Advocacy Update

Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Apartment Inspection Reform Bill Passes Senate

AAM’s efforts to reform the current apartment inspection law took a significant step forward with the Michigan Senate’s passage of Senate Bill 107. As you may recall, this legislation amends the Housing Law of Michigan to provide that the lessee’s permission is needed prior to local government entry to inspect. Current state law allows a local government to compel an apartment owner, regardless of the resident’s wishes, to provide unit access if the lease allows the owner right of entry at any time. AAM has stated its concern that this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The bill passed unanimously on a 37-0 vote on the final day of Senate session prior to summer recess. We appreciate the leadership of the bill’s sponsor, Senator Rick Jones (R–Grand Ledge). This legislation will now move to the House of Representatives, starting with a hearing before the House Local Government Committee which is expected early this fall.

Amendments Proposed to Detroit’s Rental Property Ordinance

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and City Council Member Andre Spivey recently announced a set of proposed amendments to the city’s rental ordinance. The proposed changes include:

  • The ability for the city to withhold certificates of compliance for landlords who are more than six months delinquent on their property taxes and owe more than $1000.
  • Provide landlords with an expedited process for appealing the denial or suspension of a certificate of compliance.
  • Less frequent inspections for landlords who, for at least one year, have remained current on their taxes and received no blight violations. Certifications would extend from one year to two years for multi-family properties and to three years for one- and two-family properties.
  • Continue annual lead hazard inspections (except for those properties where long-term or permanent abatement measures were made) even if there are less frequent property inspections.

Additionally, the city is stepping up efforts to register all rental properties in a two year timeframe, with the Buildings, Safety, Engineering & Environmental Department (BSEED) breaking the city into five zones to phase in the process. Finally, the city will post compliance data for each rental property on an interactive map on the city’s website.

 

Posted in 2017, AUGUST 2017 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Preventing Tick-Borne Diseases

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

Tick-borne pathogens can be passed to humans by the bite of infected ticks. Ticks can be infected with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Some of the most common tick-borne diseases in the United States include: Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, and tularemia.

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in the United States. In 2016, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that Lyme disease has been confirmed in 30 Michigan counties (see map Michigan Lyme Disease Risk Map: 2016), and these cases are on the rise.

Outdoor workers are at risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases if they work at sites with ticks. Worksites with woods, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter are likely to have more ticks. Outdoor workers in most regions of the United States should be extra careful to protect themselves in the spring, summer, and fall when ticks are most active. To help protect workers, share and follow the CDC’s advice below.

Protect Yourself From Tick Bites When Working Outdoors: 

  • Use insect repellent that contains 20 – 30 percent DEET.
  • Wear clothing that has been treated with permethrin.
  • Take a shower as soon as you can after working outdoors
  • Look for ticks on your body. Ticks can hide under the armpits, behind the knees, in the hair, and in the groin.
  • Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 60 minutes to kill any remaining ticks.

How To Remove A Tick

  • If a tick is attached to you, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick at the surface of your skin.
  • Pull the tick straight up and out. Don’t twist or jerk the tick—this can cause the mouth parts to break off and stay in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers if you can. If not, leave them alone and let your skin heal.
  • Clean the bite and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  • You may get a small bump or redness that goes away in 1-2 days, like a mosquito bite. This is not a sign that you have Lyme disease.Note: Do not put hot matches, nail polish, or petroleum jelly on the tick to try to make it pull away from your skin.

When To See A Doctor

See a doctor if you develop a fever, a rash, severe fatigue, facial paralysis, or joint pain within 30 days of being bitten by a tick. Be sure to tell your doctor about your tick bite. If you have these symptoms and work where Lyme disease is common, it is important to get treatment right away. If you do not get treatment, you may later experience severe arthritis and problems with your nerves, spinal cord, brain, or heart.

Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease. Your doctor will prescribe specific antibiotics, typically for 2-3 weeks. Most patients recover during this time. You may feel tired while you are recovering, even though the infection is cured. If you wait longer to seek treatment or take the wrong medicine, you may have symptoms that are more difficult to treat.

For additional information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/Lyme/.

Should you require additional assistance with preventing tick-borne diseases in your workplace, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Resources:

 

Posted in 2017, JULY 2017, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Preventing Tick-Borne Diseases

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Additional Rent Control Legislation Introduced

New legislation has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives allowing rent control in specific situations, with offsetting property tax breaks. House Bill 4686 would create a new law authorizing local units of government with the ability to limit rent for disabled individuals and senior citizens. An individual with a disability is defined in the bill as a person with either physical or mental disability that limits one or more major life activities of the individual. Senior citizen is defined in the bill as someone 62 or older, but the rent limitation would not apply to a person 70 or under unless the person has lived in their dwelling for the last 5 years. The legislation calls for local units of government with rent control ordinances to provide a property tax break to property subject to the rent control ordinance. The tax break takes the form of an exemption from ad valorem property taxes, with a specific tax taking its place. The specific tax is figured by taking the amount of tax that would have been collected on the parcel as though it was not exempt from ad valorem property tax, minus an amount determined by the local government but not exceeding the ad valorem tax. Also introduced is House Bill 4687, which amends the existing law preempting local rent control to allow for the rent control proposed under House Bill 4686.

These new bills join HB 4456, proposed earlier this year, which would completely repeal the law prohibiting local governments in Michigan from enacting rent control ordinances. The preemption of local rent control is one of the most significant legislative accomplishments in AAM’s history.

Senate Bill Would Lower Lead Measure

Legislation introduced earlier this year in the Michigan Senate proposes to amend a section of the Public Health Code regulating lead-based paint hazards in rental housing. Senate Bill 62 would lower the blood lead level standard for minor children from 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of venous blood to 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter. 5 micrograms is consistent with new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) blood lead level references for minor children. This section of state law prescribes penalties for a rental property owner who knowingly rents a unit with a lead-based paint hazard and has not acted in good faith to reduce the hazard.

 

Posted in 2017, JULY 2017 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Advocacy Update

Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Trump Tax Plan Offers No Carried Interest Specifics

President Trump’s tax reform plan has garnered a great deal of interest since its release, especially for its individual reform proposals and 15 percent business tax rate. However, of particular interest to the real estate industry is the President’s position on carried interest. Over the past several years, debate has raged in Congress about the treatment of carried interest in the tax code, with many demonizing it as a loophole. Currently taxed as a capital gain, critics have argued that it should be taxed at the much higher ordinary income rate. The rationale used by advocates of change has been that the current treatment of carried interest unfairly benefits Wall Street hedge fund managers. As we know however, a change in this tax would directly impact real estate developers, with the effect of dampening investment in residential and commercial projects.

The one page tax reform document issued by President Trump – entitled the “2017 Tax Reform for Economic Growth and American Jobs” – does not specifically mention carried interest. There is, however, a nebulous bullet point in the business reform section that states “Eliminate tax breaks for special interests.” As a presidential candidate, Trump’s economic plan proposed taxing carried interest at the ordinary income rate. Interestingly, the tax plan proposed by the House Republicans last June also did not specifically address carried interest. Stay tuned …

Federal Civil Rights Act/Fair Housing Act Amendment Proposed

Legislation has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes currently identified in the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act. The legislation, called the Equality Act of 2017, would explicitly ban discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in housing, employment, credit, public education, and other areas covered by anti-discrimination laws.

 

Posted in 2017, JUNE 2017 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Pool Chemical Use — Time For Refresher Training

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

For almost 100 years, pool chemicals have provided the primary barrier to the transmission of infectious pathogens in treated recreational water venues. Chemicals are added to pool water to kill disease-causing germs, maximize the efficacy of the disinfection process (for example, pH control), improve water quality, stop corrosion and scaling of equipment, and protect against algal growth.

However, improper handling and storage practices and poor pool operation can cause injuries, despite their preventable nature.1 In 2012 alone, nearly 5,000 persons visited an emergency department for injuries associated with pool chemicals.

To prevent these injuries in your workplace, it is important to provide both initial training for new employees and refresher training for existing employees. One of the best, and freely available, training videos is the Pool Chemical Safety2 video (view on YouTube) produced by The Chlorine Institute and the American Chemistry Council, which outlines the safe use of pool chemicals.

In addition to this video, be sure to provide these guidelines to your employees for the safe use and storage of pool chemicals:

Before You Begin

  • Get trained in pool chemical safety.
  • Ask for help if you are NOT trained for specific tasks.
  • Read the entire product label or Safety Data Sheet (SDS) before using.
  • Develop an Emergency Chemical Response Plan for your pool, educate employees and practice it.

Safe Use

  • Wear appropriate safety equipment such as safety goggles, chemical-resistant gloves and mask.
  • Read chemical product label before each use:
  • Handle chemicals in well-ventilated areas.
  • Open one product container at a time and close it before opening another.
  • Minimize dust, fumes and splashes.
  • Measure carefully.
  • Never mix:
    – Chlorine products with acid; this could create toxic gases.
    – Different pool chemicals (e.g., different types of chlorine products) with each other or with any other substance.
    – Only pre-dissolve pool chemicals when directed by the product label.
  • If the product label directs pre-dissolving, add pool chemical to water; NEVER add water to pool chemical because violent (potentially explosive) reaction can occur.

Safe Storage

  • Follow product label directions for chemical storage:
  • Again, wear appropriate safety equipment such as safety goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, and mask.
  • Separate incompatible chemicals (e.g., acid and chlorine).
  • Lock chemicals up to protect people and animals.
  • Keep chemicals dry and do not mix different chemicals (e.g., different types of chlorine products).
  • Keep chemicals cool in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
  • Keep chemicals closed in original, labeled container.
  • Store liquid chemicals low to prevent accidental contact (e.g., by leaking) with chemicals or substances stored below them.
  • Secure the chemical storage area and pump room to limit access.
  • Provide locking mechanisms for the chemical controller to prevent unauthorized tampering.
  • Follow product label directions for safe disposal; never reuse containers.

For more information about preventing pool chemical-associated injuries and the guidelines presented above, and for free laminated posters3, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Pool Chemical-Associated Health Events resource page.

Should you require additional assistance with pool chemical safety in your workplace, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Resources:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Pool Chemical–Associated Health Events in Public and Residential Settings — United States, 2003–2012, and Minnesota, 2013. Published May 16, 2014.
  2. Chlorine Institute, www.chlorineinstitute.org, Pool Chemical Safety training video.
  3. Pool Chemical Safety: Use & Storage Posters at https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/materials/posters.html

 

Posted in 2017, JUNE 2017 | Tagged | Comments Off on Pool Chemical Use — Time For Refresher Training