As most people are now painfully aware, California’s progressive political majority has just hit middle-class taxpayers with billions of dollars in new taxes. As a direct result of these actions, the state will soon have the distinction of having the highest taxes in the nation in the following categories: Highest income tax rate; highest state sales tax rate; highest vehicle tax; and the highest gas tax (and that doesn’t even include the added costs of cap-and-trade regulation). For the wealthy, California can be a lovely place to live. For normal folks, life in the Golden State can be a struggle. According to a recent article in the Sacramento Bee, California lost more than 1 million people in net domestic outmigration between 2004 and 2013.
By Becky Bower | ApplyConnect
With the deadline close, Gov. Brown has finally signed the bulk of the proposed California multifamily housing legislation. While none of the newly passed legislation will affect your tenant screening, you might want to review your rental application and leasing documents. Take a look at the multifamily housing legislation we’ve had our eye on below!
By Becky Bower | ApplyConnect
In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, multiple wildfires on the West Coast, tornadoes and the recent catastrophic earthquakes in Mexico, now would be the time to learn about you and your residents’ rights during a natural disaster. As most parts of the United States are impacted by at least one natural disaster (with some areas hit by several different kinds per year), knowing how to manage a natural disaster on each of your multifamily properties can alleviate some of the stress in the moment.
When you see articles within the multifamily industry talking about the amenities millennials want, you see smart locks, partnerships with urban coffee shops, and free yoga classes… but do all millennials really want these things? While most renters (millennials or not) wouldn’t mind living closer to their favorite coffee shop, after interviewing renters across California, I’ve found that ‘Generation Yers’ might not have as expensive tastes as the industry thinks. In fact, millennials are quite interested in finding a home with inexpensive amenities.
The time has come for our quarterly legislation update! With this September’s rental housing legislation carrying bills that threaten rent control, relocation fees, and game changers regarding eviction records, there are quite a few bills you should be following. As we’ve seen with rent control and ban-the-box legislation this past year, it is easy for a bill in one state to become a popular trend for other states. Take a look below at what September has in store for rental housing legislation.
By Karla Dennis, E.A.
With the real estate market being better than it has been in a long time, many of you may be considering selling your real estate, doing a 1031 exchange or converting a rental to a primary residence. Whichever decision you make, here is an outline of some of the key considerations to think about when pondering the idea. Buying , operating and selling a rental property can have profound tax ramifications.
DRAMATICALLY REDUCE MAINTENANCE COSTS BY USING MEGAMICROBES!
A common challenge for multi-resident, multi-story buildings is the frequency of plumbing repairs needed to keep waste water flowing freely out through drains, pipes, and outflow stacks. This problem can be especially acute in residential complexes where fats, oil and grease from in-home cooking accumulate all the way from kitchen drain traps to the common ground level drains.
Additional deposits of soap, hair, and other waste residue from bathroom showers, tubs, sinks and toilets add to the ongoing problem. Typically, this issue is dealt with as a maintenance budget line item for both plumber snaking at the unit level and the much more expensive jetting service applied to the inside of the common vertical outflow pipes, known as stacks. The annual cost for these services can easily top $10,000 or more, even in a modest-sized building with less than 100 units.
THERE’S A BETTER WAY!
By Becky Bower | ApplyConnect
As you might be hustling to get a vacancy filled and summer property maintenance done, state legislatures have been just as busy. With promising and threatening bills coming out of California, Arizona, Washington, and Oregon, make sure to take a moment to read over these recently passed and pending legislative bills.
San Jose’s Tenant Protection Ordinance (see city ordinance)
On May 9th, 2017, San Jose’s City Council passed the Tenant Protection Ordinance, limiting the reasons a tenant can be removed from a rent stabilized apartments, rental apartments, guest rooms in guesthouses, and unpermitted dwellings. Just cause terminations include: (1) nonpayment of rent, (2) material or habitual violation of the tenancy, (3) property damages, (4) refusal to agree to a new, identical rental agreement, (5) nuisance behavior, (6) refusing access to the apartment, and (7) unapproved subleasing. This ordinance also details No-Fault Just Cause Terminations. These terminations require relocation benefits to be paid to the removed tenants in the case of: (1) substantial rehabilitation of the apartment, (2) an Ellis Act removal, (3) the owner or owner’s family moves in, (4) a court or governmental agency’s order to vacate, and (5) the vacation of an unpermitted apartment. Take a look at San Jose’s helpful Fact Sheet.
San Jose’s Ellis Act Ordinance (see city ordinance)
The Ellis Act Ordinance was enacted by San Jose’s City Council on April 25th, 2017 and went into effect on May 25th, 2017. This ordinance allows owners of properties with rent stabilized buildings to permanently remove those buildings from the residential rental market for a different use. Owners who wish to withdraw their property from the rental market must draft a notice of intent to withdraw, provide relocation benefits or offer relocation to similar apartments to tenants, and provide reports to the City of San Jose.
Concord’s Rent-Mediation Program (see city ordinance)
Approved on May 2nd, 2017, the Residential Rent Review Program will give tenants in Concord the right to nonbinding mediation if their rent increases by more than 10% within a year. This affects tenants of all buildings with 3 or more units. The California Apartment Associationpredicts that the program could take effect as early as July.
PENDING: Micro-Apartment Bill (AB 352)
Under the existing law, cities and counties can permit the construction and occupancy of efficiency units that have minimum of 150 square feet meeting specified criteria. AB 352 would prohibit cities and counties from establishing a higher square footage requirement and from limiting the number of efficiency units in certain locations near public transit, car-share vehicles or a University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) college campus. Introduced by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), the bill aims to provide affordable housing in the form of micro-units. As of May 17th, 2017, this bill has passed the house and is onto the Senate. Read our in-depth article about micro-apartments.
PENDING: Voter Approval on Land Use Regulations (AB 943)
Also introduced by Assemblymember Santiago (D-Los Angeles), AB 943 would increase the voter threshold for approving no-growth measures, requiring at least 55% of the votes cast for an ordinance to be effective.
PENDING: Affordable Housing in San Francisco (AB 915)
Under current law, the Planning and Zoning Law requires that the city and/or county provide the housing developer a density bonus and other incentives for the production of low income housing units. AB 915 would require the City and County of San Francisco (if it adopts an ordinance requiring an affordable housing minimum percentage for housing developments) to apply those restrictions to developing units to receive their bonus. As currently written, this bill would not apply to developments seeking a density bonus with applications submitted or processed before January 1, 2018.
PENDING: Housing Accountability Act (AB 678)
The Housing Accountability Act “prohibits a local agency from disapproving, or conditioning approval in a manner than renders infeasible, a housing development project for very low, low-, or moderate-income households or an emergency shelter unless the local agency makes specified written findings based upon substantial evidence in the record.” AB 678 would require local governments to follow certain guidelines before denying housing projects and would impose penalties (including fines) for failing to comply with the act. Money gained through fines would be later used to construct affordable housing.
PENDING: Immigration Status in Housing (AB 291)
As we covered in a previous article, Assembly Bill 291 would prohibit landlords and properties from disclosing the tenant’s immigration or citizenship status to any immigration authority, law enforcement agency, or local, state, or federal agency. They are also prohibited from inquiring into the immigration or citizenship status of a rental applicant or tenant. As currently amended, the landlord would have to pay statuary damages (per person whose information was disclosed) of 12 times the monthly rent charged. This bill has passed the Assembly and is moving on to the Senate.
DEAD: Santa Rosa Rent Control (Measure C)
On June 6th, 2017, Santa Rosa voters will be voting on Measure C, a rent stabilization ordinance that caps rent increases at 3% per year on apartment units built prior to 1995. The measure also calls for the elimination of “no-cause evictions” by including a “just-cause” provision. Stay tuned.
UPDATE 6/7/17: The people of Santa Rosa, in efforts made with the California Apartment Association and other allies, rejected Measure C with 52.5% of the vote. Keep informed on legislative activities as these types of bills will often resurface with minor edits in the next few years.
By Becky Bower | ApplyConnect
The National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP) is now in effect! As of July 1, 2017, all new and existing public record data used by Experian®, Equifax®, and TransUnion® will be held to the new NCAP standards. While the implementation of these standards will occur over a three year period (with full implementation expected by March 2018), the three major credit bureaus have begun to take steps to improve data accuracy and quality.
What is the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP)?
Announced September of last year, NCAP establishes new standards (or personal identifying information) for a record to appear on a consumer credit report. As we’ve stated in a previous article, new and existing public record data will have to adhere to these two standards:
The minimum is required of consumer identifying information: name, address, social security number and/or date of birth
The minimum frequency (at least every 90 days) of courthouse visits to obtain newly filed and updated public records is required
While Experian® and the other bureaus “anticipate no change to bankruptcy public record data”, since bankruptcies are typically filed with the minimum consumer ID information like SSN (which passes standard #1), civil judgment, public record and tax lien data are affected. In fact, the preliminary analysis by Experian® projects that about 96% of civil judgement data might not meet the new standards. For tax lien data, they’re expecting “as much as 50% of this data may not meet the enhanced PII requirements.”
Protect your Property with More than Just Credit
Although the full effect of these changes won’t be apparent until a few months have passed, moving forward you might want to rely on additional methods to vet rental applicants. If the initial estimate of 96% of civil judgement data and ½ of all tax lien data do not in fact meet the new standards (and are thereby removed), it’s likely that a removed civil judgement record (like a monetary eviction) will not be reflected in the credit score. Rather than relying on a low credit score to indicate a civil judgement record, you’ll want to rely on a tenant screening service like ApplyConnect® to provide the eviction data to clue you in.
While you might want to take matters into your own hands and speak to your tenant screening company about what steps they’re taking to safeguard your property with the new standards, NCAP isn’t all that bad. Some positive changes that have come out of the initiative are that, according to their website, “medical debts won’t be reported until after a 180-day waiting period to allow insurance payment to be applied”. As most people don’t necessarily “sign up” for medical debt, giving applicants (and their insurance providers) about a half of year to pay their bills before the debt is applied to their credit score is reasonable. Consumers who obtain their annual free credit report and dispute the information on it will also be able to obtain a second free credit report without having to wait another 12 months. Although you’ll want to look into further protections, NCAP is just one step in the right direction to improving data quality and accuracy, and getting applicants educated on how to improve their credit score.
By Chris Visser
Asbestos needs little or no introduction nowadays. Ever since its implication in asbestos-related cancers, it has received a worldwide spread of recognition. Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring silicate minerals that are popularly known for it’s unique properties as being durable, flexible, and extremely resistant to heat and fire.
The mining and utilization of asbestos has been going on for hundreds of years, but in the 1950s, the use of asbestos greatly increased as it was used in the production of all sorts of materials and a lot of these were used in houses, apartments, & condos.
Asbestos was commonly used roofing materials, cement, pipes, insulation, gaskets, and even it was even made into a thin sheets as a “protective” covering fabric. In the late 90s, it was officially and scientifically linked to be the primary cause of asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma. These are deadly cancers, and ever since then, stories have continued to pile up on the topic, with the hope of ensuring public sensitization.
For those who may not be aware, malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that results from an individual being exposed to asbestos. These asbestos fibers can either be inhaled or ingested and it’s presence within the body can facilitate physical damage to the mesothelium (protective tissue lining of internal organs). This damage alters the DNA structure of the affected cells and the uncontrollable reproduction of damaged cells is the actual cause of all cancers.
One thing to know about asbestos is that once it enters the body, it usually takes about 20-50 years for it to turn into mesothelioma. It has an extremely long latency period so if you’ve never been exposed to asbestos in your past life and were exposed today, you wouldn’t experience a single symptom for decades. Early diagnosis of mesothelioma is uncommon and this is why it has acquired more than just the common misspellings… but also has been deemed the “silent killer”
Common Misspellings Of Asbestos
With the kind of popularity asbestos has infamously gained in the past few decades and since it was termed the “hidden / silent killer,” it’s actually no surprise that the word “asbestos” has become a regular output from the mouths of the panicking public.
The major down side to this is that the word “asbestos” has been given all sorts of variations in spelling. Several spellings pop up now and then on the web and they are all wrong. Some of these misspellings include: aspestos, abesto, asbesto, abestos, aspestis, asbetos, aspestus, asbestus etc.
All the above misspellings all seem understandable, we all make mistakes… but there is one spelling of the word that has actually become an international mistake. Rather surprising because it neither reads or sounds like as-bes-tos. The word is “espestice” and it gets searched nearly 10,000 times a month according to Google Keywords Tool.
It is rather surprising and funny that anyone would actually think “espestice” means “asbestos.” A few English classes surely should have helped straighten that out. In any case, it is important to know the correct spelling of the word, especially when looking to do some reading about it. So, for those “google-searching” the word “espestice,” you might as well save yourself the effort because it won’t yield anything tangible. The word you are looking for is “asbestos”.
Knowing the correct spelling of a word not only saves you stress, but also a lot of time when searching for relevant materials online. Asbestos is scary, especially because you can’t see the tiny fibers floating around in the air, but we mustn’t allow this panic to destroy our good English.
“Asbestos” is simply not “espestice.”
Biography of Christopher Visser
Christopher Visser is the Founder of Mesothelioma Treatment Community, which is the largest online resource for mesothelioma treatment options and complementary therapies for not only mesothelioma, but for all forms of cancer.
Christopher is a web-designer, blogger, and online social activist who has an incredibly strong interest in helping cancer patients on an international level. Cancer hits very close to home with Chris as he has lost four family members to various forms of this disease and thus has dedicated his time towards two other zero-profit projects.
Dad Hats Factory, Raising Awareness Old-School Style, which donates custom cancer ribbon colored hats to non-profit cancer organizations.
Cannabidiol Life, Planting the Seeds of Health & Wellness. While a controversial topic (due to the fact that much is not known), Chris has made it the first and only medical based resource and product guide that comprehensively explains and helps families around the world learn about the benefits of CBD in connection with over 50 diseases and health conditions.
“Even though there is still much to be learned about treating cancer and CBD, we like to think of ourselves as present day explorers who’ve entered and started a small fire in a deep dark cave that has been blocked off for years.
Although we aren’t the first to ever enter this cave, nor the first to start a fire, we’ve still managed to create our own flame. Difference is, we intend to keep the fire burning until we uncover all the writings on the wall and we will make sure the whole world is with us when we do it.” – Christopher Visser