VACAVILLE — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined a Vacaville-based contractor $51,000 for not complying with federal lead-paint rules when renovating four foreclosed homes.
The agency on Wednesday said Blue Mountain Air violated the Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule by not obtaining an EPA certification for the company beforehand, using certified renovators — both subcontractor and their workers — and complying with other safety practices for handling such paint.
“Lead-based paint is the main source of lead poisoning for children, which can cause learning disabilities and behavior problems,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Pacific Southwest administrator. “EPA will take enforcement action against companies that operate without the training and certification needed to protect children, families and workers.” Read More
Baltimore jury awarded $5 million Friday to a pair of sisters who claimed they suffered permanent brain damage from ingesting flaking lead paint in a rented West Baltimore home two decades ago.
The judgment against Stewart Levitas, a former president of a greater Baltimore landlords group, concluded a five-day Circuit Court trial of a lawsuit brought by Tajah and Tynae Jeffers, with Judge Alfred Nance presiding.
The sisters, now 22 and 18 years old, contended in their suit that they were poisoned by ingesting dust or flakes of deteriorating lead-based paint in a house in the 2100 block of Hollins St., which was owned at the time by Levitas. The elder sister was 2 years old in 1994 when their mother moved in, and the younger was not yet born, according to Nicholas Szokoly, one of their lawyers.
The plaintiffs' lawyers presented evidence during the trial that the home had lead-based paint and that it was peeling or flaking in places while the family lived there until 1998. Read More
With rent and home prices fast rising, renters are paying their Orlando landlords an average of about a third of their monthly income, according to a new report by Zillow.
Long considered one of the more affordable markets in the country, Orlando renters now spend a greater share of their income to rent than the national average. Historically, Orlando-area renters spent 20 percent to 25 percent of their paychecks for rent.
"The source of the problem: Rents moving up too quickly and incomes are not," said Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow. Since 2000, rents for the Orlando region increased 52 percent while wages edged up 25 percent, according to the real-estate-research company. Tenants in the four-county region now spend an average of 32 percent of their wages on rent, while the national average is 29 percent.
Part-time University of Central Florida student Jenn Velazquez, 24, said she has watched rents spike in recent years and opted to live with her parents in east Orange, socking away enough earnings from her position at an after-school-care program for a down payment on a house.
"The apartments in Waterford Lakes and going up Alafaya Trail toward UCF are $1,000 a month, and they are just one-bedrooms. I don't want to go live in a dorm," said Velazquez, who closes this week on a house with $800 monthly mortgage payments. "Going that route was a little silly." Read More
The Ohio Civil Rights Commission has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Fair Housing Contact Service against an Akron property owner accused of refusing to rent housing to families with children younger than 6.
John Gourley of Akron, owner of Fleetwood Properties, published an advertisement that appeared to limit the family makeup of prospective renters.
The ad for a house on Valdes Avenue, posted on the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority’s website, read: “I choose not to rent to families with children under the age of 6 because of the lead based paint inspections from Section 8.”
According to the Ohio Attorney General’s office, the statement indicates an unlawful “limitation, preference, or intent to discriminate based on familial status.” Read More
DELTONA — Landlords who complained about a new ordinance regulating rental properties got what they wanted Monday night. The City Commission unanimously repealed the higher standards — including inspections and fees — on homes for rent.
The ordinance was one of three aimed at fighting blight in a city where the percentage of rental homes has grown since the Great Recession and housing crisis pushed thousands of Deltona homes underwater or into foreclosure.
The ordinance that was repealed stated rentals have “disproportionately been the subject of code-enforcement violations.” It also noted all residential properties are “dramatically negatively impacted by rental properties ... that are not appropriately maintained.” Read More
The U.S. Midterm Elections have been over for less than a week, and already Democrats are circling the wagons to protect what will certainly be a top priority on the Republicans' list of changes to make – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Republicans have hinted, some not-so-subtly, that the Bureau is in need of reform, and they intend to do just that now that they have a majority in both the House and the Senate. It is widely speculated that financial regulation overhaul, which includes the CFPB and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, along with Obamacare will be two issues Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senate Banking Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) will go after first when they take their new seats in January. Read More
The number of seriously delinquent mortgage loans, which are those that are more than 90 days past due or in foreclosure, dropped nationwide by 21 percent year-over-year in September, according to CoreLogic's September 2014 National Foreclosure Report released on Wednesday.
While the number of seriously delinquent mortgages continues to decline, CoreLogic's chief deputy economist, Sam Khater, said that the rate of decline has slowed; every month from October 2013 to July 2014, serious delinquencies declined nationwide by at least 25 percent with a high of 25.9 percent in June 2014, according to CoreLogic. Read More
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System announced today that its asset purchase program, known as QE3 (quantitative easing), will end this month, citing sufficient economic growth.
Following months of speculation of the end of the program, Fed made the announcement in today's FOMC statement, following the FOMC's seventh of eight meetings this year. Unlike the Fed's first two QE programs, which were launched in 2008 and 2010, QE3 allowed for the unlimited purchase of mortgage-backed securities; the Fed planned to continue the stimulus program until the economy was deemed healthy enough. Read More