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Housing and real estate group says Calif. judge’s final decision in lead paint case will hurt home values

The Los Angeles County Boards of Real Estate, which represents private property rights in Los Angeles County, argues that the ruling will send home values “in a freefall” throughout the county, and cause a “ripple effect” resulting in less money for schools, police services and other vital programs supported by property taxes.

The final ruling by Kleinberg affects about 2.6 million homes in Los Angeles County and an estimated 5 million statewide.

“This could precipitate the worst plunge in California home values since the housing crash of 2007,” said Giuseppe Veneziano, president of LACBOR, adding that the ruling will have “frightening consequences.” 

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"Fake Landlord" Scam On the Rise

People look for rental homes and apartments on Craigslist, and give false landlords cash deposits.

By the time they find out they've been scammed, it's too late.

As if finding a place to live wasn't stressful enough. Now realtors and police are cautioning renters of a growing "fake landlord" scam.

"They're meeting people at the vacant properties, letting them in, showing them through taking cash deposits from them when in reality they have no connection to the property whatsoever," explains Michael Sewell of Caldwell Banker Real Estate.  Read More


S&P/Case Shiller Records Largest Home Price Gain in Nearly 8 Years

Both the 10- and 20-city composite readings of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices saw annual increases of 13.6 percent during the month of October, recording their largest yearly gain since February 2006. October marked the 17th consecutive month home prices have risen on a year-over-year basis, with average home prices nationwide recovering to mid-2004 levels.   Read More

Market Analysts Expect Slowdown in Housing Recovery in 2014

The housing market recovery is entering a new phase, according to the analysts at Capital Economics. They say the rapid bounce in home prices seen this year, which was driven by investors and tight supply conditions, will soon start to moderate, and the next stage of the recovery will be characterized by strengthening activity among owner-occupants and mortgage-dependent buyers, as well as a much more moderate pace of house price inflation.
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Recently a number of our members began receiving emails like the one below.  It looks official and could temp one to click on the email attachment especailly if you have an open eviction or other law suite in action.

DO NOT OPEN THE EMAIL ATTACHMENT!!!  It contains a virus and will contaminate your computer. 

You may forward this to as many of your friends as you like.


Sample Email:

Notice to Appear,

Hereby you are notified that you have been scheduled to appear for your hearing that
will take place in the court of Washington in January 15, 2014 at 09:00 am.

Please bring all documents and witnesses relating to this case with you to Court on your hearing date.

The copy of the court notice is attached to this letter.
Please, read it thoroughly.

Note: If you do not attend the hearing the judge may hear the case in your absence.

Yours truly,
Nancy Tailor
Clerk to the Court.

Even in Buyer's Market, Homeownership Expected to Decline

Looking at ongoing trends, Zillow made four major predictions about the course of housing over 2014, and while the company expects conditions next year to be a bit friendlier to homebuyers, that doesn't mean we'll necessarily see more owner-occupied housing. Zillow also combined data on unemployment, population growth, and its own Home Value Forecast to glimpse into what it believes will be the hottest markets in 2014.  Read More

'Boomerang' Buyers Expected to Boost Recovery in the New Year

Based on a poll of borrowers that have been subject to foreclosure, authorities at LoanSafe.org and AfterForeclosure.com say they're confident that 2014 will be the year of the "boomerang" borrower. They say changes in lending guidelines and population shifts make these buyers essential to the recovery of the housing market, particularly since developments that naturally advance housing have been largely disrupted in today's environment.    Read More

All-Cash Sales Reach New High In November

All-cash purchases accounted for 42 percent of all residential property sales in November, up from 38.8 percent in October and also up from a year ago to the highest level since RealtyTrac began tracking all-cash purchases in January 2011, the company reported. States with the highest percentage of cash sales included Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and South Carolina--all with more than half of the homes sold last month purchased with cash.   Read More

Sales of Existing Homes Decline Annually for First Time in 29 Months

Existing-home sales dipped on both a monthly and annual basis in November, marking the first year-over-year decline in sales in nearly two and a half years. Hurt by higher mortgage interest rates, constrained inventory, and tight credit, sales of previously owned homes came in at an annualized rate of 4.90 million last month, the National Association of Realtors reported.  Read More

Unrealistic Rate Expectations Threaten Housing Recovery

Unrealistic mortgage rate expectations could lead the housing recovery astray as the Federal Reserve looks to ease its stimulus program, according to recent reports. Nearly half of consumers cite rising mortgage rates as a top concern for the housing market, What about scientific publishing?  Scholarly editing?  Or maybe the most promising: R&D collectives in architecture and the arts?Apportionment and expression of credit scores will never be simple or formulaic in digital humanities scholarship, because of the multiple communities and community norms which must be respected and engaged in any collaborative project. but attitudes toward interest rates are somewhat troublesome. Eighty-three percent of buyers believe a "normal" interest rate for a fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage loan is less than 5 percent.   Read More

Fed to Begin Tapering Asset Purchases

Pointing to ongoing, stable improvements in economic activity and labor market conditions since the start of its latest quantitative easing program in September 2012, the committee agreed to scale back its purchase of agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to a pace of $35 billion per month; at the same time, purchases of Treasury securities will shrink to $40 billion per month. Together, the cuts represent an overall reduction of $10 billion in purchases each month.

The decision brings to an end months of speculation over when the Fed might finally decide to pump the brakes on its stimulative strategy. Now, the ongoing debate will likely turn to the expected timeline for further cutbacks. Read more

Change to Oregon Landlord-Tenant Law

Landlords and renters alike stand to benefit from the Landlord-Tenant Omnibus Bill (Senate Bill 91), which takes effect Jan. 1.

  • Noncompliance fees are changing and for the first time,
  • Oregon landlords can require tenants to maintain rental insurance.
  • It also introduces Section 8 Vouchers as a Protected Class.
  • Renters can no longer be turned down solely due to their dependence on government assistance for housing.

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NH law targets bed bug infestations in rentals

CONCORD, New Hampshire — New Hampshire landlords and tenants are teaming up in a new law aimed at eradicating infestations of the tiny, blood-sucking bed bug from rental housing.

The law takes effect Jan. 1 and outlines responsibilities landlords and tenants have in dealing with bed bug infestations. The two groups worked together this year on legislation setting protocols in place so quick action would be taken to deal with the insects that leave telltale red bite marks on their victims.

The law calls for landlords to begin remediation within seven days of being notified by a tenant that bed bugs are in a rental. If the landlord fails to act, the tenant can ask a judge to order remediation. The tenant may be required to pay the costs if responsible for the infestation.

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Landlord faces charge for not telling renters that meth was cooked in a house

A Georgetown landlord allegedly rented a house without telling the new occupants that methamphetamine had been made there, Kentucky State Police said.

Troopers said Thursday that they arrested William Dillon, 52, for allegedly allowing new renters in the home on Indian Creek without giving them written notice that the home was contaminated from meth cooking.

The Frankfort state police post is investigating.

State law requires that anyone who rents or sells contaminated property provide renters with a written notice of the risk, according to state police. The law also requires the owner to notify local health officials to oversee cleaning of the property.

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90-year-old landlord jailed after allegedly trapping tenant

ATHENS — A 90-year-old Athens man spent a night in jail, along with his two daughters, after allegedly using a tree stump to trap a woman inside of her home during a dispute, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

Frank Bundy and daughters Karen and Sandra Bundy, 61 and 63 respectively, were arrested and each charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass for using "a large tree stump" to trap a woman inside of her home last week, according to ABH.

“The stump created a dangerous situation for the victim and anyone who would have been inside," according to the Clarke County police report.

The incident arose from an ongoing dispute with the tenant, who was staying at a Lexington Heights home owned by the three Bundy daughters. The Bundys had previously tried to evict the tenant in February.

Last Monday, they allegedly dragged a large tree stump to the front of the home and then placed it against the front door. Police said they then chained a 20-foot log to the stump.

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Salem council looks to hike landlord fees

SALEM - A fee increase proposed for the annual housing occupancy license landlords must secure per unit had its first reading before Salem City Council Tuesday, with a public meeting on the topic set for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11.

The Rules & Ordinances Committee will host the public meeting in council chambers at city hall. The committee voted last week to recommend an increase to several fees associated with the housing occupancy license, including increasing the license itself from $15 per unit to $30 per unit.

Also proposed was an increase from $30 to $60 for nonpayment of the fee, an increase from $50 to $100 for the penalty for failing to allow an inspection and an increase from $100 to $200 for each subsequent violation.

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Paint maker shares slip after ruling on lead paint

Shares of paint makers slipped Tuesday after a California judge ordered three companies to pay $1.1 billion to 10 cities and counties in the state so that lead can be removed from millions of older homes.

Those companies are NL Industries Inc., The Sherwin-Williams Co. and ConAgra Grocery Products Co., a unit of packaged food maker ConAgra Foods Inc.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg found that those companies marketed paint they knew was harmful to children.  Full Story

Here's What Happens When Wall Street Builds A Rental Empire

Most rental houses in the U.S. are owned by individuals, or small, local businesses. Culpepper's landlord is part of a new breed: a Wall Street-backed investment company with billions of dollars at its disposal.

Over the past two years, Colony American and its two biggest competitors, Invitation Homes and American Homes 4 Rent, have spent more than $12 billion buying and renovating at least 75,000 homes in order to rent them out.

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Judge awards Rochester boy, family $525,000 for lead poisoning

Eight years ago, Joseph Yeomas was 2 years old, sitting on the front porch of his Rochester home and playing with his toys, when he ingested lead chips or breathed in its dust.

On Friday, a state Supreme Court Justice awarded the now-10-year-old Joseph $525,000 for the injuries he suffered in that rental home, a property that had been owned by Ibero American Action League, Inc. since the 1970s, according to the boy’s lawyer.


Sullivan Firm to Pay Settlement in EPA Case

Ritchie Enterprises Inc., a Sullivan, Mo., company doing business as PuroClean Emergency Restoration Services, has agreed to pay a

$30,000 civil penalty to settle allegations that it failed to use proper lead-safe work practices during the restoration of a home built in 1891 near New Haven, in violation of the Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule (RRP).

Federal lead-based paint regulations exempt emergency repair work in some cases, but Ritchie Enterprises continued working on the house long after the emergency had passed without complying with the RRP rule.

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Man swindled by Craigslist landlord

Edward Brown reported a theft by swindle Thursday after paying a man who claimed to be a landlord $600.

Brown and his girlfriend were trying to find a home together after she moved out of her apartment in Stadium Village on short notice.

Brown found a house on Craigslist and contacted the man who claimed to be the landlord, according to a Minneapolis police report. Brown said man was the only landlord who responded to his messages.

“He acted like it was his house,” Brown said, “We had nowhere to go.”

Brown sent the supposed landlord $600, and the suspect told him keys were on their way.

The next day, the man reassured Brown that the keys were coming but told him he needed an additional $600. Brown and his girlfriend then contacted police.

“It’s a common scam,” said Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer, and he’s seen similar cases in the past.