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U.S. Announces Settlement with Illinois Landlord for Failing to Provide Lead-Based Paint Disclose Forms

52 apartments to become lead-safe under terms of the agreement

WASHINGTON – November 25, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with a Rockford, Illinois landlord to resolve a claim he failed to inform tenants, some with young children, that their homes may contain potentially dangerous lead.

The agreement requires Dennis Hardesty to replace windows and clean up lead?based paint hazards in 50 rental properties containing a total of 52 units (see attached list of properties).  In addition to the $308,000 worth of lead abatement work, Hardesty agreed to pay $5,000 in penalties.


Couple claims discrimination after landlord wouldn’t rent to them because they’re gay

DENVER -- A Colorado couple has filed a federal lawsuit against a property owner for discrimination. The same-sex couple, one of whom is a transgender, claims the landlord refused to rent them a home because they are gay.

On Thursday morning, attorneys with Lambda Legal and Holland & Hart joined Rachel and Tonya Smith to announce they would be filing a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court of Colorado against the Boulder County property owner for discrimination on the basis of sex and familial status.

“We would want assurance that other families like us will be protected from this happening in the future,” Tonya Smith said.  Read More

New York Mayor De Blasio Vows to Punish Landlords Who Reject Homeless Vouchers

"A housing voucher should be treated like you showed up with a stack of cash or a platinum card. It has to be respected," he said. "Any form of discrimination against those who have valid government support is illegal in this city and we will very aggressively enforce that law."

The city's Human Rights Commission is investigating 85 landlords. The mayor said that will send a message.

"We are going to make examples of people," he said. "A landlord who thinks they can get away with it then sees another landlord suddenly hit with a huge fine will wake up real quick."  Read More

More landlords come forward to expose tenants who converted 3 bedrooms to 10 - Video

NEW YORK— Last month we reported on a landlord in Elmhurst, Queens who said he was being scammed by two tenants.

Landlord Eddie Shiew rented the top floor of his three bedroom home to Burak Firik and Dogan Kimilli. Without permission , Firik and Kimilli renovated the three bedroom apartment into ten small sleeping quarters. They then allegedly advertised the bedrooms on Airbnb.com for $35 dollars a night and up.

When Shiew, who does not live in the building, found out, he tore down the renovations and changed the locks.  He ordered the tenants to vacate the apartment, but they went to court and a judge ruled the landlord has to go through formal eviction proceedings to get Kimilli and Firik out.  Read More


Countdown to Right to Rent: 1 February 2016 England's Landlord Obligations

On 1 February 2016 the Right to Rent immigration checks scheme will go live across the country. This means that all landlords in England will be responsible for checking that new tenants are allowed to be in the UK before renting out their properties.  Read More

Castro Fans Flames of VP Speculation

The HUD Secretary raised his public profile with an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert Monday night on the eve of the State of the Union address, furthering speculation that he could be running for vice president on the Democratic ticket.  Read More

Absentee Landlord Scammed When Someone Else Leased Homes

Crafty fraudsters tricked tenants into leasing 80 homes in Broward and Palm Beach counties in a scam that generated more than $100,000 a month, federal prosecutors charged.

Three people were accused of taking over dozens of rental houses owned by a Georgia company, cutting off lockboxes and leasing them to unsuspecting tenants who thought they were doing business with the properties' real owner.  Read More

Build to Rent Strategy Gains Popularity Driven by Lack of Inventory, Surge in Rental Demand

A combination of a lack of housing inventory, especially discounted and distressed, and a surge in demand for rental housing has caused more investors to turn to the build to rent strategy—that is, building a single-family home with the specific intent of renting it rather than sell it to an owner occupant.

Recent research from John Burns Real Estate Consulting indicates that approximately 10 percent of detached single-family households in the country (12.7 million out of 120 million) are renting. In fact, Burns said 25,000 single-family detached homes were built for rent last year—a number he expects to increase over the next few years.  Read More

4 Ways to Screen Your Landlord

It’s standard practice for landlords to screen potential tenants. References, work history, banking information, and even your Social Security number are fair game. But what about your landlord’s references? How concerned should you be about trusting someone with your private information and the stability of your home without some background details?

Be it a company or an individual, before you hand over your Social, you might consider doing some research of your own. Here are four ways to screen your landlord or property manager before you sign a lease.

Fla. home sellers convicted of keeping sinkhole secret

On Thursday, a federal jury in Tampa, Florida, decided that Glenn Jasen and wife Kathryn Jasen, of Spring Hill, Florida, were guilty of wire fraud, which is a federal felony.

Prosecutors alleged in the case that the Jasens "did detect a sinkhole" in 2009, filed a claim with their insurer and then "elected to receive a check in the amount of $153,000 but did not ever fix the sinkhole."

According to the US Attorney's Office, the Jasens deposited the insurance check into a bank account. They then failed to disclose the sinkhole in real estate documents and later sold the home to another family, according to the indictment.  In court, US attorney Tom Palermo told the jury that "the defendants put lipstick on a pig and sold it to suckers."  Read More

Foreclosure rate falls, turning south Florida into seller's market

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Encouraging news was released Friday if you're trying to sell your home.  CoreLogic, a property information and analytic company, announced foreclosure rates for July 2015.

The numbers show a significant decrease in the amount of foreclosures in the West Palm Beach/Delray Beach/Boca Raton market compared to July 2014.  The foreclosure rate in July 2014 was 4.41%. In July 2015, it fell to 2.28%, according to CoreLogic.  Read More

Suit Accuses Landlord of Discriminating Against Tenant With AIDS

David Goode, 27, poor and living with AIDS, thought he had found the answer to his homelessness when he saw an Internet listing in February for an apartment in New York for around $1,100 per month.

But when he told the landlord that his rent would be covered by a subsidy from a city program for residents with H.I.V. or AIDS, he said an agent for the company repeatedly told him that it did not accept the subsidy. So on Tuesday, Mr. Goode filed a lawsuit in the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn against the landlord, Goldfarb Properties, accusing it of violating a city law barring discrimination based on the source of a tenant’s income.  Read More

Opportunities Still Exist for Real Estate Investors Despite Foreclosure Inventory Decline

global-investingMany opportunities still exist for real estate investors to acquire properties despite the decrease in inventory of foreclosed homes, according to new quarterly data from HomeVestors, the ‘We Buy Ugly Houses’ organization, and Local Market Monitor, a real estate forecasting solution.

The data points out markets that will make profitable rental markets and where home prices are likely to increase at a good rate over the next few years. These markets must have a population that is growing at a rate of 4 percent or better with people coming into the area in search of jobs. Additionally, the current job growth rate must be 2 percent or better and unemployment must be low.  Read More


Freddie Mac Offers Distressed Homeowners a Complete Guide to Foreclosures and Alternatives

Freddie Mac is now offering distressed homeowners a complete guide to foreclosure and how to avoid it, from assessing your situation to what to do when your home has been foreclosed on, as part of a new website launched this week as a one-stop resource for homeowners.

The "MyHome by Freddie Mac" site offers homeowners a number of options under the "Foreclosure and Alternatives" tab that tell a borrower who to contact for help as well as non-foreclosure solutions that include both home retention and home forfeiture options.

Freddie Mac first discusses the importance of taking stock of your financial situation and determining what a borrower can and cannot pay for as far as home-related expenses, such as major and minor repairs. If a borrower cannot pay for these things, or is incurring another major expense that will keep them from paying the mortgage, Freddie Mac recommends reaching out to the lender as soon as possible.

"Your lender wants to help you with your mortgage," Freddie Mac said on the site. "They do not want your home or the expenses that come with foreclosure."  Read Source

More than 1.5 Million ‘Boomerang Buyers’ Could Re-Enter Mortgage Market In Next Three Years

More than 1.5 million "boomerang buyers" – those negatively affected by the housing crisis – could re-enter the housing market at some point in the next three years, according to a study released by TransUnion on Wednesday.

Boomerang buyers include those who are 60 or more days delinquent on a mortgage loan, have had a mortgage loan modified, or have lost a home through foreclosure, short sale, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. TransUnion estimates that about 700,000 boomerang buyers could re-enter the mortgage market in 2015, and another 2.2 million could re-enter the market over the next five years.   Read Source

Senator Proposes Legislation to Help Underwater Borrowers Avoid Foreclosure

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) has proposed legislation that will help underwater homeowners avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes, according to an announcement on Menendez's website.

The Preserving American Homeownership Act is intended to help the estimated 5.1 million Americans who are underwater, or owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. That number accounts for about 10 percent of homes with a mortgage in the United States, according to data recently released by CoreLogic. About 40 percent of those 5.1 million underwater borrowers (approximately two million) owe at least 25 percent more than their home is worth.  Read Source

Mortgage Default Indices Continue Falling to Historic Lows

The national composite default index reported a historic low for the second month in a row in May, one of four out of five national indices to report historic lows for the month, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices and S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices for May 2015 released Tuesday.

The composite index declined by nine basis points from April to May, down to 0.88 percent, a historic low for the second consecutive month. The first mortgage default rate also posted a decline of nine basis points from April to May down to 0.74 percent, also a historic low. The second mortgage default rate fell by one basis point for the same period, down to a historic low of 0.42 percent.  Read Source

Negative Equity Rate Falling, But 4 Million Borrowers May Be Trapped Underwater

The number of borrowers who owe more money than their home is worth is slowly decreasing; however, more than half of these borrowers are stuck in an underwater free fall with little to no hope of resurfacing.

According to Zillow’s first quarter Negative Equity Report released today, although the negative equity rate is falling, about 4 million homeowners owed at least 20 percent more than the worth of their home. In order for these underwater homeowners to even come close to breaking a sale, their homes would have to appreciate by more than the percentage at which they are underwater..  Read More

Outlook for Housing and Economy Remain Positive Despite Q1 GDP Contraction


In its second of three estimates of real gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first quarter released Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) issued a downward revision of what analysts had already deemed "paltry" growth of 0.2 percent in the advance estimate for Q1 reported at the end of April.

According to the BEA's second estimate for Q1, which is based on more complete source data than were available for the advance estimate, the GDP contracted at an annual rate of minus 0.7 percent. Despite economic growth taking a step backward, the forecast for housing for the rest of the year remains positive, according to Fannie Mae SVP and chief economist Doug Duncan. New home sales increased by 6.8 percent in April up to 517,000 annualized units; the National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index has risen by 14 percent in the last 12 months; existing home sales are at a nine-year high; and purchase applications recovered at the end of May from a slow first half of the month up near a two-year high.  Read Full Article At Source

Delinquency Rate Falls Below 3 Percent for First Time Since 2007 depleted-money

depleted-moneyThe percentage of residential mortgage borrowers who are delinquent (more than 60 days behind on their mortgage payments) was reported at 2.95 percent in Q1, the first time it has been below 3 percent in more than seven years, according toTransUnion's Quarterly Industry Insights Reportreleased Monday.

Q1 marked the 13th consecutive quarterly decline in mortgage delinquency rate. Q1's percentage of 2.95 was a drop from 3.29 percent in Q4 2014 and from 3.59 percent in Q1 2014. Before Q1, the mortgage delinquency rate had not been below 3 percent since Q3 2007 (immediately prior to the beginning of the recession), when it was reported at 2.61 percent.

Read complete article at Source

Housing Forecast Calls for Increase in Existing-Home Sales forecast

forecastAccording to Auction.com’s, LLC Real Estate Nowcast for May, despite an unexpected drop in April, existing-home sales in May are expected to pick up and fall between seasonally adjusted annual rates of 5.03 and 5.34 million annual sales, with a goal of 5.18 million. This is a 2.9 percent increase from April and a 5.8 percent increase from a year ago. Auction.com expects May sales to come in at 5.18 million units (SAAR), and median sales prices at $220,799.

Read complete article at Source