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Alerts & Updates

HB 4038 Signed Into Law, May 21, 2015

Contributed by I. Matthew Miller, Swistak & Levin, P.C.,  PMAM Legislative Chair

On May 21, 2015, the Governor signed into law HB 4038.  This bill allows landlords to serve demands for possession by “electronic transmission.”  In simple terms, considering the state of today’s technology, this new law allows a landlord to send a 7-day notice to a tenant by email.

The way this works is the tenant has to “specifically consent” in writing to receiving 7-day notices by email and to provide the landlord with the email address.  Then, the landlord has to send a test email to the tenant, who must respond to the landlord by email to confirm that the tenant has given consent to receive 7-day notices via that email address.

The written consent can be part of a lease or in a separate document.  The hope is that tenants will want to use this electronic notification to make sure they receive notices quickly and they are not lost in the mail.

If the tenant informs the landlord in writing of a new email address or the tenant no longer uses the email address, then the landlord can no longer use the original email address.  The landlord may also use a system by which the tenant receives an electronic notice which directs the tenant by hyperlink to an internet location to open and download the notice.

The new law is not clear whether it may be used for other notices, such as the 24-hour drug eviction, a 7-day health hazard, a 7-day notice for violence, or a standard 30-day notice.  I do not think there is any question it may be used for non-payment, a health hazard, and a 24-hour drug eviction because the statute refers to those notices as “demands for possession.”  However, a standard 30-day notice and the 7-day for violence refer to the phrase “notice to quit,” which may be construed as something different than a “demand for possession.”  After electronic notification becomes the normal manner of service, I think that distinction will fade away over time but for now, I think it should only be used where the statute refers specifically to a “demand for possession.”

Finally, it is illegal to refuse to lease to a tenant who declines to provide consent to use electronic notification.

The law takes effect on August 19, 2015.  A link to the bill is here: