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Angry Tenant Allegedly Defaces Landlord's BMW

Imagine spending $70,000 on a luxury sports sedan. Then imagine waking up one morning to find it covered in graffiti. That's the story of a London landlord named Ovace Miller.  Read More

What If the City Were Your Landlord?

Nashville is looking for fresh ways to deal with its lack of affordable housing. And its newest idea uses a $25 million loan to rehab, buy or build new housing. It sounds straightforward, but there’s one catch: The city has to stay on and manage the units. 

In recent years, the solution to a city’s affordable housing crisis has been to hand it off private developers — luring them in with local and federal tax credits. But this new concept is one that puts units back into the hands of the local government.

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Landlord Says City Violated Fourth Amendment Rights - Search & Seizure

At the time Trautwein filed the lawsuit, the city required a full inspection of the interior and exterior of the property before issuing the rental license. If a tenant or property owner refused to allow an inspection, the city was to obtain a warrant.

“You do have the right to deny an inspection without a warrant,” said Meriem L. Hubbard, senior attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation. “That’s part of the privacy rights that the Supreme Court has guaranteed us through various cases.”  Read More

 

Independence, MO Rental Ready Program requires property inspections

A new ordinance is in effect in the City of Independence requiring landlords to have their properties inspected before being able to rent them out. Independence, Missouri is following the lead of other cities by creating the Rental Ready Program, making sure residential properties are up to par.

"It is a part of the overall council's strategy to improve the quality of life, while maintaining safe and desirable neighborhoods," Tom Scannell, Community Development Director for the City of Independence, said.  The ordinance was adopted in September 2016 and went into effect on June 1, 2017.

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Online crooks using legitimate listings to create fake posts, steal money

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An I-TEAM investigation reveals rental scams are hurting innocent families. News4Jax uncovered a number of local cases where online crooks pretend they own a property, take the deposit and first month's rent, and then disappear.

"Right now we are literally homeless with two kids," said Shandalier Barcous.

Barcous found a post on Zillow.com for a big house in Arlington that fit her budget. She reached out and got a quick response from someone claiming to be the owner of that property. (See Zillow's statement)

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Toledo to crack down on landlord not obeying lead orders

The city of Toledo is ready to crackdown on landlords who fail to obey the city's lead orders from the Lucas County Health Department.

Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson made the announcement Thursday afternoon.

Toledo's Housing Prosecutors will begin to serve affidavits Friday to three landlords that received lead citations from the Health Department. The Law Department will also begin the institution of civil lawsuits against responsible persons and entities.

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Burlington officials to create new landlord ranking database

BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Queen City has about 10,000 rental units. Burlington officials are putting together a new resource to give tenants a hint at what they're signing up for. The city is creating a website for renters to get ratings on properties they're interested in before signing a lease. The better the property is maintained, the better the score.

"I think the biggest benefit is the transparency of it," said William Ward, Burlington code enforcement director.

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Homebuilders Report Loosening Credit Standards

Builders and developers have reported that credit conditions for acquisition, development, and single-family construction (AD&C) have been easing in the past few months, according to the Q1 AD&C Financing Survey from the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB).

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Jury decides landlord must pay $37,000 in disability discrimination case

A federal jury in Butte, MT Wednesday returned a $37,343 verdict against a Bozeman landlord for charging a tenant with physical and psychiatric disabilities $1,000 to have a service animal, the Justice Department announced.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Butte, alleged that Jaclyn Katz, the owner and manager of rental properties in Bozeman, discriminated against Kristen Newman, a tenant with physical and psychiatric disabilities, by charging her a $1,000 deposit as a condition for allowing her to keep her service dog, Riley.

According to a news release from the Department of Justice:

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New York landlord accused of violating service members' rights will pay out $59K in settlemen

A company that operates a townhome community near Fort Drum, New York, will pay about $59,000 spread over more than 125 service members who were allegedly illegally charged fees that violated federal law, according to the New York attorney general’s office.  

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Foreclosure Activity Down Across the Board

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are seeing declines in foreclosure activity across the board. According to the February 2017 Foreclosure Prevention Report released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Thursday, serious delinquencies, short sales, deeds-in-lieu, third-party sales, and foreclosure sales were all down for the month of February.

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Private Property Rights Wins the Day in House Short-Term Rentals Debate

In the end, in a House of Representatives where Republicans dominate, private property rights were always going to win.  But the vote that passed HB 425 was close Friday, 63-56, and will stop local governments from cracking down on short-term vacation rentals because they don't like them.

The win was a victory for online companies like Airbnb and Homeaway, which contract with homeowners to rent out their vacant homes in mostly resort locales. Under HB 425, only cities with vacation-rental ordinances on the books before 2011 would be allowed to keep them.

Bill sponsor Rep. Mike LaRosa, R-St. Cloud, pressed his conservative advantage: “Is it possible to have too much freedom?" he asked. "And is this a referendum on that freedom? If it is, I’m OK with that.”

He said local governments shouldn't be punishing the responsible majority of property owners for the potential wrongs of a few.

(See: Jacksonville Rental Property Owners May Face Fees For High Crime Properties)

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Salisbury Beach landlord fights $22K fine

SALISBURY, MA — A Salisbury Beach landlord is appealing a fine of more than $22,000 for failing to comply with the Board of Health’s rental property inspection ordinance.

Salisbury Health Agent Jack Morris said the problem dates back to Feb. 24, 2016, when he learned that Daniel Belfiore, owner of the apartment building at 128 Railroad Ave., hadn’t complied with the Health Department’s regulation requiring inspections of all rental properties in town.

Morris learned of the problem when Belfiore and his son were in court because of similar issues in the building they owned at 126 Railroad Ave.

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US Supreme Court ruling upends Jacksonville regulation of signs

A tried and true way of using roadside signs for advertising open houses has run head-on into a U.S. Supreme Court decision, leaving it up to City Council to sort out how it will decide the sticky dilemma of regulating signs posted on city property.

The city’s beautifiation campaign has cracked down for years on snipe signs — the small signs that pop up like mushrooms with ads for everything from “We Buy Homes” to cleaning dryer vents to yard maintenance to buying gold — while giving an exemption on weekends for real estate signs that direct motorists to open houses.

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Florida House pursues property tax cut

TALLAHASSEE – Voters next year could be asked to expand Florida’s homestead property-tax exemption, under a measure introduced Wednesday in the House that quickly drew objections from local governments.

As a companion to a nearly $300 million tax-cut package, the House Ways & Means Committee voted 13-6 to approve a proposal (PCB WMC 17-04) that would ask voters in November 2018 to expand by $25,000 the non-school homestead exemption.

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How a New Kind of Fraud Puts South Florida Real Estate Owners, Lenders at Risk

A con man is exploiting a loophole in public records access to target South Florida real estate lenders and landowners.  Based on little more than his charm, a fake driver's license and forged corporate documents altered on a government-run website for $50, he posed as a Boca Raton doctor and walked away with $550,000 from hard-money lenders in Fort Lauderdale.

People involved in the transaction say he spoke at length about his real estate holdings, didn't flinch when questioned, and was so convincing that when a private detective later inquired about the deal, lenders were suspicious of the investigator, not the fraudster.

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N.C. lawmakers to Charlotte: You can’t make all landlords register with city

N.C. lawmakers, in the closing hours of their session this month, passed a bill invalidating a local Charlotte regulation requiring all landlords to register with the city.

The Charlotte ordinance, which took effect in 2013, was meant to help police establish an official database to contact property owners whose tenants break the law. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, who supported the local ordinance, said they sometimes had trouble tracking down absentee landlords.

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Why eviction notices hurt black women especially in King County

A few years ago, Nikita Smith was named in an eviction case by her landlord. They ended up resolving the issue and she was never evicted.  But being named in the case was enough to disqualify her when she applied for a home in Renton in 2015.

Now, Smith has filed a lawsuit targeting the landlord screening policy that stood in her way.

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Here are the nation’s healthiest—and unhealthiest—housing markets

Housing remains in high demand in most of the nation, but the housing recovery looks increasingly uneven, depending on location.

Whether buyers are shopping for their own homes or for investment properties that will throw off some cash, certain markets are becoming far more lucrative than anyone might have expected just a few years ago. Still, some of the hottest markets are falling from grace.

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Scranton landlords joining class-action lawsuit against rental-registration fees

More than 100 Scranton landlords recently joined a pending class-action lawsuit that challenges the city’s rental registration fees as arbitrary and excessive, and seeks refunds.

The city’s revision of rental registration rules in 2014, imposing fees of $150 per building, $50 per unit and inspections, spurred a lawsuit in 2015 in Lackawanna County Court from landlord Adam Guiffrida.

His lawsuit claims the city set arbitrary, high fees and imposed unwarranted inspections on only those few landlords who complied and registered their properties. Law requires that such fees are only supposed to cover administrative costs and not raise extra cash for city coffers, the suit contends.

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IHT Realty: One Man's Plan To Grow Affordable Housing By Crowdfunding

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- IHT Realty announces Park Place Communities (PPC) is taking a major step toward growing the stock of affordable homes in the United States.

PPC, a national real estate investment company that specializes in affordable housing, is seeking $1 million in capital to facilitate a large-scale affordable home project.

The company plans to take existing mobile homes, renovate them and sell them to qualified buyers using five-year amortized mortgages. The buyer will make monthly payments for five years at 12 percent.

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