2023 Q3 Compliance & Legislation Update
In this recurring blog series, Entrata will review the latest legislation for you to help ensure you are in the loop and don’t fall out of compliance and are prepared for upcoming deadlines. However it is important to note, the information contained herein is general in nature and is not intended to provide, or be a substitute for, legal analysis, legal advice, or consultation with appropriate legal counsel. You should not act or rely on information contained in this document without seeking appropriate professional advice.
We know you’ve got a lot on your plate, so it can be hard to stay on top of the constantly changing laws and regulations. But you don’t have to worry because we’ve got you covered. To help you stay on top of everything, we’ve outlined major legislation passed the previous quarter.
Rhode Island SB 311 (Landlord and Tenant Act)
Effective January 1, 2024, Rhode Island SB 311 prohibits landlords, rental agents, and property managers from charging application fees to rental applications— with two exceptions.
With the passage of SB 311 Rhode Island joins a growing list of states that require landlords and rental property managers to accept applicant provided background reports. Entrata has been aware of these changes for some time and has developed resources to assist our clients in accepting and managing these reports. Please reach out to your Entrata representative for more information.
Minnesota Senate File 2909 (Omnibus bill with additional changes to landlord/tenant laws)
Minnesota Senate File 2909 signed into law earlier this year will take effect on January 1, 2024. The bill requires landlords to clearly display the total monthly payment and all non optional fees on the first page of the lease agreement and in all advertisements.
First, landlords and their representatives will be able to charge applicants for the actual cost of conducting a credit check or a criminal background check unless the rental applicant has provided a credit report and BCI/police background check dated no more than 90 days before the day of the application.
Second, if the rental applicant is required to pay for a report, the applicant must be provided with a copy of it. The new law helps prevent the practice of rental applicants paying application fees for multiple rentals that often total hundreds of dollars.
Additionally, the omnibus bill dedicated a total of $2 billion which will be allocated to housing and homeless resources. Other changes in the bill include eviction filing period reforms, disclosure of mandatory fees on the lease, creation of tenant health and safety measures, and crime-free lease provisions. To help you understand how these changes will impact you and how you can use Entrata to navigate next steps and conversations, reach out to your Entrata representative.
Pre-eviction notice: Landlords are required to provide tenants written notice within 14 days prior to initiating an eviction proceeding for nonpayment in court. Additionally, municipalities have the authority to establish and enforce more stringent pre-filing notice prerequisites if they choose to do so. Entrata users can utilize the message center to send this notice.
Disclosure of fees: In a lease agreement, landlords must clearly list all non optional fees alongside rent, creating the "Total Monthly Payment" on the lease's first page. Additionally, any residential unit advertised for rent must include these non optional fees in the total rent amount in all ads or postings. Landlords must also specify whether utilities are included in the rent in both lease disclosures and unit advertisements. The total monthly payment can be listed on Prospect Portal.
Eviction Expungement: Access to expungements for evictions is made more simple for tenants when: 1) the tenant prevails; 2) the case is dismissed, 3) the parties agree to expungement or upon request of the tenant if the case is settled and the tenant fulfills the terms; 4) the eviction was ordered three or more years ago.
Tenant privacy when entering a unit: A landlord is required to provide tenants 24-hour notice before entering a unit, unless the tenant and landlord agree otherwise. A window of time must be given to the tenant by the landlord and may only occur between 8 AM and 8 PM (unless otherwise determined earlier by the landlord and tenant). Landlords can send this communication to tenants via Message Center.
Early termination of a lease for medical reasons: A tenant would be able to break their lease if certain medical conditions require them to relocate. However, the tenant is required to provide at least a two-month notice.
Required Inspections concerning security deposits: Landlords must inform tenants of their right to request a move-out inspection within a reasonable time after either party notifies their intention to terminate the tenancy or before the lease ends. The inspection, scheduled no earlier than five days before termination or the tenant's planned move-out date, allows the tenant to address any issues identified, aligning with the rental agreement's terms to prevent deductions from the security deposit. Landlords can notify tenants via the Message Center. Learn more about Minnesota Senate File 2909 by clicking here.
Nevada SB 381 (Utility Charges)
Nevada Senate Bill 381, which prevents landlords from charging tenants fees to perform repairs, passed the Senate unanimously on April 19. It is one of a number of pieces of legislation passed recently by the state to help shine a light on hidden fees targeted at residents.
Initially, this bill primarily focused on fees associated with pest and trash, however, at this time it does not appear this law is extended to these charges. Entrata has collaborated with apartment associations in the state as well as other interested parties since this bill became law, and they continue to concur that at this point in time these charges are not the focus of the legislation. That being said, it is still important to monitor enforcement actions, cases interpreting the bill language and any guidance that is offered regarding this legislation from local landlord and tenant counsel. Learn more about SB 381 by clicking here.
Be sure to reach out to your Entrata rep if you have any additional questions and watch this space for more updates in the coming months.