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Florida’s $159M Mansion Still Isn’t Done!

In 2014, Florida’s Le Palais Royal, a 60,000-square-foot mansion with 465 feet of oceanfront land, was listed for $139 million. At the time, it was the most expensive house in the United States.

Since then, the palace’s price has been raised to $159 million, but the estate’s claim to fame is no more. The lavish, French-inspired spread in Hillsboro Beach, not far from Fort Lauderdale, has been surpassed as the most expensive private residence in the country by several estates, including the recently sold Playboy mansion and an outrageous estate being built in Bel Air, CA, that’s purported to have an asking price of $500 million.

As a matter of fact, Le Palais Royal isn’t even the most expensive home in Southern Florida. That honor is currently held by an 82,000-square-foot mansion in the Boca Raton area, listed at $195 million.

When will Le Palais Royal be finished, and why is it taking so long?

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After fatal fire, landlord's act of kindness calls forth tears

MANCHESTER — The landlord of 198 Wilson St. — the apartment building where four people perished in an early morning fire Monday — quietly refunded the security deposit and June rent to surviving tenants, according to a non-profit agency that helps poor people find housing in the city.

One refund took place while a mom was speaking to a housing counselor at The Way Home, which helps low-income people with security deposits, according to Mary Sliney, director of the agency. She said the mom got a telephone call, stepped outside The Way Home’s Spruce Street headquarters and came back with $1,600, which represented her deposit and June rent.

Both the mom and the staff at The Way Home started crying, Sliney said. 

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Federal agency judge fines landlord $44,000 for refusing to rent to a disabled woman

An administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has slapped a landlord in Detroit Lakes, Minn., with $44,000 in fines for refusing to rent an apartment to a woman and her roommate because of their disabilities.

Property manager Deane Woodard originally agreed to rent a Detroit Lakes house to a woman and her roommate, but when they arrived to move in, he told them they could not rent the house because the owner “did not want a bipolar in the house.” Woodard violated the Fair Housing Act and was ordered to pay $27,000 to one of the women, along with a $16,000 civil penalty and $1,000 in other court sanctions.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of a dwelling on the basis of disability. Housing providers may not refuse to rent to people with disabilities.  Read More

Facebook page gives landlords a space to vent about disgusting tenants

A Facebook page created in Northwest Florida is giving landlords a voice when it comes to tenants that trash their property. It's called "disgusting renters".

Craig Morgan created the page. He first realized the power of Facebook two years ago when he created Escambia FL Break Ins page. It's a place for people to post about their property getting stolen. It quickly grew to almost 15,000 likes.

 

He got the same idea when his rental property was trashed by tenants. Morgan said the photos don't even do it justice.  He said, "It was horrible, bird feces, dog urine, dog feces. Trash left all over the floors, front porch. A refridgerator, every room was pretty much destroyed."  He was so frustrated, he started the Facebook page "Disgusting Renters". It gives landlords a platform to vent. Often, that's really all they can do. He said ,"You have to get in and clean it up and the expense on landlord to clean it up."  Read More

Bad Landlord? Apartment Complex Orders Tenants to Like Its Facebook Page

City Park Apartments presented tenants with a “Facebook Addendum” late last week that requires them to like the building on the popular social media site within five days or otherwise be considered in breach of their lease, KSL-TV reports.

The addendum, which was taped to residents’ doors, also reportedly includes a release that would allow the complex to post pictures of tenants and their visitors on their page — and a clause that prevents residents from posting anything negative about the community on any public forums or pages. 

The law firm representing City Park Apartments told Credit.com in an email that the complex, “as part of opening its pool and an anticipated pool party … desired to provide some protection to its residents and its owners from usage of photos on its Facebook page from all community events.”   Read More

Rentberry lets landlords auction off their rental properties to the highest bidder

Rental prices have already reached eye-watering, sky-high levels in many U.S. cities, most especially in and around technology hubs like San Francisco’s Bay area. But now a startup out of San Francisco could well help to drive up rental prices even further, because it lets potential tenants “bid” against each other to secure the best apartments in a city.

That startup is called Rentberry, and it bills itself as the “eBay for renting”. The service works a lot like eBay does too – users simply search for rental properties in the Rentberry app or on its website, and when they find one that fits the bill they simply make a bid on the property, signaling how much rent they’re willing to pay for it.

 

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Lake Worth man guilty of rent thefts, posing as landlord

LAKE WORTH — A 54-year-old Lake Worth man pled guilty Thursday for his role in a scheme in which a fake company illegally took possession of at least 80 rental homes and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from prospective tenants, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami said.

Miguel Tilus faces up to 20 years in prison and will pay restitution of more than $105,000. U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg will sentence him Aug. 11.
wo co-conspirators, Kesner Joaseus, 46, of Wellington, and Wadno Dorneau, 36, of West Palm Beach, are scheduled for trial Aug. 8.

According to court documents, the real estate company RHA 2 LLC owns and leases single-family homes in Palm Beach and Broward counties under the name HavenBrook Homes.


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Illegal Immigrants Sue After Landlord Demands Documentation For Housing

Four Latino families filed papers to sue their Virginia landlord Monday after he threatened eviction due to illegal family members living on the premises.

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Landlord To Pay $5,000 For Denying Apartment to Woman Who Sought to Pay with Rental Assistance

New Jersey acting Attorney General Robert Lougy and the Division on Civil Rights announced today that a Monmouth County landlord has agreed to pay a woman $5,000 to resolve allegations he refused to rent her an apartment once she indicated her intention to pay using federal Section 8 housing vouchers.
 
In addition to paying Shakisha Wallace $500 per month for 10 months, attorney Scott Kelly and his company, 374 Sairs Avenue LLC, will be subject under a settlement agreement to monitoring by the Division for two years to ensure compliance with fair housing laws.
 
Under the agreement, Kelly also must attend a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) class focused on the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). The CLE course must include a module on fair housing laws that is approved by the Division.

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Settlement reached with landlord over housing assistance

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — State prosecutors say they have reached a settlement with a New Jersey landlord who was accused of refusing to rent an apartment to a woman who wanted to pay with housing vouchers.

Under terms announced Tuesday, Scott Kelly and his company agreed to pay Shakisha Wallace $500 a month for 10 months and undergo monitoring for two years to ensure compliance with fair housing laws.

Kelly must also attend a class on fair housing and keep detailed records of all prospective tenants.

Wallace responded to an ad for an apartment to rent in Long Branch in 2012 and was told the landlord did not accept housing vouchers. Kelly told investigators he had a difficult experience with a previous tenant who paid with government assistance.  Source Document

Bad News for Landlords, Hoarding is Now Recognized as a Mental Disorder

So as I read the morning news I noticed a story about how on May 1, 2013 hoarding will become officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder. I’ve already read several stories about how it relates to the rental industry in terms of dealing with this newly protected class, and even I sat through last year’s presentation about hoarding at the NAA Education Conference in Boston.

The stories always address the situation with the tenant already living in the unit, but the one perspective I hadn’t given much thought to was how this newly protected class would impact the tenant screening process.

Obviously there is no hoarding database. At least not yet. But a renters housekeeping habits are certainly considered during the screening process and often asked about during a call to the current and previous landlord.

So is it discriminating against a protected class if you deny tenancy after the previous landlord tells you the tenant was a hoarder?

 

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Fla.'s Housing Market: Median Prices, New Listings Up in 1Q 2016

Florida's housing market reported more new listings, higher median prices and fewer days to a sales contract during the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 57,913 in 1Q 2016, slightly up (0.3 percent) over the 1Q 2015 figure.

"In the first three months of 2016, traditional housing sales rose in Florida while distressed property sales continued to decline – which underscores stability in the state's housing sector," said 2016 Florida Realtors® President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. "Another positive sign: New listings for single-family homes over the three-month-period rose 4.5 percent year-over-year, while new condo-townhouse listings rose 6.6 percent."

 

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Landlord Says Nearly 50,000 lbs of Trash Left in House by Former Tenant

SOUTHEAST PORTLAND, Ore. -- A landlord said Friday a former tenant left a house on Southeast 91st Avenue filled with nearly 50,000 pounds of trash.

And KATU made a shocking discovery about the ex-tenant's line of work.

Braheem Hazeem, the landlord and homeowner, and his friends are still pulling trash out of the house nearly two months after he says he discovered a tidal wave of garbage inside.

A  YouTube Video and still photos show what Hazeem says is an overwhelming mess.  

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Distressed sales decline in Florida

Distressed sales accounted for 17.5 percent of all home sales in Florida in February, according to real estate researcher CoreLogic.

That was the fourth-highest share of distressed sales in the country, and well above the 11.1 percent U.S. average.  But it was down from 22 percent over the year.

Distressed sales — short sales and properties owned by lenders — peaked nationwide at 32.4 percent in January 2009.  The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region reported a 19.1 percent share of distressed sales, third highest among the nation’s 25 largest metro areas.  Read More

Rents Rising Faster in SW Florida Than in Nation

Apartment rents grew in Southwest Florida faster than the national average in April, a new report by ApartmentList.com said.  The San Francisco-based apartment listing firm calculated the numbers using listings on its website, using same-unit comparisons.

The report isn't seasonally adjusted, but Andrew Woo, data scientist for the company, noted that balmy Southwest Florida is out of lockstep with most places in the nation in temperate climates, where rents tend to slow down in the winter and pick up in the spring and summer.

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Binghampton NY May Require Landlords to Order Background Reports

Binghamton City Council is weighing legislation that would require landlords, realtors and others who rent or sell property in the city to complete criminal background checks on prospective tenants and buyers.

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Note to Single-Family Rental Investors: Check These Markets

Investors who are looking to increase their footprint in the single-family rental (SFR) market should consider looking in one of the top 10 U.S. markets with the highest cap rate, according to data released by HomeUnion on Tuesday.
The cap rate on an SFR property is calculated by dividing the net annual income on a property (gross annual income minus operating expenses) by the home’s market value.

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Single-Family Built-for-Rent Market is on the Rise

The increased popularity of the single-family rental (SFR) market in the last two years has led to an increased number of SFR homes built for the expressed purpose of renting. The market for detached SFR homes built-for-rent is on the rise despite a falling market share in the last three years, according to Robert Dietz, Vice President for Tax and Market Analysis for NAHB.

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Florida, Louisiana Dominate Top 25 U.S. Markets for Rent Increases in 2015

According to a new report by RentRange, housing markets throughout the South region in Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee account for eight of the top ten increasing rental markets in the U.S. in 2015.

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EPA Inspection Reveals Violations of Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule by Home Renovation Company

Release Date: 02/04/2016
Contact Information: Angela Brees, 913-551-7940, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Lenexa, Kan., Feb. 4, 2016) - EPA Region 7 conducted a recordkeeping inspection in response to a tip and complaint regarding Home Pro in Joplin, Mo., that revealed violations of the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. As part of a settlement with EPA filed in Lenexa, Kan., the company has agreed to pay a $5,978 penalty to the United States.

Proposal would hold North Adams landlords liable for ignoring drug activity

NORTH ADAMS, MA — Landlords who turn a blind eye to drug activity on their properties could face sanctions from the city under a proposal introduced this week by Councilor Keith Bona.

The ordinance, which was referred to the council's public safety committee for review, would levy fines upon landlords who do not take immediate action to evict a tenant arrested for drug-related crimes.

"If they do know and don't care, a hefty fine and their name attached to the illegal activity of allowing it to continue may be the persuasion they need to remove those tenants," Bona wrote in a letter to the City Council.

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  7. Absentee Landlord Scammed When Someone Else Leased Homes
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  10. Fla. home sellers convicted of keeping sinkhole secret
  11. Foreclosure rate falls, turning south Florida into seller's market
  12. Suit Accuses Landlord of Discriminating Against Tenant With AIDS
  13. Opportunities Still Exist for Real Estate Investors Despite Foreclosure Inventory Decline
  14. Freddie Mac Offers Distressed Homeowners a Complete Guide to Foreclosures and Alternatives
  15. More than 1.5 Million ‘Boomerang Buyers’ Could Re-Enter Mortgage Market In Next Three Years
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