Appendix I: Suggested Property Management Licensing Language

In order for IREM's position on licensing to be effectively implemented, the statute or regulation defining the activities of brokers, association brokers, agents (salesmen), etc., must provide for property management as an activity. This is accomplished by adding property management to the traditional list of broker activities.

(NOTE: It is likely that the language recommended below will have to be altered slightly to conform with the existing language in each state. Some states already list management as an activity within the statute.)
Broker shall mean any person who, for a fee, a commission, or any other valuable consideration or with intent or expectation of receiving the same from another, negotiates or attempts to negotiate the listing, sale, purchase, exchange, rent, lease, property management, or option for any real estate or improvements thereon, or assists in procuring prospects or holds himself or herself out as a referral agent for the purpose of securing prospects for the listing, sale, purchase, exchange, renting, leasing, managing, or optioning of any real estate or collects rents or attempts to collect rents, or holds himself or herself out as engaged in any of the foregoing activities.

Depending on how the regulatory language defines agents/salesmen, similar amendment must be made to the agent/salesman definition.

After property management has been listed as a distinct broker and agent/salesman real estate activity, property management should be defined. In some cases this would be done in administrative rules, although it may also be done in the statutory language. The model language recommended is as follows:
Property management shall mean and include actions undertaken for another, pursuant to an agreement, in exchange for a fee, commission, compensation, or other valuable consideration, in the marketing; leasing; the physical, administrative, or financial maintenance; and overall management of real property; or supervision of such actions.

By adding this defining language, property management can easily be addressed within other statutory or administrative rule-making. This is advantageous in separating property management from other broker activities when similar treatment may adversely affect property management. For example, some states have applied rules governing transactional broker accounts to property management operating accounts because no clear distinction between the different accounts or the real estate practices existed in the statutory or administrative language. By outlining property management within the law, it will be possible to address property management in specific rule making, or exempt it from rules governing other broker activities.

Exemption for On-Site Managers and Other On-Site Personnel
It is also recommended that a licensing exemption be sought for on-site managers and other on-site personnel. The recommended exemption language is as follows:

Any person employed or retained by, for, or on behalf of the agent of, or the owner, of any real estate shall be exempt from holding a license, if the person is limited in property management activities to one or more of the following activities:

Delivery of a lease application, a lease, or any amendment thereof to any person.

Receiving a lease application, lease, or amendment thereof, a security deposit, rental

Showing a rental unit to any person, as long as the employee is acting under the direct instructions of the broker, including the execution of leases or rental agreements, provided the broker is responsible for the actions of his employees.

Providing information about a rental unit, a lease, an application for lease, or the status of a security deposit or the payment of rent to any person.

Assisting in the performance of property management functions by carrying out administrative, clerical, or maintenance tasks.

It should be noted that in addition to the exemption of on-site residential managers, other typical exemptions include owners; attorneys acting on behalf of a client: receivers, bankruptcy trustees, administrators, executors, civil sheriffs; or others who may be acting on behalf of a government authority and managers of agricultural property.

IREM has no formal position on these other exceptions, but generally believes that individuals engaged in real estate activities should be held to the same ethical and professional standards as licensed real estate practitioners. While many states have statutory language dealing with the above mentioned practitioners, such occupations are likely to be of secondary concern to IREM members. Consequently, IREM chapters may or may not wish to pursue either licensing or exemption requirements for practitioners other than property managers and on-site residential managers.

(11/91, updated 4/04, 4/09)

Appendix II: Establishing Fair and Reasonable Occupancy Standards
Occupancy standards, which determine the maximum number of occupants that can reside in a dwelling, have always been a matter of some contention among owners and operators of residential rental property. However, with the passage of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, occupancy standards, or more specifically the lack of them, have been a serious cause of consternation for property managers. Although the Fair Housing Amendments Act did not set specific occupancy standards, it did require that any standard be fair and reasonable.

Further complicating the issue of occupancy was the 1988 Act's inclusion of families with children under classes protected from housing discrimination. The familial status provisions in the Act do not deal in numbers, as do occupancy standards. Essentially under the Act, unless a residential rental property meets specific requirements to qualify as elderly housing, it is illegal to discriminate against families with children. This presented numerous problems for rental property owners and operators as it became increasingly difficult to separate familial status and occupancy concerns.

A 1990-1991 study of property managers conducted by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) indicated that occupancy standards and familial status were the basis for over twenty seven percent of all fair housing complaints filed. The study also revealed that fifty-six percent of all threats to file complaints were based on familial status and occupancy.

Following the study, IREM created a special study committee consisting of multifamily housing experts to examine occupancy standards and make a recommendation designed to diminish the confusion and curb the excessive litigation and complaint filing associated with misunderstandings regarding occupancy and familial status. The committee considered a second body of knowledge regarding various occupancy standards and guidelines used throughout the country, as well as the pros and cons of each.

The decision of the study committee was to recommend a national guideline which is essentially a composite of occupancy policies used by notable residential real estate management firms, as well as versions of multifamily occupancy policies used or once used in programs conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA). The content of the recommended guideline also conforms with the so-called Keating Memo of March, 1991. In that memo, HUD's general counsel outlines a general guideline of two persons per bedroom, subject to exception based on various factors.

It is the purpose of the recommendation submitted by IREM's study committee to expound on the Keating memo and above mentioned guidelines and to communicate and encourage those guidelines to local IREM Chapters.

However, an inherent problem in a national guideline is that universal application is sometimes inappropriate to certain markets, property types and situations. Diametrically opposed to these varying conditions is the fact that uniform and consistent application of rules is central to fair housing.
IREM has always supported fair housing and equal opportunity for all individuals. At the same time, the Institute realizes that occupancy policies are necessary for reasons of public health and safety; protection of government subsidy; efficient use and protection of the existing housing stock; and numerous other reasons.

Therefore, with the understanding that the following guidelines are meant to provide guidance tempered with flexibility, IREM recommends that IREM chapters, and the real estate community in general, consider the following guidelines, and where appropriate and necessary, pursue their endorsement and acceptance by state and local legislative bodies.
Guidance Recommendation

As a general guideline, the following occupant density shall serve as a fair and reasonable occupancy guideline:

No. Bedrooms

Occupants Min.

Occupants Max.



















(Note: Minimums are usually applicable only in government subsidized housing in order to protect the subsidy. The maximum numbers apply to all housing units, whether subsidized or conventional.)
It should be noted that the above occupant density chart is not new. It has been used by HUD and FmHA and is essentially the same two-person-per-bedroom guideline recommended by HUD's general counsel. Nonetheless, it has not been formalized or nationally adopted, nor have most state and local governments adopted it.

Due to the variety of property types and configurations, the following guideline should be used in conjunction with this occupant density chart:

Bedroom Size
Each bedroom occupied by one individual shall have a minimum of seventy square feet. When more than one individual occupies a bedroom, the bedroom must contain a minimum of fifty square feet per occupant.

The above reference to square footage of bedrooms is taken from the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) Uniform Housing Code. It is identical to the Uniform Code established by the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI).

Use of Recommended Guidelines in Subsidized Housing
When a subsidized housing program has an applicable policy for determining numbers of individuals per unit, the program guidelines or standards shall apply. In subsidized housing in which an occupancy guideline or standard is not provided, the guideline recommended in this paper should be pursued.

The Right to Appeal
A stated and clearly defined occupancy guideline is in the best interest of all parties concerned. While the above guideline should be suitable for a vast majority of properties, the wide variety of property types and property conditions found in the national housing stock will sometimes cause the application of a universal policy to have adverse effects on the property and/or the residents.

In these instances, owners and managers of private property should have the right to appeal any occupancy policy, including the guidelines mentioned above, that has been adopted by any governmental authority when a more restrictive or less restrictive policy is justified. When a variance in the government's occupancy policy is granted by such authority, the operator of the housing shall adopt the variance as a policy and by doing so shall be protected from discrimination complaints based on the failure to employ the government's less restrictive policy.

Property operators who feel it is necessary to seek a variance from any imposed occupancy policy imposed by local government should do so at an appropriate time. Such as:

Following the adoption of an occupancy policy by a governmental authority.

When it becomes evident that the governmental occupancy policy is inappropriate for a given property.

When a change in the condition of a property makes the occupancy policy inappropriate.

Under no circumstances should variances be sought which:

Adversely affect an existing tenant.

Adversely affect a current rental applicant.

In order to protect the fair housing rights of existing tenants and current applicants, governmental bodies may use grandfather clauses, effective dates, or other methods determined necessary when granting a variance.

Although variances from the recommended guidelines are occasionally warranted, under no circumstances should patently discriminatory practices be the reason for or the effect of any variance or occupancy policy. Those practices include but are not limited to:

Disallowing children in residential communities (except in legitimate elderly housing as defined by fair housing laws.)

Restricting the number of children rather than the number of occupants allowed in a dwelling.

Requiring surcharges or additional security deposits or fees for families with children.

Steering families with children to or concentrating them in certain parts of a residential complex.

However, it should be the right of a private property owner/operator to:

Require that families with children observe the same occupancy guidelines that are applicable to all tenants and potential tenants of a complex.

Require that families which add children move into larger units when the addition of a child or children causes the applicable occupancy standard to be exceeded.

Use of this Recommendation
IREM recognizes that the use and pursuit of this recommendation is entirely at the discretion of the local IREM chapters. IREM believes that the use of an occupancy guideline, such as the one recommended, is beneficial to simplifying operations and avoiding litigation.
It must be emphasized that this recommendation consists only of guidelines which do not and cannot, in any way, supersede state, local or federal occupancy policies that are already in effect.

Some states and localities have already adopted occupancy standards. In such cases, those policies take precedence. However, IREM chapters are encouraged to compare the policy which has been adopted by the state or local legislative body to the guidelines which are recommended by IREM National. If they are substantially similar, or if the adopted policy is acceptable to IREM members, no activity in regard to the policy may be necessary. However, IREM chapters would be encouraged to pursue the creation of an appeal/variance process.

In states and localities that have impractical or unworkable occupancy guidelines, IREM chapters are encouraged to pursue amendments to conform the policies with the recommended guidelines including the appeal/variance process.

In states and localities that have no occupancy policies, IREM chapters are encouraged to pursue the adoption of the recommendation, including the appeal/variance process, to state or local legislatures.
Possible avenues for adoption of this recommendation include but are not limited to:

  • State Legislatures
  • City and County Councils
  • Housing Agency Administrative Rules

When attempting to implement this recommendation, IREM chapters are also encouraged to seek the support and assistance of state REALTOR Associations and Local REALTOR Boards, other IREM chapters and other interested multifamily housing groups.

Additionally, IREM National will be communicating this recommendation to the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). IREM will pursue an endorsement of the recommendation by HUD which would aid in the adoption of the guidelines by state and municipal legislative bodies. IREM National will also encourage other multifamily housing organizations, and the National Association of REALTORS to endorse and adopt the recommended guidelines.

IREM believes that these actions will help to remove the uncertainty over occupancy standards created by the absence of a specific fair and reasonable standard in the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.

(11/91, updated 10/07)

*IREM Fair Housing Survey Report; IREM, April, 1991.
** In Search of an Occupancy Policy: Occupancy and the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988; IREM, September, 1991.

Appendix III: Indoor Air Quality Standards
IREM's Position on OSHA's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:  Indoor Air Quality Standards
The members of IREM are committed to the maintenance of the health and safety of all occupants in buildings, and are ready to take whatever means necessary to meet prescribed qualifications. We believe that the property management industry, on the whole, is maintaining a high standard of IAQ compliance with the incentives already in place through current government and market influences.

IREM supports the direction the government is heading on minimizing the presence of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) in the work environment. Other stipulations in the ruling, however, are inconsistent and unnecessary for maintaining optimum IAQ in light of the extensive financial expenditures, time and record-keeping which the property owner would have to incur.
After reviewing the notice of proposed rule-making, IREM poses the following concerns:

1. Economic Feasibility
A) This proposal is overkill for property owners and property managers and will be too costly to implement. The extreme financial burden of making expensive structural modifications, training personnel, maintaining numerous records, investigating employee complaints, cost of manpower and cost of consultants to advise on compliance standards and strategies would be one which many property owners could not afford in today's flailing real estate market. High vacancy rates of 18.4% and 11.7% in the office and retail building markets, respectively, will prohibit property owners from raising rents to compensate for these increased costs.

Any records which may be required should be kept to a minimum and relate only to preventative maintenance and repairs of the mechanical equipment pertaining to IAQ and required by the building owner. Records should only be kept at the property for a maximum of five years and be transferred with ownership.

B) This proposal will in itself be a burden to government resources, costing federal, state and local governments nearly $1.76 billion as part of OSHA's estimated $8.1 billion annual industry-wide expenses. Government buildings nation-wide account for 21.7 percent of this country's 2.39 billion square feet of office space. In addition, the building industry will incur millions of dollars annually for the added paperwork, investigations, and staff required to monitor public and private building compliance.
By encouraging employers to make IAQ compliance a priority in the work place, government entities and private industry will save on costs for endless paperwork, staff, and property modifications.

C) The estimated $1.76 billion financial burden incurred by the federal, state and local governments' compliance costs will ultimately be born by the American taxpayer.

D) Remodeling: During construction or remodeling, the tenant often contracts all of the work. The training must be among the contractors -- not the tenant or property manager's staff. In these cases, the contractors should be held liable. Building engineers must be trained in system management for both energy efficiency and acceptable IAQ treatment in buildings.

The definition of the term "remodeling" is unclear. The language of this ruling insinuates that virtually all activity will be considered remodeling. Tenant improvements and constant remodeling of space (placing office modules, bays, moving walls, equipment, etc.) would require the cost of consultant services to determine problems with airflows with each major change. The reports of these consultants, after modifications have been made, should qualify as a legitimate defense against related IAQ complaints on the property.

To avoid additional expenses, building owners or managers might shun necessary renovation or remodeling in order to avoid having to upgrade their HVAC systems.

The typical 100,000-square-foot office building experiences individual tenant turnovers three times each year. Each tenant turnover in a property requires additional structural remodeling expenses.

E) This ruling does not address compliance specifications for older buildings and would require the additional cost of consulting services to update "as-built" plans with each building modification. Many older buildings lack current "as-built" plans due to continual renovation over time.

F) New certification and training requirements of maintenance personnel will increase employers' costs for training and limit their hiring options.

G) ASHRAE's standard, which proposes to increase the requirement for external airflow in buildings, imposes an impossible financial and reconstructive burden to owners of antiquated buildings with "primitive" heating ventilation systems. Presently, the majority of pre-1989 buildings are not even designed to meet the 1989 ASHRAE standard. For example, buildings constructed in the 1970's which undergo remodeling will be required to upgrade their entire mechanical systems.

H) Under this regulation, a building owner or property manager may be required to run the HVAC when only one person is working in the building. Results of a sample study indicate an average 100,000-square-foot office building runs its HVAC system an average of 12 hours per day. Mandating 24-hour HVAC operation would add an estimated 20% increase in total operating costs. This significantly increases operating costs and energy consumption for only minor use.

2. Premature Timing of Proposed Ruling
The United States Congress is currently considering passage of the Indoor Air Quality Act of 1993 (HR 2919) which will permit and require funding for extensive research on Indoor Air Quality issues. This section in the bill is widely supported by IREM and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. Finalization of OSHA's proposed IAQ ruling would be premature, considering the IAQ research this congressional bill will provide, and conflicts with the intent and purpose of the proposed Indoor Air Quality Act by requiring property owners to bear the financial burden for installing a new system before extensive research can be applied.

Considering the recessive nature of the building market, many buildings unprepared to bear the extensive costs of this regulation may be forced to close. The banking industry will ultimately be burdened with numerous defaults, as many building owners will have to invest in costly modifications for properties that are only partially occupied.
(ref.: HR 2919)

3. Tax Credits
To ease the economic burden of the property owner, IREM recommends the introduction of positive incentives for compliance by providing tax credits on property owners' federal, state and local tax returns for buildings incurring expenses for mandated treatment or abatement of indoor air contaminants.
Furthermore, we recommend that properties receive real estate tax credits to recognize the fact that the imposition of building codes in many instances forced owners to use materials which were later discovered to pose health risks and which they now must bear the cost to remove.

4. Smoking Ban
A) The proposed ruling fails to address at length the procedures and options for a complete ban on smoking. IREM believes the best alternative to controlling ETS and its symptoms is for buildings to create a smoke-free environment in concordance with the Smoke-Free Act of 1993, which would ban smoking in the workplace. This approach would eliminate altogether the need for designated smoke rooms and the expensive ventilation system this rule would require. At the same time, the no-smoking ban would create a healthier workplace and reduce cleaning and maintenance costs.

Currently, nineteen states and the District of Columbia are successfully enforcing a no-smoking ban in private workplaces; 34 percent of the 85 percent of firms with smoking policies have complete smoking bans. This presents strong evidence that states and localities already are succeeding, without federal government intervention, in producing a more cost-efficient and safer IAQ workplace environment.

B) This proposal does not discuss which governmental laws or regulations - federal, state or local - will take precedence in this issue. State and local governmental bodies may have their own, stricter standards with complete bans on smoking in the workplace. This regulation needs to address the legislative impact this regulation will have on relevant state and local laws and regulations already enacted. Otherwise, enormous confusion over compliance will emerge not only between governmental bodies, but among the property owners and managers as well.

5. Property Owner v. Tenant Liability
The burden of liability between the employer and tenant for implementing and maintaining the new IAQ standards is unclear, especially in multi-employer building relationships, where concurrence on IAQ standards and responsibilities is difficult to obtain.

OSHA needs to specifically clarify the roles and responsibilities of the landlord, tenant and even the tenant's employees in ensuring proper compliance. Requiring the tenant to develop and implement compliance through actions such as inspection and maintenance of the building creates a conflict, as most tenants do not have responsibility or control of building systems. In contrast, while many landlords of retail facilities may control all or part of the building ventilation system, the tenants and their employees have the ability to influence IAQ through their use of thermostats, which may affect airflow, and other controls or activities.

While the cost of installation may be the responsibility of the property owner, landlords have a contractual relationship with tenants, not their employees. The building owner's responsibility is that of a service provider. In some cases, the building owner may be responsible for HVAC modifications and maintenance, as well as determining building rules regarding smoking. This rule imposes nearly all of the responsibility on the landlord (employer with control over the building systems) to establish the IAQ compliance program and to assure compliance. Confusion may also arise as to the responsibilities in triple net commercial leases.

In addition, keep in mind that this regulation will not change the contractual relationship between the tenant and owner in the lease. A property owner should not be held liable for the failure of a tenant or employer to implement the ban, provided that the landlord/property manager established an ETS and IAQ system in good faith.

6. Forced Monitoring of IAQ Complaints
Forced monitoring of IAQ-related illnesses/complaints encourages bogus claims to hold the owner hostage to high absenteeism, suits and unnecessary investigations and paperwork. Property owners may be forced to pay the cost of "IAQ-related" claims for employees when in fact their illness was contracted at home or is stress/lifestyle-related.

7. Incomplete Findings
This ruling fails to provide substantial scientific evidence to support its findings, and frequently presents conflicting statements. For example, HVAC's Standard 62-1989 guidance document specifying minimum outside ventilation rates does not include explanation to support the standard and is admittedly based more on sensory comfort than ETS control.

IREM and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS are currently researching significant issues which need to be addressed in determining the feasibility of this proposed rulemaking.

8. Relative Humidity Standard
This ruling's requirement that buildings maintain a relative humidity (RH) below 60% may be difficult for owners of buildings to maintain in extreme temperature climates. Buildings in dry ambient environments may require more than 60% RH to maintain acceptable comfort levels. While buildings in the hot and humid southeast will be required to bring in 20% more humid ambient air, many properties simply don't have the cooling capacity to dry that much fresh air out. Buildings which require more water for their cooling systems in order to meet this compliance standard could increase susceptibility of tenants to Legionnaire's Disease and harmful bacteria from molds and spores which commonly originate in HVAC duct systems.

9. 24-Hour Advance Notification
The requirement of a 24-hour advance notification to employees of work to be performed that may introduce potential air contaminants to the work area needs to be clearly defined. Daily, employees are repeatedly exposed to potential air contaminants, through janitorial maintenance, introduction of new furniture and commonly used effluents. It is highly unlikely and impractical to expect tenants to give notice to building managers for introduction of these materials on an ongoing basis.

Unless this issue is more specifically addressed, this rule would be a waste of human effort, money and time, and would encourage paranoia in the workplace.

10. "Designated Person"
The "designated person" in this ruling is not clearly defined or warranted. Since he or she is required to oversee the establishment and implementation of the IAQ compliance program and building systems inspection, as well as maintenance activities, the "designated person" must possess the relevant technical expertise. Since the rule requires the HVAC system be operating during every workshift, the "designated person" will be required for three shifts per day in many buildings. OSHA should clarify and relax this requirement.

11. Written IAQ Compliance Programs
OSHA proposes that employers develop a written IAQ compliance program, including extensive information on the building's systems, their operations and maintenance, yet gives no guidance or research information to guide them. They assume that an employer can implement the necessary controls and measures -- including the operation and maintenance of building systems, to achieve compliance.

12. Identification of IAQ-Degrading Industries and Contaminants
This proposed ruling fails to address specific industries and substances which could ultimately be responsible for some IAQ-related illnesses. OSHA focuses on HVAC systems as the main cause of IAQ problems and ignores other source contaminants. In effect, the proposed ruling places the burden on building owners to dilute rather than prevent contamination. Many assessments of IAQ pollution sources are also found to originate in the construction or renovation of buildings.
Our review of NIOSH studies support that a majority of "IAQ-related" complaints are related to thermal comfort. While important to tenant satisfaction, thermal comfort should be exclusively omitted from any definition of air contaminants or degrading factors of IAQ. No regulation should be enacted until there is a validated product risk.

13. Sufficiency of Currently Enacted Regulations
IREM disagrees with this proposed ruling's implication that the only way to ensure compliance to IAQ standards is through punitive measures as incentives. The fear of punishment with the overburden of compliance measures will eventually deteriorate the respect and cooperation OSHA currently receives from property owners.

This proposal's own findings indicate that, at the very least, 70 percent of property owners and managers are complying with IAQ standards, proving the majority of buildings meet satisfactory IAQ compliance. This is strong evidence that current government and self-regulation are highly successful.

(Adopted 9/94)

Appendix IV: 14.1 Window Cleaning Safety Standard
IREM aims high in endorsing safe and cost-efficient maintenance of buildings and building amenities and encourages vendors and contracted services to employ the utmost precaution in their window cleaning activities. Members of the IREM Legislative and Public Policy Committee reviewed the ANSI Standard I 14.1-2001 entitled Window Cleaning Safety Standard (referred to below as “Standard”), and agreed the following issues should be addressed by ANSI:

1. The Training, Instruction, and Supervision section 3.4 is vague
Section 1.6 c states “the window cleaning contractor shall utilize workers trained in accordance with section 3.4 of this standard.”  Section 3.4 is vague and ambiguous as it does not define in an objective way what training, instruction, and supervision mean.  Neither is “proper on-the-job training period” defined or qualified. 

2. Clearer definitions needed 
The Standard establishes definitions for a number of items and persons.  One of those is a “competent person.”  This is a broad definition in that it is designated by the employer, thus there is no real standard.  “Competent” will mean something different to each employer.  It is unclear as to whether it is the employer or the “competent person” who “has the authority to take appropriate actions” with respect to identifying “workplace hazardous or dangerous conditions.”

The next definition of concern is that of the “qualified person”.  The “qualified person” is “a person who, by possession of a recognized degree or certified professional standing or who, by extensive knowledge, training and experience, has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve and resolve problems relating to the subject matter and work.”  The definition begs the question of what a recognized degree or certificate of professional standing is.  Further, the Standard does not provide an objective universal standard of training, nor does it provide for testing to qualify or certify “competent” or “qualified” persons.  There is no certification by a recognized association or government agency.

3. Elaboration needed on excessive wind speed
Excessive Wind Speed is addressed in section 3.7, which prohibits window cleaners when their work area is exposed to excessive winds.  Excessive winds are vaguely defined, which is a problem.  Even more problematic is that the Standard does not establish who is responsible for making the decision.  There should be some maximum wind speed at which everyone can agree is unsafe for workers, the public, or the property.  Real estate managers need a more objective measure than what the Standard provides.

4. Anchorages section needs to acknowledge differences between building managers and window cleaning contractors
Anchorages are addressed in section 3.9, where the burden of knowledge and expertise is unfairly placed on building owners.  Building owners and management should be able to hire industry certified and qualified companies to handle their exterior window cleaning for their properties.  The way section 3.9 is phrased puts building owners in the position of being equally knowledgeable with window cleaning contractors.

5. Add timeline to Building Requirements section
In section 4, Building Requirements: Applicability, it is stated, “all buildings where window cleaning is performed that employ suspended equipment shall be equipped with roof anchorages or other approved devices which will provide for the safe use of the equipment in conformance with the provision of this Standard.”  No timeframe for this requirement is written.  There should be a phased requirement allowing building owners sufficient time to make informed decisions. 

6. Clarity needed on violations
In the section 5.6—Manual Swinging Scaffolds and Boatswain’s Chairs—it states: “No window cleaner shall attempt to clean any surface beyond his reach.  Swinging, swaying or any other maneuver to increase the work areas shall be prohibited”.  A valid point is made, but the Standard fails to assign responsibility or consequences for a related violation. 

7. Conflicts in Part B
In Part B- Building and Equipment Design Requirements, section 7 paragraph 7.2.6 conflicts with paragraphs 4.1.1, 7.1.1 and section 1.3.

8. The Inspection and Testing section needs to state who is a qualified person
Within section 8 addressing Inspection and Testing, the Standard speaks to original components being designed by a registered professional engineer.  Signs of wear or distress are to be reviewed by a “qualified person” to determine whether testing is necessary.  Remember a “qualified person” may or may not be a degreed or certified professional.  A “qualified person” may be qualified by “extensive knowledge, training, and experience and has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve or resolve problems”.  The Standard does not establish who can define who is “qualified”; an employer can define a “competent person”.  This section goes on to address visual inspections by a “qualified person.”  This has the potential for being very subjective from one “qualified person” to another.

9. Conflicts with OSHA and non-defined terms
The Minimum Inspection and General Testing Criteria section (8.1.3 b) addresses “post installation test,” which is not a defined term in the Standard.  More importantly, this paragraph seems to be in conflict with OSHA requirements that would call for an ultimate load of 1250 pounds.  There may be a misprint in 8.1.3 d which refers to ASME A120.1.

Under design criteria for Anchorages and Fall Protection, the Standard calls for anchorages to be inspected annually by a “qualified person.”  Is this a visual inspection or some kind of load test?  It further states anchorages shall be re-certified when re-roofing or renovating or at periods not to exceed 10 years.  Is re-certification based on a visual inspection, load test or other type of testing?  Is the re-certification good for 10 years?  Will an engineer certify an anchorage system for 10 years?  A more appropriate re-certification might be for a year and subject to no structural or significant changes to the anchorage area.  The paragraph goes back to anchorage inspection where it speaks about an area of suspicion then talks about a test procedure, “if necessary,” which is very subjective and this is being called for by a “qualified person.”

The section on Certification and Re-certification should include specifications for certification and recertification and each should be consistent with OSHA.

In summary, if the intent of this Standard is the safety of workers and the public then some follow through needs to be completed.  There are terms that need more complete definitions.  There are terms that need more clarification.  There are sections of this Standard that need simplification and consistency between the Standard itself and OSHA standards.  The word “all” should mean “all.”  A paragraph should not call for all building to follow the Standard, and then be followed by a paragraph that contradicts the meaning of another paragraph or leaves the reader to interpretation for the purposes of finding a loophole.  Standards of safety and responsibilities for knowledge and expertise should be proportionately placed on the appropriate professionals, vendors, and building owners.

(Adopted 10/06)

Appendix V: Premises Security Standards
The NFPA developed the 2006 edition of the NFPA 730 “Guide for Premises Security” in late 2005.  The document is not suitable for adoption into law.  NFPA 730 describes construction, protection, occupancy features, and practices intended to reduce security vulnerabilities to life and property.  It covers a security vulnerability assessment, designing a security plan, interior protection, exterior protection, security guards, special events, and security measures for occupancies. 

In the past IREM has written to the NFPA expressing IREM’s belief that the NFPA’s premises liability standards, if adopted, could cause great harm to all building owners due to the following reasons: "one size does not fit all"; increasing litigation; false sense of security for tenants; education; suggested alternatives; need for adequate research; and increased insurance premiums. 

The IREM Legislative and Public Policy (LPP) Committee read the 2006 edition of the NFPA 730 “Guide for Premises Security” (“standard”) in the summer of 2007. 

NFPA has expertise in many areas, but not building security.  IREM believes that NFPA should not be writing guidelines on premises security.  IREM supports a single model building code.  The International Code Council has been working towards a uniform code and IREM supports these efforts.

The LPP Committee has the following concerns with the “Guide for Premises Security”
1.  Types and classes of office buildings not differentiated.  In regards to Chapter 19: Office Buildings, many provisions in the chapter do not take into account the different types and classes of office buildings.  Most of the provisions are predictable for a large class A office, but not for the lower class B and class C, especially when dealing with multi-tenant occupancy that has many clients visiting the location.  It is not reasonable to hire a security patrol and or remote surveillance systems to monitor a 4,000 square foot multi-tenant office building with a net operating income (NOI) of $ 19,400.

2.  Using the local police for security.  Provision suggests that “the local police should be required to include the facility in patrol routes.”  That is feasible if a manager is managing only a few properties with a high crime rate.  However, most IREM members are managing multitudes of properties and if a manager of a number of buildings in one area called the police and asked the police to include the buildings on a patrol, the police would most likely respond by suggesting the manager hire a private patrol company to patrol the area.

3.  Security companies may be using the standard for their own self-interest.  Provision suggests that “management should be active in local security associations or industry trade groups as a means of sharing common security concerns and solutions.”  IREM is concerned that members of the NFPA, which is composed of security companies, patrol firms, and contractors, may have made that suggestion for their own self interest.  

4.  Traffic control should take into account the building’s class and location.  In regards to traffic control at ground and street level entrances, provision 19.4.2 states that the entrances should not appear open to casual visitors and building traffic must be controlled.  The NFPA should take into account that the appropriate traffic control depends on the class and location of the structure.  For example, an IREM member manages a four-story multi-tenant office with predominantly counseling service occupants.  Even though there are arrows painted on the pavement, some of the tenants’ clients do not care and will disregard the arrows by driving in the wrong direction.  In that situation, gate arms and directional spike strips would cause more problems than the cost would justify. 

5.  Separate lots for tenants and visitors not always feasible.  Following traffic control guidelines, provision states that parking for employees and tenants should be separate from visitor parking.  Returning to the example above, it would not be practical for that property, which has mostly counseling service occupants, to section off parking for tenants versus visitors due to the vacillating nature of the mix of cars. 

6.  Parking identification unrealistic.  Another recommendation for parking lots contained in the NFPA 730 calls for requiring tenants to affix parking identification stickers on their vehicles.  In several of the buildings IREM members manage parking identification for tenants is unrealistic due to the nature of the property, the amount of tenants, and the added complication of spouses trading cars for the day.

7.  Difficulty providing security on adjacent parking facilities.  Provision states that “if adjacent parking facilities, not under the control of management, are used for overflow parking, management should provide for safety and security services when the lots are in use.”  In regards to having the current manager to supply security services to an adjacent parking facility, IREM members question if the property is not under the current management then who is managing it?  IREM members are not aware of an owner who allows tenants of another building to use his or her lot for overflow parking without some form of rent.  It is the land owner’s responsibility to provide security to reduce his or her liability; however, if the property manager is to provide security then the rent should be abated relative to the service provided.  If the property manager of an adjacent property is providing security services then that manager could be exposing himself or herself to liability if there is a crime, such as a burglary.

8.  No feasible, practical way to allow someone to see inside an elevator.  Provision states that “elevator cars should be equipped with the means to allow someone to see inside the car before entering.”  IREM members are frustrated that the standard does not attempt to explain how property owners and managers may accomplish that.  To effectively perform what the panel is requesting, closed circuit TV's would need to be installed on all floors so that as the elevator is moving from floor to floor people could see who or what is on board.  Realistically that creates more potential problems than it solves.  For instance, someone would have the ability to observe an individual and which floor the individual stopped at.  An assailant would have the ability to see if a vulnerable person is on board as the elevator car is approaching.

9. Access control standard does not consider cost prohibition.  All exterior doors are to be equipped with automatic sensors and door locks according to provision  In buildings of a certain class and size that level of access control would make sense; however, for a broad measure covering all office buildings it is nonsensical that the drafters of the standard did not mention cost prohibitions.

10.  “Do not duplicate” not a guarantee of safety.  Concerning the effort to have all keys marked "Do Not Duplicate," in provision, it is a great idea in an ideal world, but in today’s automated world it is unrealistic.  Law-abiding tenants would heed this but the lawbreakers, for whom this idea is directed, would go to a local home improvement store and plug the key into an Access + machine to make a duplicate key.  That machine will make duplicates regardless of what is written or engraved on the key. 

(Adopted 10/07)

Appendix VI: ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality

The ASHRAE Standard 62.1 is now updated by ASHRAE on a regular basis according to the organization’s continuous maintenance procedures.  The purpose of the standard has consistently been to specify minimum ventilation rates and other measures intended to provide indoor air quality that is acceptable to human occupants and that minimizes adverse health effects.  However, ASHRAE’s means of achieving its goal have developed over the years. 

The latest version of the standard, published in 2007, includes changes that impact ventilation system designers and their designs.  It defines requirements for ventilation and air-cleaning system design, installation, commissioning, and operation and maintenance.  All spaces intended for human occupancy are covered by the standard, except those within single-family houses and multifamily structures of three stories or less above grade.  Additional requirements for industrial, health care, and other spaces may be dictated by workplace and other standards.  The scope of the standard states that the provisions are not intended to be applied retroactively when the standard is used as a mandatory regulation or code.  

IREM Position:
The members of IREM are committed to the maintenance of the health and safety of all occupants in buildings. We believe that the property managers are maintaining a high standard of indoor air quality compliance with the incentives already in place through current government and market influences.
The Indoor Air Quality Sub-Committee of the Legislative and Public Policy Committee reviewed the Standard and expressed the following concerns:

Because the standard is very technical in nature, a real estate manager who does not have a technical background would need to hire a licensed professional engineer to make an analysis for each building. 
The standard’s references to biological contaminants led members to ask if the standard takes into account factors outside of the building owner or manager’s control, such as a tenant’s plants or perfume.     
The standard defines acceptable indoor air quality as “air in which there are no known contaminants at harmful concentrations as determined by cognizant authorities and with which a substantial majority (80% or more) of the people exposed do not express dissatisfaction.”  If an 80% affected occupants rule is applied then the contaminants listed in the standard may not come into play in larger buildings, but could still impact smaller buildings. 

The frequency of inspections is also of concern to members.  The standard states that “the ventilation system shall be operated and maintained at a minimum in accordance with the provisions of this standard.”  More specifically it provides that “ventilation system design, operation, and maintenance shall be reevaluated when changes in building use or occupancy category, significant building alterations, significant changes in occupancy design, or other changes inconsistent with the system design assumptions are made.”  

Maintenance requirements in the standard are such that a one-time review would most likely be inadequate for compliance. Many of these maintenance issues are neither realistic nor acceptable and are indicative of excessive regulation.  For example, if a member was to maintain an Operations and Maintenance Manual with all of the documents suggested by ASHRAE, the member would be responsible for an unnecessarily extensive documentation system.

ASHRAE has not demonstrated that health problems or complaints are a result of a lack of proper maintenance procedures in buildings nor are AHSRAE's standards based on scientific findings.
The standard does not recognize differences in climate variations across the country. 

Complying with the standard may be cost prohibitive. ASHRAE's standards may increase cost of new construction significantly, as well as compliance costs in present buildings. Therefore, these standards may not be suitable or realistic for all building types or sizes.

(Adopted 10/08)

Appendix VII: Guidelines for the Use of Human Models in Advertising

The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1988 is designed to protect the rights of individuals from discrimination in housing. The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful "to make, print, or publish any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin...".
Any advertising that uses human models to suggest lifestyle, through the use of an illustration, photo, or through any other reproductive means, requires reasonable representation of both majority and minority racial groups. Adequate representation of families with children and both sexes is encouraged and should be complementary of the entire area, not a specific target market. The advertisement will need to illustrate impartiality with regard to each model portrayed in the display, which in turn suggests to any interested party they have a free choice in housing.

The Institute has had a long-standing interest in fair housing and remains committed to the letter and spirit of the Federal Fair Housing Act. Our greatest concern is that people are able to choose freely, without interference, where they will live without the constraint of prejudice or discrimination. We urge our members to support these guidelines and advance our position throughout the property management industry and within our respective communities.

According to HUD, the following words, phrases and symbols may convey a discriminatory intent and should be avoided in housing advertisements. In January 1995, HUD issued a memo to provide additional guidance "on the procedures for the acceptance and investigations of allegations of discrimination under Section 804 (c) of the Fair Housing Act involving the publication of real estate advertisements."

Examples of words descriptive of dwelling, landlord, and tenants:

  • White private home
  • Hispanic residence
  • Adult building

Examples of words indicative of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin:

Race: Black, Caucasian, Oriental, Hispanic, American Indian

Color: white, black, colored

Religion: Protestant, Catholic, Christian, Jewish

National Origin: Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Italian, Irish, Latino, Polish

Sex: male only, female only or the exclusive use of any other words in advertisements, including those involving the rental of separate units in a single or multi-family dwelling, stating or tending to imply that the housing being advertised is available to persons only of one sex and not the other

Handicap: crippled, blind, deaf, mentally ill, impaired, physically fit

Familial Status: adults, children, singles, mature persons

The following are some of the preferred examples for the above:

  • Handicapped persons given priority
  • Housing for mentally challenged
  • Apartment with wheelchair ramp on first floor
  • Community with special programs for the emotionally challenged
  • Beautiful, prestigious community
  • Resort community
  • Distinguished homes/Regal residence
  • Exquisite wooded setting
  • Estate homes
  • Luxurious apartments
  • Custom features
  • The following are some of the questionable examples of above:
  • Prefer bright, healthy person to share apartment
  • Ideal community for physically fit persons
  • No persons infected with AIDS need apply
  • Prefer articulate roommate
  • Integrated neighborhood
  • Private community
  • Condominium owners restricted to those approved by board
  • Any symbols or logotypes which imply or suggest race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin
  • Any words or phrases used regionally or locally which imply or suggest race, color, religion sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.

Directions to real estate for sale or rent (use of maps or written instructions):
Any reference to real estate location made in terms of racial or national origin, significant landmarks such as an existing black development (signal to blacks), or an existing development known for its inclusion of minorities (signal to whites), should not be used. The advertisement also should not contain specific directions which refer to a synagogue, congregation, parish or any other racial or national origin. These words may indicate that the landlord or owner of a dwelling has a particular preference based on race, national origin or religion.

Examples: Preferred

  • North from the Beltway, right on Connecticut Avenue
  • Past the Library of Congress
  • From Jackson Street, right on Auburn Avenue
  • I-95 South to Sterling Road
  • Examples: Questionable
  • Take the Beltway to Exit 33 at the Mormon Temple
  • Past the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
  • Located near Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • I-95 South to Seminole Indian Reservation

Area (location) description:
Name of facilities which cater to a particular racial, national origin, or religious group such as country club or private school designations, or names of facilities which are used exclusively by one sex, should not be used to describe an area.

Example: This community is located in the country-club neighborhood of Spring Gardens (permissible only if the Spring Gardens Country Club is open to all persons regardless of race, national origin or religion). * (1991, 1993 Newspaper Association of America, Reprinted 1993)

(11/93, updated 10/08)

Appendix VIII: Housing for the Elderly
In the United States, each day 5,000 persons reach their 65th birthday, resulting in a net gain every year of more than 500,000 senior citizens. In the last two decades, the over-65 population increased twice as fast as the rest of the population. While over one-fifth of Americans were 55 years of age or older in 1982, this group is expected to grow at a rate of 113% between now and the year 2050, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Through the normal course of economic and social change and attrition, these individuals are often left without family and/or with substantially reduced family support (both financially and emotionally). The once-common extended family, wherein adult children and parents frequently resided together has neared extinction, due to greater life expectancy, greater mobility and a general feeling for independence.

With respect to housing, the needs and living conditions of many of this nation's elderly have changed as they have aged. For many elderly, their present (or near future) housing situation may no longer be suitable for their particular needs. Older persons should not be viewed as a homogeneous group, as they represent a wide range of income levels, health and functional impairment needs, living arrangements, personal preferences, and so forth. Nevertheless, there are several characteristics of the elderly which distinguish them as a group from the population as a whole: (1) income, (2) health and functional impairment, and (3) living pattern.

From a public policy standpoint, it is up to the community to determine the types of housing that is best suited to the needs of its respective population. Many groups have addressed this issue but not necessarily from the property management viewpoint. IREM advocates that the issues be addressed at the management level in conjunction with private and public agencies and interest groups. Members of the Institute of Real Estate Management recognize this significant need and to address the special requirements and necessity for provision of viable methods of meeting the support services that many elderly require. Further, we encourage the federal government to understand the problems of the elderly. It is not IREM's desire to promote the creation of more federal programs but rather to encourage better ways of dealing with the problems for the elderly in need of assistance.

Unfortunately, there is no clear definition of just what constitutes alternative living arrangements for the elderly. Generally they represent a range of semi-independent living arrangements that are targeted to fill the gap between independent living for older residents and dependent care. There is also no consensus on either terminology used or a systematic approach in classification of alternatives. However, most of the options are usually based upon the level of support services available as part of the living arrangement.
"A Guide to the Design and Development of Housing for the Elderly," published by the New England Non-Profit Housing Development Corporation lists the various types of alternative housing where an older person might reside. This is a graduated list based on level of dependence:

  • single family house
  • mobile home
  • apartment house
  • public housing
  • retirement community
  • boarding house
  • residence with relatives
  • retirement hotel
  • home for the aged
  • community residence
  • congregate housing
  • county home
  • intermediate care housing
  • nursing home
  • hospital

The basic concerns in providing and managing housing for the elderly are costs, support services and the physical unit itself. Studies indicate that among the elderly who live in non-care housing, the features that were the most important in the choice of housing related to cost/energy efficiency, decent and ample living space.

Those who manage housing for the elderly already know that these needs are not particularly unique to the elderly. Elderly residents want and expect to be treated just like any other tenant. Dividing the above types of housing into care levels (based on required professional support services) might look like this:

Level I - Consisting totally of persons who utilize limited social programs, require no health care services and desire units conventionally furnished and serviced.

Level II - Consisting of minimal assistance with daily housekeeping, status checks, and meal options provided by "paraprofessionals" or aides.

Level III - Consisting of professionally provided services such as regular meals, housekeeping, personal and medical care and recreational activities.

Occupants residing in elderly housing developments might live very independently, if tenancy begins at a conventional retirement age. However, regardless of the type of living arrangement -- independent, semi-dependent, or dependent -- the residents continue to age and the level of personal care, meals and housekeeping support services that are required increase drastically. Problems associated with the residents' aging in place are the greatest concern for the effective/efficient management of all housing for the elderly.

Members of the Institute of Real Estate Management feel there is a need to create support systems for those requiring extended care, thus permitting continued semi-independent living. Our primary goal in serving the elderly population is to be able to provide methods of integrating the basic need services for groups within a single complex or neighborhood while at the same time preserving the safety, dignity and greatest possible degree of independence for these individuals.

It is imperative that federally funded/assisted housing programs consider the need for professional and non-professional support personnel and additional services for the elderly in appropriating funds for such housing. It is equally important to provide such services at reasonable costs in privately funded complexes and/or programs which could, in the long run, take some of the stress off public programs resulting in realistic cost savings for both public and private housing alternatives for the elderly.


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