The Landlords Association...Here for Landlords and their Tenants
The Landlords Association...
Here for Landlords and their Tenants
by Jennifer LB Leese
Whether good or bad, at one point in our adult lives, we have all had a landlord.
In short, a landlord, or lessor, agrees through a lease, or other instrument, to allow another person(s), the tenant, or lessee, to rent their property. In general, the landlord is responsible for repairs and maintenance, and the tenant is responsible for keeping the property clean and safe.
Many landlords hire a property management company to take care of all the details of renting their property out to a tenant. This usually includes advertising the property and showing it to prospective tenants, and then, once rented, collecting rent from the tenant and performing repairs as needed.
"The signing of a lease between landlord and tenant marks the beginning of a relationship filled with obligations, rights and risks for both parties. While this relationship should be mutually beneficial and an enjoyable experience, the potential for the relationship between a landlord and a tenant to end in dispute is often heightened by a lack of understanding between the parties," said Nik Osborne, Attorney-at-Law.
The Landlords & Property Owners Association of Washington County Maryland, Inc. (LPOAWC) provides education and assistance to area property owners and is a member of the Property Owners Association of Maryland, Inc. (www.marylandpropertyowners.org). They are "for anyone who owns property in Washington County." Dick Chaney and Doug Saum formed the group in June of 1995 after the subject and approach of lead paint arose. "I found that as youths we had both been exposed to paint with lead and neither seemed the worse for exposure. We thought the General Assembly was going overboard and ought to be stopped," Chaney said. "To this would mean getting many landlords together." Doug Saum composed an ad for the back page of the local paper to see how many would be interested. The ad generated much interest - 75 members to be exact - and "we were offered a second floor room, by the bank in the first block of North Potomac Street, in which to hood our first meeting." The organization grew from there. At the time of this interview they have 285 members.
Nancy Bremmer, secretary for LPOAWC, said, "We are hoping to get more [members] this year." She went on to say that the purpose of LPOAWC is "to educate landlords to know the law, to know how to keep property in good repair and how to get good tenants." She said they never give legal advice and are getting more well known. "We're not always looking out for ourselves" - meaning that they are here for the tenants as well.
If you are a landlord, real estate investor, property owner, or property manager, or thinking about becoming one, then the Landlords and Property Owners Association of Washington County Maryland, Inc. is your number one stop for help. When joining, members receive a membership card, a folder full of forms such as updated leases, addendums, livabilty code, MD & EPA lead pamphlets & association bylaws, lead paint hazard law and disclosure information, and garage renting tips. An association such as LPOAWC offers newsletters, monthly meetings, landlord and real estate news, information, forms, landlord tenant laws, real estate management tools, and networking.
Members of LPOAWC receive the following benefits: impact with delegates through the Association, updates on bills before the General Assembly, web site access, past tenant list compiled by information given by former landlords, credit reports, help with judicial searches, collection assistance, monthly meetings with guest speakers, and much more.
"We do whatever we can to help the landlord image," said Allan Johnson, president. "We've helped to revise the rental codes, deal with legislation, meet monthly to form a state property owners association, and are looking to hire a lobbyist to represent us in office."
Meetings for members start out with refreshments and an opportunity for conversation among members, followed by a short business meeting and then an informative presentation by a guest speaker. Some of the subjects have been: fire safety, crime safety, insurance, planning & zoning, home mortgages and exchanges, taxes, dealing with mold and lead, real estate investing, and fraud and theft. Speakers have been: planning & zoning administrator, building inspector, a city code compliance official, the Community Action Council, and a district court judge.
Throughout the year the Association is involved in giving back to the community. They donate canned goods and cash to local organizations such as the Community Action Council's Food Pantry, and helps with the Mayor's Task Force for the Homeless. The Association also sponsors classes for landlords at Hagerstown Community College such as Real Estate Investment.
Vendors Night on May 2, 2007 is a perfect time to see what the Association is all about. "We are featuring our members who have a business or service relating to the business of owning properties, examples: plumber, electrician, roofer, builders, inspector, cleaning service, handy man, contractor, painter, accountant, realtor, management, etc." Anyone wishing to participate must contact call 301-790-3244 to sign up. (Cut off date is April 23rd.) "You will be given 5 minutes to talk about the service you offer and will have space to display brochures or business cards throughout the evening."
Contact LPOAWC by phone at 301-745-3159 Mon, Wed, or Fri from 10am-2pm or by visiting www.landlordassociation.net. Nancy (secretary) will mail interested parties information on the Association. Lynn Di Carlo, publicity chairperson, suggests that those interested should "come to a meeting. Visitors are welcome." She also states that members do not have to attend meetings to benefit from membership as "they receive a monthly newsletter with a review of the meeting, plus all the services that the Association offers" (listed above).
LPOAWC is located in the Professional Arts Building at 5 Public Square in Suite 207 in downtown Hagerstown.