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Cities have a new target for ending homelessness: Landlords

Rental vouchers are only helpful if landlords are willing to take them. All too often, they’re not. But what if the government made it less risky?

Families wait years to get on the government’s waiting list for a rental voucher, sometimes while living in a homeless shelter. When they finally get that housing aid, they often struggle to find landlords willing to rent to them.

Most landlords screen out people who have a criminal background, poor credit or a history of evictions, making it difficult for voucher holders to find somewhere to live, even when they can afford rent. In fact, it’s common for people to lose their vouchers — which have expiration dates — after months of unsuccessful searching for a home.

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San Francisco tenants win $3.5M in wrongful eviction case

SAN FRANCISCO –  A landlord has been ordered to pay $3.5 million to a San Francisco couple after a jury ruled they were wrongfully evicted from their home of 21 years.

Dale Duncan and Marta Mendoza sued sisters Anne Kihagi, Christina Mwangi, and their company Zoriall LLC, after they and their 6-year-old daughter were evicted in 2015.

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Housing Market Squeezing First-Time Buyers

Tight housing markets across the country squeezed out more first-time buyers over the past year. A new survey by the National Association of Realtors shows that the share of first-time buyers in the market is at its fourth-lowest point since 1981.

According to the report, first-timers made up 34 percent of the buying market this year, compared to 35 percent a year ago. Even last year was notably below the generally considered normal figure of 39 percent.

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Landlord evicts disabled Orange Park man, throws away medicine

An Orange Park man says he came home to find the locks on his front door changed and all of his property gone.

Joseph Atkins, 29, was able to get back into his apartment, but says he shouldn't have been locked out in the first place.

Atkins rummaged through trash bags of his possessions inside of his apartment at Park Village Apartments in Orange Park Thursday afternoon.

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Springfield landlord fined $43,500 after losing housing discrimination lawsuit

U.S. District Court in SpringfieldSPRINGFIELD -- A Springfield landlord who refused to rent apartments to pregnant women or families with minor children must pay more than $40,000 in fines under a federal jury verdict.

Following a five-day trial in U.S. District Court in Springfield, a jury found that John DeRaffele, of New Rochelle, New York, had violated the U.S. Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent an apartment to a Springfield family with a pregnant wife and a child under 6 years old, according to a press release from the U.S. Justice Department.

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More housing markets are overvalued, and consumers feel the pain

168199409JM009_New_Housing_The steady rise in home prices is so far showing no boundaries, and that is turning up the heat on some already overheated housing markets.

Home prices rose 7 percent nationally in September, compared with September 2016, a higher annual increase than was seen in August, according to CoreLogic, a real estate data firm.

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Fla.'s Housing Market: Median Prices Up in 3Q 2017

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida's housing market in third quarter 2017 showed the impact of Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in the Keys on Sept. 10. The latest housing data released by Florida Realtors® reported higher median prices year-over-year, but fewer closed sales, pending sales and new listings due to the disruption in September's market caused by the hurricane. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 67,811 in 3Q 2017, down 5.5 percent over the 3Q 2016 figure.

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Grady County Courthouse returns $8.5 million wrongful death verdict

Kylie AndrewsA Grady County jury returned an $8.5 million wrongful death verdict after a 19-year-old Blanchard native died in house fire in a rental home allegedly unequipped with a smoke detector.

Kylie Andrews, 19, was staying in a rental home as a guest in Murray County. The fire started while she and four others were sleeping at about 6 a.m. on March 24, 2013. Andrews and another person died in the fire, Paul Kolker, attorney for the bereaved family, said. 

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Soaring House Prices Could Mean Mini-Bubbles for Some Markets

While signs of an imminent nationwide housing bubble are slim when put in context, the news may not be as rosy for some cities. Based on an analysis by the Urban Institute, several California locales top the list of U.S. cities most at risk of a housing bubble, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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Sorry, what? Landlords who report Airbnb violations are still getting slapped with fines

There have been several cases of landlords telling the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement about illegal home sharing in their buildings, and then getting slapped with violations themselves, Crain’s reported.

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Canadian landlord fined $12G for not taking shoes off in Muslim tenant's home

A Canadian landlord who was fined $12,000 for wearing shoes in a Muslim tenant's home said he felt "humiliated" by the harsh penalty levied by a national human rights tribunal.

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City wins early victory in lawsuit alleging landlord discriminated against veteran and his support dog

A judge has denied the landlords’ request for documents such as journal entries, drug tests and disability records relating to a housing discrimination lawsuit.

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McMansion Popularity Surging for First Time Since Housing Bubble

Back in the mid-2000s, McMansions, or homes that were larger than 3,000 square feet, helped fuel the housing bubble as people started building bigger and better homes. Coupled with subprime mortgages, banks couldn’t keep up when people stopped paying their mortgages, and the market collapsed.

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With Apartment Living on the Rise, Where Does That leave the Single Family Market?

More investors are putting stake in multifamily homes like apartments and condominiums, but are many people choosing to live in them? In the wake of low inventory in the single family market, are potential homebuyers going to continue to rent, or wait for their dream home?

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Home-rental scam hits Central Florida

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A News 6 investigation has uncovered a “cut and paste” real estate con game that uses legitimate rental property offers, posts them on another site and offers the homes for nearly half the true rental price.

A man calling himself Cedric Toler offered a rental property on 3030 Senna Court in the Ginger Creek sub division for $700 a month, including utilities. The real asking price was $1,200 and month.

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Do Rising Prices Indicate Another Crash?

For the fifth month in a row, home prices have set a national record, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price NSA Index released today. Across all nine Census divisions, U.S. home prices rose 5.5 percent over the year.

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Is Subprime About to Make a Comeback?

Though many have feared the recent uptick in nonqualified mortgage loans (non-QM loans) could indicate another crisis is on the horizon, according to research released by Morningstar today, these worries aren’t yet warranted. As Morningstar’s report put it, “nonqualified mortgages are not the new subprime.”

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They Don’t Spend Like They Used to

A recent report published by Bankrate suggests that younger millennials aged 18 to 26 spend more on daily, habitual expenses, such as eating out, coffee, and alcohol, than any other generation, which can limit their long-term ability to save for a downpayment on their mortgage.

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How Many Home Shoppers are Renters?

It seems renters may finally be setting their sights on homeownership if a new analysis released on Thursday rings true. In the first quarter of this year, the share of home shoppers who were either non-homeowners or renters rose noticeably over recent years. But what could it mean for investors and lenders? And will the increase continue? 

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Lenders Loosen Risk Standards as Rates Rise

According to a new report, mortgage lenders are taking increased credit risks similar to those of the early 2000s. Released on Tuesday, the report shows that the level of credit risk taken by lenders in Q1 of 2017 was about the same as the average risk taken between 2001 and 2003. The shift is likely a result of declining refinances, rising mortgage rates, and an increased share of investor, condo, and co-op purchases.

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Cost Of Freon For Older Air Conditioner Repairs Is Skyrocketing

Air conditioner repairs this summer will come with skyrocketing costs for the refrigerant R22, more commonly known as Freon™, according  to a release.

Production of R22 refrigerant, which is being phased out by the Environmental Protection Agency because it contains environmentally harmful ozone-depleting substances, has already dropped by 90 percent. Production will be prohibited by 2020.

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