American Apartment Owners Association

Lawmakers support bill to help Louisiana renters recover more of their security deposits

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 7:54am

Losing out on security deposits is a familiar, frustrating rite of passage for many renters in Louisiana, which has few legal protections for renters. The Louisiana Legislature even issued a resolution in 2014 that recognized the lack of those protections. More than half of all residents in New Orleans rent, and for many of those renters, a deposit is another burden adding to the costs of housing, often expected to never be seen again.

Senate Bill 466 would allow renters to collect a slightly larger check from negligent landlords that have illegally held on to a security deposit, along with all or part of the security deposit. Last week, the bill cleared its final legislative hurdle in the House by a 56-23 vote and now heads to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk for approval.

Effective Aug. 1, the bill from state Sen. Ed Price would raise the maximum penalty that renters can recover from a landlord that illegally withheld a deposit to up to twice the amount of the deposit.
The change would allow renters who take their deposit claim to court and win to collect a wrongfully retained security deposit and $300 or twice the amount of whatever was illegally retained, whichever is greater.

The previous law capped the recoverable funds at $200.

Housing advocacy organizations celebrated the bill’s passage, which the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center called a “measure of economic relief to Louisiana’s 1.5 million renters.”

Davida Finger, a professor Loyola University College of Law, which oversees the Loyola Law Clinic, says the clinic frequently represents renters whose landlords have withheld deposits.

“Even after winning a lawsuit, the most renters usually receive back under the old law is the stolen deposit,” Finger said in a statement. “For bad actors, that was no disincentive. Low-income people cannot easily access attorneys or the courts. Without deposit funds, there is a struggle to secure new housing.”


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Is Proximity to Mass Transit Becoming Less of a Draw for Apartment Renters?

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 4:13pm

In the few years since companies like Uber and Lyft began to offer their ride sharing and carpooling options to riders in San Francisco, the premium earned by apartments near mass transit has dropped.

Apartment dwellers have traditionally been willing to pay a premium to live near mass transit stops in urban markets. But fueled by the proliferation of ride-sharing services, a rise in use of electric vehicles and other factors, that allure has begun to lessen in the Golden Gate City and that effect could spread elsewhere, according to new findings from MetLife Investment Management.

“When we look at what makes real estate assets most attractive to tenants, access to transit has traditionally been near the top of the list,” says Adam Ruggiero, head of real estate research for MetLife, which recently released its new report, “On the Road Again: How Advances in Transportation Are Shaping the Future of Real Estate.”

Apartment renters have more options to get around, which may be diluting the amount of extra rent that they are willing to pay to live near a subway stop or light rail station. In the few years since companies like Uber and Lyft began to offer their ride sharing and carpooling options to riders in San Francisco, the premium earned by apartments near mass transit has dropped—but not disappeared.

“It might lower the spread but it does not erase the spread,” says Justin Bakst, director of capital markets for CoStar Risk Analytics, which provided data for the MetLife report.

The introduction of ride sharing and carpooling services in San Francisco coincided with a decline in rental premiums for on-transit apartments (defined properties within a five-minute walk of a transit stop) from a historical average of 20 percent to only 15 percent today, according to the MetLife report.

“So far the effect has only occurred in a meaningful fashion in San Francisco,” says Will Pattison, associate director of real estate for MetLife Investment Management. “Uber and Lyft launched ride sharing in San Francisco first… The same dynamic is likely occur in markets like Chicago and Boston over the next several years.”

The factor that matters most to apartment rents is competition from other apartments. “The apartment supply-demand relationship in an area is going to influence pricing power more than anything else,” says Greg Willett, chief economist for research firm RealPage Inc.

“Given we’re now adding significant inventory in many neighborhoods with established transit options, rent premiums for transit-oriented developments are not necessarily at the levels seen historically,” says Willett. “We have to get through the wave of projects in lease-up to see whether or not there’s a meaningful reset of pricing relationships at individual properties across these submarkets.”

Ride sharing might be giving even more choices to renters than a new property in the same neighborhood. Some may be using multiple kinds of transportation to get to work or play, widening the number apartment properties where they might be able to live without needing to own a car. For example, a renter might be able to use a bicycle or Uber to get from an apartment complex to a mass transit stop.

“We believe the advances we’re highlighting will serve to complement and extend existing transit systems far beyond their current boundaries,” says MetLife’s Pattison. “Combined transit may help Millennials in particular. They are increasingly reaching home buying age and starting families, which will lead them to seek out better school districts in the suburbs.”

The same trends may lower the number of parking spaces that residents are going to need. “The greater availability and declining cost of ride sharing and ride-hailing services will make it even easier to forgo car ownership in the future,” says Pattison.

Developers and designers will have to make room for a different kind of parking as more of their residents come to depend on ride sharing services. “The most immediate impact on apartment communities is that projects need appropriate passenger pick-up and drop-off points and wait areas,” says Pattison.




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What Landlords Can Do To Avoid Evictions

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 4:01pm

Evictions are at an all-time high. Pulitzer Prize-winning sociologist and mass eviction researcher Matthew Desmond placed the number at 2.3 million for 2016, offering a combination of reasons: Soaring housing costs coupled with flatlining incomes have come together to make rental properties that much more unaffordable to average families.

More than ever, families are squeezed between the income they produce versus the rent and housing costs they must meet. In many respects, then, the current eviction crisis is actively contributing to a situation where poverty flourishes.

In other words, the climbing eviction rate is unsustainable.

Though there are economic and structural reasons for this uptick, there are also tangible steps that landlords can take to attenuate that rise — effective ways landlords can avoid evictions.

Adopting A Proactive Approach

Evictions are not only destructive for tenants. They also negatively impact landlords, too. Neither party benefits from the eviction process. Tenants are tasked with the challenge of securing a new home. For landlords, the eviction process can take weeks or even months of time, cost and stress. It’s in the interest of both parties to avoid this outcome.

Landlords who mishandle the eviction process may receive a countersuit, action that can bury your case into a deeper, more insipid legal quagmire. Landlords must take a proactive, measured approach to avoid this outcome. When I say proactive, what I mean is an approach that prevents evictions in the first place and that puts the risk in your favor.

Create conditions in which the landlord-tenant relationship is healthy, open, honest and, most importantly, reciprocal. Remember — landlords are bound by their obligations as much as tenants are. Even though landlords own the property, they cannot take the law into their own hands. I’ve seen too many cases in which landlords have done precisely that.

A proactive approach is one that manages the concerns of your tenant in a timely, reasonable manner. It’s an approach that reduces landlord-tenant tension. It’s also an approach that seeks to avoid a reactionary response.

In many cases, evictions take place in unnecessary circumstances. Perhaps the tenant has a reasonable case for late rental payments. Perhaps landlords can adopt a more moral approach, one that seeks to understand and come to a sensible, long-term resolution that benefits both tenant and landlord. It doesn’t always have to result in eviction proceedings. Evictions should be avoided whenever possible.

Evictions are, of course, the action of last resort — both tenant and landlord should come to that realization if a dispute, no matter how small, comes to the fore. It’s not always the fault of the tenant. Landlords should realize this and act accordingly.

Always Meeting Obligations

Of course, there are situations in which eviction proceedings are wholly unavoidable. Even then, though, landlords should reflect on how that situation has arisen.

Landlords should ensure that their tenant is of the highest possible standard. Necessary background checks must be performed before leases are signed. It’s simply not enough to take a passive, distant attitude. It never works. But conducting those extra checks can, in the long term, save you weeks if not months of time, stress and cost by avoiding the eviction process. Invest the necessary time upfront, and it always pays off.

Even when things go awry, landlords should think about how that situation has come to pass and what steps, if any, they can take to avoid the same situation developing in the future. Again, it’s often down to being proactive and tackling every potential source of tension and discord in the landlord-tenant relationship.

The perilous increase in eviction rates of late casts a wider shadow over the landlord-tenant relationship, giving us greater cause to reflect on what landlords can do to prevent this often needless outcome. Landlords must be proactive along three fronts:

1. Landlords should guarantee that their tenant comes with the lowest possible risk. Conduct necessary, extra background checks.

2. Landlords should meet their obligations and ensure the landlord-tenant relationship is healthy, free from both hostility and tension.

3. Landlords should be flexible where necessary, seeking a long-term resolution for whatever the source of tension may be.

In cases where all three strategies fail, eviction proceedings are unavoidable. In these circumstances, landlords should always conduct themselves in accordance with the relevant state and local legislation and the tenancy agreement – a professional approach that seeks to streamline the eviction process, while also protecting the landlord against potential countersuits.

Some evictions are avoidable. By appreciating that fact for what it’s worth, landlords can do more to help their situation (and tenant) in both the short and the long term.



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Cats vs. Dogs: Which Causes the Most Property Damage

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 3:58pm

It isn’t uncommon for students to own pets while attending college. This can cause a problem for landlords since tenants with pets can ultimately lead to property damage. Allowing pets is a difficult decision for property owners and landlords to make. Is it worth the trouble of fixing any property damage caused by pets? You don’t want to lose a great tenant just because you have a firm rule against pets.

We’re here to help you understand which pet, a cat or dog, will cause the most property damage so you can decide what is best for you and your rental property.

Most Common Pets

It can be hard to find a good college student to rent your property, especially when a number of them own pets. The most common pets students own are cats and dogs. Owning a pet gives them a sense of independence and responsibility.

Though pets can be beneficial to the tenant, they may cause a headache for you as a landlord. When it comes to cats and dogs, you can expect the following types of property damage.

Dogs: A Man’s Best Friend

Dogs are the most loyal and happy pets you can ever own! However, they come with a great deal of responsibility and require a lot of attention. If this attention isn’t given, they could cause some major property damage.


Depending on the age of the dog, your property could be victim to some chewing. Baseboards, doors, and kitchen cabinets can all fall victim to a dog’s chewing. Chewing is more likely to occur if your tenants don’t keep their dog in a crate while they are out of the house. Though it may not seem like such a big problem, the only way to fix something that has been chewed is to replace it.


As you know, animals shed. Fur can get absolutely everywhere. If your property has carpeting, a dog’s fur can really get stuck in the fibers. This can cause a problem if your next tenants are allergic to dogs.


This type of property damage depends on the age of the dog and how responsible your tenants are. If they are home often and can let the dog out to do their business, then you won’t have to worry about accidents happening in the house.

If accidents happen often enough, the property could start to smell. Carpets also have the potential to be stained and completely ruined as well. If you decide to allow dogs, you’ll want to think about installing hardwood floors throughout the property.

Yard Damage

Dogs make all of your property their home. That includes any type of yard that your tenants have access to. Dogs who are reckless and untrained can tear up a yard by digging holes. This type of property damage is easy to fix, but it can be a hassle.


You may want to take a look at your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it covers dog bites. Most policies do cover it, but it’s always good to make sure. You don’t want to owe thousands of dollars if someone is bitten by a dog on your property.

To keep yourself and your tenants safe, make it a requirement for your tenants to have renters insurance. This will also cover dog bites.


Have you ever walked into a friend or family member’s house on a rainy day and notice that their house smells like wet dog? That smell can linger for a few days. The same goes for tenants who have dogs. If the dog has accidents in the house or they allow their wet dog to lay down on the carpet, there can be a lingering dog smell after they move out.


Though this doesn’t necessarily count as property damage, allowing a noisy dog to live in your property can cause damage to your relationships with neighbors. You don’t want to be known as the landlord who leases their property to bad and annoying tenants.

Cats: Ms. Independent

Cats are known to be independent, quiet, and mostly keep to themselves. You may not realize just how much property damage they can cause when they live in your property.


If your tenants don’t provide a proper scratching post for their cat, it can tear up any furniture you’ve provided or your carpet. This isn’t easy to fix!


Typically, a cat uses a litter box. It’s clean and easy. There are some occurrences where cats will have accidents on the floor, though. If your tenant gets lazy and doesn’t clean the litter box or if the cat is sick, this can happen.

This can result in stained carpets and a lingering smell.


Cats typically don’t smell worse than dogs, but they do have a certain smell. Cat litter can leave a unique kind of smell in the room it’s kept. This smell can be hard to get rid of.


It’s hard to say which animal sheds more, cats or dogs. Ultimately, cats shed a ton! This cat hair can get stuck in carpeting for months or even years. This can cause a problem for future tenants who may be allergic to cats.

How to Prevent Property Damage

Cats and dogs may cause property damage, but there are some things you can do to prevent it from happening.

Ask for a Nonrefundable Deposit

It’s pretty common to ask for a pet deposit. You can choose if this deposit is refundable or not to the tenant. If there is any property damage done by the pet, you can use this money to repair it.

Set Limits

As a landlord, you can set limits as to what type of pets are allowed to live in your property. You can even limit it to the weight or type of breed a dog is. Just because you agree to allow pets doesn’t mean you can’t still have a say as to what kind of pet.

Set Expectations

Along with setting limits, you should also set expectations for your tenants. This can be requiring them to keep the dog in a crate when they are not there or vacuuming up pet hair once a week. It’s completely up to you and your tenant to agree upon.

Which Causes the Most Property Damage?

As you can see, dogs typically cause the most property damage. Though cats are still at fault for property damage, dogs bring the risk of biting someone, ruining your yard, causing too much noise, and chewing.

Don’t let this type of property damage intimidate you, though. There are ways to limit the damage by setting expectations and asking for a pet deposit.



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Want To Invest In A Summer Home? Consider This First

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 3:36pm

Summer homes give you on-demand, comfortable living quarters when you want to get away.

For some, they’re quite the luxury. And, you may have the wherewithal to afford the mortgages for these homes. However, as with many investment decisions, you should consider whether buying a vacation home is wise use of your money. You’ll have to think about the following.

Your Time

As with your primary home, a summer home requires cleaning, changing bulbs and air filters, and repairs to appliances, roofs and other parts of the home. In coastal cities, the salt and storms may inflict wear, tear and damage on the structure.

These things pull you and your time away from your job or home out of season. If you lack time, expect to pay close to a hundred dollars per month to retain a property management company and the cost of any needed repairs. If you want to avoid using a property management company, you might consider buying a vacation home closer to your primary residence.

If you have a family or hold jobs (or both), you likely can’t spend the whole summer in your second home. You’ll need to rent out the place to get practical benefit. Using a property management company can cost upwards of 30 cents on every dollar of rent collected.

The Market

Entering the summer home market is a huge financial undertaking. Thanks to the inability of supply to keep pace with demand, prices for vacation homes have generally run quite high even as sales decline.

Certain destinations may prove to be opportunities for bargain hunters. According to Attom Data Solutions, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida and Maryland had the lowest median vacation home prices in 2017 among locations with an average temperature between roughly 74 degrees and 92 degrees.

Other Costs Of Buying Versus Renting

In keeping with the high prices, there’s also a mortgage issue. Typically, mortgages on summer and other second homes typically come with higher interest rates because the buyers may already have a mortgage on their primary residence.

Also, your insurance may be high. In particular, many summer homes are located in coastal areas that may be prone to hurricanes and the associated damage. Further, vacation homes can increase the risk of liability due to the presence of pools and other amenities.

As a result, renting a vacation home may ultimately prove cheaper. Rather than buy, you can use a service such as Airbnb or VRBO. These let you deal directly with the summer home owner. Renters pay a 20 percent service fee.

If you own the home, you can offer rooms and units directly to would-be vacationers. Airbnb charges a 3 percent host fee for you as an owner on each transaction.

Ultimately, before you plunge into summer home ownership, consider whether you can take on an extra set of responsibilities for insurance, maintenance, utilities and property taxes.



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The Most Prosperous Cities in the U.S.

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 9:04am
  • Texas cuts into the East Coast – West Coast rivalry, claiming 6 spots of the top 20
  • California has the highest concentration of highly prosperous large cities
  • Only 11 out of more than 300 cities have registered improvements across all prosperity indicators between 2000 and 2016

So which is the best city in the U.S.? Ask ten people and you’ll get ten different answers. To each their own, of course, but most of us would agree that a city has to be capable of progress, and vitality is – ehm – vital, if it is to be considered attractive in the long run. After all, a city must be better today than it was yesterday but also have the momentum to reach a bit further tomorrow to keep itself on the radar. This narrows the circle enough to get us somewhere.

We looked at six indicators of prosperity in U.S. cities with populations exceeding 100,000 to see how they’ve changed between 2000 and 2016 according to U.S. Census data and single out the ones that have made the most progress overall. For this purpose, we ranked these 303 cities by the magnitude of proportional changes that affected their population, median incomehome values, the share of inhabitants holding a higher education degree, poverty rate and unemployment rate. The final prosperity ranking was set up based on the combined value of the individual ranks obtained in these six fields.

Check out our interactive map below to see the top 20 most prosperous cities and the improvements they have shown in each of the six prosperity indicators from 2000 to 2016:

By looking at the top 20 most prosperous cities in the U.S. on a map, we can’t help but notice that the East Coast–West Coast battle is on yet again. Although that hardly comes as a shock. More surprising is that Texas alone is represented by no less than 6 cities in the top 20, one more than California – or in other words, as many as the entire West Coast combined. The fact that not a single city from a landlocked state has made it to the shortlist is also some food for thought.

What do the best of them have that the others don’t?

Since we mentioned Texas – it’s enough to look at the highest-ranking city to get a clue… During the time period we analyzed in our study, U.S.-wide crude oil production has seen a 50% upswing. That is a staggering growth, especially considering that production figures had been plummeting in the first half of these 17 years, and after bottoming out in 2008 it only took 7 years for the U.S. oil industry to not only recover, but even come within a hair’s breadth to repeating its all-time high recorded in 1970. By comparison, reaching the 1970 peak from the same level as the 2008 low point took more than 23 years. And as Texas is responsible for more than one-third of the nation total crude oil output, this sudden increase in the petroleum industry’s activity may give a hint to why the Midland-Odessa area, one of the main employment hubs in the Permian Basin had some of the lowest unemployment rates in Texas for years, and how it has put busy metropolises like Los Angeles, Seattle or even New York City to shame in our ranking.

Washington, DC took second place, but although it has shown great improvements in terms of incomes and educated workforce, it’s really the bold home price increases that propelled the nation’s capital all the way to the podium. The limited pool of choices combined with a rising demand is driving this phenomenon, which has turned DC into an overvalued market. Although, as local market experts argue, the pressure that has been blowing the housing bubble in recent times is weakening. One possible explanation for this is that prices have reached a point where buyers are starting to lose their willingness to compromise and prefer to wait out in expectation of top quality for their money – something increasingly difficult to come by as the inventory ages.

The last place on the podium is occupied by Charleston, SC – and note that the city’s next-door neighbor, North Charleston is also in the top 5. The area is known for a very strong presence of the aerospace industry: the Charleston International Airport aviation complex includes the Charleston County Aviation Authority (CCAA), tenant firms at the Charleston International Airport terminals, the neighboring U.S. Air Force component of Joint Base Charleston, and the adjacent Boeing South Carolina complex. An economic impact study released by The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce in 2015 shows that the aviation cluster had doubled in four years (2011-2015), accounting for 40% of the area’s Gross Metropolitan Product at the time.

Fontana is also worth mentioning at this point, as the city has come a long way since its foundation about a century ago and it’s still growing aggressively. From a small agricultural town it has turned into what’s now one of the most important regional hubs for the trucking industry. The population soared from roughly 128,000 in 2000 to more than 205,000 in 2016; and during some of these years, the city was among the top fastest-growing in the nation. However, the fast growth of its educated population, or the local real estate market’s reaction to this progress is not necessarily what makes Fontana’s high ranking stand out… It has much more to do with the fact that Fontana is one of the most prosperous cities in spite of having a 3% higher poverty rate and a 18% higher unemployment rate than in 2000.

Combatting Poverty and Unemployment – Important for Wellbeing, Not Enough for Prosperity

Fontana’s case proves a point regarding prosperity in general. Not all indicators need to show improvements for a city to be prosperous. In fact, that’s an extremely rare case. This may not seem that obvious by looking at just the top 20, even though only 7 of them have shown improvements in all six fields. If we were to eliminate all cities from the analysis that registered a decline in either of the six indicators, it would have left us with only 11 cities – rendering it pointless to set up even a top 10 list. Since we mentioned this aspect, here’s the very short list of cities that have seen improvements (or stagnation at the very least) across all six prosperity indicators:

The Most Prosperous U.S. Cities 2000 – 2016
Cities with positive change in all prosperity indicatorsCityProsperity RankPopulation ChangeIncome ChangeHome Value ChangeHigher Education ChangePoverty ChangeUnemployment ChangeOdessa, TX125%38%91%26%-36%-24%Washington, DC215%30%135%42%-11%-19%Charleston, SC335%16%39%34%-15%-10%Brownsville, TX930%0%21%35%-9%-28%Midland, TX1035%30%82%0%-34%-25%New York, NY116%3%64%32%-4%-10%Los Angeles, CA176%0%64%27%-3%-1%Billings, MT2522%7%46%10%-3%-13%Long Beach, CA262%5%61%23%-11%0%Atlanta, GA3610%1%10%39%-2%-26%Corpus Christi, TX7415%2%20%7%-5%-19%

The same is true, of course, for big improvements in one indicator. If you isolate one indicator and look at the best performers, you’ll always find cities near the top that have a low overall prosperity ranking. Remaining at unemployment and poverty, common sense dictates that finding solutions for these problems is synonymous with prosperity. However, even though Salinas, CA, Abilene, TX and Shreveport, LA have struck some of the biggest blows on unemployment nationwide, they didn’t even make it in the top 100 most prosperous overall.

For details about all 303 cities included in the analysis, expand the interactive table below. Click on the column headers to order the entries by the partial values, and use the search bar to filter the results.

The Most Prosperous U.S. Cities 2000 – 2016Show 102550100 entriesSearch:CityRankPopulation ChangeIncome ChangeHome Value ChangeHigher Education ChangePoverty ChangeUnemployment ChangeOdessa, TX125%38%91%26%-36%-24%Washington, DC215%30%135%42%-11%-19%Charleston, SC335%16%39%34%-15%-10%Fontana, CA460%3%60%57%3%18%North Charleston, SC534%-3%59%53%-2%-1%Jersey City, NJ69%14%71%61%4%-20%Pearland, TX7183%8%21%57%-4%14%Miami, FL819%-4%48%54%-3%-19%Brownsville, TX930%0%21%35%-9%-28%Midland, TX1035%30%82%0%-34%-25%PreviousNextThe battle of the giants – Ranking the largest cities by prosperity

It’s worth noting that 12 out of the top 20 most prosperous cities have less than 300,000 residents. However, since we compared proportional changes, it’s arguably more newsworthy that Washington, DCMiamiSeattleFort WorthEl PasoBaltimore, and even Los Angeles and New York City are among the most prosperous in spite of their large size.

Either way, we wanted to see what a top 20 list would look like if we only compared cities of the same weight-class. We repeated the same analysis, only this time we raised the threshold to compare cities with at least 300,000 residents. Here’s what we found:

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And that’s one way to push New York City from 11th place onto the podium… Other than some instant improvements in the ranking, though, eliminating the smaller cities shouldn’t bring much of a surprise – at least the first eight entries should look familiar unless you skipped the first part of the article. However, Baltimore’s case may raise some eyebrows as the city scored surprisingly high considering the fact that it has been struggling with a declining population for a long time. Baltimore’s population has shrunk by 5 percent just since the turn of the century, but it has lost about a third of its population since the 1950s in an almost consistent decline. Baltimore County, on the other hand, is growing, having registered a 9.5 percent increase from 2000 to 2016. Property taxes double as you enter the city, so it makes much financial sense – especially for young professionals – to choose the commute over a hefty tax bill.

As you inch downward, however, Boston and Denver complete the top-10, having climbed 12 positions each. Both cities have seen their poverty rates go higher by quite a lot (in Boston the unemployment rate also got worse), but the improvements in home value and the share of the educated population far outweighed these setbacks, earning them a place among the most prosperous large cities. (A random thought: one could argue that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the seesawing of these indicators, although it’s always a good idea to investigate each individual case before holding gentrification responsible for this phenomenon, the issue being generally more localized, affecting only certain neighborhoods and never an entire city.)

We have mentioned Long Beach and Atlanta above as members of the exclusive club of cities with improvements across all six indicators, so we pretty much expected them to make this list too – sure enough, they claimed the 11th and 16thplaces, respectively. California has a much stronger presence on this list, by the way, with six cities in the top-20, more than any other state, or in fact, the entire Northeast combined.

  • Our study includes all U.S. cities with a population of 100K or more in 2016. Data from 2000 is sourced from U.S. Census Summary Files, while the 2016 data from the U.S. Census ACS 5-year estimates and data.
  • In order to rank the cities by prosperity, we have taken into consideration the proportional changes that took place from 2000 to 2016 in each of the following indicators:
    • Population
    • Median household income (adjusted for inflation to 2018 Dollars)
    • Median value of owner-occupied housing (adjusted for inflation to 2018 Dollars)
    • Share of population with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher (education attainment for the population 25 years and over)
    • Share of the population below poverty line (considering only the population for whom the poverty status is determined)
    • Share of unemployed population (considering only the population in labor force – 16 years and over)
  • An individual ranking was set up taking into account each of the above-mentioned indicators. We considered increases in population, income, home values and in the share of the population holding at least a bachelor’s degree, and decreases in the share of poverty and share of the unemployed population as indicators of prosperity.
  • The final prosperity ranking was set taking into account the combined value of all the individual ranks obtained in all 6 fields.
  • Due to changes to the Census Bureau’s data-acquisition methodology from 2000 to 2016 (or lack of historical data), leading to inconsistent results, the following cities have been removed from the analysis: Elk Grove, CA; Jurupa Valley City, CA; Centennial City, CO; Miami Gardens, FL; Macon-Bibb County, GA; Sandy Springs, GA; Louisville, KY. New Orleans, LA was also eliminated, as the effects of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the area in 2005, make the results incomparable with the rest of the cities in the analysis.




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7 Common Maintenance Emergencies And What To Do

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 10:22am

40298637 – failure of joint restraint, ductile water pipe 600 mm diameter

Maintenance emergencies are a nightmare for property managers and tenants so this week the maintenance checkup from Keepe will discuss how to handle 7 common maintenance emergencies.

Most of the scenarios we will discuss present the possibility of causing serious damage to the property, and in some case even harm tenants.

7 common maintenance emergencies and how to resolve them

The goal is to solve the emergency as quickly and safely as possible. And with a result that both property managers and tenants will feel satisfied with the way their discomfort was addressed and resolved.

No. 1 – Flooded basement or ground floor

Generally caused by piping failures or harsh weather, indoor floods are just as dangerous as they are inconvenient.

Flood water cause major health complications. These range from being exposed to sewage, inviting mosquitoes and parasites, and kickstarting toxic mold growth. Also, once flood water reaches outlets and hot wires, it becomes immensely dangerous. It can conduct electricity and turn the space into a shock-zone.

The “golden rule” to keep in mind is that letting water sit around is the worst mistake that can be made.

Get started with clean-up and repair efforts as quickly as possible, especially to salvage materials and avoid thousands of dollars worth of damage.

If the cause of the flood can be easily identified as a burst pipe, the water supply must be immediately turned off. If the flood has reached exposed outlets, plugs, and wires, it’s then important to turn off power and contact a professional for the assessment of whether the area presents a serious electrical hazard.

Once the area has been cleared, all furniture should be removed and put in a dry space to optimize the likelihood they can be salvaged.

Pumps, wet-dry vacuums and eventually fans and dehumidifiers can be helpful with drying out the space once the majority of the water has been drained.

A professional handyman should be contacted to help with removing and repairing damaged walls – especially drywall, paneling and wallpapers – insulation, and ventilating wall cavities to minimize the risk of toxic mold growth.

If the flooding is unrelated to burst piping, it’s adequate to contact a professional for the assessment of whether the flood water is dangerous/toxic, and proceed with water removal and repair. Consult a second expert contractor regarding how floods can be prevented in your particular case (adding insulation, creating barriers, reconfiguring basements, etc.)

No. 2 – Bursting pipes

A frozen pipe that bursts means water can find its way inside a property.

In case of a burst pipe, immediately turn off the water supply. If the space is flooded, it’s appropriate to proceed as described above, with initial safety checks followed by water and furniture removal.

It’s then fundamental to contact a professional plumber for the repair of the burst section, but also for a consultation regarding how it would be best for your case to prevent burst pipes in the future.

No. 3 – Water heater bursts

A burst water heater will try to continue re-filling, causing water to continue on spilling and flooding the space.

First, if the heater is electric shut off the breaker to power it down. Gas heaters need to be shut off by utilizing the proper valve.

Water supply should be turned off next. Then proceed with steps for damage control outlined in scenario No. 1 above.

It’s best to then call the manufacturer of the appliance and your insurance company to best resolve how to repair or replace the heater, and whether any items are protected under your insurance package.

No. 4 – Pilot light shutting off

A tenant waking up in a house or apartment without hot water is a particularly uncomfortable experience.

A water heater or furnace without an active pilot light is likely what is causing the problem.

Fortunately, some appliances feature ignition buttons for easily relighting the pilot light. But, this must be done safely. The gas supply needs to be cut off and the area around the appliance needs to be allowed to be properly ventilated.

If you smell the characteristic “rotten egg” scent of natural gas lingering in the space and the smell persists for longer than an hour, leave the property and call the utility company.

You need a professional to check whether there is a gas leak or any gas-related hazard, investigate the issue, and determine whether other parts of the system should be addressed and replaced.

Once the space has been cleared, it is safe to proceed with attempting to light the pilot light by following the appliance instruction. We always recommend the help of a professional if you are at all unsure how to proceed.

No. 5 – Junction box and electrical fires

Old or incorrectly set-up wiring can be responsible for sparking dangerous electrical fires.

While junction boxes are supposed to help with containing sparks, they are no help if a fire actually catches on.

If smoke or visible flames are spotted, the electricity must be immediately shut off, and the fire department should be alerted.

If flames are burning, it would be adequate to have a Class C or multipurpose fire extinguisher at hand to try and put out the fire as long as it is safe to do so. Following the incident, contact an electrician to check on your property’s wiring to determine what caused the issue.

No. 6 – Backed-up septic tankHouse image created by Katemangostar –

A backed-up septic tank will overflow and allow spilled toxic waste to flow near or even into a property.

This is not just disgusting and smelly, but also dangerous and damaging.

Septic waste carries bacteria and disease, and can impregnate and linger into most surfaces it touches upon contact.

The best way to address this issue is to be proactive with clean-up, removing waste as it surfaces and removing – ideally disposing of – any contaminated furniture and objects. Spaces should be disinfected with a bleach solution, and a septic tank specialist should be called immediately to investigate the source of the problem.

No. 7 – Roots growing in sewer line

Tree roots are naturally attracted to the nutrients and moisture that are found within sewer lines.

Roots can easily sense and access pipes that are cracked or damaged by wear and time.

As roots infiltrate the system and grow longer and larger, the line can be completely burst or become backed-up, which becomes visible by above-ground or in-home resurfacing of sewage.

If waste floods a space, proceed as outlined in the “backed-up septic tank” scenario.

To address the issue of roots, some products that are available for purchase claim to burn off and kill roots upon contact after being easily and directly poured into drains. Our experts find these to be a “bad-aid” type of solution. These products do not resolve this issue long term and make it is likely to resurface.

In these situation, it is best to contact a professional to arrange the removal of the tree completely, and it is fundamental to try and avoid planting trees within 10 feet of a sewage line, or implement an underground barrier system to protect pipes.

7 common maintenance emergencies summary:

Investing in and prioritizing preventative maintenance strategies can lower risk of plumbing and utility emergencies.

However it is important to invest just as much time and energy into being prepared to handle them safely and promptly in case they were to actually happen.



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10 Habits of Successful Real Estate Investors

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 9:51am

Joint ventures, wholesaling and property management are just a few of the ways investors can profit from real estate, but it takes a little savvy to become successful in this competitive arena. While certain universities offer coursework and programs that specifically benefit real estate investors, a degree is not necessarily a prerequisite to profitable real estate investing. Whether an investor has a degree or not, there are certain characteristics that top real estate investors commonly possess. Here are the 10 habits that highly effective real estate investors share.

1) Make a Plan

Real estate investors must approach their real estate activities as a business in order to establish and achieve short- and long-term goals. A business plan also allows investors to visualize the big picture, which helps maintain focus on the goals rather than on any minor setbacks. Real estate investing can be complicated and demanding, and a solid plan can keep investors organized and on task.

2) Know the Market

Effective real estate investors acquire an in-depth knowledge of their selected market(s). Keeping abreast of current trends, including any changes in consumer spending habits, mortgage rates and the unemployment rate, to name a few, enables real estate investors to acknowledge current conditions, and plan for the future. This enables investors to predict when trends may change, creating potential opportunities for the prepared investor.

3) Be Honest

Real estate investors are usually not obligated to uphold a particular degree of ethics. Although it would be easy to take advantage of this situation, most successful real estate investors maintain high ethical standards. Since real estate investing involves people, an investor’s reputation is likely to be far reaching. Effective real estate investors know it is better to be fair, rather than to see what they can get away with.

4) Develop a Niche

It is important for investors to develop a focus in order to gain the depth of knowledge essential to becoming successful. Taking the time to build this level of understanding of a specific area is integral to long-term success. Once a particular market is mastered, the investor can move on to additional areas using the same in-depth approach.

5) Encourage Referrals

Referrals generate a sizable portion of a real estate investor’s business, so it is critical that investors treat others with respect. This includes business partners, associates, clients, renters and anyone with whom the investor has a business relationship. Effective real estate investors pay attention to detail, listen and respond to complaints and concerns, and represent their business in a positive and professional manner. This builds the kind of reputation that makes others interested in working with those investors.

6) Stay Educated

As with any business, it is imperative to stay up to date with the laws, regulations, terminology and trends that form the basis of the real estate investor’s business. Investors who fall behind risk not only losing momentum in their businesses, but also legal ramifications if laws are ignored or broken. Successful real estate investors stay educated and adapt to any regulatory changes or economic trends.

7) Understand the Risks

Stock or futures market investors are inundated with warnings regarding the inherent risks involved in investing. Real estate investors, however, are more likely to see advertisements claiming just the opposite: that it is easy to make money in real estate. Prudent real estate investors understand the risks – not only in terms of real estate deals, but also the legal implications involved – and adjust their businesses to reduce those risks.

8) Invest in an Accountant

Taxes comprise a significant portion of a real estate investor’s yearly expenses. Understanding current tax laws can be complicated and take time away from the business at hand. Sharp real estate investors retain the services of a qualified, reputable accountant to handle the business’s books. The costs associated with the accountant can be negligible when compared to the savings a professional can bring to the business.

9) Find Help

Learning the real estate investing business is challenging to someone attempting to do things on their own. Effective real estate investors often attribute part of their success to others – whether a mentor, lawyer or supportive friend. Rather than risk time and money tackling a difficult problem alone, successful real estate investors know it is worth the additional costs (in terms of money and ego) to embrace other people’s expertise.

10) Build a Network

A network can provide important support and create opportunities for both new and experienced real estate investors. This type of group – comprised of a well-chosen mentor, business partners, clients or members of a non-profit organization – allows investors to challenge and support one another. Because much of real estate investing relies on experiential learning, savvy real estate investors understand the importance of building a network.

The Bottom Line

Despite abundant advertisements claiming that real estate investing is an easy way to wealth, it is in fact a challenging business requiring expertise, planning and focus. In addition, because the business revolves around people, investors benefit in the long run by operating with integrity and by showing respect to associates and clients. Though it may be relatively simple to earn short-lived profits, developing a long-term real estate investing business requires skill, effort and these 10 important habits.


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Study shows Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to list a home

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 9:49am

If you’re looking to get the most money for your home, you might want to consider listing it on a Wednesday. Or if you’re simply hoping to get rid of your property as soon as possible, Thursday might be a better bet.

These are the findings from a new study from the online brokerage Redfin, which analyzed data from the sales of more than 100,000 homes in 2017.

Redfin’s researchers discovered that homes which were first listed on a Wednesday were sold for an average $2,023 more than homes listed on a Sunday, which was the worst performing day of the week. Homes that were first listed for sale on a Thursday however, were sold five times faster than those listed on a Sunday, which was used as a baseline for the comparisons. The study also found that homes listed on Thursday had a higher likelihood of being sold within 90 to 180 days.

“There isn’t one clear reason why Wednesday outperforms on price, while Thursday wins on speed and certainty,” Redfin said in a blog post. “Possible explanations include that agents who list on Wednesdays tend to be better at pricing strategically to command the best price, or that in this fast-paced, low-inventory market, there’s simply a sweet spot for garnering the maximum sense of urgency and competition among eager homebuyers. Another theory is that the advantage of Wednesday and Thursday simply correlates to buyers’ house hunting schedules.”

Redfin’s study follows on the heels of a separate one from ATTOM Data Solutions that found May is the best month to sell a home nationwide. Researchers evaluated the sales of 14.7 million homes from 2011 to 2017 to find the month with the highest sales price. They found that May saw the largest premiums above the estimated market value of 5.9 percent.



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As rents soar, co-living becomes a more appealing option

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 9:46am

Big city apartment-dwelling can be a financial and emotional drain, but the growing trend of co-living can soften the blow.

Co-living comes in many varieties, from shared houses to luxurious mini-apartments. But the basic premise is the same: Renters can save money and expand their social circle if they’re comfortable with smaller digs and shared common spaces. Co-living properties also tend to have more flexible lease terms and no broker fees, which can add thousands to the cost of a rental.

Take Carmel Place, an apartment building in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan. It opened in 2016 and is run by Ollie, a six-year-old co-living startup. The building has 55 studio apartments that range from 260 to 300 square feet, about the size of a one-car garage. The apartments come with bed linens, towels and furniture designed for tiny living, like a couch that folds into a bed. Residents share a lounge, laundry facilities, a gym and a rooftop terrace.

Apartments at Carmel Place start at $2,775 per month, which includes cable and Wi-Fi, regular housekeeping and access to social events. One block away, an unfurnished, 510-square-foot studio in a building with a gym is listed at $3,150 per month.

Matthew Alexander has lived at Carmel Place for almost two years. He had been living with roommates but wanted a place of his own, and he liked Carmel Place because it was new and offered amenities like grocery delivery.

Alexander has befriended his neighbors through Ollie-planned events like a mixology class in Soho and a tour of a Brooklyn chocolate factory. He doesn’t mind his apartment’s small size, but thinks it would be too small for two people.

“I like the concept of the micro-studio and minimalist living,” said Alexander, 27, who works in human resources at Citigroup.

Rooms at co-living spaces are in high demand. Common, a co-living startup with homes in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, says it’s getting 1,000 applications per week for its 500 bedrooms.

Co-living is such a new trend that no one company has perfected it yet, says Bob O’Brien, the global real estate sector leader for the Deloitte consulting firm. He expects a lot of experimentation over the next five to 10 years.

But he thinks the trend could be here to stay, in part because it appeals to so many people. Even if millennials form families and move to bigger homes, there are plenty of transient contract workers and empty nesters who might fill the void.

Ollie will expand its offerings this month in Long Island City, a neighborhood in Queens, New York. It’s opening two- and three-bedroom furnished apartments with kitchens (but no living rooms) on 13 floors of a 42-story high rise. It will help match roommates who can pay as little as $1,393 per month for a small bedroom with a shared bath. Residents have access to an indoor lap pool and a gym.

In the same neighborhood, Craigslist is advertising a bedroom in a two-bedroom apartment for $2,021 per month.

“What we’re trying to do is create Class B pricing for a Class A product,” said Christopher Bledsoe, Ollie’s co-founder and CEO. Ollie brings down costs by fitting a lot of people into its buildings and negotiating with furniture suppliers and other vendors.

Bledsoe says two-thirds of Ollie’s renters are under 35. But most of the rest are over 50.

WeLive — which spun off from WeWork shared office spaces — is another co-living option, with buildings in Arlington, Virginia, and New York that have 200 apartments each plus shared office space. The fully furnished apartments are a little larger than Ollie’s, but there’s a similar focus on big common areas and amenities like housekeeping. A WeLive studio apartment in Arlington starts at $1,500 per month, or about $100 less than a nearby unfurnished studio listed on

Other co-living startups are offering even cheaper accommodations without fancy amenities. HubHaus, a two-year-old startup based in Los Altos, California, rents homes from landlords and configures them for shared living, sometimes adding rooms to fit more people. HubHaus matches housemates and rents unfurnished bedrooms; the common areas are furnished, Wi-Fi is provided and cleaners come twice a month. HubHaus also sponsors activities like backpacking trips and house dinners.

A room in a five-bedroom HubHaus home near Apple Inc.’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, is available for $1,250 per month. Up the street, a room with a bathroom is being offered on Craigslist for $1,300. A one-bedroom apartment in the same neighborhood is available for $2,750.

Shruti Merchant, HubHaus’s co-founder and CEO, says the company currently has 464 rooms at 75 houses around San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Merchant says co-living is gaining in popularity because affordable apartments are scarce. She also thinks young people feel disconnected and want housing that prioritizes community over privacy.



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Zumper National Rent Report: May 2018

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 9:32am

The top 10 markets had minimal movement last month in the rankings. The only 2 cities that saw fluctuations were Los Angeles, climbing up one spot to be tied with Boston as 4th, and Oakland, dropping down one spot to 7th. Newly added Anaheim and Santa Ana settled at 11th and 13th, respectively, which means 8 of the top 15 cities are in California.

Overall, the national median one bedroom rent increased a slight 0.1% last month to $1,185, while two bedrooms grew 0.6% to $1,422. This fairly stagnant trend was true to the year over year growth rates as well, with one and two bedroom prices up 1.4% and 2.1%, respectively.

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Top Five Rental Markets

1. San Francisco, CA stayed as the most expensive city last month with one bedroom rent growing 1.2% to $3,440 and two bedrooms increasing 0.9% to $4,550.

2. New York, NY was second with the price of one bedrooms falling a slight 0.3% to $2,890, while two bedrooms saw a much larger drop, decreasing 4.9% to $3,330.

3. San Jose, CA remained the third priciest city with one and two bedroom rents settling at $2,500 and $3,000, respectively. Notably, on a year over year basis, one bedroom rent is up over 10%.

4. Boston, MA saw both one and two bedroom prices stay flat last month at $2,300 and $2,700, respectively. This city continued to rank as the 4th most expensive in the nation, though now tied with Los Angeles.

5. Los Angeles, CA moved up one spot to be tied with Boston as 4th. One bedroom rent grew 2.2% to $2,300, while two bedrooms increased 1.3% to $3,240.

Notable Changes This Month


Providence, RI moved up 4 spots to rank as the 17th priciest city with one bedroom rent growing 5.1% to $1,440 and two bedrooms jumping 5% to $1,670.

Portland, OR one bedroom rent climbed 5.1%, settling at $1,440, and up 3 spots to become the 19th priciest in the nation. Two bedrooms saw a similar trend, growing 5% to $1,670.

Baltimore, MD rose one position to rank as as 23rd with the price of one bedrooms jumping 5.3%, which was the largest spike in the top 50 markets, to $1,390. Two bedrooms saw a more modest growth rate, up 2.6% to $1,560.

Madison, WI one bedroom rent grew 5% to $1,260 and climbed 2 spots to rank as 27th. Similarly, two bedrooms here saw a 5.1% spike, settling at $1,430.

Charlotte, NC bumped up 2 positions, now ranking as the 31st most expensive city. One bedroom rent rose 5.2% to $1,210, while two bedrooms increased 4.7% to $1,350.


Atlanta, GA fell 4 spots to become the 22nd most expensive city. One bedroom rent dropped 1.4% to $1,410, while two bedrooms saw a bigger decrease, down 2.2% to $1,800.

Baton Rouge, LA took a 9 ranking plunge to 65th with the price of one bedrooms diving 4.4% to $860.

Tucson, AZ moved down 2 spots to rank as the 91st priciest city. One bedroom prices fell 4.5% to $640 last month.

Scottsdale, AZ one bedroom rent dropped 3.9% to $1,240 and fell 2 spots to become 29th. Two bedrooms saw an even larger downturn, decreasing 5% to $1,910.

Virginia Beach, VA took a 3 ranking dip to 41st with the price of one bedrooms falling 2.8% to $1,060. Two bedrooms remained flat at $1,200.

Full DataSearch:1 Bedroom2 BedroomsPos.CityPriceM/M %Y/Y %PriceM/M %Y/Y %1San Francisco, CA$3,4401.20%2.10%$4,5500.90%1.10%2New York, NY$2,890-0.30%-0.70%$3,330-4.90%-3.50%3San Jose, CA$2,5001.20%10.60%$3,0002.00%5.30%4Boston, MA$2,3000.00%4.50%$2,7000.00%3.80%4Los Angeles, CA$2,3002.20%10.00%$3,2401.30%8.70%6Washington, DC$2,2003.30%6.80%$2,7702.60%-8.90%7Oakland, CA$2,100-1.40%1.90%$2,5001.20%0.00%8Seattle, WA$1,9603.70%5.90%$2,5401.60%3.70%9San Diego, CA$1,8000.00%13.20%$2,3702.20%9.70%10Miami, FL$1,7501.20%-2.80%$2,3800.40%-5.20%11Anaheim, CA$1,7201.20%15.40%$2,120-1.40%15.80%12Honolulu, HI$1,680-1.20%-6.70%$2,3004.50%-3.40%13Santa Ana, CA$1,6601.20%7.80%$2,1105.00%12.20%14Fort Lauderdale, FL$1,6003.20%0.60%$1,9902.60%2.10%15Long Beach, CA$1,5704.70%15.40%$2,1201.00%8.70%16Chicago, IL$1,5000.00%-10.70%$1,810-5.20%-15.80%17Philadelphia, PA$1,450-1.40%6.60%$1,6500.60%4.40%17Providence, RI$1,4505.10%7.40%$1,5104.90%7.10%19Denver, CO$1,4402.90%15.20%$1,9602.60%15.30%19Portland, OR$1,4405.10%7.50%$1,6705.00%5.00%21Minneapolis, MN$1,4302.90%11.70%$1,8902.20%15.20%22Atlanta, GA$1,410-1.40%8.50%$1,800-2.20%11.10%23Baltimore, MD$1,3905.30%14.90%$1,5602.60%12.20%24New Orleans, LA$1,3801.50%7.00%$1,4805.00%-6.90%25Nashville, TN$1,3603.80%15.30%$1,4500.70%10.70%26Dallas, TX$1,3000.00%-1.50%$1,740-1.10%-3.30%27Houston, TX$1,260-2.30%15.60%$1,560-4.30%14.70%27Madison, WI$1,2605.00%9.60%$1,4305.10%15.30%29Scottsdale, AZ$1,240-3.90%-0.80%$1,910-5.00%-8.20%30Orlando, FL$1,2203.40%15.10%$1,4101.40%14.60%31Charlotte, NC$1,2105.20%3.40%$1,3504.70%7.10%32Sacramento, CA$1,2002.60%9.10%$1,4000.00%7.70%33Austin, TX$1,1700.90%11.40%$1,4500.00%8.20%34Irving, TX$1,1601.80%5.50%$1,5903.20%11.20%35Plano, TX$1,1300.90%6.60%$1,5000.00%4.90%35Tampa, FL$1,130-0.90%14.10%$1,3702.20%14.20%37Aurora, CO$1,110-0.90%12.10%$1,4603.50%7.40%38Fort Worth, TX$1,0902.80%13.50%$1,2801.60%15.30%39Pittsburgh, PA$1,0802.90%3.80%$1,3404.70%2.30%40Durham, NC$1,0703.90%15.10%$1,2305.10%13.90%41Richmond, VA$1,0601.00%7.10%$1,2705.00%11.40%41Salt Lake City, UT$1,0603.90%15.20%$1,3204.80%10.00%41Virginia Beach, VA$1,060-2.80%15.20%$1,2000.00%4.30%44Gilbert, AZ$1,050-1.90%5.00%$1,3602.30%5.40%44Henderson, NV$1,0501.90%8.20%$1,2100.80%5.20%44Newark, NJ$1,0500.00%8.20%$1,3104.80%12.00%47Buffalo, NY$1,0405.10%11.80%$1,2105.20%-6.90%47Chandler, AZ$1,040-1.00%10.60%$1,2701.60%9.50%47Chesapeake, VA$1,0400.00%8.30%$1,2000.00%4.30%50St Petersburg, FL$1,0305.10%14.40%$1,6300.60%9.40%51Raleigh, NC$1,000-1.00%0.00%$1,150-1.70%-4.20%52Kansas City, MO$950-1.00%8.00%$1,0904.80%16.00%52Phoenix, AZ$9500.00%6.70%$1,1702.60%6.40%54Jacksonville, FL$9300.00%4.50%$1,1004.80%3.80%55Milwaukee, WI$9204.50%12.20%$1,0405.10%15.60%56Boise, ID$9104.60%9.60%$9500.00%0.00%56Colorado Springs, CO$9104.60%13.80%$1,1004.80%0.00%58Fresno, CA$9000.00%8.40%$1,0802.90%13.70%58Mesa, AZ$9002.30%15.40%$1,0605.00%11.60%60Las Vegas, NV$890-2.20%15.60%$1,1004.80%12.20%61Anchorage, AK$8802.30%-1.10%$1,1000.00%-8.30%61San Antonio, TX$8800.00%7.30%$1,1400.00%8.60%63Corpus Christi, TX$8701.20%4.80%$1,050-1.90%5.00%63Louisville, KY$8700.00%6.10%$9803.20%11.40%65Baton Rouge, LA$860-4.40%0.00%$9501.10%-4.00%65Omaha, NE$8603.60%14.70%$1,0205.20%12.10%67Cincinnati, OH$8401.20%15.10%$1,0800.90%14.90%67Syracuse, NY$840-1.20%15.10%$9805.40%-2.00%69Rochester, NY$8301.20%13.70%$980-2.00%15.30%70Laredo, TX$8203.80%10.80%$9703.20%15.50%71Reno, NV$8101.30%14.10%$1,2103.40%15.20%72Des Moines, IA$8005.30%12.70%$8405.00%3.70%73St Louis, MO$7905.30%12.90%$1,1104.70%11.00%74Arlington, TX$7801.30%14.70%$1,0402.00%11.80%74Chattanooga, TN$7801.30%13.00%$8201.20%9.30%76Glendale, AZ$7702.70%5.50%$9404.40%4.40%76Knoxville, TN$7700.00%14.90%$9104.60%13.80%76Norfolk, VA$7705.50%11.60%$9502.20%5.60%79Cleveland, OH$7604.10%15.20%$8405.00%15.10%80Augusta, GA$7505.60%15.40%$8102.50%6.60%80Bakersfield, CA$750-1.30%4.20%$9001.10%5.90%82Lexington, KY$740-1.30%-7.50%$9501.10%2.20%83Winston Salem, NC$7304.30%7.40%$8005.30%15.90%84Tallahassee, FL$7202.90%14.30%$8502.40%6.30%85Indianapolis, IN$7104.40%14.50%$8005.30%14.30%86Columbus, OH$7004.50%2.90%$1,0505.00%5.00%86Greensboro, NC$7002.90%11.10%$8100.00%0.00%86Spokane, WA$700-1.40%9.40%$9000.00%7.10%89Memphis, TN$6904.50%13.10%$7504.20%15.40%90Oklahoma City, OK$670-1.50%11.70%$800-2.40%3.90%91Albuquerque, NM$6401.60%6.70%$8000.00%5.30%91Lincoln, NE$6404.90%-5.90%$8504.90%7.60%91Tucson, AZ$640-4.50%1.60%$8503.70%2.40%94El Paso, TX$6300.00%-1.60%$7700.00%2.70%94Shreveport, LA$6303.30%10.50%$6804.60%4.60%94Wichita, KS$6305.00%14.50%$7204.30%10.80%97Akron, OH$6103.40%15.10%$7304.30%10.60%97Tulsa, OK$6101.70%7.00%$7500.00%2.70%99Lubbock, TX$6001.70%5.30%$7500.00%5.60%100Detroit, MI$5905.40%11.30%$6604.80%6.50%About

The Zumper National Rent Report analyses rental data from over 1 million active listings across the United States. Data is aggregated on a monthly basis to calculate median asking rents for the top 100 metro areas by population, providing a comprehensive view of the current state of the market. The report is based on all data available in the month prior to publication.



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Should A Landlord Use The Seller’s Agent When Purchasing A Property?

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 11:41am
Should A Landlord Use The Seller’s Agent When Purchasing A Property?

When your rental properties are doing well, you might be tempted to use the extra income to buy another property. Whether you are buying land to build new construction or purchasing a pre-existing property, you may run into dual agents — real estate agents who represent both the buyer and seller. There are pros and cons of relying on the seller’s agent versus finding a buyer’s agent; read on to learn the consideration of each approach.

Why Use the Seller’s Agent?

There are several benefits to working with a dual agent. Since there is only one agent involved in the deal, communication becomes much easier. Not only is the chain of communication shorter (with one less person), but miscommunications can be avoided when the agent speaks with both sides personally.

Scheduling becomes easier, too, when the buyer and seller coordinate with a single agent rather than two agents. The deal may proceed faster when you use a dual agent. It can be a good idea if you are on a deadline — for instance, if you spend winters in another state and want to get the deal finished before you relocate.

Often, dual agents are receptive to lower their commission, since they’re getting a commission from both sides (versus two agents splitting the commission). Some agents won’t lower their commission — or will only drop off a percentage point, which doesn’t save you much money. Still, it never hurts to ask.

Why Find a Buyer’s Agent?

Whether you’re buying your first investment property or your fifth, you want to get a good deal. You may be wary of an agent who appears to be in it for the commission — not working hard to get you a deal. You may be more likely to have a bad experience when you hire a dual agent.

You may have heard that real estate agents have a fiduciary duty. This means that a seller’s agent has a duty to act in his or her client’s best interest at all times. For the agent to satisfy his or her obligation to the seller, he or she cannot help you (the buyer) get the best deal, as well. Someone loses, even if it’s a matter of $5,000 or $10,000. However, if it seems like you’re getting a great deal — and if you are willing to pay the asking price — a buyer’s agent can negotiate to save you money.

A buyer’s agent can also be forthright with you, since he or she does not have any obligation to the seller. While dual agents may be forthright to both sides, it’s tricky for them to maintain impartiality at all times. Even the most well-intentioned dual agent can slip up.

In some states — including Colorado, Florida and Texas — real estate agents cannot act as dual agents — thus, you must choose a buyer’s agent. To ensure impartiality, look for a buyer’s agent who is from a different brokerage. This reduces the likelihood that those agents will play office politics to try to get their clients a better deal.

After you’ve purchased your next investment property, use tips from American Apartment Owners Association to advertise your rental, screen tenants and start making a profit.

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Popularity of pet-friendly rentals sparks growth in dubious online services

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 2:48pm

The popularity of pet-friendly apartments has led to development of dubious services on the Internet designed to get owners out of paying high pet fees. The services allow people to obtain phony dog service certification deeming the animal an “emotional support pet,” a designation that not only exempts owners from pet fees but often grants the animal access to rentals that are not pet friendly.

The problem with such efforts is they are sparking more scrutiny from landlords and more calls for increased regulation on issuing emotional support pet certification, which ultimately may make it difficult for people who legitimately need it.

Many of the dubious services have online “therapists” who provide documentation that an emotional support pet is needed. Many provide the “doctor’s note” within 24 hours. As I was looking at some of these websites, one was summoning me to register a pet with them via a pop up. They are very persistent. These services provide a method for people to avoid pet fees and a way to have a pet in a residence that does not allow pets. Pet rents range from $25 to $75 monthly and up front pet fees range from $250 to $1,000 on average per pet.

Emotional support pets are companion animals that provide a therapeutic benefit to individuals with a verifiable mental or psychiatric disability. Emotional support pets are one type of assistance animal, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. An emotional support pet can be any type of animal and is allowed as a reasonable accommodation in a residence that does not otherwise allow pets. This allows dogs, cats, alligators, any type of pet at all with no restriction. You do not have to pay pet fees to a landlord for an emotional support pet.

The difference between an emotional support animal and a service animal is a service animal is trained to perform certain tasks to help people with disabilities, while an emotional support pet is not trained. Unlike service animals, an emotional support pet is not granted access to public places such as movie theaters and hospitals.

HUD does not require a tenant to disclose their disability to a prospective landlord, but they will need to provide documentation from a doctor or other health care professional that the assistance animal lessens one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of an existing disability.

A companion animal can also travel with their person in the cabin of a plane, as allowed by the Air Carrier Access Act, without fees. Typically, the fee to have a pet fly is about $125.

The Transportation Department formed a panel of advisers to look into the issue. Airlines are concerned about the safety of the passengers around the untrained animals and want to know whether their owners legitimately need them for emotional support or are just trying to avoid a fee. The panel was disbanded without a solution, experts say, but with the increase of animals on flights this is bound to come up again.

There is no standardized form that can be used to prove an emotional support pet’s status.  The increase in people fraudulently identifying their pets as assistance animals has led to a consideration of  more regulations for identifying an assistance animal.

An online petition being circulated through is asking Anna Maria Farias, HUD’s assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, to reform laws surrounding emotional support animals. While supporting people who legitimately need comfort animals, the petition wants the government to stop allowing owners to get doctors’ notes for emotional support pets online for a fee. The petition asserts these online methods are not credible.

More regulation is needed to prevent people from falsely claiming their pets as companion animals. Let’s hope the regulations will not hinder the process for people who have a legitimate need for an emotional support pet.



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Landlord rights trammeled by Seattle law on renters with criminal histories

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 1:41pm

FORMER convicts deserve a second chance, and have too often been unfairly stigmatized and denied opportunity. But Seattle’s new Fair Chance Housing Ordinance takes the wrong tack. By forcing landlords to accept tenants regardless of a criminal past, the city simply barters one injustice for another. Several mom-and-pop landlords, represented by Pacific Legal Foundation, have responded by challenging the ordinance as a violation of their property rights.

The Fair Chance Housing Ordinance enacted last year makes former convicts akin to a protected class. Landlords are forbidden from requesting an applicant’s criminal history, nor can they deny someone tenancy because of a criminal conviction. The ordinance offers property owners little flexibility, even on grave offenses. Whether the ex-con forged a prescription or butchered a spouse, it matters not. Under this rigid new law, the landlord cannot deny that person tenancy because of a past conviction.

The ordinance does allow for a limited exception. If a prospective tenant is a registered sex offender — and committed the related crime as an adult — then a landlord can deny that person’s application if they can show a “legitimate business reason” for doing so. In other words, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights will decide if you’ve offered a good enough reason for not wanting a convicted sex offender living on your property.

But even if the city were to make this tiny exception more generous, the law still would violate basic property rights. The lawsuit brought by landlords is based on a simple premise: They have a right to decide who will live on their property.

Landlords’ concerns don’t stem from an irrational stigma. Being compelled to blindly rent property to people with a serious criminal history raises genuine safety concerns. Take, for instance, one of the plaintiffs here: Kelly Lyles, a single woman and survivor of sexual assault, wants to feel safe when she goes to the West Seattle house she rents out to collect rent or address any problems.

In addition, landlords have a moral and legal duty to protect their other tenants. Washington law requires landlords to protect renters from the foreseeable criminal conduct of other tenants.

Renting out property is not a one-time, arms-length exchange like buying a bagel; it involves a lengthy, ongoing relationship. The decision to accept the potential risk of renting to someone with a checkered past should rest with the property owner.

Opposition to this ham-handed law doesn’t imply blindness to the plight of ex-cons, many of whom have paid their debt to society and are hoping for an opportunity to move on from their pasts. In fact, most of the plaintiffs suing the city have rented to former convicts in the past. But that choice should lie with the person who will bear the risk of the choice — not with distant bureaucrats with no skin in the game.

Moreover, robbing landlords of their property rights is hardly the sole means of giving former criminals a leg up. Ironically, studies cited by the city in defense of the controversial ordinance actually conclude that assisted public housing is the best way to help convicts reintegrate. And yet the ordinance exempts public housing from the Fair Chance Housing requirements.

This isn’t a zero-sum game. We can help former convicts without trammeling people’s fundamental right to employ their property as they see fit — and that starts with putting an end to Seattle’s misguided new housing ordinance.



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In hot Los Angeles rental market, veterans with housing vouchers are being turned away

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 1:38pm

Any Angeleno who’s hopped online lately looking to rent a new apartment knows that the Southern California housing market is tight. There’s not a lot of inventory, and what is available costs a pretty penny. Selling yourself as a desirable tenant is part of the house-hunting dance.

Some advocates say military and veteran status can work against applicants trying to lock down leases in this competitive rental environment.

“This rental market is not quite as welcoming as it used to be, and we’ve seen examples of landlords discriminating against veterans and people on active duty,” said State Senator Jerry Hill of San Mateo and Santa Clara. “When I see an injustice, I get mad.”

Hill introduced SB 1427 last month. It aims to protect servicemembers from housing discrimination by adding “veteran and military status” to a list of protected classes, and changing the way landlords treat veteran rental vouchers.

California law prohibits housing discrimination based on things like race, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation, but there’s currently nothing on the books about military service.


Apartment hunting is tough for everyone in Los Angeles, and Army veteran Adam John Halvorsen and his girlfriend, Angela Del Castillo, know the struggle all too well. They’ve spent 5 months looking for a place to live.

For now, they’re living in her van, driving all over town to whatever odd jobs Halvorsen can piece together, spending way too much on gas.

On a recent Friday afternoon, Halvorsen flipped through pages upon pages of apartments they’ve applied to. “We’ve been looking for so long that I can’t afford it anymore,” he said.

The couple is broke. But they do have a HUD-VASH voucher in-hand worth a little over $1,800.

These vouchers are a joint benefit from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs. They combine cash for rent on the private market with check-ins from a VA caseworker, healthcare, and services like substance abuse treatment. The package has proven successful at moving chronically homeless vets off the street. The Department of Housing and Urban Development says nationwide, more than 87,000 vouchers have been awarded and approximately 144,000 homeless veterans have been served by the vouchers since 2008.

Halvorsen and Del Castillo figured their voucher was plenty to cover a 1-bedroom in L.A. And not too long ago, they thought they’d found their apartment in a building in North Hollywood. It was even going well with the landlord, who was on a list of housing authority-approved renters.

“It was really nice,” Del Castillo said. “But then I told him about the voucher, and he’s like, ‘what? Section 8? No no no. No more section 8. No no no no no.’ And he started walking to the door.”

The couple said they’re getting this reaction all the time from landlords. With Southern California’s low vacancy rate, there are plenty of other renters knocking on their doors.

“They’re really picky,” Del Castillo said. “And there’s so many people out here, they can be picky.”


If HUD-VASH vouchers go unused, they expire. It generally happens after 120 days unless the veteran gets a hardship extension. KPCC previously reported on the difficulty veterans face tracking down landlords willing to take HUD-VASH rental vouchers. Earlier this year, a sting by Washington’s attorney general uncovered dozens of properties in ten cities across the state that were flatly refusing to rent to veterans with vouchers.

“That’s not fair, it’s not right, and it’s not really as I would look at it the American way,” Senator Hill said. His bill would classify HUD-VASH vouchers as income in California, theoretically putting vets on an equal footing with other would-be renters.

“No one should be able to discriminate against a veteran just because they have a voucher,” Hill said.

The California Apartment Association (CAA), which represents apartment owners and developers, opposes that provision of the SB 1427. It argues the law would overburden housing authorities by forcing all rental property owners to participate in the voucher program. And critics say it’s not fair for veteran vouchers to be prioritized over Section 8, where renters can be stuck on a waiting list for years.

“While protecting and caring for our veterans is important, SB 1427 would give veterans priority over low income families, individuals with disabilities, and students,” said Debra Carlton, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs with the CAA. “We believe tenants should all have an equal opportunity. This bill is basically allowing them to cut in line.”


Even if veterans gain legal housing protections, there’s still a big sticking point: convincing landlords that participating in the HUD-VASH program is worth the hassle in Southern California’s hyper-competitive rental market.

“A lot of times we find units, but they’re in bad locations, you know, or the building is not up to code,” said Larry Gray, a housing navigator for the non-profit New Directions for Veterans.

Gray served on an aircraft carrier in the Navy in the 1980s. Now he helps other vets find permanent housing in Southern California—including veterans with vouchers.

Finding a place that will accept a voucher is a start, but there are more hoops to jump through. The landlord has to submit paperwork called a “Request for Tenancy Approval Form” to the local housing authority, and the apartment has to pass an extra inspection. Then the housing authority negotiates over the price of rent.

“And that’s time consuming,” Gray said.  “Landlords complain that the process takes too long.”

Gray says he also confronts a lingering stigma surrounding veteran status when he’s trying to make a housing match between landlord and tenant. “I’ve been asked straight forward: What type of mental illness does he have? Or is he suffering from PTSD?” Gray said, adding he wishes there was more education for landlords to better understand the HUD-VASH process and its wraparound services designed to keep veteran renters on-track.

Adam Halvorsen is skeptical legislation out of Sacramento will fix the problem. He thinks landlords will find other ways to skip over homeless veterans, maybe by eliminating low credit scores.

Months of searching, application fees, and the price of gas are exhausting the couple’s resources. Once in a while they stop by to use the shower at Del Castillo’s father’s place. But Halvorsen said it feels like they’re running out of favors.

“Even if you have a family here or friends or people in your corner, how long are they gonna help you?” Halvorsen said. “Or how long can you even keep asking for their help?”



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Minneapolis landlords push back against Section 8 compliance rule

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 1:34pm

A Craigslist ad offers a two-bedroom rental house with a “fireplace and a bar for entertaining” in a “quiet safe neighborhood” in Minneapolis. But the ad says tenants with federal rental-assistance vouchers need not apply: “No Section 8.”

It was posted online May 1, the same day a city law went into effect prohibiting landlords from discriminating against Section 8 holders.

The increasing scarcity of rental properties available to Section 8 holders prompted the City Council last March to adopt the ordinance, which threatens landlords with fines and other penalties if they refuse to accept Section 8 vouchers or even post ads saying that.

More than 50 landlords have already fought back, filing a lawsuit against the city that argues that the city has no authority to impose this requirement.

Since May 1, the city hasn’t received any complaints from tenants saying they were turned away because they had Section 8 vouchers, according to a city spokeswoman. But Craigslist ads across the metro show the preference of many landlords to avoid those renters.

“It’s a real issue around fair housing, and it contributes to segregation in the city” because it concentrates Section 8 tenants in certain neighborhoods, said Eric Hauge, executive director of the tenant advocacy group Home Line.

The Section 8 voucher is a federally funded program intended to help low-income individuals, the elderly and the disabled rent private apartments. Section 8 tenants pay about 30 percent of their income toward rent and utilities, and the voucher covers the balance.

The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority currently administers about 5,000 vouchers covering more than 15,000 people. More than 1,000 families are on a subsidized housing wait list, which hasn’t been opened to new applicants since 2008.

But even some of those lucky enough to get vouchers never get to use them, because they can’t find a landlord willing to accept them. Section 8 holders get 180 days to find a rental property, although they can get an extension if they can prove they’re still looking. In 2017, 7 percent of the 363 vouchers were forfeited, according to Jeff Horwich, a housing authority spokesman.

Hauge said some landlords have misconceptions about Section 8 tenants, such as that voucher holders will damage their property.

“Those fears are really unfounded,” he said. “People have waited for a decade on the list to get a Section 8 voucher. It’s like winning a lottery ticket that you do not want to lose.”

Council Member Lisa Goodman, who co-authored the ordinance with Council Member Abdi Warsame and former Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, said having a Section 8 voucher should not be a reason to discriminate against tenants, even if it’s expensive to comply with federal rules.

“Like the dozens of other cities who have anti-discrimination ordinances with their Section 8 programs, we needed to have that ordinance to prevent intentional discrimination against people who use Section 8 as their method of payment for housing,” Goodman said in an interview Tuesday.

Three months after the ordinance was passed by the City Council, a group of Minneapolis landlords who control more than 3,200 units sued the city.

“Our clients are very willing to work with folks that need public assistance to rent property,” said Peter Coyle, an attorney for the landlords. “The issue that we are objecting to is being mandated to comply with a federal program that by law is designated as a voluntary program.”

Coyle said landlords would need additional staff to manage the city’s request, and they would have to take more time to have their properties held open for inspections by the city. Overall, it will increase the cost of renting, he said.

While the city is tightening the regulations on landlords, it’s also trying to lure them into accepting vouchers with financial incentives.

In conjunction with the housing authority, the city has created the “Incentive Fund” program that provides financial support to landlords, such as a one-time $250 signing bonus for landlords who participate in the voucher program and covering the costs of property-damage claims.

“We have never believed that the ordinance itself is going to solve many of the challenges that families with vouchers face,” Horwich said. “But combined with packages of improvement that we have been working on internally in our department, we hope that will make the process easier and families will be able to find suitable housing more quickly.”

Two landlords who advertised “No Section 8” properties on Craigslist hung up when contacted by a reporter Tuesday.



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How College Grads Drive Up Urban Rents

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 1:34pm
It’s abundantly clear that in today’s economy, the ability to attract and mobilize highly educated people—so-called human capital—is the key factor in the the wealth of nations as well of that of cities. But the driving force of talent in economic growth also contributes to our worsening divides. While metropolitan areas with more educated people have higher levels of income, they also have higher housing costs. And the burden of those costs falls hardest on the less educated.

A working paper by urban economist Richard Green, of the University of Southern California, and Jung Choi, of the Urban Institute takes, a deep dive into this conundrum, using detailed data from the U.S. Census, the American Community Survey, and the longitudinal Panel Study of Income Dynamics to track the impact of college graduates on wages and rents across U.S. metros. The data spans the more-than-three-decade period from 1980 to 2013.

First, the good news: Having more college graduates in a metro means higher wages for everyone. A 1 percent increase in the share of college graduates brings a 1.4 percent increase in wages across the board, even after controlling for sorting—that is, an individual’s choice to move to an area with lower rents or higher paying jobs, or because of other factors.

But these wages gains accrue disproportionately to college grads. A 1 percent increase in the share of college graduates leads to a 1.7 percent increase in hourly earnings for the same group. Meanwhile, those with a high school degree or less see an increase of less than 0.7 percent.

Now the bad news: The increase in wages associated with college grads tends to translate into higher housing costs. Although college grads tend to earn more than enough to cover these costs, less advantaged, less educated groups end up spending a far greater share of their income on housing.



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10 tips for preparing your summer rental

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 1:27pm

If you are looking to rent your home or investment property, then you are likely already looking to summer. Summer is typically the hottest season for seasonal and vacation rentals, and now is the ideal time to start to prep your property with the hope of securing top dollar. Here are some suggestions to help your property show its best, while also making the most of your investment dollars.

Check windows and doors. The spring is an ideal time to make sure all doors and windows open and close properly.

Have your HVAC system serviced. From changing filters to making sure everything is operational, heating and cooling systems may need a checkup.

Install a generator. Summer storms can be just as devastating as winter ones, and renters will have little sympathy if they are renting a property in which the power is out.

Deep clean. Often, a property may have undergone little maintenance during off months. So in preparation for the new season, now is the time to allow your rental property to experience a deep scrub.

Change the water in your hot tub. If you have a hot tub, now is the time to drain the water, clean surfaces and refill.

Refresh landscaping. Spring is one of the busiest seasons for those in the garden and landscape business, so you will certainly need to book your professional early.

Make provisions to combat pests and insects. If you have an issue with rodents, insects or unwanted animals, they will soon come out of hibernation. Now may be an ideal time to plan for their return.

Install or replace lighting especially along sidewalks and pathways. While the sun sets later in warmer months, you certainly want to make sure your guests have a clear path, even at night.

Plant a seed and watch it grow. The spring is a splendid time to plant a tree you wish to bloom at your rental property next year.

Have your drinking water tested. This is something many homeowners do annually, along with making sure smoke alarms and carbon dioxide monitors have fresh batteries and are fully functional.




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Improving the Resident Experience with Prompt Maintenance Assistance

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 9:39am

The perception of maintenance is a much discussed topic in the industry today. Because maintenance personnel are frequently on the grounds, they have become the face of apartment communities. They are often more visible than the front office staff.

According to Satisfacts, a multifamily industry provider of resident surveys focusing on retention and reputation management, maintenance teams can significantly impact your resident’s decision to renew their lease and recommend the apartment community to friends and family.

Promptness and professionalism are among four drivers that Satisfacts identifies in which maintenance can maximize the resident’s perception of value on the living experience. “Residents want to know they are receiving the VIP treatment and feel they are the maintenance’s number one priority,” the firm notes, and they expect maintenance to be professional in communication. “Residents feel professionalism builds their trust and meets their needs.”

When maintenance issues arise, residents want action fast

Simply, when a maintenance issue arises, a resident doesn’t want to be put off. Someone needs to know so the issue can be addressed quickly. Having to leave a voicemail or enter a callback number may aggravate the problem.

“One of the key reasons that people move to another community, even if it’s down the street, is the quality of maintenance support that they get from the community, and the timeliness and the comfort of knowing that they can talk to somebody and that their issues are going to be resolved,” said JoAnna Lloyd, Senior Director Product Advocacy for RealPage Contact Center.

Whether dealing with routine or emergency situations during or after business hours, residents want and expect their problems to be resolved as soon as possible. An empathetic, re-assuring voice at the other end of the line shows the community cares, which puts residents at ease and helps establish loyalty and renewals, Lloyd said.

Boosting resident satisfaction and retention through live responses

Lloyd says the company’s Live Agent, which is manned by highly trained agents who understand maintenance processes so they can address resident needs promptly, is an opportunity for properties to boost resident satisfaction and retention.

“Our customers and data tell us that properties benefit from increased resident satisfaction, higher yielding renewals and reduced costs associated with maintenance over time, risk mitigation, operational efficiencies and property loss,” she said.

The integrated, round-the-clock service automates dispatching the proper personnel and tracks the ticket, response time and trends once inputted in the community’s property management system.

“The next generation of renters want instantaneous answers,” said Amy Weissberger, vice president of training at Morgan Properties. “Whether it’s on their phone, through a text or if they actually do pick up the phone and reach out, our residents want somebody to answer on the other end.”

Morgan Properties, which operates and manages nearly 45,000 units and is a Top 20 National Multifamily Housing Council property owner, has witnessed an increase in renewals since converting to a solution that offers resident the ability to quickly talk with a representative about a problem or concern.

Over a year’s time, the company compared Live Agent to traditional maintenance response processes and found that the level of customer satisfaction improved with personal interaction.

Putting the resident’s mind at ease

Live Agent also features answer automation specifically to handle non-emergency maintenance tickets, which ensures that someone will respond quickly during emergency calls. Both solutions also effectively manage property loss and risk.

But the biggest benefit, Lloyd says, is putting a resident’s mind at ease quickly, knowing that a problem is on its way to being resolved. That’s especially comforting after hours when all of the property staff has gone home for the day.

“We are our property management companies’ first responders, emergency and non-emergency maintenance issues,” she said. “There is comfort for the resident knowing that there is someone who they can talk to who understands, is empathetic and professional.

“If a resident knows they are going to be taken care of whether it’s an emergency or not, they are more satisfied with their living experience at the property.”



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Rent control measure on its way to California ballot

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 9:35am

California voters this year will likely decide whether cities across the state should have more power to enact stronger rent control.

Rent control proponents behind a proposed November ballot initiative that would allow cities and counties to pass strong rent control laws say they now have enough signatures to qualify the measure.

“People understand that rents are out of control, that’s why I think you’re seeing this initiative move forward,” said Damien Goodmon, director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s “Housing is a Human Right” campaign.

Funded primarily by the foundation and backed by labor and tenants’ rights groups across California, the initiative seeks to repeal a 1995 state law called the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. If repealed, cities and counties would be able to strengthen existing rent control policies, or pass new laws that go further than what’s currently allowed.

At present, laws in jurisdictions with rent control are prevented from covering large amounts of housing, including single-family homes, condos and duplexes. All units built after 1995 also are exempt.

Repeal backers say they’ve collected more than 588,000 signatures. They needed 365,880 by June to qualify.

“We’re in a moment when people are saying give us the power to control rents,” Goodmon said. “Sacramento should not be dictating and restricting local communities from enacting policies necessary to address the housing crisis.”

Opponents, including powerful real estate interests, blasted the proposed initiative, calling it an “affordable housing freeze” that would stymie construction of new housing across the state.

“This ballot measure will pour gasoline on the fire of California’s affordable housing crisis,” said California Apartment Association CEO Tom Bannon. “It will do exactly the opposite of what it promises. Instead of helping Californians, it will result in an affordable housing freeze and higher costs.”

The association has fought and killed local rent control measures across California in recent years, including one in Santa Rosa in 2016.

Housing activists pushing for more power in Sacramento rallied in support of Costa-Hawkins repeal at the Capitol Monday. Melvin Willis, vice mayor for the city of Richmond, who campaigned for the successful local rent control measure in 2016, said state lawmakers “had their chance to address this housing crisis.”

“But because they were dragging their feet…people power is getting the job done,” Willis said, referring to the repeal campaign that he is also working on. “We have gathered enough signatures to make sure that our families are protected from rent-gouging.”

Assembly Democrats killed a bill earlier this year that sought to repeal Costa-Hawkins.

Gloria Cortez is among the activists working to repeal it at the ballot box. She and her family were evicted from their Pomona home last year and became homeless after complaining about mold, she said.

“They didn’t want to fix the issue so they evicted us,” Cortez said at the rally. “We all deserve to have a home…we deserve something affordable. Costa-Hawkins has got to go.”



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