Southern Oregon Real Estate Show - Rental Laws Update
Southern Oregon Real Estate Show - Rental Laws Update
Full Video Transcript Below
[00:00:00] Alice Lema: Well, good morning, Southern Oregon. Welcome to the real estate show. I'm Alice Lema. I'll be your host today. I'm a broker here in beautiful Southern Oregon with John L. Scott real estate. And we're so excited to welcome Tia Politi to the show today. She's going to be doing a really interesting interview.
[00:00:26] For us of all things, landlord, tenant and investing. And even if you're not a landlord or a tenant or an investor you should listen to this interview because all the stuff that goes on in that world affects our general housing market here in Southern Oregon. And it affects our community besides.
[00:00:44] Next week is Thanksgiving. You're going to be sitting around breaking bread with your friends and family. And wouldn't it be nice to know if you had the facts. Tia Politi is the president of the Oregon rental housing association. She operates five landlord, tenant hotlines, helplines. But I just call her the walking, talking encyclopedia.
[00:01:04] That's my nickname for her. Plus, she's really funny and she's very data oriented, very matter of fact. It's, it's just, it's going to be a great interview. So please stay tuned to that. So one of the things we're going to talk to Tia Politi about is all these listings that are coming on the market. A lot of them are tenant occupied.
[00:01:24] And yes, it's so fabulous. I don't know if you noticed we had such a good week for listings. So many more listings are coming on the market, and this is what we've been waiting for. And this is what we've been predicting. The backlog of sellers are finally getting into the market. In fact, they're getting in during the fall and winter, which is a little bit unusual for us here in Southern Oregon.
[00:01:47] Isn't it? Right. We're a little. Seasonal in our housing market here in Southern Oregon. And there's so many listings coming on the market now. It feels almost like the beginning of spring, but that's fine. We'll take it. We're fine. I know people that will sell their house in the winter. They will buy a house in the winter.
[00:02:08] It's all fine. And. It can be just the best time ever to buy and sell. And if you do write an offer on a property that has a tenant, you might actually get a little bit better deal if you're willing to wait the 90 days that they need to find another place and move out because not everybody can or wants to do that.
[00:02:28] So buyers keep that in mind. This is something of an opportunity if it's a tenant occupied house and if you're selling and you have a tenant. Then just brush up on the rules, listen to what Tia Politi has to say. We're going to talk about the guest policy updates from the state of Oregon. We're going to talk about if you're remodeling a tenant occupied place. We're going to talk about the rent prices in general. Cause they're outpacing some of the income of our tenant population. Anyway, it's going to be a great show. We'll be back just a quick moment after word from our sponsors, do not touch that dial.
[00:03:05] Well, welcome back to the state show folks. Alice Lema here, broker John L. Scott here in Southern Oregon. I'm your host for today. And we have one of my favorite favorite people in the whole world. We have Tia Pollini who is gonna talk to us about some of the landlord tenant changes that she's been dealing with in the last few months. Tia is the president of Oregon rental housing association. She's the president of the rental owners association link county.
[00:03:32] She's got a great company. I think she's got property management, creds and Tia, why don't you tell us a little bit more about your, your credentials, and then let's talk about what's going on in landlord tenant land.
[00:03:44] Tia Politi: Lots going on, Alice. Thank you so much for having me. In addition to, yeah, the leading organizations you mentioned, I also own and operate rental housing support services, LLC. I provide education to landlords and tenants. I do evictions for hire and I staff five landlord helplines around the state, provide five of them information to landlords. I also provide consultation and mediation services as well. So thanks so much for having me today. Yes, there is a lot going on in the world of landlording.
[00:04:12] Just when we seem to think that our pain has an end date or they can't do anymore. Oh they come up with more. The date it keeps getting pushed back. I mean, at this time you know, we have a final end date of the grace period that we're currently under, under Senate bill 2 82 expires supposedly February 28th, 2022.
[00:04:31] However, as you may be aware, the short legislative session will be coming up and it ends the end of February as well. So we're expecting that the tenant advocates are, you know, plotting more fun stuff for us in this short session. Now there's not a lot of time they have to focus on this. So we're not really clear yet on, on what it is they're looking at, but we'll know soon.
[00:04:52] Currently right now, what we're struggling with is part of the outcome of Senate bill 2 78 required landlords to, if they're going to serve a notice for non payment of rent that, that accrued from July, 2021, moving forward, that they're required to serve a 10 day notice for non-payment instead of a 72 hour notice.
[00:05:10] And that, along with that, that notice they must serve a special form called an important notice about your rights to protection from eviction. That form informs the tenant, that if they go and apply for rental assistance, that they're entitled to a 60 day safe Harbor period, during which time they're protected from or any termination for non-payment of anything, whether it's rent or damages or, or late fees or anything.
[00:05:32] Nobody asked me, I wish they had, if they had. I would have said 60 days, are you kidding me? You think the government can, can process a thousand tens of thousands of applications and distribute funds within 60 days.
[00:05:47] Oh, who thought that date? I would have said if someone had asked me maybe 120, maybe double that. Now in order to protect renters some counties, Washington county, Multnomah county, and Lane counties, looking at the same thing. I think the city of Beaverton has also done this where they're, they're implementing an additional 30 day extension.
[00:06:06] Now the, the good part for housing providers, regarding this bill was that at the end of the 60 day period, if you haven't been paid that you can apply to this state to be reimbursed for that 60 days of rent. And, and so with this 30 day extension happening in certain areas, the landlord is not compensated for that extra 30 days.
[00:06:23] Again, it goes back to our, our feeling potentially that we could be looking atmore illegal taking under the USconstitution. How many renters are qualified, really. They can earn up to 80% of the area, median and qualify for full rent assistance. And, and so part of the issue we had had leading up to this was come on, you gotta make renters, do something they're not just, you know, say they can sign a form, right.
[00:06:46] And so we're seeing vast numbers of renters finally, starting to apply. They have to, or they're going to get evicted. And so that's been super encouraging and, and, you know, when I talk to property owners on the helpline, you know, they're telling me, Hey, the 60 days is up. You know, what can I do? And I'm like, well, technically you could serve a new nonpayment of rent notice and take it to court.
[00:07:06] The justice in Oregon has extended first appearances for non payment by three weeks. So that's giving more time. And then if the tenant doesn't come up with the money there, they're automatically scheduling trials for a month out, hoping to buy more time for, for the money to come through. Now, the latest we've heard is pretty distressing and that is pretty much all the money has been accounted for.
[00:07:28] And, and already, yes, they're going to stop accepting applications as of December 1st. So how is this going to shake out?. Well, what we're hearing is that you know, the governor has been hearing from, from tenant advocates going, we need more time, Oregon housing and community services is saying, we need more time.
[00:07:47] And, and I'd be, you know, personally I'd be agreeable to more time if they would also extend the reimbursement period during which the landlord can, can be reimbursed.
[00:07:55] Alice Lema: That would only be fair for sure.
[00:07:57] Tia Politi: Right. And so the governor issued what I thought was a good statement of it's a few weeks back where she said she was basically counting on the self-interest of landlords to, to be patient.
[00:08:08] Right. And, and that's what I've been telling people is, do you think your tenant will qualify and many of them go, yeah, my tenant lost his job. I think he's going to qualify. And I'm like, well, you know, you may want to hang on and wait and see what happens. Because if, if the tenant does qualify, I'm hearing a wonderful stories about, you know, landlords getting all their back rent, current rent, plus three months moving forward, they're getting late fees.
[00:08:32] They're getting court costs. They're getting reimbursed for everything. One of my clients got a check for almost $30,000. Her tenant had not paid rent since April 1st, 2020. Got rent assistance. When it works, it works really well. It's really helping housing providers and it's helping renters in need.
[00:08:51] So the program is good. It's just the timeframe that's not. How we deal with that. I, I, you know, we'll, we'll see. There's actually, if, if your readership is interested, there is a meeting today at 2:30 that they can listen in on where tenant advocates. And they're actually going to let a landlord speak Debra MZ from multi-family Northwest will be speaking at that.
[00:09:10] And, and what I'm hearing from our legislative director and our lobbyist is that there's some opposition to a specialist. We'll see right. You know, politics is what it is and, and pressure is being applied judiciously, wherever it's being applied. And, and right now I'm hearing the Republicans are opposed and even speaker Courtney or excuse me, he's the chair of the. He he might be opposed to it. but you know, things change overnight.
[00:09:38] So I'm expecting that it will probably happen and that it will probably extend the, the, the safe Harbor period. What I'm hoping is as if they forced that on us, they're also going to extend the reimbursement periods.
[00:09:50] Alice Lema: Yeah. That's an interesting debate. I can't see why they would argue that if you're going to extend the tenant's assistance, you absolutely should extend the landlords, but like,it's hard to guess.
[00:10:02] Tia Politi: Right. And I'm more concerned right now about that the state's run out of money and they're going to stop accepting applications as of December one.
[00:10:08] So for all of you housing providers out there, and if there's any renters listening and go apply now before that deadline. But what's going to happen when there's no money and yet this law remains in effect with February 28th, 2022. I don't know the answer to that.
[00:10:23] Alice Lema: I think they'llhave to go get more funding won't they from somewhere, right.
[00:10:26] Tia Politi: And I think they're, they're pleading with the federal government for more money, but you know, there's only so much money that you can print.
[00:10:33] Alice Lema: Well, I don't know who would have thought those little , we have inflation. Well, yeah, so, you know We've got a lot to talk about, you know, and inflation does play into Oregon rent fees.
[00:10:48] And then you have the shortage of housing because are you hearing a lot of landlords leaving the business? I know as an agent, I just have them lined up around the block, trying to get ready to sell their properties.
[00:11:01] Tia Politi: Almost every day, I'm hearing about owners going, I'm done, I'm done in Oregon, they're selling they're single family homes.
[00:11:08] And there was a really great article that the rental housing journal published a month or two ago from a manager who had really good data to show. Here's the reduction in single family homes based on these restrictions that are driving landlords out of the Oregon market. What I'm hearing is that they're, they're selling their Oregon properties and if they are going to buy a rental somewhere else, they're going to Idaho, arizona, Texas and Florida, which are much more landlord friendly.
[00:11:32] Alice Lema: That is exactly right. That is exactly what the individual landlords are telling me. I'm 10 31 in my stuff. I'm going to buy here or there just dissolving their portfolio and going, I mean, one guy said he was going into Bitcoin. We're not investment advisors.
[00:11:48] So I won't comment on that, but everybody else is either cashing out, like you said, or going somewhere. So, yeah, I just my heart aches for our tenant population. I don't know what's going to happen, but you know, this last session one of the, one of the situations that came up lately with some of our landlords here in Southern Oregon was the new guest policy and, and people don't understand that there even was a change in the guest policy. Can you maybe bring people up to speedon that.
[00:12:16] Tia Politi: Sure. And this is, you know, I'll remind your listenership that this is really where belonging to a landlord association is essential. So you're down in the Medford area.
[00:12:26] Alice Lema: Yeah, Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass, Klamath.
[00:12:28] Tia Politi: Okay. So you've got an organization called the Southern Oregon rental owners association.
[00:12:32] And you know, if you're a member of that association, when, when Oregon rental housing association blasts out, this is a very important information that you need to know it's going to go to you. Yeah. I don't think a housing provider can not operate with, without belonging to an association.
[00:12:49] Right, so what we're dealing with right now is, is a new type of, of occupant of a property called a non tenant guest. And you know, due to the pandemic due to the labor day wildfires that basically, you know, made 40,000 people instantly homeless. I, you know, I see the need for this. So through February 28th, 2022, if a non tenant guests stays in a unit beyond 15 days in a calendar year, the landlord can require that non tenant guests to satisfy the screening criteria they would ordinarily consider except for credit and income. And if the person meets that criteria, which usually involves a criminal history screening then the landlord is obligated to sign a temporary occupancy agreement with the tenant and the non tenant guests. And that agreement can not expire prior to February 28. So if you want me to talk about temporary occupancies, I can do that.
[00:13:43] Alice Lema: Wait, wait, let's go back just a little bit, cause that was a mouthful. So most people's contracts with their landlords have like a five or seven day guests. And so the state of Oregon, like overruled person to person agreement. Right?
[00:14:01] Tia Politi: Right. Well, it was done by lawmakers, so they made it legal. Yeah. It's a bill. You read it.
[00:14:09] Alice Lema: So day 15, you have a guest for 15 days. You don't know who they are. They're not paying any extra rent.
[00:14:17] Tia Politi: No. And by the way, you can not charge extra rent for an extra occupant.
[00:14:24] Alice Lema: All right. And then, so then you have to do what for them?
[00:14:28] Tia Politi: We have a temporary occupancy agreement and basically a temporary occupant is not a tenant. They don't have the rights of a tenant. And, and it's a way for the tenant to sort of retain control over the, over the tenancy because the tenant can ask the temporary occupant to move out at any time for any reason, simply immediate notice. The landlord can terminate a temporary occupants, right to be there, if the temporary occupant violates the rental agreement. you know, they smoke where they're not supposed to or whatever. And so it's important that landlords understand how the temporary occupancy statute works.
[00:15:04] It's 90.275. So you should look that up Oregon revised statutes chapter 90 is what deals with landlord tenant law. And the temporary occupant section is actually one of the easier to understand. And I mean, easier to understand more readable sections of landlord tenant law, so that that can help you and your renter wrap their minds around, you know what this means.
[00:15:26] Alice Lema: Well, maybe we'll start talking to the tenants during their application process about this so everybody understands. My goodness, our little state of Oregon. Okay tia Politi we've got a break coming up. We'll be right back. Do you not touch that dial?
[00:15:43] Well, welcome back to the real estate show folks. I'm here with Tia Politi of the Southern Oregon rental housing association. I'm sorry, not the Southern Oregon rental housing association. That's the landlord club I keep talking about with my clients. You're the president of Oregon rental housing association and full of information and updates about all the things that have changed in the landlord tenant law.
[00:16:07] And even if you don't own property as a landlord, you want to know this information because you're probably going to have Thanksgiving with somebody who either is a tenant or a landlord. And you want to help them out and know the facts. Right, Tia?
[00:16:20] Tia Politi: That's a great suggestion.
[00:16:21] Alice Lema: So right before the break, we were talking about the guest policy, which got completely overwritten by the state of Oregon so that now we have 15 days of guestdom. Well, you called it temporary. What did you call it?
[00:16:37] Tia Politi: The statutory language calls these folks, non tenant guests.
[00:16:42] Alice Lema: Non tenant guests.
[00:16:43] Tia Politi: And, and basically requires a landlord to, to consider adding a non tenant guest who stays beyond 15 days in a calendar year to be added to the rental agreement under a temporary occupancy agreement if the non tenent guests meets the landlord's screening criteria in regards to criminal history and conduct. So, you know, if you're a renter has a non-tenant guest and, and you serve them a notice and go, Hey, you know, you've had this person too long. It's time for you to, you know, you need to either have them go or they need to apply and either be added to the rental agreement as a tenant or added as a temporary occupant.
[00:17:20] Then at that point, you get that application and you screen that person. And if that person has, you know, violent criminal history, a bad drug history, you don't have to allow it.
[00:17:31] Alice Lema: Well, that's good.
[00:17:32] Tia Politi: Yeah. Yeah. Except, you know, one of the biggest challenges that we have of course is proving that, that there are unauthorized occupants in a unit. It is one of notoriously, one of the most challenging things to prove.
[00:17:43] Alice Lema: Why, why would that, why would that be hard?
[00:17:45] Tia Politi: Well, are you there all the time watching to see if that person is staying a substantial amount of time?
[00:17:50] Alice Lema: Oh my gosh, I'm sorry. Most of the landlords have outdoor cameras now for security.
[00:17:55] Tia Politi: Yeah, and so that can be a super good way. Or, you know, in multiplexes, it's definitely easier to keep track of things. So at every complex you have that nosy Nellie, that, that, well, they sort of assigned themselves as your unofficial on-site manager if you don't have one. And they're, they're great because they're the ones who tell you, Hey, that, you know, the common area lighting's burned out or there's been this car leaking oil or whatever.
[00:18:19] And so they're usually the ones who will tell you what's really going on at a complex. And that's, that's great. You want to foster those relationships and cameras are very helpful. But typically, you know, Single family homes, now all of mine are close to me, so I can kind of keep an eye on things. But a lot of providers don't and a lot of property managers, you're not there all the time.
[00:18:38] You really have no idea who's in your unit at any given time. And that's one of the suggestions I always make to landlords is if you know, if you have a single family home make friends with the neighbors, right? Introduce yourself to the neighbors around your rental unit, let them know who you are, give them your phone number and your contact info and say, Hey, would you give me a call, if you see pipe pitfalls in the backyard, if they're disturbing. Really all the things that we we are concerned about, right? If they're disturbing you, if they're not being good neighbors, I want to know about it. And so to me, that's, that's a good relationship to foster. You want to be good friends with Mrs kravitz. You're noticing neighbors feel better about living next to a rental cause sometimes rentals get bad raps and they shouldn't, you know, especially if you're a good landlord, you have good tenants, but yeah. Definitely makes the neighbors feel better about the whole thing.
[00:19:32] Alice Lema: So we were going round and round about Senate bill 2 78 also before the break, rental assistance there's talk of governor brown doing something else. I just saw some stuff on Twitter.
[00:19:44] Tia Politi: And a special session. So, you know, and, and I'm going to, I think we're going to find out more in today's legislative session. There's a housing committee meeting at two 30. I can look that up. OLIS site, the Oregon legislative information system site. I'm going to be watching that to see kind of what happens.
[00:20:01] I was part of the other one. I watched the other legislative session and that was more of a round table with tenant advocates, just telling legislators we're in trouble, right. 60 days isn't enough. And so we'll see what comes today. I think today they're going to have a more targeted message about what they want to see happen and, and it may happen.
[00:20:20] I, I tell people like, I have given up all confidence in my ability to predict the future, since COVID hit. I know I could never have imagined that all of these things could happen. Right. So, you know, get your magic eight ball out and we'll see what happens.
[00:20:35] Alice Lema: Yeah. Yeah. So you know, speaking of the COVID and side effects, the the labor shortage, the inflation that we're experiencing, the supply chain problem. How do you see that playing into rent prices? I know we can only go so high in the rent prices, but it sure seems like the landlords are raising their rents every year now, pretty systematically. So I'm worried about the long-term viability of our, our tenants to pay.
[00:21:03] Tia Politi: I do too. You know, rents are rising faster than wages. For example, I've taken my income criteria down from three times the monthly rent it two and a half times a month.
[00:21:13] Alice Lema: When did you do that?
[00:21:15] Tia Politi: Just this last year, because it's just, you know, It's challenging, right? Rents are rising faster than wages. I don't know when things are going to slow down.
[00:21:24] What I can tell you is that a lot of the reason for the dramatic or annual increases you're seeing now are a direct result of the passage of Senate bill 6 0 8, which put a rent cap in place for landlords who had kept their rents artificially low for years, those are the landlords, the ones who are trying to be nice to their tenants.
[00:21:41] Those are the ones that are suffering the most. They have below market rents and can only raise them by the max. So a lot of times what I'm seeing is they're having to do it every year just to try to play catch up here.
[00:21:53] Alice Lema: Oh, so that's why that's the direct side effect.
[00:21:56] Tia Politi: I don't ever recommend topping out the market. I'm I, you know, I call my personal pricing strategy, the Costco pricing strategy product, at a quality price. Right.
[00:22:10] Alice Lema: I like that.
[00:22:11] Tia Politi: Yeah. So I never want to be the top of the market. I never want to be the bottom of the market range. That's like, yeah, we want renters who are going to stay and be good, good neighbors and, and all of that.
[00:22:24] And so, you know, I don't want to be that landlord because actually what you're going to end up is potentially losing money because you're going to have a lot more turnover. They find something else, or they, they realize I can't afford to keep paying this much rent.
[00:22:39] Holy cow, I was talking to a landlord the other day, renting a property in a, not very desirable neighborhood of Eugene. He has remodeled it. It's very lovely. Two bedroom, one bath and the man is asking $1,700 a month for that unit. He's got applicants, but so far the applicants are less than quality. So, you know, and I always say you can get that top of the market rent, but for how long?
[00:23:03] Alice Lema: You know, I had a landlord last night in Medford, three bedroom, one bath, two story, older house, but all redone, like you're talking about. 1900. He had an application, but he's going to sell it. He's not going to rent it, but he had an application for $1,900 for one bathroom. And I said, there's only one potty. Yeah, who's going to give you that kind of money? And he showed me, he goes, I got it right here, but I can't keep it. I got to sell it. Those poor tenants,oh my gosh. Okay. So sorry. I interrupted you with my horror story, rent, inflation and rents topping out. Let's talk about room rentals because that's kind of getting to be a thing. Is that a thing up there where you are?
[00:23:45] Tia Politi: It is. And I'm really glad you brought that up because I was super excited earlier this year, Oregon rental housing association rolled out it's new week, two week tenancy forms. And so for your listeners out there, maybe considering renting a room in their home, I'd recommend doing it on a week to week basis.
[00:24:03] Alice Lema: Why week to week?
[00:24:04] Tia Politi: Week-to-week tenancies are excluded from all of the exemptions and moratoria. And week to week tenancies are excluded from Senate bill 6 0 8. So you can terminate a week to week tenant and at any time with a 10 day, no cause notice. Yes. And, and so for, especially for landlords renting rooms in their home, you need to keep control over who's in your home.
[00:24:25] That is a really great way to go. Now, the downside of a week to week agreement, and there is a downside, is that you're not allowed to charge any deposits or any fees. So no security. Now it doesn't mean the tenant isn't responsible for damage that they cause, but you can't charge a security deposit. You can't charge a parking fee.
[00:24:43] Nope. No late fees, no parking fees. No fees of of any kind, can you charge .No fee.
[00:24:51] Alice Lema: So what about guests? Can you say no, no overnight guests?
[00:24:55] Tia Politi: Well, I think if you're renting rooms in your home, you can be a little more restrictive there. And, and I believe, you know, I'm not an attorney, but I believe that week-to-week tenantcies would be exempt from the tenant role that we're under because it has been exempt from every single one of the COVID rules. So it's just something for your listeners to consider, especially if you're looking at renting a room in your home. Or I got a caller last year in 2020. They want to, and this was after Senate bill 6 0 8 passed and they, it was a church and their pastor was going on a sabbatical for one year, possibly two to go minister in another country. And they're like, we need to make sure the home is available to him when he comes back to the parsonage. So they wanted to rent it out for a year or two.
[00:25:40] And I said, well, your first year, you're fine, right. Do a month to month agreement. And You know, you could just do a 30 day, no, cause on a month to month agreement within the first year, but the second year is where you're going to have a bit of a problem. And so now that we have the week to week forms, that's probably what I would have recommended they do.
[00:25:56] Alice Lema: So, so interesting. But I'm sitting there thinking if I was a tenant, I don't know that I'd feel very comfortable on a week to week. That would be kind of scary.
[00:26:06] Tia Politi: Sure, sure, and because if you don't toe the line, you're out and it's, it's quick and easy for the most part.
[00:26:12] Alice Lema: Well, even if you do toe the line it's my understanding that week to week tendency like you can be asked to move at any time for no cause.
[00:26:20] Tia Politi: Yeah, and we have a no cause notice for that. We have a non-payment of rent notice for that, a notice of termination with cause for that. The timeframes are all different related to that. It's not ideal for every circumstance, but, but especially, you know, I've talked to people, who've rented rooms in their home and the person went wacky on him and started being awful, but not awful enough to, to, to evict. And they were stuck. Yes. Yeah.
[00:26:45] Alice Lema: Okay. Well, I think it's a great idea. It's it's from ways beyond like, do you probably, I don't know, remember back in the day, that's what my grandparents did. Like my grandmother, when she was widowed, they called it rooming houses and boarding houses and she cooked for everybody at night.
[00:27:07] Okay. And that's just what everyone did. Nobody thought it was weird. Right?
[00:27:11] Tia Politi: Right. Especially when you're renting rooms in your home. I think people or tenants or residents are going to think it's a little more weird if you're rentinga single family home that way, but if you want to retain complete control that's the way to do it.
[00:27:21] Alice Lema: Do you have to live there. Does the owner have to live there?
[00:27:25] Tia Politi: No, no. Now read it. It's available in the definition section of chapter nine. Point 100 is where the definitions are.
[00:27:33] Alice Lema: You are so fun.You know all those statues, all those subsections. That's great. That's great. Okay. Well, we only have a minute left in this section. We're going to have to take a break soon, but with the last 60 seconds we have of this segment Tia, what else would you like to say about room rentals, guests or the rental assistance, cause we're going to go onto some new topics and the next time.
[00:27:54] Tia Politi: Well, you know housing providers just know that you have the right to serve a 10 day notice.
[00:27:59] Now I'm still getting calls from people who are like my tenant, hasn't paid rent since July. And I'm like, where have you been? So this notice, right? And just serve the important notice because it forces the renter to apply for rent assistance. And if they get, you're going to get manna from heaven in the form of rent assistance money, and it's going to cover a lot and it's good for them too.
[00:28:20] Alice Lema: Cause people don't feel good about not paying their rent. You know, most people do want to try to do the right thing. So, absolutely. I agree with, well folks, you're listening to the real estate show. I'm Alice Lema, broker John L. Scott here in Southern Oregon. And we're talking to Tia Politi. She's the president of Oregon rental housing.
[00:28:37] We're brought to you by John L. Scott, Southern Oregon. The Rogue Valley Association Realtors and Guy Giles, Mutual Omaha mortgage. We'll be right back with more great information. Do not touch that dial.
[00:28:48] Well, welcome back to the real estate show folks. Alice Lema here, broker John L. Scott talking to some of my favorite people Tia Politi, she's the president of the Oregon rental housing association.
[00:28:59] And she just knows so much about landlord, tenancy and property and what to do and what not to do. And there's been so many changes lately. Tia, we just, you know, could talk for hours and hours. So thank you again for being onthe show.
[00:29:15] Tia Politi: Thanks for having me Alice.
[00:29:17] Alice Lema: So one of the things that you mentioned during one of the breaks was screening, were there changes in screening procedures?
[00:29:24] Tia Politi: There were, you know, of all the changes that came at us during this most recent long legislative session. That was the only real permanent change in law. We had a lot of things we thought were coming at us, but in the end they had to really narrow their scope. But one of the things that did pass was Senate bill 2 91.
[00:29:40] I'm writing an article about that right now, and it's changed our screening practices or willchange our screening practices. For, for property managers, for professionals this isn't going to be much of a change. It's going to be mostly impactful to your private mom and pop landlords who just do their own screening.
[00:29:57] Right. And, and they're used to the old rules. Well now we're, you know, we have to disclose our non-discrimination policy in accordance with that. One of the other, the, probably the biggest change there for someone like me, like I don't charge a screening fee to my applicants. I just absorbed that.
[00:30:12] And, and currently under the current laws if I deny someone like that, I can, I don't have to deny them in writing or tell them why. unless I'm basing my denial on a credit report, or they requested in writing the reasons for the denial. But starting January one, if I deny a renter or an applicant, regardless of whether I've charged a fee, I'm going to have to deny in writing and I'm going to have to tell them why.
[00:30:35] The other big change. Oh, there's been some changes to the criminal history screening, right? If, if if a tenant is participating in a diversion program, for example, you can't count that against them you know.
[00:30:45] Alice Lema: What do you mean diversion program define what it is.
[00:30:48] Tia Politi: You know, multiple DUIs or something? You know, they take the classes or do whatever and their, their sentences can be diverted or reduced or eliminated eventually.
[00:30:57] I'm not real clear on all the different types of those.
[00:31:00] Alice Lema: So that would be nonviolent. I'm guessing.
[00:31:03] Tia Politi: Yeah. Yeah, I would, I would guess, but, ah, you never know. But the changes is that that's going to kind of more closely aligned state law with HUD law or HUD regulation. So back in 2016 HUD passed or, or issued its memo on landlords use of criminal records regarding screening of proposed applicants.
[00:31:26] And that basically said you know, what, what HUD found in its studies was that this landlords use of criminal records in screening for housing was creating a disparate impact on African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Because our, you know, in their studies, they found that our judicial system is inherently, has some racist components to it.
[00:31:46] You know, I'm saying whether I agree with their assessment or not, but, you know, people of color are much more likely to be stopped. They're much more likely to be arrested and they're much more likely to be convicted at higher rates than then Caucasians. And that's what their research showed.
[00:32:01] It's interesting response to that. What they've asked us to do and kind of what state law asks us to do is, is look at the totality of the person. Not just say no criminal history, right? Because not, you know, their research showed that someone with an event, a criminal event in their past who hasn't committed offenses within the last six or seven years is no more likely to re-offend than someone with no criminal history at all.
[00:32:25] And so what they're asking you to do is look at, was it an event or a repeated pattern of behavior, was the person under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and now they're clean and sober. Were they in the throws of mental illness and now they're being treated. There's a really, if landlords kind of want to start wrapping your minds around what you might expect, there's a wonderful publication that the Oregon law center has put out and it's called moving forward with a past.
[00:32:51] I have a link to it on my website and it basically kind of guides renters with troublesome histories through how to make what's called a reasonable accommodation of their landlord to discount some portion of, of that poor history. And then what it's going to require you to do is typically when we ask them you know, or when when a renter discloses, they have criminal history where we say, okay, we need an explanation. You know, write down your explanation. You know, provide us with documentation. You can show regarding your rehabilitation, et cetera.
[00:33:18] So now, if, if, if a renter or an applicant gives us that information and we deny them, we're going to have to explain why the supporting documentation they provided did not overcome the negative determination. So you're going to have to say why, and that's going to open landlords up to potentially lawsuit.
[00:33:37] Alice Lema: That's what I was thinking. Cause you're not, we're not lawyers. Landlords are not lawyers.
[00:33:43] Tia Politi: And you might be, you know, especially private landlords might be well-served by using a screening service.
[00:33:48] Right. There's two in our state that are, that I think are tops. The first would be acranet, A C R A N E T. The second would be national tenant network.
[00:33:59] Alice Lema: Are those screening companies, are they the ones that have to provide the explanation? To the tenant.
[00:34:04] Tia Politi: That's a good question. I'm not sure. But I know that, you know, whatever their, their recommendation is that they know what they're doing. They know how to screen. They know how to, how to assess that supporting documentation. And so you can rely on them to at least kind of guide you properly through the, through the process of assessing the risk assessment, you're assessing the risk the person poses.
[00:34:27] Alice Lema: So how I just I don't know where to start. So somebody has a criminal history and let's say it's a felon. And most humans are in favor of second chances, especially if it was just like an event under stress or some circumstances. But for whatever reason, landlord feels uncomfortable, they come back and they say, You had a, a felony and the tenant says, but I told you that on my application, like what's going to happen in that scenario do you think.
[00:34:58] Tia Politi: I provided an explanation and I provided you with proof that I had paid my fines, that my parole officer gave me a good recommendation. I've rented to people with criminal histories, as long as they provide me all of that.
[00:35:08] Alice Lema: I'm in favor of second chance people. I really am, but I don't want to get everybody in trouble by doing the process wrong.
[00:35:15] Tia Politi: So exactly. So you need to be taking classes on screening. I'm going to be writing an article. That's going to go out in the Oregon rental housing association newsletter in January. And that's going to kind of guide you, you know, to the best of my ability through that, that issue, but it is an issue.
[00:35:29] Alice Lema: So are you saying that perhaps you have to rent to them if they provided you an explanation and they disclosed it.
[00:35:39] Tia Politi: Potentially. It depends, you know, it depends on, is it a pattern of behavior? How recent were the events, right? Was it long ago was a committed when they were a juvenile or very young, you just have to take all of the circumstances into consideration when you're making your decision.
[00:35:52] Alice Lema: It just makes me so nervous because it sounds like the landlord doesn't get to decide now.
[00:35:57] Tia Politi: Yeah. That's that's part of what they're there.
[00:36:01] Alice Lema: Well, we don't want discriminations. I didn't mean to say it that way. Cause I think all, everybody should get a fair chance at a house if they want it. I'm not saying that, but this is just making me really nervous.
[00:36:12] Tia Politi: Yeah, well, and there are already restrictions. For example, we're not allowed to discriminate against someone for convictions resulted to possession or use of marijuana for having a marijuana card. And now the new law basically says that you can not hold a conviction against someone for something that is no longer illegal in the state of Oregon.
[00:36:29] Alice Lema: So that makes sense though.
[00:36:35] Tia Politi: Yeah, I agree. You know, one of my favorite examples, I had a fellow come in, apply to rent from us and guy was perfect. He had everything good job, enough money, great rental history, perfect credit. But he had a conviction for assault for on his record from about two and a half years prior .He had a great explanation.
[00:36:53] The guy came home from lunch one day to find his wife in bed with his best friend. And he beat the snot out of his best friend. Right. You know, we all don't consider that man, a danger to society at large. And so, you know, the takeaway is you have to consider it in context. Yeah, what have they done?
[00:37:16] The man admitted what he did. He paid his fines. He paid restitution and moved on. Divorced his wifeWhiteman booted his best friend out of his life. So, yeah.
[00:37:27] Alice Lema: Well, in those circumstances, I like the whole, the idea of looking at the person as a whole human, I think that is great. And I know that the state of Oregon has their heart in the right place a lot of the time. It's just, when they pass these laws, they don't always think it all the way through, but at least they gave us forms this time. They don't always do that when they pass these right. Well, Tia, I am so grateful for you being on we'll have you on again, Tia Politi, president of the Oregon rental housing association.
[00:37:53] Come back again soon, have a beautiful Southern Oregon weekend folks, bye now.