MEETING RECAP ARCHIVE

NOVEMBER 6th, 2023
MEETING MINUTES

SWCLA General Meeting Summary – November 6, 2023
The meeting opened at 7 p.m.  with Doug Quattrochi giving his monthly update via Zoom.  He was pleased to announce that through the MassLL efforts, we have changed the law.  We have doubled the de-leading tax credit.  For a Letter of Compliance a $3,000 credit and for a Letter of Interim Control, $1,000 tax credit.  These are back-dated to January 1, 2023.

There is a hearing at the State House on Tuesday, Nov. 14th on Rent Control.  If you cannot attend, please use the MassLL website to voice your concern.  MassLL has also created a website rentcontrolhistory.com depicting some of the hazards of rent control.


Our speaker for the evening was Brian of Premier Plus Electric
Brian has a growing business with 5 vans and 10 employees and services Webster, Dudley and Charlton.  His company will cover up to an hour radius from their central location.

Brian highlighted some recently enacted requirements and outlined some cost saving tips.  Now lights must be on 24/7 in all common areas.  Lights can be motion activated for driveways.  Laundry areas will also need 24/7 lighting.  Switching to LED lights helps keep the cost down.  Bathroom ceiling fans are essential.  Landlord meters are mandatory.  Twist fuses not allowed; must be circuit breaker.  Federal Pacific breakers are no longer accepted.  Smoke alarm systems - by code you need battery backup on hard-wired systems.  Mass does not allow ionization; only photo-electric.  He also recommends fan-forced heaters over traditional baseboard.


The specific Mass General Law will be available on his website.

He also offers Generac generators including sales, installation and service (both portable and propane).

Submitted by Mary Palazzo
 

 

SEPTEMBER 1st, 2023
MEETING MINUTES

SWCLA Meeting Summary – September 11, 2023
Our monthly meeting started at 7 p.m., both in person and via Zoom.  Doug Quattrochi, Executive Director of MassLandlords gave his updates via Zoom.  He reported that their in-person meeting had a good turn-out  and there will be another meeting soon.

MassLL now has a seat on the state committee for Mass Save Energy Efficiency.  He again outlined the benefits of the Mass Save audit for landlords.

Rent Control – he gave some rent control history.  The bill introduced now is more retro to the old rent control attempts.  He said 70,000 signatures are needed to get opposition to this on the ballot.  There is a website for fundraising.  Go to: NoOnRentControl  He asked for donations for this effort which is costing $15,000.

 

Our speaker for the evening was Donat Charon on the topic of Burner Service Prevention

He handed out a manual to each  of us covering the following:

Section 1:  How to avoid a costly no heat call
Section 2:  Burner service and parts manual
Section 3:  Annual tune-up and heating system evaluation

The manual contained diagrams and parts pictures with ordering information.
Donat also brought in actual burner parts to aid in his explanation.
If you would like a copy of this manual please contact Donat directly from the email address on our website.


 

MAY 1st, 2023
MEETING MINUTES

Doug Quattrochi came to our May meeting in person.
It was great to see him!

There are some knew updated Massachusetts State Codes that went into effect May 12th:
  • Automatic lights have to come on in the common areas - We recommend Commercial Grade Motion Sensors.  This is required in case of fire, your tenants need to see to get out of the building
  • You will need a Pest form before anyone can move into our apartment
This will need to say that you are “Pest Free”
  • Large Closets that have dark spaces will need to be hard wired because we need to see in the closet -
 
  • You must waterproof your kitchen.  Example:  You need a back splash.  You must have the appropriate waterproof kitchen counter
  • If you do not have proper ventilation in the bathroom, a window may not cut it you will have to put in an exhaust fan.

May Meeting with Dan O’Connor from O’Connor & Co. Insurance Agency, Inc.
Dan has been in the insurance business for 35 years.  He supplies the Pizza and soda!!  Thanks Dan!

Tonight’s Subject was PAIN

ENVIROMENT:
  • There have been over 10 Natural Disasters
  • Over $250 billion has been paid out

HOW THE MARKETPLACE WORKS:
  • There are 5-6 Re-Insurance Companies
  • These companies’ insurance the insurance companies
  • Each Insurance Company pays into the Re-Insurance Companies
  • Every loss the insurance company has they pay into the Re-Insurance Company


Due to the high number of disasters, your insurance premium will be going to go up.  Not all at once, they will increase your premium over a few years.

Parts for cars have been hard to get, so when you get into an accident and you are waiting for your vehicle to be repaired, you are in a rental longer than normal.  This is extra days that your insurance company normally would not pay out.

Insurance companies have limited reserves to pay claims, this is why the insurance companies need the re-insurance companies.



WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP OUR INSURANCE NOT GO SKYROCKETING:
  • Check your building and UPDATE
Older Habitats fall pray
  • Update your main heating systems
Take out the parlor heaters
Change your gas-on-gas stoves
  • If you have fuses, you need to upgrade your electric
  • How old is your roof?  25-30 years old?  Is it time for a new one?
  • Does your apartment look run down?
Maybe it needs Paint
Show pride of ownership

All of the older habitats to the insurance companies with no updates will pay higher premium – the insurance company sees your building as a risk


HOW DO I SAVE MONEY:
  • Upgrade your building
  • Avoid putting in a claim, especially small claims, they put you in the category of higher rates
  • Change your deductible


CHECK YOUR POLICY:
  • Re-evaluate your own property
Do you have enough coverage if your property caught on fire?
Right now, WOOD is expensive – LABOR is expensive
Economy - you are looking a $200 a square foot
Older homes with a lot of wood are at $300 a square foot.


Do you have enough loss of income coverage?
Homes are taking longer to be built, due to the demand in supplies
Do you have enough income to cover the time it takes for your building to be re-built?
You should have enough for 6 months

 

APRIL 3rd, 2023
MEETING MINUTES

The April 3rd General Meeting of the SWCLA was held at the Southbridge Community Center at 7:00pm


David Backstrom of LaCroix Heating & Cooling was our speaker on April 3, 2023. 

He discussed the benefits of using heat pumps for heating and cooling as they are more efficient than most conventional systems.  The main focus was on mini split systems since they are the most common application to retrofit into existing homes and multi-family properties.  He discussed the Mass Save Program and how you can take advantage of rebates of up to $10,000 per home and per unit for multi-family properties of up to 4 units as well as 7 year, 0% interest loans for up to $50,000.  His format was information on each aspect followed by questions.

The first step is to schedule a free energy assessment.  This is paid for from a portion of each person's electric bill.  Prior to any installation you must have the Mass Save inspection and you must do their recommendations  to qualify for rebates and loans.

The rebate is given only on qualifying equipment.  It must be high efficiency and installed by an approved installer.  Equipment and work is paid for up front before applying for the rebate.

Mini splits use a ground source or geothermal heat pump.  The compressed gas refrigerant is at a lower temperature than the air so it takes heat from air no matter how cold it is.  The system is very quiet.  It runs on 220, but can possibly run on 100 amp service.  it works efficiently to minus 15 degrees.  It can be used as primary heat and air conditioning.  It can be hooked up to a generator.  You can do the whole house with a heat pump furnace.  Periodic maintenance is recommended.  It does de-humidify when in the a/c mode.

He explained how the temperature control works.  It can be hard-wired to a central thermostat, but each unit does come with its own remote.

He answered questions on aspects of the installation options and how the loan application works.  You can get a rebate on the Mass Save loan, but the loan will only be on the amount above the rebate.

The meeting concluded with pizza and soft drinks provided by Dan O'Connor.


Submitted by Mary Palazzo

MARCH 6th, 2023
MEETING MINUTES

The March 6th General Meeting of the SWCLA was held at the Southbridge Community Center at 7:00pm

Doug Quattrochi, Executive Director of MassLandlords, Inc gave an update:

He has had 2 radio and a TV appearance in February.  His immediate concern is the rent control proposal.  The members of the Rent Stabilization Comission do not give fair representation to landlords.  Doug showed a slide of the proposed law and you can view this on the MassLL site.

Eviction for Cause will be problematic.  A landlord will need special permission from the Rent Control Board to raise rent for any reason.  A landlord will need permission to renovate.  But if a landlord/new owner tears down the building and rebuilds, he needs no permission and he has 15 years without rent control.

Doug urged all members to become a property rights supporter at whatever level you can contribute.

You can find all articles and proposed legislation on the MassLL website.


Dennis Antonopoulos of Edward Jones Financial was our speaker.

Dennis opened with a 5 part chart outlining the key steps toward achieving your personal and business financial goals:  Where am I today.  Where would I like to be.  Can I get there.  How do I get there.  How can I stay on track.

He then showed a chart of the different investment options offered by Edward Jones:  FDIC insured Certificate of Deposit; Money Market account; Treasury Bills, Notes and Bonds; Government sponsored Enterprise Notes; Corporate bonds; Tax-free bonds.

He covered a traditional individual retirement arrangement (IRA) which is a tax-deferred account designed specifically for retirement savings.  The advantage is that contributions may be deducted and generally amounts in an IRA are not taxed until they are distributed.

The Roth individual retirement account (Roth IRA) was created through the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 to provide an alternative to making deductible contributions to traditional IRA's. The Roth IRA allows for after-tax contributions with the potential for tax-free income in retirement.

The SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) IRA is a business-sponsored retirement plan that allows contributions to the plan through salary deferrals.  The business is responsible for making contributions to the plan through a matching contribution.  This plan is suitable for sole proprietors, partnerships, non-profit organizations, government entities and corporations.

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plans are a type of business retirement plan that allows an employer to contribute tax-deductible dollars to the owner's and the employee's retirement account.  SEP IRA  plans are funded in a similar manner as a profit-sharing plan in the sense that each eligible employee generally gets the same percentage of their individual compensation amount.  The percentage is at the discretion of the owner(s) from year to year.  The SEP can be set up by any type of business including a sole-proprietor, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), corporation S or C, non-profit organization and government entity.

An Owner K plan is a 401(k) profit-sharing plan designed to allow business owners without employees (other than a spouse) to defer salary for retirement savings.  Because contributions are pre-tax, an Owner K plan can reduce the tax burden for the business owner/self-employed person.  Only business owners with no eligible employees, other than a spouse, can establish an Owner K plan for their business.  Any type of business can set up this plan.

Fixed Annuities 101:  a fixed annuity is an investment contract designed specifically to help you reach your long-term financial goals by providing a guaranteed rate of return for a fixed period of time.  Fixed annuities guarantee a rate of return and do not fluctuate with investment performance.

A variable annuity is an investment contract designed to help you reach your long-term financial goals, such as retirement issued by an insurance company.  A variable annuity allows you to invest tax deferred and includes an option to turn your assets into income you cannot outlive.

Dennis also touched on revocable and irrevocable trusts, estate planning, the need for a will, p-o-a, and health plan.  He also answered a question on gifting property and the value of owning real estate.

The presentation as always, was followed by pizza and soft drinks.


Submitted by Mary Palazzo

FEBRUARY 6th, 2023
MEETING MINUTES

The February 6th General Meeting of the SWCLA was held at the Southbridge Community Center at 7:00pm

Doug Quattrochi, Executive Director of MassLandlords gave an update.

The Deleading Credit Bill, Jan 26, 2023, (oil based paint), current credit is $1,500, but actual cost closer to $6,000.
MassLL drafted a bill proposing an increase to $15,000 deleading rebate.  Please contact your representatives to encourage a vote for this bill:  An Act to Further Lead Remediation in Rental Housing by Increasing the Deleading Credit HD2630  SD862  This bill would amend Section 6(e) of MGL Chapter 62

Doug encouraged all to become a Property Rights Supporter at whatever monthly level you can afford.

He told us that the Boston Mayor's Rent Control plan was leaked.  The members of the Rent Stabilization Advisory Committee were announced.  Doug is concerned because MassLL has no representation on this committee.  The proposed cap is 10% or inflation plus 6% (whichever is lower).  This will not pertain to buildings built within the last 15 years and owner-occupied properties. Just Cause Eviction will be in the Mayor's proposal.  Note:  You will not be able to evict a renter for refusing to pay a rent increase.


Our speaker for the February 6, 2023 meeting was Kelsey Buccelli, Certified Public Accountant.
 
​​​​​​
Kelsey is a small business specialist offering bookkeeping, payroll and tax prep/planning/consulting services to real estate owners, contractors and other individuals/small business owners.  Kelsey advised that you make recordkeeping a routine part of your year to support income, expenses, credits and to monitor business progress.

Legal structures include sole proprietorship (DBA), single-member limited liability company (LLC), partnerships (multi-member LLC) and corporations.
She presented a Schedule  E form for income and expenses.  She touched on Auto and Travel, the need to record all trips to and from supply houses and record mileage.  Even if the property is owner occupied, you can still claim mileage for all trips to obtain materials.

Home office deductions are regular (the space is not used for anything else) and standard (or actual methodology).  Remember that this deduction cannot create a loss and multiple users cannot each claim the deduction.

Depreciation can be taken with a basis in property (excluding land) and capital expenditures.  This can be a significant tax planning opportunity.

Real estate losses are generally a passive activity.  Offsetting of nonpassive income with passive losses.  Unused losses can carry forward.  This also covers "flipping" houses.


Other items: 
  • Section 1031 exchange (like kind exchange)
  • Tax credits for improving access to businesses for handicapped persons and/or energy efficient expenses.
  • Kelsey answered a question on using an installment sale to spread out the capital gains tax.
  • Our meeting concluded with pizza and soft drinks

submitted by Mary Palazzo

JANUARY 9th, 2023
MEETING MINUTES

The January 9th General Meeting of the SWCLA was held at the Southbridge Community Center at 7:00pm

Doug Quattrochi, Executive Director of MassLandlords gave an update.

We are entering a two year legislative session, 2023-2024 and MassLL will be filing 11 bills.  Civil Asset Forfeiture will be refiled.  The new bills are:
  • 1.  Allow LLCs to represent themselves in court.
  • 2.  Allow landlords and contractors who pass a test to conduct like-for-like repair and replacement of minor electrical and plumbing systems.
  • 3.  Advance property rights by preventing seizure of cars and real estate from non-criminals.
  • 4.  Increase the de-leading credit from $l,500 to $15,000 per unit.
  • 5.  Create a pilot program for instant rental assistance; fund it with incentives to move away from single family zoning.
  • 6.  Reduce greater Boston flood risk to current owners and renters either by building flood infrastructure or managing retreat from flood prone lots.
  • 7. Change the $10,000 RAFT cap, which is regressive in Boston, to be 6 months of rent.  Require the full RAFT benefit be paid out regardless of whether for arrears or going-forward stipend to eliminate unintended incentives not to pay.
  • 8.  Eviction and rental assistance records to be public records; create new protected classes to prevent unfair discrimination based on this information.
  • 9.  Move the legislature away from copyrighted laws, including allowing us to read the building code for free.  Subject the legislature to the public records law.
  • 10.  Require that all bills be presented in "tracked changes" format so lay people can read and understand them.
  • 11.  Hold a commission to evaluate the eviction moratorium and ensure it never returns. 

Doug asked us to volunteer to call State representatives and senators to file our bills.
Doug, when asked, said MassLL will be going back to in-person meetings soon,and hopes to hold the first one in March in the Greater Springfield area.


The January 9, 2023 SWCLA general meeting also offered an open forum self-help discussion.

Topics included:  
  • Ted shared his experiences in securing an apt/room for his nephew in the Lowell area and what an eye opener it was for them.
  • A new participant asked how one gets subsidized housing for oneself.
  • A couple shared their experiences when the building next to them caught on fire and melted the siding on their income property.  Dan O'Connor offered some clarification on insurance procedures/guidelines.
  • Dan also shared his experience with water damage in his own property.
  • There was discussion on when and how to raise rents.
  • The meeting concluded with pizza and soft drinks

NOVEMBER 7th, 2022
MEETING MINUTES

On Monday, November 7, 2022, SWCLA held its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. at the Golden Greek in Southbridge.

Doug Quattrochi was not present to give a MassLandlords update.

Our speaker was Anna Smith, Landfill Monitor for the town of Southbridge Health Department.  Her topic was Smart Recycling.  She is the overseer of trash and recycling.  She is working on a curbside program.  A committee has been formed and she welcomed any interested landlord to participate.  In 2016 the town voted not to expand the landfill.  So curbside trash and recycling will need to be handled differently.

She talked about the different types of recycling and the status of each, such as hazardous waste (which includes electronics), appliances, items with lead/acid batteries, yard waste organics, textiles and mattresses.  As of November 1, there was no more free bulk pick-up of mattresses.   They are doing a lot of advertising to let residents know.  There will be a fine (to the landlord) and it will be enforced.   Cassella is available for curbside pick-up.  Southbridge residents need to show an ID for hazardous waste disposal which is offered four times a year.

Through the committee the Town will determine how to handle a curbside program.  Options include increasing taxes or initiating a flat fee or pay per bag.  If the town pays it could be about $300 per building.  Proposals will be based on what other towns do and input from residents.  She recommended checking the town website for more information and updates.

She answered questions and had handouts available. 

And as usual, pizza and soda were provided for all present.

Submitted by Mary Palazo

 

February 2022 Meeting Notes

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January 2022 Meeting Notes

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October 2021 Meeting Notes

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