Advocacy Update

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

Bedbug Legislation Introduced
Legislation has been introduced in Michigan House of Representatives to address bedbug infestations in rental property. House Bill 4777 proposes to add a section in the Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act (Public Act 348 of 1972) to provide for the responsibilities of tenants and landlords in situations where bedbugs are suspected and/or present. This is the same legislation that has been introduced in previous legislative sessions. The bill provides that a landlord shall not enter into a lease if the landlord knows the rental unit is infested with bedbugs, and, when entering a lease agreement the landlord shall supply the tenant with information relating to identification of bedbugs and keeping a rental unit free of bedbugs. The landlord has 7 days from receipt of written notice of suspected infestation to schedule a unit inspection, and if the inspection confirms infestation then the landlord has 7 days to begin control measures and schedule inspection of adjoining units. Treatment is to be carried out by a licensed pest management professional. After written notice to the landlord of suspected infestation, a tenant shall grant access for inspection/treatment and comply with the control protocol established by the landlord or the landlord’s pest management professional. The bill also bans tenant treatment of a rental unit. Furthermore, if the tenant or the tenant’s guest causes an infestation, the tenant shall pay the cost of treatment for that unit and any other areas where bedbugs have spread. The bill specifically states the landlord is not liable, except in cases of negligence, for damages arising from an infestation or treatment. The legislation also allows a landlord and tenant to agree in writing how responsibility is to be assigned for costs associated with an infestation. Finally, there is a preemption of local ordinances for control or treatment of bedbugs in conflict with the provisions of the bill. The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform for action.
Posted in 2019, AUGUST 2019 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Life-Saving Tips To Help Beat The Heat

Written by AJ Hale Jr. CSM-LSP, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Risk Manager

Heat stress can be more than a minor inconvenience for those who work in extremely warm conditions. Knowing how to prevent, identify and treat its symptoms can literally save lives.
In case of EXTREME TEMPERATURES, the following procedure is to assist in identifying times and applications when employees may be under duress from extremes of heat. This is caused by extreme weather conditions in the inside and or outside of the facility, the environment which ultimately has an effect on temperature whether or not employees are inside or outside of facility working.
This procedure applies to all employees, all shifts, and all working days when the outside temperature, (as reported by the bureau of meteorology) reaches a high of 86° F or above.

Reference:
“Work in hot or cold environments” Work-Cover code of practice Training material on Dehydration in the workplace, NOAA, National Weather Service

Procedure:
Monitoring of the daily forecast by the supervisors coordinator and the management team will determine a course of action to be taken. Cold water shall be readily available to all employees. If you use water coolers, please keep in mind they can sometimes become warm due to extremes of temperature and constant usage.

Alternatives are to be provided when:

  • Monitoring of the outside weather temperatures through the bureau of meteorology signals temperatures of 86° F or above.
  • Staff consultation proves that the water coolers are becoming warm.
  • Humidity increases and the source of heat cannot be removed.

Under these circumstances, provision of 4-5 gallons of clean, fresh, iced water will be made with the choice of flavored cordial if desired by employees. This will encourage fluid intake and prevent dehydration and related illnesses.

Steps to consider:

  • Monitor temperature, humidity and worker’s physical response to hot environmental conditions
  • Inform and train employees to recognize symptoms of heat related illness.
  • Provide frequent rest breaks and rotate duties where possible.
  • Provide fluids and encourage workers to make up for body fluid lost through sweating.
  • A useful rule of thumb is that workers should drink at least half a liter of water each hour if hot environment results in excessive sweating.
  • Provide fresh water supply for washing and external cooling
  • Remove heat through exhaust systems or circulation of fans.

Responsibility of the Supervisors and the management team:

  • To acknowledge when temperatures outside reach 86°F. At that stage iced water and cordial must be made available for all employees.
  • Make employees aware of the fluid placement and encourage them to take in fluid and remain hydrated.
  • The EH&S coordinator is to provide constant refresher training through communication meetings and toolbox talks during the summer months.

Responsibility of the supervisors and managers:

  • To ensure that a reminder goes out if the heat and humidity increases to extreme levels.
  • To ensure that employees understand the effects of exposure to hot environments and steps are taken to reduce the risks when and where possible.
  • Conduct reminders through toolbox talks and consultation with employees.

Responsibility of the employee:

  • To take action and be responsible for their own health and well-being by increasing fluid intake when necessary.
  • To raise concerns with the management if adequate fluids are not available.
  • To be aware that consultation is a vital part of the process to ensure the safety of them and their colleagues in line with own duty of care requirements.

Posted in 2019, July 2019, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Life-Saving Tips To Help Beat The Heat

Advocacy Update

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

Legislature Approves Revised Judicature Act Change
The Michigan Senate and Michigan House of Representatives have passed a bill to amend the Revised Judicature Act in a section of the law relating to unlawful interference with a tenant’s possessory interest. Senate Bill 112 changes a provision in the law that protects a property owner from a violation of a tenant’s possessory interest in cases where the owner believes in good faith that the tenant has abandoned the premises. The legislation adds language that, in addition to the owner, a determination of abandonment could be made by a court officer, bailiff, or deputy sheriff. The original version of this legislation, sponsored by Senator Peter J. Lucido (R-8th District), actually replaced the ability of the owner to determine abandonment with a requirement that it be a court officer, bailiff, or deputy sheriff. After discussing the issue with Sen. Lucido, the original ownership determination of abandonment was added back. This is an important provision in the law, as a property owner found in violation under this section is subject to damages. The legislation now goes to Governor Whitmer for her approval.

Amendment to Elliott-Larson Act Proposed
A bill has recently been introduced in the Michigan Senate to amend the Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act. Senate Bill 351 would amend all relevant sections of the act (title, scope, employment, real estate, etc.) to include sexual orientation, gender identity or expression among the protected classes under the law. Currently, Michigan’s civil rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, familial status, and marital status. However, last year the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) ordered the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) to investigate complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. MCRC interpreted the word “sex” in Elliott-Larson to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Posted in 2019, July 2019 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Severe Weather And Evacuation Tips For Office and Home

Written By AJ Hale Jr. CSM-LSP, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Risk Manager

Tornadoes are the most erratic, most unpredictable and most violent of storms. They can happen anytime…anywhere, but are most common in Wyoming from May through September.

The tornado funnel may range from a few yards to nearly a mile in width. It may travel slowly or as fast as 60 mph. It may skip along or even make a U-turn. It may move along the ground a few hundred feet or several hundred miles. Learn the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning.

Tornado Watch:
Indicates that conditions are right for a tornado to develop and that the sky should be watched. Be alert to changing weather conditions.

Tornado Warning:
Indicates a tornado has been sighted or that radar indicates one has developed or could develop within minutes. Warnings will give the location of the tornado and the area immediately affected by the warning. When a warning is issued, move quickly to shelter.

Immediate Dangers:
The immediate threat from tornadoes is danger to life and property from violently whirling winds and debris hurled through the air by the winds. Wind speeds in tornadoes can exceed 250 mph.

Long Term Dangers:
Long-term risks include the possibility of building collapse, fallen trees and power lines, broken gas lines, broken sewer and water mains, and the outbreak of fires. Agricultural crops and industries may be damaged or destroyed.

Straight-line Winds:

  • Responsible for most thunderstorm wind damage
  • Winds can exceed 100 mph!
  • One type of straight-line wind, the downburst, can cause damage equivalent to a strong tornado and can be extremely dangerous to aviation.
  • During the summer in the western states, thunderstorms often produce little rain but very strong wind gusts and dust storms.

Thunder Storm Facts:

  • Thunderstorms affect relatively small areas when compared with hurricanes and winter storms.
  • The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts an average of 30 minutes. Nearly 1,800 thunderstorms are occurring at any moment around the world. That’s 16 million a year!
  • Despite their small size, all thunderstorms are dangerous.
  • Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes.
  • Heavy rain from thunderstorms can lead to flash flooding.
  • Strong winds, hail, and tornadoes are also dangers associated with some thunderstorms.
  • Of the estimated 100,000 thunderstorms that occur each year in the United States, only about 10 percent are classified as severe.
  • Your National Weather Service considers a thunderstorm severe if it produces hail at least 3/4-inch in diameter, wind 58 mph or higher, or tornadoes.
  • Take the time now to understand these dangers and learn basic safety rules!

Lightning:

  • Occurs with all thunderstorms.
  • Averages 93 deaths and 300 injuries each year.
  • Causes several hundred million dollars in damage to property and forests annually.
  • While the flashes we see as a result of a lightning strike travel at the speed of light (670,000,000 mph) an actual lightning strike travels at a comparatively gentile 270,000 mph.
  • This means it would take about 55 minutes to travel to the moon, or around 1.5 seconds to get from London to Bristol.
  • 1,400,000,000 strikes every year

Develop a Plan:

  • Pick two places to meet: A spot outside your home for an emergency and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.
  • Choose an out-of-state friend as your “family check-in contact” for everyone to call if the family gets separated.
  • Discuss what you would do if advised to evacuate.
  • Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.
  • Plan on how to take care of your pets and livestock.
  • Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
  • Working with neighbors can save lives and property.
  • Meet with your neighbors to plan how the neighborhood could work together before, during and after a disaster until help arrives.
  • Things to consider: Special skills (medical, technical), how to care for those with special needs (disabled or elderly), and child care in case the parents aren’t home or can’t get home.

Practice and Maintain Your Plan:

  • Quiz your kids and family every six months so they remember what to do.
  • Conduct emergency drills at Home and Work.
  • Replace stored water every three months and food every six months.
  • Test and Check your Fire Extinguishers.
  • Test your Smoke Detectors monthly.
  • Check the batteries in your flash lights and in your radio at least once a year.

Should you require assistance with understanding or applying the OSHA or MIOSHA Standards, please contact AJ Hale, CompOne Administrators Inc./Rizikon, at 269-789-9166 or ajhale@compone.net

Posted in 2019, JUNE 2019 | Comments Off on Severe Weather And Evacuation Tips For Office and Home

Advocacy Update

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

Water Billing Legislation Introduced

  • A Democratic effort in the Michigan Senate proposes significant water billing changes for local governments that own or operate a water or sewage system. Here are a few of the changes proposed under Senate Bill 271:
  • Municipalities must include on a bill the consumption in gallons (or provide a conversion factor) as well as the local water or sewerage rates for each component of the bill.
  • An option must be provided to customers to choose “levelized billing” which is a rolling average of customer water and sewerage use for the trailing 12 months.
  • Local government systems must eliminate fees based on the type of payment a customer makes or interest for past due bills.
  • Municipalities must adopt a dispute resolution process for a customer to dispute a bill. If the customer disputes a bill, the customer can withhold payment during the dispute, will not accrue interest during the dispute, and the municipality shall not turn off service during the dispute. Costs associated with one dispute per calendar year shall be borne by the municipality, with additional disputes to cost the customer 50% of the dispute resolution cost.
  • Requires municipal monitoring and notification for customer-side leaks.
  • Allows for civil remedies for municipal violation of the act.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Local Government Committee for consideration.

Take Advantage of AAM Resident Relations & Fair Housing Training

Over the years, AAM has provided member companies with many outstanding Fair Housing training seminars. Given the continued evolution of Fair Housing enforcement and changing points of emphasis, apartment owners and their employees need reliable and regular education. Please join us June 19th for our next Fair Housing program.
The fast paced workshop will cover site specific scenarios that your entire on site team faces every day. The presentations will include a Fair Housing overview, highlights of recent changes and a Q & A. Facilitators for the training are Kathleen Mabie of Success On Site and Matthew Paletz of Paletz Law.

The training will be held from 9 a.m. to Noon at Association offices in Bingham Farms. The cost is $69 per AAM or HBA member or $85 per guest.
Limited seating is available. Register early, online at www.apartments.org
or by calling 248-862-1004.

Posted in 2019, JUNE 2019 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update