Leadership Lens: Listen, collaborate, support, mentor and celebrate

Inmannews - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 1:45pm
Diane M. Ramirez is the chairman and chief executive officer of Halstead Real Estate. Under her leadership, the firm has grown from its original goal of three storefront offices in the most important communities in Manhattan to its current size of nearly three dozen strategically located offices ...
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Century 21 unveils ‘big, bold, ambitious’ rebrand

Inmannews - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 1:37pm
Today Century 21 rolled out a sweeping rebrand that aims to paint the nearly 50-year-old franchisor in a clean, sophisticated light. Overseen by CEO Nick Bailey, who took over the company in August, the aesthetic overhaul is intended to go beyond the surface to signify C21's "big, bold, ambitious moves ahead." ...
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Portland Council Takes Up Permanent Renter Protections, Facing April Sunset

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 11:17am

Portland City Council is strengthening a law that requires landlords to pay tenants if they are forced to move out.

The law awards tenants payments if they are evicted without cause or forced to move because of a rent increase more than 10 percent.

The payments range from $2,900 for a studio to a maximum of $4,500 for a three-bedroom apartment.

In a public hearing Wednesday, the council began deliberating an ordinance that would make the policy permanent, establish a rental registration system and narrow exemptions.

Without council action, the program would sunset in April.

Mayor Ted Wheeler has said the policy will help residents being pushed out of their neighborhoods by rising rents.

“We are in a housing emergency and people are suffering,” he said.

The bill exempts some landlords from making the payments. For example, people renting rooms in their own homes, renting out half of a duplex, or renting an accessory dwelling unit wouldn’t have to pay.

But in a change, other landlords renting out just one unit would have to pay the relocation fees.

In January, Wheeler said he supported maintaining a broader exemption for single units. Renter advocates responded by producing research that suggested 1 in 5 renters in the city live in a unit that fell under that exemption.

“Our policy wasn’t benefiting tens of thousands of the residents it was designed to protect,” Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said during Wednesday’s hearing.

The mayor reversed course and the ordinance he introduced this week eliminates the exemption.

Wheeler has acknowledged that the policy may push some small-scale landlords out of business.

“Yes, on the margin, some landlords will withdraw from the rental market,” he said in a video posted online in advance of the hearing. “The broader rental protections provided by this ordinance make that trade-off worthwhile.”

At the hearing, landlords urged the council to create a hardship exemption for those who struggle with a new expense on their balance sheet.

“That could be the difference between them being able to afford their next two mortgage payments on that property or not,” said Christian Bryant, with the Portland Area Rental Owners Association.

Other exemptions to the rule include landlords renting out their own homes during an absence of three years or less, landlords renting their homes while on active duty military service and landlords ending a rental agreement so an immediate family member can move in to a unit.

Tenants also came to the hearing with requests for additional amendments.

Katrina Holland, the executive director of the Community Alliance of Tenants, said she had “grave concerns” about a blanket exemption for organizations that provide federal, state or locally regulated affordable housing.

Those groups, which provide thousands of income-restricted units in the Portland area, are exempt from making the relocation payments.

“If anyone needs relocation the most even in nuanced circumstances, it is this population,” Holland said, referring to people living in affordable housing. “They are the least likely population to be able to save for an unexpected displacement event and they’re already scraping by.”

Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Amanda Fritz both indicated they’d like more information on Holland’s concerns and would follow up with their staff.

“I thought that was a curious exemption,” Saltzman said.

“Is it very common for a household to receive a no-cause eviction or a double-digit rent increase if they are in income restricted housing, unless their income exceeds the threshold?” Eudaly asked.

“We have seen it on the ground, and it is very distressing,” Holland answered. “One person I can think of off the top of my head ended up homeless.”

The council will likely vote on the ordinance next month.

The council first passed renter relocation aid as a temporary measure last February. Eudaly, who won election on a renter-rights platform, introduced the measure.

At that time, Eudaly, Wheeler and other city leaders lobbied state lawmakers for broader housing policy reforms, including a statewide ban on no-cause evictions.

Democrats in the Legislature who supported that idea failed to win enough support to pass it.

Wheeler has said he will continue to push the state Legislature to require just cause for evictions.


The post Portland Council Takes Up Permanent Renter Protections, Facing April Sunset appeared first on AAOA.

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As new apartments are built around Pittsburgh, older stock is feeling the pressure

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 11:11am

The boom in apartment building in Pittsburgh could spell trouble for landlords of older stock as they try to hold on to renters who find the shiny new units and the amenities that come with them hard to resist.

In a report issued Monday, the CBRE real estate firm found Pittsburgh is in the midst of a supply surge, with about 4,600 units being built within the last three years — more than in the previous 15 years combined.

Another 3,479 units are set to be completed in the next two years. While the rapid uptick may slow rental rate increases — at least temporarily — the biggest impact could be on older apartment buildings, which may have a hard time competing, according to the report.

Some of the vintage buildings are as much as 69 years old. They account for one of the oldest inventories in the Midwest.

Demand trends last year “indicate a clear preference for new supply to the detriment of older multifamily properties,” the report stated.

“As new developments continue to deliver and lease up, older multifamily buildings will struggle to uphold current occupancy rates, dampening financial performance,” it predicted.

As one example, CBRE cited the 2004-built Flats at Southside Works. Occupancy hit 99 percent in 2010 and the average rent peaked at $1.80 a square foot in 2014. Faced with competition from the newer Hot Metal Flats and Southside Works City Apartments, the complex is now 71 percent occupied with rents of $1.73 a square foot, according to the report.

Pittsburgh apartment market at a glancePittsburgh is experiencing a boom in apartment building, with 4,600 units built in the last three years and another 3,479 in the pipeline. Here is a look at the rental market in various city neighborhoods.Monthly rent, by neighborhood and size of apartment

Todd Reidbord, president of Walnut Capital, said the big spike in new units definitely has had an impact.

Walnut Capital has seen both sides of the boom. It has built about 1,000 new units in places like East Liberty and Bakery Square in Shadyside, and it leases another 1,800 older units in the East End.

The company has tried to stay competitive by adding new kitchens, new bathrooms and other amenities to its older units. While Walnut Capital hasn’t experience a significant drop in occupancy, it has become an issue among landlords, Mr. Reidbord noted.

“Unless you have something better to offer in the older apartments, you’re going to be subject to competition from new apartments,” he said.

Mr. Reidbord estimates occupancy at some of Walnut’s older buildings has fallen from 100 percent to maybe 95 percent. While the company may offer rent specials on older units here and there, it has not had to reduce rents as a general rule, he said.

“In talking to the landlords of older buildings, I find that what they are telling me is that occupancy rates are remaining the same but rental rate increases are declining compared to what they have seen over the last five years,” said Jeffrey Ackerman, CBRE managing director.

With so much supply being added or in the pipeline, most are probably holding the line on rents, he noted.

“They will face continuing pressure and they can stay current if they can upgrade the units and offer more amenities. … Clearly owners have to put money back into their properties,” Mr. Ackerman said.

In its report, CBRE stated the building boom has slowed rent growth. The overall asking rent has stayed at $1.54 a square foot the last two years after climbing for most of the last decade. In 2009, the average rent was less than $1.30 a square foot.

Nonetheless, new buildings around the city are still commanding rents in the $2- to $2.50-a-square-foot range, the report stated.

“Quite simply, rent growth slowed in 2017 due to increased supply. Rent corrections are to be expected in 2018, but this will help support a healthy long-term outlook for the urban multifamily market.”

Mr. Ackerman expects rents to level off, with increases ranging in the 1 to 2 percent range. In past years, rents in hot markets like Lawrenceville and Shadyside have been averaging increases of 7 to 10 percent, he said.

According to the report, more than 10,000 millennials have moved to Pittsburgh since 2011. That, coupled with an annual job growth of 1.6 percent, has helped to drive the apartment boom. Millennials account for more than half of all the city’s renters, CBRE found.

Another big driver has been the city’s growing tech workforce. According to CBRE, Pittsburgh had the third highest annual growth rate in high tech employment in the country in 2016.

Among other findings:

• More than half of all new apartment units are under construction in the South Side, the Strip District, Lawrenceville and Oakland — neighborhoods that have seen the strongest population growth since 2010.

• More than 40 acres of former industrial property in the Strip and in Lawrenceville have been converted to office or apartment uses, and another 67 acres are facing redevelopment.

• Better values can be found in Bloomfield and East Liberty compared to neighboring submarkets, but that could change as the area continues to improve. The report called Bloomfield the “last remaining piece of gentrification between Lawrenceville and Shadyside.”

• Shadyside is Pittsburgh’s largest and most expensive apartment market, where a one-bedroom apartment in a recently constructed building has an average asking rent of $1,649 a month.


The post As new apartments are built around Pittsburgh, older stock is feeling the pressure appeared first on AAOA.

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Bill targets rental application fees

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 11:05am

State lawmakers want to limit application fees and make landlords tell renters what kinds of things they will and won’t accept before applying.

Hunting for an apartment in Colorado can get expensive.

“I spent at least $370 on applications as a single person,” Jenee Donelson said. “They will tell you it’s not refundable; that the apartment was given to another. It’s like paying for a meal that you are not allowed to eat.”

Donelson, a housing advocate who works with 9to5 Colorado, told lawmakers during a hearing earlier this month she thinks she handed some of that money over in vain. She recalled one landlord who took her money and let her tour the apartment without mentioning that he wouldn’t accept someone with her rental history.

“I asked to get my application money back, and he said it was non-refundable,” Donelson said.

That’s why she’s backing a bill that would require landlords to disclose their rental criteria upfront – before someone hands over a single dollar.

The bill is HB-1127, and it’s working its way through the Colorado House of Representatives.

If it becomes law this legislative session, it would do four things:

  1. Ban landlords and rental companies from profiting off application fees.
  2. Require landlords to tell applicants about their screening criteria in writing.
  3. Limit how far back landlords can peer into a person’s background to seven years.
  4. And impose penalties against landlords who break the rules.

“The real problem is the penalties,” said Andrew Hamrick, a landlord/tenant law attorney.

For example, the bill would give people double their application fee back if a landlord failed to disclose his or her rental criteria.

He likened to asking renters to pay twice their rent if they missed a month or double the cost of fixing a hole they kicked in a wall.

“You see the silliness in all that,” Hamrick said.

Hamrick’s concerned resonated with the Republicans on the House Finance Committee who voted against the bill in committee earlier this month. They were outnumbered 7-6 by Democrats who sent the bill to the House for a vote.

It’s likely the bill will make it over to the Senate chamber, but its success there isn’t guaranteed. Republicans have a one vote majority.



The post Bill targets rental application fees appeared first on AAOA.

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Real estate hires and promotions: March 2018

Inmannews - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 10:56am
March 2018 is already witnessing an array of real estate industry hires and promotions. Who’s making moves? Which businesses are bringing in new blood or creating fresh positions? Here’s a rundown of some recent HR news across the board ...
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Homeownership remains as racially divided as it was in 1968: report

Inmannews - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 10:22am
Civil rights legislation has not made up for the exclusion of African Americans from federal programs enacted during the Great Depression and after World War II to boost homeownership ...
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