes, we are no longer opposing the bill.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Brian King, (D), Salt Lake City. The house has passed the bill and it has passed the Senate Business & Labor Committee and is awaiting a vote by the whole Senate.

Other Bills we are Tracking
Here are the other bills which we are tracking that will impact our industry:
HB 253: Short-Term Rental Amendments sponsored by John Knotwell (R), Herriman. This bill is an important step to clarifying the rules for vacation rentals (like AirBnB and VRBO) which many landlords are beginning to use as alternatives when the market is tight. The bill was passed by the House and received unanimous support in the Senate Economic Development Committee. It will now be considered by the full Senate.

SB 52: Rental Amendments sponsored by Lincoln Fillmore (R), South Jordan. This bill provides that a court will award costs and reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party under a suite filed under the Fit Premises Act. It has passed the Senate and House Business Committee. The House Rules Committee is studying the financial impact of the bill before turning it over to the full House.

SB 146: Constable Amendments sponsored by Lincoln Fillmore (R), South Jordan. Constables are a monopoly appointed by counties who have no interest in keeping costs to consumers down. This bill fixes constables by allowing anyone who wants to be a constable, meets minimum requirements and training, to become one and serve papers for evictions and collections. We need more constables to keep costs down for evictions and collections and support this bill. It is currently under review by the Senate Judiciary committee. It appears that nothing will be done with this bill during this legislative session.
HB 196: Division of Real Estate Amendments sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer (R), Huntsville. This bill will give more authority to the Real Estate Commission to determine when owners are exempt from needing a licence. It will also allow for a new "Dual Agent" who works in both Property Management and Sales under the current Dual Brokers rule. The bill is  It has been passed by both the House and the Senate.


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