Advocacy Update

Forrest Wall March 2021Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Director of Regulatory & Legal Affairs, Home Builders Association of Michigan

Source of Income Bills Introduced
Two pieces of legislation – both introduced recently in the Michigan Senate – propose to add “source of income” protections in state law. First, Senate Bill 254 would amend the Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act to forbid a landlord from doing any of the following as it relates to source of income:

  • Deny or terminate a tenancy
  • Make any distinctions or restrictions in rental\price, terms, conditions, fees, or
    privileges relating to the rental unit
  • Attempt to discourage the lease of any rental unit
  • Assist, induce, or coerce another person to engage in a practice violating the
    proposed amendment
  • Coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with rights granted under the act
  • Represent to a prospective or current resident that a unit is not available for
    inspection or rental when in fact it is available
  • Otherwise make unavailable or deny a unit based on source of income

The bill goes on to mandate that a landlord shall not publish or display any notice or ad indicating a preference or requirement based on source of income, and, that a person who “suffers a loss” as a result of violation of the law may bring a court action to recover actual damages or up to 4.5 times the monthly rent of the unit, whichever is greater, along with court costs and attorney fees.

The second bill, Senate Bill 255, proposes to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. This legislation would add source of income protection to both the title and section 502 (relating to real estate transactions) of the act.

AAM strongly opposes these bills for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it would force all Michigan apartment providers to participate in the federal Section 8 housing voucher program. This program, while a fantastic way to help families in need, was designed and codified to be voluntary – not mandatory – as it requires compliance with numerous federal rules which some apartment providers find too restrictive. AAM will work aggressively to educate our lawmakers on the impact such legislation would have on the rental property industry.

Posted in 2021, JUNE 2021 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Emergency! Do You Know First Aid?

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

Picture this: you are at work, thinking about lunch, and you turn your head toward the window and see someone just outside, collapse and they are lying face down, not moving. Take a moment now to think about what you would do. If you are unsure what to do, or maybe you thought you would instantly call 911, or perhaps you would run out there to help and provide care. While it is hard to give a statistic behind it, we know that the “bystander effect” is real, and there is a surprising number of people who would do absolutely nothing. It is likely that when you took that previous moment to think what you would do, that you did not say to yourself, “I would not do anything” and that is because we always think highly of ourselves. We tend to think that we could solve most problems when they come up. Yet, when faced with an emergency, we tend to fall to our level of training (which may be none) rather than rise to the level of expectations. Knowing right now what to do, who should be called, and when things need to happen make the biggest difference in the future when an emergency does occurs.

If you can’t protect yourself from getting hurt, don’t endanger yourself to help others. Whether it is stopping to assist someone who was just t-boned in their car going through an intersection, or helping someone who just got hurt using basic hand power tools, always keep your safety your absolute goal of the event. If that means that you cannot safely help the injured party, then there is not much you can do other than calling 911 and retreating to a safe spot. Not only is your safety important, but if you were to be injured in the process, you’ve added additional risk to the first responders that could have been avoided. When approaching the area, accident scene, or place where an injury occurred, always look around and quickly gather an idea of what caused the injury. Identify what could have caused the injury or accident and determine your level of safety. If the threat is high, do not intervene and call 911.

Once – or if – the scene is safe, you will need to assess whether this is a life threatening condition and if you should either provide care or call 911 first. Likely, there will be others in the area to help and grab a first aid kit, but that’s not always the case! Sometimes you are by yourself and need to determine what’s more important. Care first situations are situations that need immediate attention and first aid as soon as possible. These first seconds matter the most. Care first situations tend to be non-cardiac emergencies, which include breathing emergencies (choking or asthma) or severe bleeding., such as sudden cardiac arrest (heart stops and not breathing at all).

Give care to your level of knowledge. Just because you watched some TV show were they performed a risky first aid procedure and ended up saving a random stranger’s life, does not mean that you should attempt that on someone else in a real event. If you do not know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, do not attempt it. If you are unsure of where you should do compressions on the chest of someone who is not breathing, do not attempt CPR. Performing these things ineffectively or incorrectly may not only do nothing to help, but may also end up causing more damage. The basic rule when approaching someone who needs care is to introduce yourself and provide your level of training to the injured person and ask for consent before providing care to someone who is conscious: “Hi, my name is Dan and I am trained in First Aid. May I help you?”

If you are interested in finding out more information on first aid, or on obtaining your Red Cross First Aid, CPR, and AED certificate, you can contact me at 734-309-3456 or email me at daday@compone.net.

Posted in 2021, MAY 2021 | Comments Off on Emergency! Do You Know First Aid?

Advocacy Update

Forrest Wall March 2021Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Director of Regulatory & Legal Affairs
Home Builders Association of Michigan

Inspection Legislation Introduced
Legislation proposed in the Michigan House of Representatives would require landlords to notify residents of rental inspection violations. House Bill 4183 would amend the Housing Law of Michigan to add a mandate that a property owner must notify residents within 48 hours of receipt of an inspection violation notice from an enforcing agency. The proposal allows for four options in which the property owner can communicate the notice to the resident including:

  • By sending a copy of the notice to each occupant by certified or registered mail
  • By sending a scanned copy of the notice to each occupant via e-mail
  • By personal delivery of the notice to each occupant with a sign-off from the occupant that the notice has been received
  • By posting a copy of the notice in a common area in the premises, with the requirement that it remain posted until the violation is resolved
  • The bill has been referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform for consideration.

Smoke Alarm Law Proposed
House Bill 4382 would ban the distribution/sale of smoke alarms powered by replaceable and removeable batteries in Michigan beginning April 1, 2022. The bill further requires that smoke alarms distributed/sold after April 1, 2022 must be powered for not less than 10 years by a nonremovable and nonreplaceable battery or by another power source utilizing new technology. The legislation would not apply to hard-wired or wirelessly linked alarms.

President Biden Issues Memorandum on Fair Housing
President Biden has issued a memorandum entitled “Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies” which directs HUD to review the Trump Administration’s regulatory actions related to Fair Housing. The memorandum specifically addresses the Trump Administration rule on disparate impact, and goes on to direct HUD to take the steps necessary based on the review to fully implement the Fair Housing Act’s requirements.

Posted in 2021, MAY 2021 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Advocacy Update

Forrest Wall March 2021Written By Forrest Wall, CAE, Vice President Government Affairs And Industry Relations

Rental Assistance Funds Finally Flow

On March 9th, Governor Whitmer signed legislation appropriating over $282 million in rental assistance funding from the federal stimulus approved in December. As you may recall, the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, included $25 billion for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Michigan’s allocation of this relief package amounted to $622 million. Although the legislature did not include the full $622 million in this bill, the initial appropriation gets assistance flowing into the system. The appropriation is broken into two parts: Over $220 million in direct renter assistance and over $62 million for administration of the program. With the funding now in place, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has instituted the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program to deliver the assistance. MSHDA and its local partners – made up of Housing Assessment and Resource Agencies (HARAs) as well as nonprofits – began accepting applications in mid-March. The distribution network will follow the previous Eviction Diversion Program (EDP), which concluded at the end of 2020. However, eligibility and requirements under CERA differ from the EDP in a number of ways because EDP was established and funded by the State of Michigan, while CERA is funded by the federal government. Renters must be under 80% of Area Median Income (AMI), have a COVID related financial hardship, and be at-risk of homelessness or housing instability. The period of rental assistance (both future and arrears) is based on an AMI scale, and utility assistance is included. The federal law stipulates that Michigan must obligate at least 65% (so $405 million) of the available funds by September 30, 2021, or unobligated funds could be recalled by the Department of Treasury.

Legislation Proposed to Limit Evictions
A bill introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives would further restrict evictions as a result of the pandemic. House Bill 4181, introduced in February, would amend the Revised Judicature Act to prohibit property owners from evicting residents or sending a notice to quit until 60 days after the termination of the COVID-19 emergency orders. The legislation also prohibits courts from the following: accepting a filing for summons or complaint; entering an order or judgment for a plaintiff for possession; issuing a writ of restitution or order of eviction; denying a stay of a writ of restitution or order for eviction or a continuation of a summary proceeding; or scheduling a court event. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Judiciary where AAM is opposing it.

Posted in 2021, APRIL 2021 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Be Prepared For Weather Emergencies

Written By Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

Whether it is sub-freezing temperatures in the dead of winter, extreme heat during the midst of summer, or the occasional severe weather that occurs anywhere in between, you should always be prepared for whatever weather might come. In the Midwest, we have an array of things we have to worry about– tornados (seldom in most areas) and high winds, heavy rains and lightning, hail, extreme heat and cold, and of course, snow and ice storms. While earthquakes are considered geological events, they can still bring similar effects as severe weather and should also be considered when becoming prepared for natural disasters and weather emergencies. Regardless of the weather, there are 3 main steps you need to take to ensure you and your employees’ safety: plan, prepare, and improve.

Take the time now to plan for any type of emergency weather and the long-term effects it may bring. This means creating an extensive plan that goes over what you need to do in order to prepare for known incoming severe weather, who all should be notified, where shelter should be taken (if applicable), procedures for accounting for everyone (both employees, guests, and visitors) once the event is over, and what actions may need to be taken if there is significant damage or injury. Using a tornado event as an example: Establish who notifies all employees that there is a tornado warning in the area and everyone should seek shelter (identify how you will notify employees, such as a “call-‘em-all” app, and where they should seek shelter at); after the tornado warning has lifted or the tornado has passed, determine how supervisors or managers are going to identify any injuries or damage and how that gets reported; and lastly, if there is any damage, determine what needs to be done in the interim: do you need to establish a back-up area where work can continue to commence if your building has been damaged? All of this should be figured out and written into procedure as soon as possible, as storms may come without warning and you don’t want to wait until it is too late!

Believe it or not, planning for a weather emergency is probably one of the easiest steps in being prepared. The hardest step is being prepared. Being prepared for any kind of emergency is not just a “do once and you’re done” type of task – it requires continual training, checking on supplies, and conducting drills to test knowledge. At the very minimum, all companies should conduct new-hire orientation training that includes your own procedures in what to do in the event of severe weather, perform annual drills, and conduct inspections or checks on all emergency equipment, quarterly or annually (such as batteries in flashlights, expiration dates on emergency food and first aid materials, and to ensure all items are still accounted for). There is a saying that “people do not rise to the occasion of an emergency but rather fall to the level of training”. Keeping up on training and preparedness with drills and inspections ensures that your employees are always prepared for whatever emergency may occur.

The last step you should be taking to be prepared for weather emergencies is to always update and improve your procedures, polices, drills, and training. With global climate change slowly increasing the frequency and severity of severe weather emergencies, and new information coming out every few years on how to best prepare for events, we must stay one step ahead of the worst-case event. At the very minimum, you should do an annual review of your policy to check for accuracy and ensure that all emergencies are covered. Information such as contact numbers should be checked as well. Going over your listed shelter locations and ensuring that it is still the best location should also be done annually. There is always room for improvement with everything and your emergency procedures are no exception! There are several outlets to get more information on emergency weather, such as government websites like ready.gov or emergency.cdc.gov, or you can reach out to me with any questions at daday@compone.net or by call me at 734-309-3456.

Posted in 2021, APRIL 2021 | Comments Off on Be Prepared For Weather Emergencies