Landlord Charged with Housing Discrimination for “No Teenagers Please”

BY  ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it was charging a landlord in New Orleans with housing discrimination for publishing an advertisement that discriminated against families with children. The ad included language that stated “No Teenagers Please.”  Below is HUD’s complete release, reprinted here as a reminder to landlords about the importance of the Fair Housing Act:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging a New Orleans landlord with housing discrimination for publishing an advertisement that discriminated against families with children. The ad, which was brought to HUD’s attention by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, included language that stated, “No Teenagers Please.” Read HUD’s charge.

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to deny or limit housing because a family has children under the age of 18 and to make statements that discriminate against families with children. This includes publishing print, broadcast or internet advertisements that indicate a preference or otherwise discriminate against families with children. Housing may exclude children only if it meets the Fair Housing Act’s exemption for housing for older persons.

“Landlords do not have the right to deny a family a place to live just because they have children,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s enforcement action reaffirms HUD’s commitment to ensuring that housing providers meet their obligation to treat all applicants for housing the same, including families with children.”

“Discrimination against families with children – no matter the age – violates the law and limits the housing opportunities of those families,” said J. Paul Compton, HUD’s General Counsel. “HUD will continue to take action to protect the rights of families.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agency, filed a complaint based on fair housing tests it conducted after seeing an ad on Craigslist that prohibited teenagers. When testers contacted the owner to inquire about the unit, the owner said, “I don’t want any children. I don’t want teenaged children.”

HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the complainant for harm caused by the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose fines to vindicate the public interest. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages.

April 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. In commemoration, HUD, local communities, housing advocates, and fair housing organizations across the country have coordinated a variety of activities to enhance awareness of fair housing rights, highlight HUD’s fair housing enforcement efforts, and end housing discrimination in the nation. For a list of planned activities, log onto www.hud.gov/fairhousingis50.

Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).

Add your reaction Share

The Corporate Tax Cut Is Paying for Itself

BY  ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

Steve Moore of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity said “Trump economist Kevin Hassett was right — “Thanks to the booming economy, Trump’s tax cuts are well on the way to paying for themselves. The Laffer Curve is at work!”  Below is his latest Wall Street Journal piece debunking the liberal myth that the Tax Cut and Jobs Act is blowing up the deficit.  The following commentary.  It appeared in the Wall Street Journal on 9/19/18.

The Corporate Tax Cut Is Paying for Itself
Faster-than-expected growth has produced a revenue windfall.

Kevin Hassett, chairman of President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, caused a brouhaha by claiming last week that the corporate tax cut enacted last year has “about paid for itself.” I told Bloomberg it is a little premature to say that, and critics have asserted that even a Trump economic adviser disagrees with Mr. Hassett. But I’ve looked more closely at the numbers, and it turns out he is almost entirely right.

Compare the August 2018 economic forecast from the Congressional Budget Office with the one from June 2017, before the tax cuts passed, and we discover some very good news. The much higher than expected economic growth in the wake of the Trump tax cut means that U.S. gross domestic product will be higher than expected every year over the next decade.

Even if we assume a reversion to the pre-Trump 1.9% growth path, the ratchet up in GDP this year translates into $179 billion in unexpected output this year, $465 billion next year, $654 billion in 2020, and so on. This magic of compounding yields more than $6 trillion additional GDP over the decade thanks to the faster growth already achieved.

The federal government is expected to capture a bit more than 18% of that extra output in tax revenue—about $1.1 trillion over the 10-year window. That’s well above the $400 billion to $500 billion expected revenue loss from the corporate tax-rate cut.

Corporate tax revenues are down this year, but receipts from nearly every other tax source are rising at the federal and state levels. The higher growth this year alone will give states and cities almost $20 billion in windfall revenue. No surprise then that many states are reporting “unexpected” gains in tax collections this year and will have budget surpluses.

Perversely, because the economy is bigger now than expected, the CBO has revised upward its estimated “cost” of the tax cut. Because of lower tax rates, the government will get a smaller share of the larger-than-projected economy—even though the tax cut encouraged the faster growth.

One can argue about how much of the boom is a result of the corporate tax cut. My view is that the small-business tax cuts also have helped, as have deregulation and pro-energy-production policies.

The results we are seeing are perfectly consistent with the original game plan. We always believed that creating jobs and elevating growth from 2% to 3% or 4% should be the major focus of the economic revitalization strategy. Faster growth would make every other national problem—poverty, stagnant wages, funding Social Security, even drug abuse—easier to solve. Certainly the national debt is less frightening with $6 trillion more GDP.

This is the growth dividend we all hoped for when designing the tax cut. Although it is still early in the game, so far things are going even better than we expected.

Copyright © *2018* *Committee To Unleash Prosperity*, All rights reserved.

Add your reaction Share

Most Expensive ZIP Codes for Rent

BY  ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

Where are America’s most expensive ZIP codes for rentals?  Examining this data can reveal a lot about a town or community.  To that end, RentCafe recently compared average apartment rents for all ZIP codes in 130 major U.S. markets using data from the Yardi Matrix.  Ok…but, here’s where it gets interesting;  their research shows that of the top 50 ZIP codes with the highest rent, 26 of them are in New York City’s Manhattan!  Go figure?  However, if you go through their findings it does yield some surprises and offers up some good data…..New York being the exception to the rule.

Add your reaction Share

Adjusted for Inflation, Home Prices are 4% Less than in 2007

BY  ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

This one puts everything into perspective;  A recent “chart of the week” from the Mortgage Bankers Association illustrates how home prices, when adjusted for inflation using the CPI, are still nearly 4% below the second quarter of 2007.  The chart also shows the quarterly average for the NAR’s months supply of existing homes for sale, which is a measure of inventory that accounts for both the pace of sales and the number of homes for sale on that market.

“…we are now starting to see signs of deceleration in home prices, as data for the second quarter of 2018 shows that home prices increased at a rate of 6.5 percent over the year, compared to a 7.3 percent increase in the first quarter…”

 

Add your reaction Share

87% of Homebuyers in Detroit Paid Cash

BY  ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

We all know that when it comes to making purchases, cash is king.  However, when it comes to buying homes, more often than not, there is a loan involved.  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (reposted on Realtor.com) says that in the city of Detroit the vast majority of buyers are paying in cash – even with rising home prices.  In the first six months of 2018, 87% of all single-family home & condominium buyers paid cash compared with 28% paying cash nationwide.  That being said, the median price of a home in the Detroit was just just over $32k.  But also:

“People looking to buy those renovated homes—often affluent young professionals or emptynesters—may also face challenges in getting a mortgage because those properties are difficult to appraise. Lenders have trouble determining the value of a newly renovated home in a neighborhood otherwise filled with distressed properties because there are few comparable sales to benchmark against.”

Add your reaction Share

Best Places to Live in America?

BY  ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

Where are the best places to live in America?  That’s surely a loaded question and one that Realtor.com recently put to the test for the 2nd year in a row.  They teamed up with Money magazine and looked at over 135k data points at places with populations greater than 50k.  They looked at items that included the overall economic health,  public schools, local amenities, housing, and the cost of living.

“For someone who’s starting from scratch, this is a list of areas with great quality of life, healthy housing markets where affordability is important, and great overall community,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist.

The top 10 Best Places are:

  1. Frisco, TX
  2. Ashburn, VA
  3. Carmel, IN
  4. Ellicott City, MD
  5. Cary, NC
  6. Franklin, TN
  7. Dublin, CA
  8. Highland Ranch, CO
  9. Sammamish, WA
  10. Woodbury, MN

 

Add your reaction Share

Yardi Says Multifamily Rents Keep Climbing

BY  ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

According to the latest Yardi Matrix, U.S. multifamily rents rose $2 in August to $1,412 – which they report is yet another all-time high, having now risen 7 months in a row.  Year-over-year in July, rents were up 3.1%.  Yardi says the sector’s performance is highlighted by rising occupancy rates in the face of robust supply growth.

“The multifamily market, however, shows no signs of nearing the end of its cycle. While it might be overstating the case to say that the sector is picking up steam, August rent data indicates that deceleration no longer seems to be an accurate term for the state of the market.”

Add your reaction Share

Data Shows Migration to Low-Tax Metros is Accelerating

BY  ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

We have seen this before...Not only do people vote with their wallets but also their feet.  Now, a new report from Redfin details how low-tax states are attracting residents from high-tax states.  Redfin says the trend of people leaving high-tax states for low-tax ones has been underway since 2010 and is accelerating. Interestingly, they report that taxes are three-times lower in the top-10 migration destinations than in the 10 places people are most commonly leaving.  Well, go figure…..

“With home prices reaching new heights in many metro areas, it’s no surprise people are continuing to move away from expensive metros in search of homeownership,” said Taylor Marr, Redfin senior economist. “Last year’s tax reform poured fuel on the fire. By capping mortgage interest and state and local tax deductions, there is an even greater incentive for homebuyers to consider moving to a lower-tax state.”

Add your reaction Share

Chimney Anatomy

With one more week of Summer before us it’s time to start thinking about Fall maintenance.  With that being said there is one important element of a house that often gets overlooked and can cause a lot of financial hardship if not properly maintained…your chimney.  But what exactly are these things and how do they work?  Today’s infographic from brickrestoration.com gives us a brief overview of these smoke-removing marvels….Happy Friday!!!

Hat tip to brickrestoration.com.

Add your reaction Share

Mobile Home Investing

 Are mobile homes the solution to affordable housing?  We have had several posts about these time-tested abodes and recently came across this short piece in the Knowledge Base of the Rental Property Owners Association, a chapter of National REIA located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Mobile Home Investing

Real estate investing is a broad term that most people associate with “buy and hold” of either single-family or multi-family residences, commercial office spaces, or rehabbing units or houses to sell. While these are great strategies for investing, they are the traditional methods and are highly competitive. The real estate market ebbs and flows, requiring investors to adjust to each season and be creative in some seasons more than others to remain profitable. One of the best kept secrets that lends itself to the more creative side of real estate investing is that of mobile home park investing. To the investors unfamiliar with this niche, it may sound like an unwise investment; however, the benefits of mobile home park investing are sizable enough to draw more attention and investigation when pursuing your next investment.

Three different types of mobile home ownership exist:

  1. The investor owns the entire mobile home park, which includes the lots underneath the individual homes and the land surrounding the lots such as the streets, utility systems, club houses, swimming pools and other amenities. In this form of ownership, the tenant owns their home and pays only for the right to occupy the land (i.e. lot rent) where their home is located plus the use of the facilities.
  2. The investor owns not only the land but also the actual homes. In this scenario, the tenant is paying for both the use of the land in addition to renting the home, which is like renting an apartment unit within a multi-family residence.
  3. The investor owns the mobile home, only, not the land underneath it. In this scenario, the tenant is renting the home like any single-family residence, but the investor must also pay the lot rent to the mobile home park itself. However, this option is not always feasible since not all parks allow for non-owner occupied mobile homes.

While the first type of ownership is generally not an easy strategy for a new landlord to manage, it’s a great goal to own a mobile home park one day. They generally need to be purchased with cash (e.g. private money or some degree of creative purchase terms to control the property) as many mobile homes do not meet lending requirements. Despite these hurdles, many benefits exist in owning and operating a mobile home park, and below we’ll focus on four of them.

First, investing in mobile home parks allows the investor to acquire more units for less money than one would in acquiring large multi-family properties or single-family homes. Furthermore, the investment is generally only for the land, not the homes themselves.

Second, costs are generally lower when managing the entire park as opposed to being a landlord of single-family residences. Since the investor owns the land and not the homes, the investor is responsible for the expenses involved in the upkeep of the park, whereas the mobile homeowner is responsible for the upkeep of the homes. Also, turnover is less common since the tenant owns his or her home and the cost to move a home is significant.

Third, the demand for mobile homeownership is increasing. Home prices continue to climb to historic levels and baby boomers on fixed incomes are retiring, which increases the need for affordable housing as their incomes are not increasing at the same rate. Also, many families living in mobile home parks see them as a better alternative to low rent apartment living.

Finally, mobile home park investing has limited competition from new mobile home park developments because of the significant barriers to enter the business, including obtaining proper zoning and acquiring the necessary permits and licenses. It also takes longer for mobile home developers to generate cash flow since they need a substantial amount of homes on the lots to pay the rent, which deters many investors from entering this niche of the industry. Additionally, as this type of real estate investing is a niche, one does not compete with new investors, homeowners, and institutional investors looking for the traditional real estate investments.

If you are interested in pursuing an investment in a mobile home park, it’s important to ensure you have established a strong team and systems to be successful and profitable. Furthermore, make sure you can obtain accurate data accounting for the park’s income and expenses. Some of the best investments are purchasing those businesses that are operated inefficiently so you can make the necessary updates to increase income and decrease expenses. However, these parks may not have very good accounting records, so as with any investment, make sure you can get a good return.

The second and third types of ownership are different as they require the investor to own the mobile home itself. Owning the mobile home itself, whether or not one owns the park as well, puts one in a similar situation to a traditional landlord with a different type of residence. As a result, differences will result in both the pros and cons of being a landlord of these properties.

First, generally the cost to own a mobile home is significantly lower than owning a single-family residence; however, rental income can be comparable. Therefore, your income in comparison to the cost to own the property is often much higher than a single-family residence. While you will have to consider the amount of lot rent to be paid to the park as a fixed expense, the income generated is often sufficient to cover these expenses and provide a healthy return.

Second, in instances where the tenant does not have ownership of the mobile home, you will likely be dealing with tenant turnover on an annual or biennial basis, similarly as you would with a single-family residence rental property. Consider these costs in your rate of return calculation.

Third, when it comes to making repairs on the home, you will want to ensure you retain a contractor familiar with mobile homes as damages and repairs to mobile homes are unique. A contractor unfamiliar with mobile homes may not know common issues or how to most efficiently and effectively make the necessary repairs or upgrades.

Finally, the value of a mobile home rarely increases. While they regularly function well for many years, you often won’t be able to sell the home for more than what you bought it for as the market value of single-family or multi-family residences does not translate to mobile homes. The value of the home is largely based on the year the home was built and its condition, including any upgrades that have been done.

Entering the mobile home niche market is more affordable when purchasing one home at a time as opposed to the entire park, and as mentioned, it has some unique facets when comparing them to owning a single-family residence. All three strategies of getting involved in the mobile home industry provide a unique and unusual way to invest in real estate, but as with other methods, it is profitable if you design it the right way. Investing creatively can be risky, but can also prove to be very rewarding.

Click here to read the article on the RPOA’s website.

Add your reaction Share