RentPrep Podcast #427

In this week’s podcast, Andrew Schultz discusses the latest on the new bill introduced in California to prohibit pets in rentals. Will it pass? Find out what we have to say.

We’ve got a new update on the Buffalo, NY landlords involved in the lead poisoning fiasco affecting renters within their portfolio.

And, last, but not least, if a tenant wants to change out a faucet, can they? And if so, who pays for the change out? Listen to the podcast today.

Show transcription:

Andrew Schultz: (00:00)
Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Rent Prep for Landlords podcast. This is episode number 4 27 and I’m your host, Andrew Schultz. On today’s episode, we’re gonna be talking about another lead poisoning fiasco Here in Buffalo is California requiring landlords to accept pets and would you let a tenant change out your faucet? We’ll get to all that right after this.

Voice Over: (00:26)
Welcome to the Rent Prep for Landlords podcast. Now your host, Andrew Schultz.

Andrew Schultz: (00:32)
Hey y’all, you Rent Prep fans. If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at our YouTube channel, we’ve been pretty busy exploring some of the hottest topics in the real estate industry. We just dropped a video on how to save a ton of money at Home Depot by working the clearance aisle and the Pro desk. Check it out today over at We’re gonna start this episode off with an in-the-news segment. This one comes to us via the Investigative Post and the title of the article is Attorney General investigating Buffalo landlords. This one’s only a couple weeks old. It was published in February of 2024. Let’s go ahead and dive right in.

Andrew Schultz: (01:07)
A State Attorney General’s probe into lead poisoning is focused on a group believed to own or manage more than 200 Buffalo properties, at least 25 of which were cited for lead-related violations and at least 11 of which were homes to children who have tested positive for high levels of lead. The nearly year-long investigation was disclosed in court papers filed on Friday by Attorney General Leticia James’ office. The filings described the Landlord management group as a tangled web of limited liability companies, corporations, and individuals who appear to operate out of a boarded-up building on the city’s east side. While no action has been taken against the group, state lawyers are demanding an attorney representing some of its members turnover records related to eight individuals and 47 companies that state investigators suspect are affiliated with each other. The requested records include the business relationships among group members as well as the properties they own and information on lead hazards in the building.

Andrew Schultz: (02:00)
The investigation which began last May follows an Attorney General’s investigation of Buffalo and Landlord Angel Elliot Delphin. We’ve talked about him in the past who own more than 150 properties predominantly in low-income communities of color. That investigation tied more than two dozen cases of child-led poisoning to Dolphin’s properties. James in November, 2022 won a $5.1 million lawsuit against Dolphin. In November, Delphin pled guilty in federal court to lying about lead hazards in those properties. He was sentenced to five years probation and six months home confinement. In the current case, a number of companies named in the court papers traced back to 1397 Kensington Ave, a commercial building on the city’s East Side. Investigative post reporters visited the address earlier this week and found the majority of the windows on the first floor of the buildings. Exterior covered in plywood, the property appeared to be largely vacant, but under renovation city records list the building owner as Bat Team Associates, 20 other companies listed by Attorney General’s office report ties to that building including R and EBA team Diamond Batam and Eminem Batam.

Andrew Schultz: (03:04)
According to city and State Property and Corporation records, a maintenance man at the Kensington NAF property told Investigative Post he was hired by Moshi Zi, one of the individuals named in the Attorney General’s Legal filings. The worker used his cell phone to call Moshe and who asked reporters to leave the property and to speak with his attorney. He then hung up when asked for his attorney’s name and contact information. Court papers list Anthony j Barone Jr. As a real estate lawyer whose worked for members of that landlord group. Barone is not a subject of the Attorney General’s investigation. According to the court papers, assistant Attorney General Patrick Amalin stated in documents that he contacted Barone last May with a subpoena for a range of business-related documents connected to the landlord group. Barone initially indicated he would provide them the court documents state, but a month later Barone told Amalin that his clients had advised him through another of their attorneys, Richard Steiner not to respond to the subpoena according to court papers, Barone also cited Attorney-client privilege Though Amlin said the subpoena did not seek privileged attorney-client communications or otherwise protected attorney work product.

Andrew Schultz: (04:10)
He requested last week that a state Supreme Court judge issue an order compelling barone to comply with the investigatory subpoena. Investigative post reached out to Barone who did not respond to a request for comment. A receptionist for signer’s law firm said the attorneys would not speak to the media during an open case. The state attorney general’s office said it has nothing further to add beyond what is in the court documents. None of the LED-contaminated properties mentioned in the court papers have yet been identified. Investigative posts filed a freedom of information law request with the Erie County Department of Health and the City of Buffalo, department of Permits and inspections for properties owned by the members of the landlord group that were cited for lead hazards and contamination. Investigative posts also identified 40 properties owned either formerly or currently by some of the LLCs and individuals listed in the court papers that have been in housing court.

Andrew Schultz: (04:57)
The properties were purchased by the landlords between 2007 and 2015 with some sold between members of the group For as little as a dollar sales were as recent as last year, the majority of those properties are on the east side of Buffalo. None of these homes have been confirmed to have been lead-contaminated. Of the 47 real estate companies listed in court documents 36 were registered here in Western New York, either in Buffalo or in Williamsville and six traced back to Brooklyn. Others were established in Albany as well as in the state of Florida according to court records.

Andrew Schultz: (05:32)
So we talked about lead paint recently, specifically Mr. Dolphin’s case which popped up in here. We mentioned that back in podcast number 3 92. Uh, and then there was a case update just a few episodes back in episode number 4 21. So some of what I’m saying here might sound a little bit repetitive, but it’s because lead paint is such a major concern, especially in older homes here in Buffalo. A lot of our housing stock, especially inside the city itself, was built in the late 18 hundreds and early 19 hundreds when lead paint was used everywhere. When you get out into the suburbs, it’s a more of a mix of old and new, but when you get back out into the more rural areas, you start to see that older housing stock again, and honestly, this is not a problem that’s limited just to Buffalo. Many of the properties here in the northeast are older housing stock.

Andrew Schultz: (06:18)
Think old Boston, New York City, Philly, Pittsburgh. Yes, there’s modern housing here and there are a lot of properties that have been fully remediated, but lead is still in a lot of these places. I don’t think most people realize how little lead needs to be ingested before it can become a problem. When talking about lead in its elemental form, not mixed with paint or anything else, it takes very, very little for a child or an adult to become sick. If you were to take a pin and look at the head of it, that’s roughly all the lead that it would take to make either an adult or a child incredibly sick. Remediating lead paint requires training and EPA certification and if you’re working in older homes, you may be in a situation where you need to be lead-safe certified. You could find out more information on that on the EPAs website.

Andrew Schultz: (07:02)
There’s a fair amount of protection that goes into setting up and working on the job site to prevent lead from becoming airborne as well as to prevent chips from being left behind either inside or outside on the soil. Actually, we do some community development work here for one of the local townships in the area and we’re starting to see that they’re testing the soil for lead both before and after exterior work is completed. So lead safe work practices are not going anywhere anytime soon and I expect that we’re actually going to see them get more stringent as time goes on. For our next in the new segment, we’re actually gonna hop on a plane and fly all the way across the country to California. This one comes to us via the Rental Housing Journal published on March 15th, 2024. Title of the article is a California Bill Would Block Landlords from Banning Pets In Rentals. Let’s go ahead and jump right in.

Andrew Schultz: (07:52)
The bill AB 2216 would prohibit banning pets in rentals and allow landlords to ask about pet ownership only after a tenant’s application has been approved. According to reports, according to its author, democratic Assembly member Matt Haney, the bill may be a first in the nation law to require landlords to accept pets. He said that the intention is to bar property owners from asking about pets on applications, prohibit additional fees for pet owners or pet rent and limit pet deposits, and he said he isn’t trying to force landlords to accept all pets. Instead, he said his bill will make it easier for pet owners to find an apartment by easing some of the restrictions that they face. The legislation which is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States is aimed at solving a big problem that Haney says he sees in the rental world, an overabundance of tenants with pets and a shortage of landlords willing to accept them, quote, a two-tier system that punishes people for having pets or treats them differently or has a greater burden on them just for that fact should not be allowed in the law and he told KQED.

Andrew Schultz: (08:55)
What we see too often is just these blanket prohibitions of pets with no good reason for it, with no required justification for it, and no protection of pet owners who represent the majority of California’s renters to be able to access housing just like anyone else. We never intended to say that landlords can place no restrictions at all. Henny told Politico, nobody is going to be forced to take dangerous dogs. Of course, there’s going to be cases where restrictions make sense. Hanny’s staff analyzed Zillow’s apartments listings and found that 20% of San Francisco apartmentsallowed cats and dogs of all sizes while 18% of those in Sacramento and 26% of those in Los Angeles did. The surveyed research finds that two and three households nationwide do own pets and 72% of renters report that pet-friendly housing is hard to find. Property owners, however, are already expressing concerns about the proposal.

Andrew Schultz: (09:46)
Krista Gall Branson, the executive director of the Berkeley Property Owners Association set her opposition, comes down to risk pets, have the potential damage property she said, and limiting an owner’s discretion to take on that added risk while stripping them of the pet deposit. Safeguard puts them in a terrible position. The biggest concern is just not being able to make that determination of risk and make a decision based on that. Goranson said there’s downsides every single time the legislator does something, then they blame us because the rents are going up. Said Deborah Carlton, executive vice President of Government Affairs for the California Apartment Association. It’s hard to get stuff built and then they just regulate us. Carlton still isn’t thrilled with all the provisions of the scaled-back version of the bill either. Not charging monthly for pets means landlords will just raise everyone’s rent to cover the potential damages, especially if they can’t raise security deposits without running up against the cap on deposits that a different Haney bill last year instituted. Legislators are famous for doing the hard, hard, furthest thing from what they meant to do, so they force us to negotiate and they give us something that we might not have wanted anyway, said Carlton.

Andrew Schultz: (10:57)
Requiring landlords to accept pets is not a great idea in my opinion, and I guess I should probably preface this by saying that I’m offering up my opinion on this article based on my knowledge and experience as a property manager here in my area. I know that there are other property managers in other areas of the country that have had much better results with pets than we have, but our management company currently has a no cats or dogs policy and we approve small cages or aquarium animals on a case-by-case basis. This proposed legislation feels to me like an extension of the ESA legislation on some level. We’ve seen how that poorly drafted legislation has led to several issues with the most common being that tenants are getting fake letters stating that their pet is actually an emotional support animal and you can literally go online and buy those letters for under a hundred dollars.

Andrew Schultz: (11:44)
I think Eric, who hosted the podcast before me was actually able to get an ESA letter for a pet rock. That’s how easy it is to get a fake letter. I also think it’s worth mentioning that legislation like this needs to take into account things like breed restrictions placed by insurance carriers that said, pets can be a good thing or a bad thing, and a lot of that is going to depend on the owner. Any animal can cause damage, so can any human, and sometimes humans are far worse than pets. Pet owners who take good care of their animals, who make sure that they’re getting proper vet care and vaccinations, making sure that they’re fed and watered and properly trained are not the problem. Typically the problem are the tenants who choose not to do any of those things. It doesn’t take long for an animal to cause a lot of damage when the owners aren’t handling the pet’s needs, and we’ve seen that firsthand.

Andrew Schultz: (12:31)
What happens when pets go unmanaged? I’ve personally walked into some real horror shows and it goes well beyond just some pet waste on the floor. If you’re in a position where you’re looking to accept animals in your homes, I recommend that you have a very, very strong animal addendum that you add to your lease and that you inspect the unit regularly to ensure that the additional damage that you might be concerned about is not being done. I recommend checking in on the units at least quarterly. One thing that I think would make this legislation a lot easier for a landlord to accept would be a requirement that the tenant keep and maintain a renter’s insurance policy that covers the pet damage for the duration of their lease, or allow a landlord to take an insurance policy on behalf of the tenant that covers the pet damage and allows landlords to add that cost of that policy to the rent.

Andrew Schultz: (13:16)
Having the ability to offset the risk here is important. State legislators seem to love tying landlords’ hands behind their back and wondering why the rents keep going up and why there’s a housing crisis. Shortsighted legislation, in my opinion, is a major reason for this. I’ve spoken at length about the H-S-T-P-A laws in New York. Again, shortsighted legislation that’s caused a ton of problems and it’s absolutely hurt the tenants. It was to designed to help legislator needs to take a step back, understand what they’re doing, and maybe get some people at the table who actually have a stake in the game versus people who are just making law for the sake of making law

Voice Over: (13:54)
Water cooler wisdom expert advice from real estate pros.

Andrew Schultz: (14:03)
Our third and final segment in this week’s podcast is our water cooler wisdom segment. This one comes to us via the landlord subreddit over at Let’s go ahead and jump right in. My tenant wants to change out the faucets in her apartment. She has said that she will hire a local insured plumber to do the changes. I know that faucet switches are at risk of water damage, but since she’s hiring a professional on her own dime, it should be fine, right? Would you allow for this, and again, this one comes to us via Reddit, I would not allow the tenant to do their own faucet swap out or hire their own plumber to handle it. We want to know every vendor that’s coming out to work on a property and we wanna make sure that we have their insurance information and their tax information before they go out.

Andrew Schultz: (14:46)
Why? Because then we know that they’re insured and we can send them a 10 99 at the end end of the year if it’s required. Keep in mind that unless your tenant owns some sort of a contracting company or a handyman business, they probably don’t have insurance for this type of work either. So if they cause a bunch of damage or if the fixture that they installed fails for some reason, they’re gonna wind up liable for the damages, which typically doesn’t end well. If a tenant wanted to pay for new fixtures, we would absolutely entertain it. They would have to let us know what fixtures they’re looking at and the fixtures would need to be approved, and then we would schedule our licensed plumber to go out and do the work. The plumber can invoice us and we can ensure that it gets paid while also back-billing the tenant for the plumber’s charge that prevents the plumber from going unpaid and putting a mechanic’s lien on your property over something as silly as a faucet swap. So would we do it? Yes, but we wanna handle it and it’s probably better for the tenant from a liability standpoint if they let us handle it.

Andrew Schultz: (15:43)
The Rent Prep for Landlord’s Facebook group is now over 14,000 members. Our group members get access to our Sherwin Williams and PPG paint discount programs can ask questions in our monthly AMA sessions and so much more. So if you have a question or a situation that you’ve never encountered before or just need to bounce an idea off a huge group of housing providers, this is the place. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do it today over at Don’t forget to mention the podcast when answering the questions so we know how you found us. That pretty much wraps it up for this week’s episode of the Rent Prep for Landlords podcast. Thank you all so much for listening. Our goal with the podcast is to help as many people as possible make educated decisions when it comes to real estate and you can help us reach our goal.

Andrew Schultz: (16:27)
If you heard anything in this week’s episode or any of our other episodes that will help someone you know, please do us a favor and share it with them. If you’re looking to get in contact with me, I can be reached over at From there, you’ll find links to everything going on with me over at Own Buffalo, as well as other projects that we’re working on. Grab a copy of our free deal analysis tool today over at There’s no obligation and it comes with a companion video showing you how to use it. If you’re looking for top-tier tenant screening services, head on over to There are multiple products to choose from, including a tenant-paid option. If you’re over 50 doors, ask about the enterprise-level programs and pricing. I’ve been an enterprise user of Rent Prep for over a decade now, and it’s absolutely changed the way that we screen our tenants. Check that out today over at Again, thank you all so much for listening. We’ll be back in two weeks with an all-new episode that you won’t wanna miss. Until then, I’m Andrew Schultz with for, and we’ll talk to you soon.

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