The Government Has a Plan To Help Out Renters—Will It Be Enough?

The Government Has a Plan To Help Out Renters—Will It Be Enough?

The coronavirus pandemic, and resulting financial crisis, stock market crash, and growing number of layoffs, could make the already serious housing shortage even more severe.

Amid widespread fear and unprecedented measures, including social distancing and “shelter in place” procedures in especially hard-hit cities, nearly 28% of Realtors® are seeing fewer homes on the market as a result of the coronavirus, according to the most recent National Association of Realtors® Flash Survey: Economic Pulse report. And the inventory shortage is growing by the minute as only 10% of Realtors observed fewer listings the week before.

More than 3,000 Realtors participated in the survey conducted on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

“If sellers remove their home from the market, it will continue to plague the historically low inventory conditions that face the country,” says Jessica Lautz, vice president of research at NAR.

Many homeowners are practicing social distancing by taking the “For Sale” signs off their front yards as fears of an economic downturn and having potentially infected strangers tramping through their properties mount. But with the nation already experiencing a lack of inventory, this is likely to make the problem even worse as demand outstrips supply.

About 16% of Realtors saw sellers take their homes off the market due to the coronavirus—compared with only 3% a week earlier, according to the survey.

Sellers who don’t pull their listings are being careful.

Roughly 40% of Realtors are now reporting open houses have been stopped. Twenty-seven percent have seen buyers required to use hand sanitizer when entering a property, while 6% observed buyers being required to use gloves.

“Sellers are ensuring the health and safety of their families and Realtors,” says Lautz.

The fear of the virus and what could be a looming recession isn’t just confined to sellers. Nearly half of Realtors, 48%, say buyer interest has dropped because of the coronavirus fears. That’s a significant hike from 16% the previous week.

In areas with more confirmed cases of COV-19, 53% of Realtors said interest had waned, the survey found.

That’s likely because many potential buyers are worried about the security of their jobs. Some don’t want to make what could be the largest purchase of their lives and be tied to 30 years of loan payments if they don’t have steady income coming in.

About 28% of Realtors reported buyers lost confidence in the housing market after the stock market crash. But ultralow mortgage rates, which reduce monthly mortgage payments, are helping to offset the financial fears. Another 28% of Realtors said the low mortgage rates excited buyers more than all of the bad economic news.

“Buyer activity has slowed currently while buyers are listening to precautions of how to stay healthy,” says Lautz. But she’s optimistic that buyers will return to the market once the crisis has passed.

“Buyer activity will rebound after the quarantine is lifted, as buyers will be attracted to low interest rates,” she explains.

Clare Trapasso is the senior news editor of realtor.com and an adjunct journalism professor at St. John’s University. She previously wrote for a Financial Times publication, the New York Daily News, and the Associated Press. She is also a licensed real estate agent with R New York. Contact her at clare.trapasso@realtor.com.

By Clare Trapasso | Mar 19, 2020

I read this article HERE 

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What Is Normal Wear and Tear?

What Is Normal Wear and Tear?

 

Ripped or torn carpeting, gaping holes in the walls, doors hanging off the hinges — when a tenant moves out, some damage goes above and beyond the usual. But as most landlords know, these things are rarely straightforward.

BY KEVIN ORTNER

 

What do you do about scuff marks on the hardwood flooring? Or nail holes from hanging pictures? What about dirty appliances? Can you charge a tenant to bring the property back into the same condition it was in before they moved in?

Of course, tenants want their security deposit back in full, but as a landlord, you must retain the deposit to apply toward any damage that the tenant is responsible for. When it comes to assessing what issues were caused by normal use and which problems are more excessive, it can get complicated.

When a tenant moves out, it’s up to the landlord to process their security deposit and return it in a timely manner. This deadline varies considerably from state to state, but for most areas, it’s about 30 days.

To further compound the issue, state and local regulations vary considerably on how security deposits should be handled. Not surprisingly, disputes regarding security deposits are among the most common reasons landlords and tenants end up facing each other in court.

To clear up some of the confusion surrounding this issue, here are some guidelines for the typical areas where damage occurs in a rental to help you determine whether it falls under the category of normal wear and tear or is something more serious.

Flooring

In most cases, you can’t expect the floor to be in pristine condition after a tenant leaves. Carpet naturally has a limited lifetime, especially if it’s a lighter color. High-traffic areas will naturally become worn down, and it’s common to see a few light stains and indentations from furniture. A steam clean, customarily performed in between tenants, should bring carpet back into decent shape. However pet stains, holes, and burns generally go beyond everyday wear and tear. When it comes to hardwood flooring, the same standards apply. Worn or scuffed flooring in areas that receive a lot of traffic is to be expected, while deep gouges or an extensive series of scratches are usually indicative of tenant damage. With tiles or linoleum, it largely depends on the quality of the flooring and what has caused the damage. If linoleum is starting to peel near the door, for example, it’s most likely the result of normal use. Broken or chipped tiles or deep scratches in flooring could have been caused by dropping heavy items or dragging something across the floor and may be damage the tenant could be held responsible for.

Walls and Doors

Faded paint or wallpaper is considered normal wear and tear, and minor superficial damage — such as a few small nail holes, or a hole where a door handle hit the wall — is usually considered normal wear as well. These small issues can easily be repaired and shouldn’t come out of the tenant’s security deposit. However, pen marks all over the walls, or deep gouges or dents that will require more than some quick plaster to repair, are usually considered excessive. Similarly, the cost to repair or possibly replace doors that are hanging off the hinges or sliding doors that have come off of their tracks and been banged around can usually be deducted from the tenant’s security deposit.

Appliances

Appliances that you supplied with the unit — such as air conditioners, furnaces, stoves, and washers and dryers — all age and will break down eventually. Your job is to determine whether the unit in question wore out on its own or was damaged by the tenant intentionally or by improper use. For instance, if your new appliances are broken and are still under warranty, you may want to find out the cause. For machines that are older than five years old, though, the breakdown could be normal wear and tear. In most cases, you shouldn’t take the cost of replacing appliances out of the tenant’s security deposit unless you can prove that they caused the damage themselves.

Pet Damage

One of the age-old landlording questions is deciding whether or not to make your rental pet-friendly. When you let furry friends stay, you’re acknowledging that they may make an impact on a unit. But just because you allow pets in your property doesn’t mean that you have to allow pet damage. Stained carpet, holes in the yard, and scratched or chewed floors, walls, or doors are not generally considered normal wear and tear and can all come out of the tenant’s security deposit.

Dirt and Grime

While you can’t require your tenants to shine the floors on their way out, this doesn’t mean that they have the right to leave your property in a filthy state either. Clogged drains from misuse or neglect; filthy bathtubs, showers, sinks, or toilets; food in the refrigerator or cabinets; a grimy stove; and piles of trash can all be considered excessive, and such in cases it’s not unreasonable for you to charge a cleaning fee. Just make sure to be clear about your expectations for the condition of the rental before your tenants move out, so they know exactly how you expect them to return the property to you.

The best test for these cases is whether the property has been returned to you in a way that’s considered to be reasonable, taking into account the amount of time that the tenant occupied it. For example, if you recently had new carpet installed and the tenant was only in the unit for six months, then the cost of replacing damaged carpet should come out of their security deposit. If, however, the carpet is ten years old, then you can’t expect the tenant to pay for a carpet upgrade simply because it’s worn out.

Finally, when it comes to security deposits, one of the best ways to protect yourself is by being proactive. Make sure you specify in the lease the condition in which you expect the rental to be returned to you. This should help to clear up any confusion and keep everyone on the same page. Another important tip is to always document everything. Always conduct a walkthrough of the unit before the tenant moves in, documenting the condition of the property. We do another walkthrough with the tenant when they move out. Video and photos are one of the best ways to demonstrate the state that the property was in, and will prove to be invaluable when it comes to withholding a security deposit or having to prove your case in court.

 

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2016/10/what-normal-wear-and-tear?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BYIjXLB9UYVfE8&om_ntype=BTNMonthly

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New Rental Units Too Pricey for Most Renters

New Rental Units Too Pricey for Most Renters

Much of the recent multifamily construction has focused on the luxury segment, which is pricing renters out of the market, according to Harvard University Joint Center’s 2015 State of the Nation’s Housing Report.

The rising costs in multifamily development pushed the median asking rent for newly constructed rental units up to about $1,290 per month as of 2013. That marks an increase of $180 compared to 2012, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Meanwhile, the typical renters’ incomes rose by just $60 a month, going from $32,000 in 2012 to $32,700 in 2013, according to the American Community Survey.

In order to afford a standard new multifamily unit, a household would need to earn at least $51,440, according to JCHS. Less than a third of renters, however, earn this much.

In some areas, rental costs are even higher. JCHS’ report notes that 84 percent of new multifamily units in the Northeast and 67 percent of those in the West went for a monthly rate of $1,350 or higher in 2013. In fact, many units built in 2012 to 2013 rented for at least $2,000 per month – which would require an annual salary of at least $80,000.

In the South and Midwest, new units rented in the $1,350 range were only about a third of growth, which indicates a more even regional supply of new units by price.

“While new multifamily construction is easing some of the demand for new units, it is currently not sufficient to ease the broader affordability problems facing renters,” notes Elizabeth La Jeunesse, a research analyst, at the JCHS’ Housing Perspectives blog. “Closing the gap between what it costs to produce this housing, and what economically disadvantaged households can afford to pay, requires the persistent efforts of both the public and private sectors.”

Source: “New Multifamily Construction Is Out of Reach for Most Renters,” Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies’ Housing Perspectives Blog (July 30, 2015) DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/08/04/new-rental-units-too-pricey-for-most-renters?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BVwQu3B9EOtOGt&om_ntype=RMODaily

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Open House for our Rental on McLellan in San Mateo

Open House Saturday 6/13 from 1-3pm

Look no further.  This charming two-bedroom detached house is perfectly situated in a cute San Mateo Village neighborhood.  Walk to CalTrain, Hillsdale Mall and Bay Meadows area restaurants and shopping.  Easy access to Hwy 101.  A commuter’s dream location.  The house has beautiful hardwood floors throughout the living areas and wall to wall carpet in the bedrooms and hallway.  There is a spacious updated bath with shower over tub and large vanity.  The kitchen features plenty of counter space, cabinets and newer appliances.  A small family room adjoins the kitchen.  An enclosed patio with laundry area expands the living space considerably.  The extra large yard is perfect for summer fun and entertaining.  A large detached storage building is available for all your extra storage needs.  Newly painted inside.  All new double pane windows.  Gardener included.  Tenant pays all utilities.  No Pets. No Smoking or Drugs.  Must have excellent credit.

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http://thecatonteam.com/IDX/McLellan-San-Mateo-CA-940/2107728917/0004010

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