|The rental housing industry had a big week at the legislature and we need your help to make sure our gains are not released.
What we need from you
Housing Authorities and their advocates are engaged in a grass roots efforts to contact Senators to urge them to vote against a bill that is GREAT for our industry and affordable housing. We need your help contacting your Senator as a constituent and letting them know how good this bill will be for affordable housing. SB 175 Fair Housing Option Amendments, Margaret Dayton (R), Orem, has passed out of Senate committee and will go to the floor of the Senate this week for a vote. The housing authorities and advocates will be sending emails this week to Senators claiming the sky will fall if this bill is passed. Nothing could be further from the truth and emails from actual constituents of each Senator will counter this hysteria. We need your help to let your Senator know what this bill does and why they should support it.
What this bill does
It allows Utah landlords to opt out of working with housing authorities, by allowing us to refuse to work with the section 8 voucher program without being discriminatory. Here is the actual language of the bill:
In other words currently Section 8 is a protected class and refusing to work with Section 8 could get a landlord a $10,000 fine. This bill will allow landlords to opt out and not be liable for discrimination.
Here are links to more info on the bill:
What we need from you
Go to this website http://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp to find your State Senator (just put in your street address and Zip Code, i.e. “448 East Winchester 84107”). Make sure to only find your Senator (the House hasn’t taken up the matter yet). Then using the contact info it pulls up, send a short email with the subject line: “Constituent who supports SB 175” that says something, in your own words, like:
I am a constituent and voter in your district who is in the rental housing business
Copy us on your email so we can track how many are being sent firstname.lastname@example.org
This week one of our major bills went through committee on a 9-1 vote and is headed to the House floor!
HB 196, Unlawful Detainer Revisions, Sponsored by Keith Grover (R), Provo
This bill deals with squatters and changes the definition of something called peaceful possession. In our eviction (unlawful detainer) statute, we must go through a notice and lawsuit process to remove someone we created a tenancy relationship, because we gave them rights of possession. However, there are cases when someone simply breaks in or moves in to one of our rentals without permission or any rights to be there. In those cases, we don’t have to do an eviction, we can simply treat them as trespassers.
The bill’s sponsor is a landlord himself and has dealt personally with cases when people move in without permission. Sometimes, when police are called they are good and escort the trespasser out, other times they tell landlords to “do an eviction”. The problem with that is not only does it take time and cost money, but in some cases it hurts the previous tenant.
Up to now, if you had a tenant who moved out, but they had acquaintances who took advantage of them and then moved in, you would have to do an eviction of the previous tenant, and get a judgement on their record when they were being taken advantage of by someone. This law will clarify that if someone moves into your rental without your permission and you don’t know who they are that you can treat them like a trespasser. It’s good for tenants, landlords, and the courts because it will reduce the number of evictions being done.