Expand the L.A. City Council?

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Jack Humphreville, L.A. Watchdog for CityWatch

The Los Angeles Times recommended that the City Council be enlarged to 31 members, an increase from the current level of 15 elected representatives.  This follows the Redistricting Commission’s suggestion to create 22 Council Districts.   

By increasing the size of the City Council, Angelenos will have more responsive elected officials because the number of constituents for each district would shrink from 260,000 to 126,000 residents. More council districts will also mean less gerrymandering and allow the districts to better accommodate the “diverse geographic, demographic and social landscapes” of our City’s 3.9 million residents, its 99 neighborhood councils, and 114 distinct neighborhoods that are spread over 460 square miles. 

The Top-5 Scams That Property Owners Fall For

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By Matt DiBara, DiBara Masonry

For many, a house is the largest investment one will make in a lifetime. With so much at stake, the home improvement, contracting, and home insurance industry is rife with deception. Homeowners need to be savvy and stay alert to people out to scam them out of their hard-earned money and out to put their stature as homeowners in jeopardy. Here are five of the top scams that homeowners fall for time and again.

  • Insurance Related Scams

Wading through the murky waters of insurance can be a daunting task for any property owner not up on insurance terminology or insurance law. Unscrupulous contractors like to take advantage of people’s unfamiliarity with all of the “ins and outs” of insurance claims. Scammers usually prowl neighborhoods following damaging storms, promising cheap fixes with low-ball bids. They typically try to “weasel” up-front payments out of a property owner, or at least large down payments. These scammers will try to steer you away from filing legitimate homeowner insurance claims and then skip town with your cash. If they do any work, it’s typically substandard. If a scam contractor completes work on storm damage before a legitimate insurance adjuster can inspect the damage, your claim will likely be denied, and you’ll be stuck footing the bill to repair the shoddy work.

If Housing is a Human Right…

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By John Mirisch

(Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of its author and do not necessarily and in any way, in whole or in part, reflect the official policies or positions of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.  The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and Apartment Age Magazine welcome differing views in order to encourage healthy debate on important topics.)

If housing is a human right, then it should no more be the vehicle for profiteering than other basic utilities of human existence such as the supply of water, education, or life-saving medicine. If housing is a human right, then profiteering off housing is not only bad policy, its also immoral.  Among numerous groups in California and elsewhere, there is much talk about a “housing crisis.” Yet this talk is misleading, and if self-styled “housing advocates” want to invoke any crisis, they should more properly be discussing an “affordable housing crisis.”

History IS Repeating Itself – Problem or Opportunity?

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By David Aaronson, Founder, Refuel Electric Vehicle Solutions (REVS)

As our society adopts to Electric Vehicles (EV), the overriding issue is “how will the EV be refueled?”  Most studies say that the one prohibiting factor in the movement toward EV acceptance is the lack of convenient places to refuel the vehicle.  It is not a coincidence that history is repeating itself.  When the gas automobile was coming of age, the overriding issue was how to refuel.  Today, there are gas stations on every corner providing the infrastructure for gas powered vehicles. 

The movement towards EVs is “for certain.”  Nearly every major automobile manufacturer is designing EV’s. In addition, there are dozens or new car manufactures rushing their offerings to market.  In fact, there are over 100 new EV’s scheduled to be offered by 2025, only 4 years from now.  Also, major automobile manufacturers, such as General Motors, has said that by 2035, they will only manufacture EV’s.  To me, the only question is one of timing.  Whether it’s 2035 or 2037 is really not relevant, it is going to happen!

Dear Maintenance Men:

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By Jerry L’Ecuyer & Frank Alvarez

Dear Maintenance Men:
Our rental has a non-standard size sliding glass door that we’d like to replace.   We’d like to get a whole new door and track.  How easy is that? We have siding on the house.  What should we expect in the way of wall damage or ability to get a larger standard door frame into the space?  I’m handy; is this a DIY job or should I have a professional complete the installation?

Dear David:
Replacing a sliding glass door and frame as a DIY job is not for the faint of heart!  It is not really that difficult as it is unwieldy and the doors are large and heavy.  You state the door is a non-standard size; this might be a good time to standardize your glass door.  Start by removing the door, bottom track and frame.  This will expose the rough opening in your door way.  Measure the rough opening for a standard sliding door of your choice.  It is sometimes easier to enlarge the rough opening to accommodate the new door.  The reason for a larger opening is because you will not need to find or install new outside siding or stucco nor patch the inside drywall.   “Rough opening” refers to the dimensions inside the trimmer studs and between the floor and the bottom header. This opening will be slightly larger than the patio doorframe. The extra space allows a little fudge room for squaring the frame with shims.  If you decide to have a contractor install the new sliding door, have the installer explain in detail what the job will entail, what the finish will look like and how long the job will take.  Make sure they are set up for dust control as a job like this can cause a considerable amount of dust during the construction if the opening is enlarged.

Do progressives support gentrification?

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Support is growing for the idea that parents can help their families climb the economic ladder by building generational wealth through property ownership. Surprisingly, this support has even been spotted in the opinion pages of the Los Angeles Times.

It’s surprising because the Times has previously taken a highly negative view of families being able to pass along intergenerational wealth in the form of real property. In a lengthy 2018 article about the effect of a voter-approved measure that allowed parents to transfer property to their kids without reassessment and a tax increase, Times reporter Liam Dillon focused almost exclusively on how the measure had benefited some very wealthy families. In particular, he objected to actors Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges renting the Malibu home they inherited from their father, actor Lloyd Bridges.

Why DST 1031 Exchanges Are Growing In Popularity for Thousands of Multifamily Investors

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By Dwight Kay, Founder, Kay Properties & Investments LLC

A 1031 exchange is considered by many to be one of the most effective tax deferral tools available.  Under IRS Code Section 1031, investment real estate owners are able to defer the capital gains tax on the sale of appreciated investment property if they reinvest in “like-kind” property. Real estate held for business or investment purposes can qualify as “like-kind” property, including the following:

  • Single-Family Rentals
  • Apartment Complexes
  • Office Buildings
  • Self-Storage Facilities
  • Industrial Buildings
  • Triple Net (NNN) Leased Properties
  • Other Types of Commercial Properties

This offers a fantastic tool that many real estate investors have employed for 100 years. It is used for $100,000 transactions and it is used for $100,000,000+ transactions – and everything in between. Now…although you may have heard of a 1031 Exchange, a surprising number of professionals – including investors, Certified Public Accountants, real estate brokers, and attorneys – do not know about the use of a Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) to complete a 1031 exchange.

Back to Normalcy…But, What’s Normal?

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Happy holidays to one and all!  As we round the corner on what has literally been for some and perhaps many of us, more than 20 months of hell and financial turmoil, we can somehow see light at the end of the tunnel as the last of the Eviction Moratorium Mohicans sunset and we can now hopefully look forward to some sort of normalcy if that’s what you want to call it.

As the New Year dawns, we can all lift our heads up and view the horizon in hope that with the New Year, a new, better day will be cast upon those of us still toiling in the multifamily rental housing industry.  Honestly, when you think about it, how much worse could “things” ever possibly get after the past couple of years we have just endured?  It is nearly impossible to know, but somehow, I fear that just one bad flu outbreak or bad fire season or, G-d forbid, a major seismic event, and we’re back in mandated mask wearing mode again, and possibly even worse, local, and state government may breakout the regulatory shackles once again, and there we are under eviction moratoriums and rent increase freezes, and who knows what else our renter pandering elected officials might conceive.  Yes, welcome to the Twilight Zone…we may just be living in a broken record.  Let’s just hope we can tolerate the music a bit longer.

Why Having a Spend Management Strategy Benefits Your Team

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By Rae Parker

It’s no secret that maintaining and upgrading your properties can be a labor intensive, stressful, and costly process. Proper maintenance means regularly incurring hard costs, including people, time, and materials. But it can be difficult for your team to accurately anticipate these costs and take the steps needed to streamline where possible. And as all property owners and operators alike know, maintenance expenses can prove to be the most difficult to control. That’s why it’s important to implement a spend management strategy for the sake of your staff and your bottomline. 

Think of your spend management strategy as a safety net 

A safety net is defined as a safeguard against possible hardship or adversity. A spend management strategy acts in the same function for your business to help minimize errors, spot savings opportunities, eliminate out of compliant spending, and ensure policy compliance. This strategy can consist of something small, like having a list of approved suppliers or items for your team to purchase from, or more of a robust program, like property management software with features that allow you to manage your spend management process digitally. 

Getting a Head Start on Budget Season: Property Inspections, Maintenance and Project Bidding for Commercial Properties

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The kids are back in school and fall is around the corner . . . which means the commercial property budget season is officially upon us.

Preparing a solid operating budget for your commercial properties is a critical part of successful operations. Well-planned budgets allow property managers to assess controllable operating expenses and analyze revenues while working to increase their properties’ NOI, keep tenants happy and attract new ones.

While there are many components to preparing a good commercial property budget, in this blog we’re going to share a few helpful tips to prepare for the budgeting process, including property inspections, tenant surveys, ownership discussions, and creating RFPs for bidding on both standard maintenance projects and capital expenses. These pre-budget activities will support your strategic and financial plans so they make sense in the context of the bigger picture of NOI and asset value.

Here are four helpful activities that may better prepare you for budget season and assist in successful property operations.