Eminent Domain Power Abused

Written by jordan on . Posted in Blog

—“A Case of Condemn First, Decide What to Do with the Property Later”

By David S.White, Esq., of Fainsbert Mase & Snyder, LLP

A recent case graphically illustrates that, if a City wants to take your real property by use of its Eminent Domain power, the City had better be honest about what public purpose makes taking away your private property so necessary and what the City actually plans to do with your property: City of Stockton v. Marina Towers, LLC, et al., an opinion of the California Appellate Court for the Third District (San Joaquin), filed Feb. 13, 2009.  For our purposes, Eminent Domain and Condemnation are one and the same thing – the power of a city (or other governmental entity) to take private property for public use upon payment of just compensation to the private land owner, sometimes also called a “Taking,” for reasons we will explain.

Calming “Tenamonsters” and Other High-Maintenance Tenants

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By Kate Zabriskie

It’s been over twenty years since Madonna first sang about being a “material girl in a material world,” and since that time, women and men throughout the nation have become more demanding of businesses and what they expect in terms of service.  One might argue that this age of the high-maintenance tenant is simply due to businesses’ inability to get qualified help, and in some cases this is true.  However, the facts are that product and service customization, competition, and “the tenant is always right” have helped create more than a few high-maintenance “tenamonsters” that over time, may be more work than they are worth to your business.

To endure demanding tenants and give your employees the tools they need to successfully manage that audience, there are several actions you should take when planning your service strategy and tactics.

Apartment Security: A Reminder

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by  Chris E. McGoey, CPP, CSP, CAM

the Crime Doctor™

I just finished inspecting a one-bedroom apartment unit, for a friend, on a twenty-year old upscale property in Phoenix.  This property is managed by one of the largest property managers in the country.   I was surprised by what I found.

Because of the premium rent, I expected to find the property in compliance with all the minimum recommended security features. I  expected the property to have been certified by the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program. I was wrong.

On my recommendation, the new resident selected a highly visible second floor unit, in view of the office, because it would be inherently safer for a single woman living alone.  I inspected the door locks and found only one in place.   It was a tired-looking and worn deadbolt lock that had been switched from another unit. I thought a new resident surely deserves a newly keyed lock, especially if it’s the only one on the door?  To make matters worse, the old lock had paint splashed on it making it easily distinguishable to the former users.   No one could say for certain how many times this lock had been rotated between units and how many keys were out there.

Multifamily Closings Include Distressed Debt

Written by jordan on . Posted in Blog

Taken from Globe Street

By Bob Howard

LOS ANGELES-One apartment investment group has acquired 26 units via a distressed debt deal, another averted the risk of taking out new debt by assuming a Freddie Mac loan and a third engineered a last-minute lender switch as a spate of multifamily closings reflect the changes in the apartment investment market of late. The properties that sold included a 26-unit complex at 920 N. Wilcox in Hollywood, a 40-unit property in Hollywood and two in Valley Glen, including the one that involved the last-minute lender switch.

The distressed debt deal was executed by Lion Real Estate Group, a privately held real estate investment firm that was formed in early 2008 to focus on value-add and opportunistic multifamily properties in Los Angeles. It completed an all-cash acquisition of two loans on the property at 920 N. Wilcox in an off-market deal.

Lion bought the senior and junior loans on the property for slightly more than $4 million, representing just over half of the original purchase price of $7.25 million when the complex last sold in 2007. The complex comprises 26 non-rent controlled units, including one studio and 25 two bedroom/ two bathroom units.

Click here to read the full article

Collecting Debts From Former Tenants

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The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

By Richard Paul Ormond

Many landlords and management companies are losing thousands of dollars due to their failure to establish a sound debt collection policy.

It is not uncommon for a landlord to find himself or herself in a dispute over a bill with a former tenant. This is especially common when the landlord claims that the damage to the property rented exceeds the amount of the tenant’s security deposit or when a lease is terminated prematurely by a tenant, triggering a cancellation fee in the lease agreement.

In 1977, Congress passed a law known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “Act”) to protect consumers from overzealous bill collectors. Serious debate exists as to whether the Act does too much or too little to protect consumers from questionable collection practices.

Release of Commercial Property Management

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Hello everybody,

Apartment News Publications is pleased to announce the release of Commercial Property Management.

We are happy that this month we released the premier issue of Commercial Property. The February/March issue can be found at www.cpmmags.com. In the future, we will have specific and relevant content for the commercial property owner/manager. We hope that both our magazines will benefit their respective industries, and that we will help owners/managers efficiently manage their property.

If you are interested in receiving the magazine, email me at js@cpmmags.com. If you are looking to advertise give us a call at (714) 893-3971, or email us at advertising@cpmmags.com.

Stay posted to our website, as we will be back blogging and dishing out more good information.

Don’t Let a Disaster Burn You Out

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By Eric Paulos

Between November 13 and November 19, three large Southern California wildfires burnt over 40,000 acres, destroyed nearly 1,100 structures including ten apartment buildings, and caused the evacuation of 50,000 people. The fires were fueled by hot weather and high wind conditions.

Imagine if you were listening to the news about these wildfires and owned a building near one of the danger zones. Convincing yourself that your building is out of harm’s way, you retire to sleep but are awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call, your first red flag. A tenant informs you that they were forced to evacuate the building due to the approaching fire. After several more phone calls from displaced tenants, you get in your car to try to drive to the property, but the area has been closed off. Frustrated, you listen to news reports on the radio and then tune in to the network news, hearing about the sweeping fire damage in your building’s location after the winds switched directions. You make a call to the fire department that confirms your worst fears. You are living your worst case scenario. Your apartment building has been completely gutted by fire. Your tenants have scattered and there’s no way your property will be rebuilt anytime soon.

Apartment News Updates

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The Holidays are fast approaching and we are very excited for them. In preparation for the Holiday season we would like to let you know that our offices will be closed from December 24th to January 5th. If it is emergency, you can contact me at js@aptmags.com where I will be at your service to help you as I can.

We are also excited to let you know of our upcoming magazine release. FEBRUARY 2009 we will be publishing Commercial Property Management Magazines. We will be entering the Western Los Angeles region, and reaching thousands of commercial property owners/managers will relevant and timely information about the successful running of commercial property and industry benchmarks and future.

If you are interested in receiving this magazine, or advertising, make sure you email me at js@aptmags.com; or give us a call at (714) 893-3971 to talk to us about your inquiries.

We here at Apartment News Publications, Inc. wish you an amazing Thanksgiving!

No More Urban Hype

Written by jordan on . Posted in Blog

Joel Kotkin

Taken from Forbes.com

LOS ANGELES – Just months ago, urban revivalists could see the rosy dawn of a new era for America’s cities. With rising gas prices and soaring foreclosures hitting the long-despised hinterland, urban boosters and their media claque were proclaiming suburbia home to, as the Atlantic put it, “the next slums.” Time magazine, the Financial Times, CNN and, of course, The New York Times all embraced the notion of a new urban epoch.

Yet in one of those ironies that markets play on hypesters, the mortgage crisis is now puncturing the urbanists’ bubble. The mortgage meltdown that first singed the suburbs and exurbs, after all, was
largely financed by Wall Street, the hedge funds, the investment banks, insurers and the rest of the highly city-centric top of the paper food chain.

So, now we can expect some of the biggest layoffs and drops in income next to be found in the once high-flying urban cores. In New York alone, Wall Street has shed over 25,000 jobs–and the region could shed a total of 165,000 over the next two years.

Not surprisingly, the property crisis once seen as the problem of the silly, aspiring working class and the McMansion nouveaus has now spread deep into the bailiwick of the urban sophisticates. For the first time in years, many Manhattan apartments are selling for well below purchase price, something unheard of during the boom. In Brooklyn, a 24% drop in sales over the last three months even has boosters talking of an imminent “Brownstone bust.”

Even San Francisco–arguably the most recession-resistant big city due to its large concentration of nonprofits and “trustifarians”–is seeing prices drop for the first time in years. Far more vulnerable are fledgling neo-urban markets like Los Angeles, Atlanta, Oakland, Calif., San Diego, Memphis, Tenn., Miami and Dallas. Sales are down in most of these markets, as are prices.

Signs of the times: desperate developers offering goodies to buyers. One downtown Los Angeles property owner has even offered to buy a Mini Cooper for anyone bold enough to buy a loft. Others, in Oakland, Boston and Atlanta, are resorting to auctions to offload their product. Foreclosures have taken place in several other markets, including Charlotte, N.C., and Philadelphia.

CLICK HERE to read the full article

Seven Ways to Dominate in a Recession (Part 2)

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Don’t Just Survive … Dominate in a Recession
©John L. Mariotti 2008

Here is the last 4 ways to beat your competitors in a recession:

4. EXPENSES: Quit spending! Cut all but truly essential expenses, but don’t cut spending on new products and marketing; those are your future. Get rid of ALL the nice-but-not-necessary things – temps, contract services, memberships, dues, subscriptions, high-priced travel, conventions, parties, FedEx, premium flights, expensive limos, hotels, and meals out – at the company’s expense.

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