Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Mortgage Fees For 10 Years In Trade For 2 Months of a Tiny Tax Cut Extension

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The ‘Horrific’ Details Behind Republicans’ Caving

By Joel McDurmon - Dec 23, 2011

Most media outlets are not telling the whole story behind the payroll tax-cut extension: most have highlighted the tax cut itself, how House Republicans were blocking the extension, and how they recently caved under pressure, handing Obama a major political victory.

Democrats are celebrating the Republicans’ caving for good reason, because there’s way more to the story than just Republicans blocking tax cuts. The Wall Street Journal reports,

Rank-and-file frustration has existed all year, and never really left even when Boehner tried to accommodate the concerns of his restive freshmen. The payroll-tax cut battle put a fine point on the caucus’s broader concerns about government spending and budget gimmicks, in part because the $33 billion, two-month package is set to be paid for with fees charged by mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over 10 years.

“The policy is horrific,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R., Ala.) He said that “increasing the costs of mortgages hurts homeowners of all incomes,” adding “it’s hard to figure out how the senators could have done worse–all for two months.”

Meanwhile, Boehner’s procedural tactics are just as suspect:
 
House speaker agreed to pass the two-month extension on Friday morning by unanimous consent, a fast-track procedural maneuver that guarantees passage unless lawmakers book plane tickets and fly back to Washington in time to object.

“Given the late hour of notification, there’s no way I can make it,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kansas). “I’m disappointed. That’s not the process by which I thought we would consider things like this,” he said, adding “this is the kind of stuff that people hate about Washington.”

In other words, Republicans have “caved” by agreeing to increase mortgage fees for 10 years in order to fund a mere two months worth of tiny tax cuts. Instead of taxes being raised January 1, they go up March 1 instead, while the higher mortgage fees endure for a decade. Brilliant. And to score this great political achievement, the House speaker is willing to use Pelosi- and Reid-style procedural tricks to exclude the toughest opposition from the vote. Epic.

And this is why the move is indeed a major political victory for the radical Left: because the Republicans are acting just like them.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lobbyists in Virginia

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Here is a list of Lobbyists that have recently registered with the Commonwealth. Looks like Roanoke City just hired a lobbyist by the name of Robert J Catron.


Click HERE for the list of the new lobbyists

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Roanoke City Tax Office Tried To Rob Me And Got Caught!!!

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Open Letter to City Manager Chris Morrill for HELP!!!

Dear Mr. Morrill,

I would like to inform you of fraudulent activity happening within Roanoke Cities Real Estate Tax Collection office and would greatly appreciate it if you could resolve this matter and put some "No Tolerance Policies" in place.

Two weeks ago I was informed by an employee of Roland "Spanky" Macher that they were getting sent delinquent tax payment notices for properties that I own at address 832 Patterson Avenue. So I immediately contacted the tax payment office to find out what is going on and how it is even possible for them  to change the tax payment address of a property I own and send the bills to another individual without my approval. The response was that they did not know how it happened but they would change it and not charge a late payment for this bill.

A couple days later I got a voicemail that they changed it but I have a couple more properties that were delinquent and they would not remove the late fee for these properties. Well, let me tell you, I always pay ALL of my bills and I never have a problem getting mail at my address for payment. So at further investigation I found that they did in-fact send all 3 tax bills to Roland Macher's address and went on the GIS and changed the tax address of all 3 to my address while trying to pull the wool over my eyes and pretend that the other 2 adjoining lots were always being sent to my address while refusing to remove the late fees.  To clarify, they changed all 3 addresses back to my tax address and then pretended to act as if they only sent one incorrectly and the other two went to the correct address in an attempt to obtain late fees on the other 2.

This is a criminal act. I am not going to call the police on this particular Roanoke City employee because I feel that this is something that can be handled internally. This type of fraudulent behavior is absolutely unacceptable and not something that you would expect from a government employee. I don't know what her problem is but I never did anything to her and was polite with her on the phone.

Please resolve this issue. Attached are scanned images of the actual addresses that these bills were mailed to including the two lots that I was told were sent to me. You will see on all 3, the address that they were mailed to was 1925 Salem Ave which is an address owned by Roland Macher, not myself.  I checked with my lawyer and when I purchased the property a couple years ago the closing documents were filed correctly with my address on them so they were changed without my knowledge or approval sometime since then.


- I have proof that my closing documents were filed with the correct address and my tax payment address was changed without my approval.

- I have proof that all 3 tax bills were sent to Roland Macher and not myself and this city employee attempted to fraudulently change the other two addresses and pretend that the bill was sent to me in order to charge me late fees and interest.

- I have spent hours obtaining this evidence and my time is worth money that I know I won't get so please develop a policy that this sort of fraudulent activity will not be accepted under any circumstances so no one else is vicitimized by this woman.


Best regards,

Dallas


UPDATE: Chris Morrill is having this matter investigated by the internal auditor who he says will do a thorough review. Hopefully they contact me for evidence. This lady needs to be exposed for doing this to citizens of this city. She apparently thought that no one would catch her. Not a high likelihood of this happening and the person that it happens to being able to get the actual bills that were sent to someone else. She may have thought she would get away with this but it just didn't turn out that way this time. This criminal activity needs immediate attention. 

UPDATE 2: Evelyn Powers contacted me and she doesn't know what happened or how it got changed to Spanky Machers address but she was incredibly nice and was immediately on top of this issue.  I won't be paying any fines or late fees and I am glad that they resolved this issue.

Virginia Tech Killer Robs Landlord at Gunpoint For His Mercedes Benz SUV, Should You Be Living Out Of A P.O. Box?

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Deriek Crouse on Right, Cop that was murdered by crazy Radford Student

Ross Truett Ashley, cop killer

Edgewater drops requirement for landlords to pay tenant's water bills

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EDGEWATER -- It will now be up to the water users to pay for what they use.

After years of requiring property owners to provide water to tenants living in their properties, the City Council on Monday instructed staff to change its policy on who pays for that water.

"We are placing the responsibility on the responsible parties," said Councilman Justin Kennedy, who lead the charge for change.

To Kennedy, the question was simple: "Who should pay the water bill?" The landlord -- who might get stuck with a bill for several hundred dollars if a tenant skips out on their rent and other bills -- or the person who used the water?

The councilman said he spent the past several months researching his argument. He concluded that the current policy is unfair -- placing liens on properties of landlords with delinquent bills due to tenants leaving without paying.

Kennedy said the property owners should benefit from the city-owned water plant. A way to guarantee that benefit, Kennedy said, would be to require a $200 deposit paid by whomever's name is on the water bill.

As long as the risk isn't on the true owner of the city's water plant -- property owners -- Councilman Mike Ignasiak had no problem with putting the burden of water usage on the users.

Councilwoman Gigi Bennington agreed. "I don't want the rest of the city at risk," she said.

Landlord Shirley Boyce was more blunt. "I am tired of paying bills for dead-beat people," she said.


Another landlord, Marcia Barnett, said it is time for people to take responsibility and for accountability.



- In a related matter, the council also instructed staff to clean up their water bills by changing monthly charges for refuse, recycling and storm water fees and putting them into a single charge on the annual tax bill.

City Manager Tracey Barlow said his staff will review the policy with the city's legal counsel regarding the proposed change, which would not go into effect without another council vote.

- In honor of their fallen colleague, council members laid flowers in front of a picture at the seat of Ted Cooper, who died unexpectedly Nov. 28.

A special election is expected in February to fill Cooper's District 4 seat. His term was to expire in November 2012.

"Mr. Cooper was always so helpful and so passionate," Mayor Mike Thomas said in honoring his fellow council member.

REI Of Roanoke Most Important Issues Survey

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REI Important Issue Survey

So we did a survey to REI members on what were the most important issues we have that are negatively impacting our businesses. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Drum roll please..... Here are the results!

What city related issues do you feel strongest about.

Solid Waste (You picked your 1 most important issue):

#1. Fines to landlords for illegally dumped trash by tenants, neighbors or others is wrong. Picked by 46.3% of our members as being the number 1 issue pertaining to Solid Waste.  Billy Basham where are you? Got something we need to talk to you and Skip about.

#2. Violations for tenants trash cans should not be going to landlords. Picked by 19.5% of our members.

#3. Solid waste is required to take the 6 largest items. If there is a large pile of stuff, they are not taking anything and violating the whole pile rather than taking the 6 largest items and then violating it. Picked by 14.6% of our members.


Code Enforcement / Building Inspections (You picked your 2 most important issues):

#1. Code violations caused by tenant such as mowing, trash cans left out, automobiles, etc given to the landlord and not the tenant as it should be. Picked by 56.1% of our members.

#2. For a simple “repair” making you bring the whole project up to today’s code. This was picked by 17.1% of our members.

#3. A THREE WAY TIE ALL AT 14.6%
Having a required Certificate of Occupancy AND Rental Certificate, both of which you have to pay for and 2 different inspections.

Modification of the discretionary nature of inspections where an inspector can “take a stronger look at bla, bla, bla” instead of being by the book as it should.

Not doing 360 degree inspections of neighboring property so the surrounding owner occupied property gets off with no citations.

TOM CARR is on our email list and he cares about the well being of small businesses such as ours in Roanoke.  I'm sure he will be contacting me to talk about these issues so we can see if we can develop some solutions to these issues landlords are most concerned about. One at a time.


Authorities including the Water Authority ( You picked your 1 most important issue):

#1. The overwhelming 65.9% response was Water Authority billing landlords for tenants unpaid water bill. Other responses mostly had to do with the Water Authority, their unprofessionalism, lack of accountability and how they are the "kings and queens of their own monopoly".

State related issues: that REI members want us to start working on. We were all over the board on this one. Most questions getting 29 to 46% of the response. You were able to pick 3 issues on this one. I'll list the top 8. We'll work on the top 3 to start.

#1 @ 46.3% - Reduce burden on court system. Change eviction process to a matter that is dealt with by the local magistrate and not the judge so the process of eviction begins and ends within a 10 day time period. If they don’t move the sheriff sets them out immediately.

#2 @ 43.9@ - Once a rental judgment has been placed upon a person, the person should have a legal obligation to keep the courts aware of their present and past employers and their social security numbers, anytime it changes until the judgment is paid in full.

3 way tie for #3 all at 36.6% -
- When tenants remain in the unit and they should be moving out, but not allowing us to rent the unit they are stealing, period! The amounts lost in revenues should be repaid to the landlord immediately. All products removed from the home or apartment that are taken should be considered stolen and reimbursed by the tenant or process them as thieves. (i.e. Smoke detectors, air conditioners, window screens, light bulbs, light fixtures, doors, door knobs, windows, paint etc...)

- When squatters are in the home the police should be able to arrest them for trespassing immediately if problems arise and the landlord must call the police. Criminal charges, not civil as it is now.

- Too much time allowed for non paying tenants

3 way tie for #4 all at 29.3% -
- Crystal clear language in the Virginia Building Code that allows that if a property was to code the date of it’s original inspection, it is not permitted for building inspectors to require it to be changed to today’s code.

- When tenants or their friends do damage to the property, this is vandalism and they should be charged with a crime and forced to pay for the repairs. This is blatant abuse of our property!

- New laws that “require” judges to uphold the tenant responsibilities like escrowed rent. Or not allow tenants to contest an amount owed without the uncontested dollar amount immediately being put in escrow. Tenant accountability.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Small Business Challenge to Obamacare Goes to Supreme Court

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Targeted News Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 -- The National Federation of Independent Business issued the following news release:

After many months of lower court battles, President Obama's new health reform law is going to be heard in the spring by the Supreme Court.

Washington, D.C. can be a noisy place. Politicians argue. Protestors shout.

Usually, the quietest place in town is the Supreme Court. But soon, the voice of millions of small businesses will be heard there, loud and clear.

This spring, the high court is going to hear the National Federation of Independent Business's legal challenge to President Obama's radical health-care law.

We believe the law is un-constitutional because it forces every American to purchase something that they may not want or need: health insurance.

Adding insult to injury, the law will not bring better or more affordable health care for small businesses, their employees or most Americans.

Already, small businesses are seeing huge increases in health premiums and many insurers are cancelling their existing medical plans.

This terrible law must be stopped before further damage is done to the economy and to our freedom. The court should strike it down 

Carico Insurance Agency offers: Trustmark for your Small Business and Optima Health for your Small Business and Individual Plans,  772-3362

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Landlords

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What are the landlord's responsibilities for tenant safety and security?

Landlords in most states have some degree of legal responsibility to protect their tenants from would-be assailants and thieves and from the criminal acts of fellow tenants. Landlords must also protect the neighborhood from their tenants' illegal activities, such as drug dealing. These legal duties stem from building codes, ordinances, statutes, and, most frequently, court decisions.
Rental property owners are being sued with increasing frequency by tenants injured by criminals, with settlements and jury awards typically ranging from $100,000 to $1 million. Landlords are especially likely to be held liable when a crime occurs on property where a similar assault or other crime occurred in the past.

How can a landlord limit responsibility for crime committed by strangers on the rental property?

The following steps will not only limit the likelihood of crime, but also reduce the risk that the property owner will be found responsible if a criminal assault or robbery does occur. A landlord should:
  • Meet or exceed all state and local security laws that apply to the rental property, such as requirements for deadbolt locks on doors, good lighting, and window locks.
  • Realistically assess the crime situation in and around the rental property and neighborhood and design a security system that provides reasonable protection for the tenants. Local police departments, your insurance company, and private security professionals can provide useful advice on security measures.
  • Educate tenants about crime problems in the neighborhood, and describe the security measures provided and their limitations.
  • Maintain the rental property and conduct regular inspections to spot and fix any security problems, such as broken locks or burned out exterior flood lights. Asking tenants for their suggestions as part of an ongoing repair and maintenance system is also a good idea.
  • Handle tenant complaints about dangerous situations, suspicious activities, or broken security items immediately. Failing to do this may saddle you with a higher level of legal liability should a tenant be injured by a criminal act after a relevant complaint is made.
  • If additional security requires a rent hike, discuss the situation with your tenants. Many tenants will pay more for a safer place to live.
While some of these measures may be costly, the money you spend today on effective crime-prevention measures may pale in comparison to the costs that may result from crime on the premises. Settlements paid by landlords' insurance companies for horrific crimes such as rape and assault are typically hundreds of thousands of dollars -- and jury awards are higher.

What kind of legal trouble do landlords face from tenants who deal drugs on the property?

Drug-dealing tenants can cause landlords all kinds of practical and legal problems:
  • Anyone who is injured or annoyed by drug dealers -- be it other tenants or people in the neighborhood -- may sue the landlord on the grounds that the property is a public nuisance that seriously threatens public safety or morals.
  • Local, state, or federal authorities may levy stiff fines against the landlord for allowing illegal activity to continue.
  • Law enforcement authorities may seek criminal penalties against the landlord for knowingly allowing drug dealing on the rental property.
  • In extreme cases, the presence of drug dealers may result in the government confiscating the rental property.
  • A drug dealing environment can make it difficult to find and keep good tenants, and the value of the rental property will plummet.

How can a property owner avoid liability because of tenants who deal drugs or otherwise break the law?

There are several practical steps landlords can take to avoid trouble caused by criminal tenants and to limit their liability in any lawsuits that are filed:
  • Screen tenants carefully and choose tenants who are likely to be law-abiding and peaceful citizens. Weed out violent or dangerous individuals to the extent allowable under privacy and anti-discrimination laws that may limit questions about a tenant's past criminal activity, drug use, or mental illness.
  • Don't accept cash rental payments.
  • Do not tolerate tenants' disruptive behavior. Include an explicit provision in the lease or rental agreement prohibiting drug dealing and other illegal activity and promptly evict tenants who violate the clause.
  • Be aware of suspicious activity, such as heavy traffic in and out of the rental premises.
  • Respond to tenant and neighbor complaints about drug dealing on the rental property. Get advice from police immediately upon learning of a problem.
  • Consult with security experts to do everything reasonable to discover and prevent illegal activity on the rental property.

For More Information

For a guide to help landlords identify common risky situations and get specific, practical advice for dealing with them, read Every Landlord's Property Protection Guide: 10 Ways to Cut Your Risk Now, by Ron Leshnower (Nolo)

Call me, I can help you Protect your Current Assets and Future Wealth.
Carico Insurance Agency- 772-3362

How can Lanlords Minimize Financial Losses Related to Repairs and Maintenance?

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How can landlords minimize financial losses related to repairs and maintenance?

You can avoid many problems by maintaining the property in excellent condition. Here's how:
  • Use a written checklist to inspect the premises and fix any problems before new tenants move in.
  • Encourage tenants to immediately report safety or security problems such as plumbing, heating, broken doors or steps -- whether in the tenant's unit or in common areas such as hallways and parking garages.
  • Keep a written log of all tenant complaints and repair requests with details as to how and when problems were fixed.
  • Handle urgent repairs as soon as possible -- take care of any safety issues within 24 hours. Keep tenants informed as to when and how the repairs will be made.
  • Twice a year, give tenants a checklist on which to report potential safety hazards or maintenance problems that might have been overlooked. Use the same checklist to personally inspect all rental units once a year.
Also, your commitment to repair and maintenance procedures should be clearly set out in the lease or rental agreement.

Call me, I can help you Protect your Current Assets and Future Wealth.
Carico Insurance Agency- 772-3362

Landlord Jim Sears Forces Tenants Out of Center In The Square, Tenants NEED New Location

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Landlord Jim Sears apparently decided to remodel his building.  That's all good but apparently he had a lease with some tenants that did not forewarn them of his intentions. The tenants, the Little Dipper Cafe, were given a couple of options.

- One to move into another location but shut their business down for "maybe" 4 to 5 months. I'm not sure what business can shut their doors down and survive for that period of time. Pretty much the same thing the city did to their tenants in the City Market Building but they did it for a longer period of time.

- The other option was a 6 month extension in her currant location however this extension included a clause that allowed Jim to give them 7 days notice to move whenever he wanted them to go. So from what the video says it doesn't appear that the 6 months was solid.

The government sets a standard of what is acceptable and ethical business practice and when they strong arm their tenants into closing their businesses down they set the climate for other landlords. Morals and values are missing in our society today. This just shows how you one day can have something and the next it can be taken away from you at the drop of a hat.

These hard working people need time to relocate their business and at least an additional 6 months to notify all of their customers of their new location. Just moving in itself will dramatically impact their business. In the restaurant industry, people typically will drive 5 miles maximum to eat. Those are the stats. How do I know this? Because I am a marketing consultant and have seen lots of marketing research on the restaurant industry as I have had a number of restaurants as my clients. If she locates her business outside of the downtown area she will be required to completely develop a new customer base. And it will cost her a pretty penny in advertising to do so.

Now lets look at the Kroger rehabs. Kroger recently went through an extensive rehab of all of their stores in the Roanoke area. You didn't see them shut down their business when doing so. And when you see a Walmart rehab their building you don't see them shutting down their store to do so either. They quarantine off areas and shuffle things around so they can continue to operate as keeping the stores open is what pays the bills. Sure, this would cost the landlord a little more money but I don't see it as being a catastrophic amount more.

Another ethical option if this was not possible for some unknown reason would be to give the tenants plenty of notice. Give them a year notice without this 7 days and I can shut you down clause and allow them adequate time to find another location in the same general area and time to notify all of their customers. that are not necessarily there every month. of the new location.

Have a look at the Channel 10 video and if you have a location for the Little Dipper Cafe give them a call asap and let them know. See their contact information on their web page. Click Here

Monday, November 28, 2011

SE Roanoke Poised For A Huge Drop In Real Estate Values

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What is He Grabbing? I'm Sure His Mom Is Proud Of Him
Some lovely photos of SE Roanoke. The neighborhood associations have been working hard to change the image of SE Roanoke but it has been an uphill battle for them. I don't see how it will happen now though. They are hitting a brick wall and there is nothing they will be able to do to change the image of SE Roanoke with some new plans for the area that have been recently presented by the Rescue Mission.
 
Most in Roanoke have been hit pretty hard with the decrease in property values. Investors should expect another big hit coming soon in SE Roanoke which is not an effect of the economy but rather an effect of the Rescue Mission busing in people from all over the region to increase the size of their business. The Rescue Mission plans to add an additional 200 beds which will increase their population to approximately 650. A one third increase overnight. Quite a jump.

And this increase is planned to be right at the entrance or main gateway to this quadrant of the city so potential buyers and renters will have to drive right through it to get to your property.  On the good side for investors is all property values on that quarter of the city will drop and your taxes will go down eventually. The good side would be good only if you are still in buying mode and plan to get some properties for next to nothing. The city will be effected most when they lose tax money that they will never see again. The rents won't be effected, however you will be forced to rent to a lower class of tenant that accepts these kinds of living conditions that you may not already rent to which will equal higher vacancy rates and more problems.

Danger!!! Got to give props to the cops for dealing with this stuff.
What would you think if you were driving to a potential place to rent or buy and you saw this kind of daily drama on your way. Most people with any kind of desire for personal safety or respect for the place they live will high tail it the other way.

Many of us investors support the Mission in some way or another. The general principal of helping people who are down and out is good. However they also have a social responsibility to not harm others, especially one quarter of the cities population in doing so. If they were located in an industrial area or spread their services out with small populations throughout the city, hard working, tax paying citizens wouldn't be effected to such a great degree.

They also have a social responsibility to actually help these people. Which requires training them for a job or doing whatever is necessary to get them up on their feet as productive members of society. I've got news for you though, many of these people have been living at the mission for the past 15 to 20 years and they have been doing the same thing every day, drinking and drugging.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for his life. A good motto to go by....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Habitational Business Owners Policy- Qualified or Not?

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A Habitational BOP is a wonderful product to have if you own rental properties. It not only provides Real Property Coverage, but also affords your company (LLC or Corporation) Business General Liability Insurance and Business Personal Property, all in one policy. Commercial Auto can also be added and Employers Practices Liability Iinsurance if so desired.

Listed below are the "General" guidelines for this one product and that being said ALL insurance policies have similiarly complicated structures. Make sure the product you purchase for your property meets ALL the eligibility guidelines prescribed to by the insurer or you could be denied coverage should you suffer a loss and it is determined the property did not fit the product purchased.

Buyer Beware

(see below and there are additional guidelines for eligibility beyond these. I show these to convey the complexity of insurance, not for you to have to understand just for your reference)

General Guidelines (Eligibility) for a Habitational BOP

Real and Personal Property must be insured to 100% replacement cost. Marshall and Swift/Boeckh Commercial Building Valuation System (BVS) will be considered in valuation of buildings. Deviation in values in excess of 10% compared to the BVS require documentation and verification. Valuation through BVS for single family dwellings is not available. Selection of the '0000-Single Family Dwelling' occupancy code in Express will refer the User to the Personal Lines Valuation tool for replacement cost verification.

All Habitational risks including subsidized housing program and other risks with unique exposures as detailed below will be written using the HAB BOP form and are subject to the following guidelines.

Buildings built prior to 1955 must have renovated plumbing, heating, wiring and roofing. This means that the roof, electrical, heating and plumbing systems have been duly maintained and regularly updated for the operations carried out in the building. Information regarding updates must accompany the application or be available upon request if submitted through eCLS.
Occupancy rate of at least 85% of living units in each building is required at policy inception and through the policy period for continued coverage. Existing accounts, which fall below the minimum requirement, may jeopardize the ongoing acceptability of the risk*.
Incidental occupancies (up to 25% of the total square footage) are permissible if the type of business would be eligible under other Farmer's Programs.
Incidental Restaurants (other than those with no cooking) are genera
lly not eligible, however under certain underwriting guidelines outlined below such exposures will be considered. Refer to Underwriting
Businesses must be located in protection class 1-8.
Risks must comply with state and federal laws and requirements.
Risk must furnish verifiable loss history from prior carrier reflecting an acceptable claims experience for the length of time in business or the last consecutive three years, whichever is less.

Buildings over six stories tall must have a fully operational automatic sprinkler system. Fire extinguishers and standpipe hoses must be located on each floor in accordance with NFPA standards.

In buildings of more than two stories, all vertical or horizontal openings(stairways, air conditioning systems, heating ducts, air and elevator shafts) must be protected.
All units and common areas must be equipped with working smoke detectors.

All life safety standards must be met:

Lighted exit signs on all exits.
Emergency lighting systems in exit halls and stairwells.
The maximum number of living units in a fire division is 24.
Management must offer tenants a reasonably secure environment.
Recreational facilities must be responsibly managed: (see specific rules for playgrounds)
Swimming pools must be fully enclosed with at least a 5' fenced, self-locking gate, and a non climbable fence (no chain link fence allowed).
No diving board or slides present.
All pools/spas must be equipped with an anti-entrapment device and/or system for drain cover as per the Pool Safety Act.

Link to more information on acceptable/non-acceptable pool drain covers: Drain Descriptions and symbols that indicate compliant drains: Symbols of Compliance
Must meet current code requirements.

*This guideline does not apply to timeshares and short term rentals.

Habitational Properties With Unique Exposures:

Listed below are accounts with unique exposures which will now be considered on a submit for approval basis to be written under the Habitational program with specific guidelines in addition to those stated above. Please contact the Underwriting Department for consideration.

Apartments and condominiums in buildings in excess of 7 stories. The following additional guidelines apply:

Current management should have a minimum three years experience with verified loss experience.
Property fully sprinklered, to include garbage chutes. Alarms both local and central which extends to all common areas and habitable units.
Self closing fire rated doors present at the end of each hall/stairwell.
Proof of fire divisions supported by the building blueprints, or pre quote loss control.
Filed, approved and posted evacuation plans.
Stand pipes on each floor
100% of all life safety measures and updated building codes are met.
All such properties are subject to PML calculations requirements.
Buildings constructed for occupancies other than Habitational and that were subsequently converted may be considered if:
The conversion process must be 100% complete.
All state building codes must be met for the current occupancy-type.
No future conversions in planning
Unusual or excessive hazards arising from the nature of the conversion may make the risk ineligible.
Note: Endorsement E6288 - Exclusion - Building Conversions applies to all Habitational policies and excludes coverage for certain damages arising out of a conversion project, as defined in the endorsement.
Apartments and Condominiums in buildings with mixed occupancy greater than 25%, including those with cooking facility restaurants, will be considered only if:
Buildings built to code in anticipation of a restaurant exposure.
Buildings are 10 years old and newer.
Restaurants must be eligible for Farmer's Restaurant program to be considered with the habitational exposure.
These exposures are subject to loss control verification of sufficient fire protection and adherence to codes requirements.
Buildings with exhaust venting through the center of the building are ineligible.

Condominiums complexes with marinas docks, or lake front properties. The following additional guidelines apply:

Policy developed premium threshold must be $10,000 or greater.
The Apartment owner, or HOA be named Additional Insured on the marina or golf course policy and a hold harmless agreement favoring the insured is on file.
Dock will be considered Specified Property.
Must be private dock or lake front accessed only from the property, and no public use.
CC&R's address liability and responsibility of usage of the dock.
The docks must be well lit and signs posted "for tenant use only; no trespassing, private property" must be posted and visible.
Docks must have a slip-resistent surface.
Boats are for private use only with no public access.
Boats are restricted to 26 feet long
The entire body of water is no wake zone.
No water skiing allowed.
No boat drivers under 14 years of age.

Apartment or condominium complexes with golf courses - The following additional guidelines apply:

These properties will be eligible as long as the HOA or the apartment owner is not part owner of or involved in any way in the operation of either the marina or the golf course or any facility associated with same.

The Apartment owner, or HOA be named as Additional Insured on the marina or golf course policy and a hold harmless agreement favoring the HOA is on file.

Time share, time share condominiums and single family rental homes in resort areas will be considered with the following restrictions:

The complex or units are managed by a property management company
Single family rental homes can be written on the habitational program with weekly rentals only. Shorter rentals could be considered in resort areas when managed by a property Management Company. Single family rental homes are subject to company placement by Predictive Model in Business Insurance Express; all other accounts not subject to Predictive Model will continue to be placed in FIE only.

Only risks located in resort communities or within city limits are eligible.
Risks located in heavily wooded areas or are not accessible by road year round are not eligible.
The following Guidelines apply to PUD's and Homeowners Associations:
Any association that has municipality type exposures is ineligible. By that we mean association that provides police, fire and water department type services.

Associations that insure all or none of the residential buildings are eligible. An association will not be eligible if some but not all of the residential buildings are on the master policy for property coverage for the residential structures.
If the CC&R in a PUD requires the association to insure all residential and common structures it will be written as a Condo, subject to all four unit owner coverage options (none, included, per unit, blanket).

If stores, restaurants, golf courses and/or marinas are part of the development, those must be separately insured and confirmed by a certificate of insurance provided by the association.
The same selection criteria used to underwrite a condominium (insurance to value, age, condition of the buildings, hazards such as lakes, golf courses) will be used to determine acceptability.

The rating base for liability is the total number of all residential units in the development regardless of whether the residential buildings are written.
D&O and Fidelity coverages can be written subject to the same rules that currently apply to Condominium exposure.

The Name Insured is always the Association as it holds title to the common properties and as such has an insurable interest in the common areas (buildings and contents), however, when the

CC&Rs obligates the association to maintain insurance on the individually owned structures the named insured should read:

"ABC Association and individual homeowners as their building property interests may appear"
Note: Underwriters should be aware that an order for Loss Control survey on a PUD should include comments as to particular buildings to be surveyed - such as clubhouse or pool restroom or all structures which are property owned and under the Association control.

10 Things You Should Know About Landlord Liability

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1. Injury Responsibility
A landlord is held responsible for an injury on the rented premises if it can be shown that the landlord or his agent was somehow negligent in maintaining the property, and that the negligence in doing so was the proximate cause of the injury.


2. Dangerous Conditions
Actual negligence need not, in most cases, be specifically proven. It’s sufficient for the plaintiff tenant to show that the landlord actually knew, or should have known, of a dangerous condition and, either failed to repair it, or to give adequate warning of its presence.


3. Inspect the Premises
To avoid, or at least minimize, the possibility of a lawsuit for negligence, a landlord, or his agent should inspect the premises from time to time, not just at the beginning and the end of the leasehold. Keep lists of complaints and the repairs that were made. Get tenants involved by encouraging them to report dangerous conditions, or security problems.


4. Other Perils
Most policies cover damages and losses from fires, rain, wind and hail storms, burglary, and acts of vandalism. Other perils, however, depending on the region, usually arenÕt covered. Losses from earthquakes and floods are the two most common. The policy should adequately cover the actual value of the building.


5. Liability Claims
Liability claims are usually covered by a comprehensive general liability policy, which includes the payment of damage awards, as well as attorney fees and costs incurred in defending against lawsuits. They are conditioned on the deductible amount and the policy limits.


6. Added Liability Concerns
A landlord should also be aware that lawsuits based on liability claims may arise from other sources than personal injuries. Claims based on the invasion of privacy have burgeoned in the Internet age, along with more traditional complaints. These include charges of libel (i.e., printed or broadcast statements, including e-mails) and slander (i.e., oral defamation of some kind). They also encompass claims for acts of discrimination, which are usually based on race or religious belief, and claims for unlawful or retaliatory evictions.


7. Vehicle Liability
Any and all vehicles used in the landlord’s business, including those of agents and employees, should also be covered by liability insurance. Even though a liability claim involving a traffic accident may have nothing to do with the landlord’s tenants, such an occurrence nonetheless exposes the landlord’s business to a liability claim, which in many cases can result in substantial damage awards.


8. Dogs and Critters
Dogs and other critters may also expose a landlord to liability. This largely explains why landlords frequently prohibit their tenants from keeping pets. The liability cannot be asserted simply for renting property to a dog owner, but, again on the “should have known” principle, if the landlord exercised some control over the dog, or “knew” the animal was potentially dangerous, he could be exposed to liability.


9. Security Issues
Although the common law imposed no duty on a landlord to protect tenants from criminal acts, modern law has evolved to the point that a landlord, under certain circumstances, may be responsible for the tenant’s security. Failure to adequately carry out that duty can expose him to liability. Landlords take on the responsibility for making sure the common areas — hallways, stairways, elevators, etc. — are kept in good condition and are reasonably safe from would be criminals. This frequently requires hiring security personnel and the installation of surveillance equipment.


10. Bad Behavior Tenants
A landlord also assumes some responsibility and potential liability, for the conduct of his tenants. If he knows of unlawful, obnoxious or other behavior that amounts to an ongoing nuisance, the landlord is required to take steps to protect other tenants, and indeed other people, who are affected by his tenant’s unreasonable conduct. This includes evicting the offender, if necessary.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Landlords, Legal Aid Needs Your Help, Donations Needed

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Legal aid needs help

Published 11:05pm Friday, November 18, 2011
Suffold News-Herald, Original article click here:

The Virginia Legal Aid Society is scrambling for money after budget conferees in Congress agreed to what they are calling a drastic cut to their funding.

The society, which has an office in Suffolk, would lose about 7 percent of its current budget from the cut.

“Seven percent doesn’t sound huge, but it comes on top of earlier state funding cuts,” said Beth Doyle, communications director for the legal aid society.

The society helps people with civil law problems, including such things as divorces, child support, child custody, evictions, foreclosures, safe housing rights, public housing access, landlord/tenant disputes, access to public benefits, illegal debt collections and more.

The budget conferees agreed to a 14.8-percent cut in funding for the Legal Services Corporation basic field grants for fiscal year 2012. That loss results in about $180,000 in funding slashed from Virginia Legal Aid Society.

The organization has offices in Suffolk, Emporia, Lynchburg, Farmville and Danville. Each one provides services to a large geographic area.

“A cut of this significance will greatly affect our ability to provide services to the thousands of low-income neighbors who come to us for help,” executive director David Neumeyer said. “Keeping up with the demand for our services is already a huge challenge, and now with this cut I’m afraid we’ll have to turn away even more people who have nowhere else to turn.”

During the fiscal year that ended in June, the Suffolk office helped 1,071 people. Nearly 40 percent of the cases involved family law.

“Everyone in our society should have access to our justice system, but that’s not the case when some people cannot afford it and some people can,” Neumeyer said. “Legal aid is what fills the gap when there’s nothing else.”

Neumeyer said the organization also relies on donations from individuals, foundations, the United Way and other sources, in addition to the federal government.

“This loss of funding will mean we cannot increase capacity and will need to start reducing staff size in 2012 if we do not bring in significant new income,” he said. “Private giving, like donations, foundations and United Ways, are the only hope we have of making up part of the loss, because government funding will not increase for the foreseeable future.”

Neumeyer said gifts of any size would be helpful.

“Every dollar helps,” he said. “Every time someone gives $20, there may be somebody else that’s giving $20, and pretty soon we can afford to take a case we couldn’t afford to take before.”

For more information on the Virginia Legal Aid Society or to donate, visit www.lawhelp.org/program/810.


Monday, November 21, 2011

The Return of Inspector Gadget...With the City

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYaFQqDmLno&feature=player_embedded

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Water Board, Crime Reports and Homeless Mecca of SW Virginia

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Some interesting stuff here:

Water Authority Board Seats:

The next upcoming vacancy for the Water Authority board will be in June 30, 2012. So this coming summer. The seats consist of 3 city representatives that serve 4 year terms of office. The pay is $250 a month.

To find out more contact Stephanie Moon, the City Clerk at 540-853-2541.


Great Website To Find Crime Data:
The city is logging all crime data and now you can punch in your address and a date range and select the types of crimes you want and then see if your tenants are being bad. You can also use this tool when getting ready to purchase property to get a visual on how much crime is happening in the block. It will give you a visualization on whether it is a good block in the hood or not.
http://www.facebook.com/rpdsafercity


SE Roanoke just may become the armpit of the city:
The Rescue Mission is now planning on adding an additional 200 beds to create a homeless mecca right at the main gateway to SE Roanoke. Here's a couple open letters I wrote to the City Council and SE Neighborhood Association presidents regarding this issue so you are aware of what is going on with Real Estate in SE Roanoke. The Roanoke Times has been supporting the Mission.


Letter One:


Hi Duane,

Well this is new news to me. I thought the Rescue Mission had an order that they could not expand anymore in our area because they have already turned our neighborhood into a homeless mecca.

The Rescue Mission is bussing in people from cities and counties from far away to make it appear that there is some big homeless problem. They are "creating" the homeless problem and the crime that is associated with it.

All businesses are essentially a non profit. We all try to spend all of our excess money at the end of the year so we can minimize the amount of taxes we have to pay. Non Profits are the new tool people use these days to their advantage to build extreme wealth. They way they get rid of money at the end of the year is by building new facilities and paying exorbitant salaries to their key people. For example, the non profit Carillion Hospital got rid of a big chunk of their profit by paying the past head honcho 2.2 million dollars per year.

The more people to care for in the Rescue Mission the more donations and grants from the tax payer they get. I don't have a problem with Joy wanting to hit the jackpot but I disagree with her doing it on the backs of the neighbors who are greatly effected by her wealth building objectives. There is no reason she can't build her wealth by spreading out the homeless facilities across the city.

Not sure if you have watched the movie Skid Row but it shows how Las Angeles made a huge mistake in their planning for the homeless which is now irreversible. They did this by locating all of their homeless services in the same area outside on the edge of the county and it has now become the mecca for the entire west coast. Whenever someone wants to drop out of life and just use drugs and alcohol while living on the street Skid Row is where they go. The vast majority of the people are there by choice and that is a fact that was proven by this movie. It has grown to a level that there are no more beds and they line the streets with tents.

Well, Roanoke City has decided to do this at the most important exit in the city, not on the outskirts like Las Angeles did which was a problem. We will have a problem to a much greater degree than they do. When a CEO comes to Roanoke and the first thing they see at our downtown exit is homeless people all over the place panhandling, the first thing they are going to think is the entire city must be like that. First impressions are very important. So their immediate decision will be to not relocate their company to Roanoke because they don't want to subject their employees to these kind of conditions. Which is understandable.

This is also a major problem for SE Roanoke as it boarders the main entrance to our community.  The entire SE quadrant of Roanoke City will significantly decrease in property value because no respectable person wants to drive through this type of thing on their way to their house.  I would like to see compensation directly from the Rescue Mission for the damage they have already caused to our property values.

This is something I am confident that our Mayor and City Councilmen will stop because I'm sure they are fully aware of the ramifications of locating all homeless services in one area. Skid Row is a prime example of a massive mistake made in doing this and there is no reason for Roanoke City to reinvent the wheel and do it again.

If you haven't seen the documentary Skid Row you can see it here for free:  http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/skid_row

Best regards,

Dallas


Letter Two:


To All,

Regarding Property Values In The Area Directly Surrounding The Mission.

I will give you an idea of what the mission has done to the neighborhood directly surrounding it just within the past few years.

I bought my house in 2008 for $4,935. 501 Bullitt ave. Tax Assessed value is 75K. Large Duplex

I bought the house next door in 2010 for 15K.  It sold in 1995 for 90K. 425 Bullitt. Very little rehab on this one to get it in nice shape.

I bought 321 Dale right across from the Womans Shelter. Huge 4,000 square foot triplex. I bought it for 10K.

My friend just bought the house next door to mine on the other side for 14K. 503 Bullitt. It last sold in 2010 for 103K.  He had NO rehab on this. Move in ready.

So we're basically down to this. If any homeowner in the neighborhood wants to move they can not. The high crime rates associated with the Mission has backed them into a corner. They are essentially stuck there because they can sell their house to an investor for 5 to 15K or they stay.  Most have mortgages significantly more than 5 to 15K.  Partially due to the economy and partially due to the Rescue Mission. My neighbors are all way underwater. Due to the downturn in the economy people can find some very nice affordable property in areas where they don't have to deal with the quality of life crimes that we have to deal with due to the Mission.

It is my personal opinion that our hill is one of the nicest locations in SE.  We have an outstanding view of the star and downtown Roanoke City. That's how I sell it to my tenants in hopes that they will overlook the 20 or so people hanging out and drinking on the corner on the way to the house. The beauty of our hill was what attracted people to purchase there and what brought me there as a resident. If it wasn't for the Rescue Mission our property values would be through the roof even in these hard economic times. Walking distance from the city and Elmwood park where all of the festivals are. Right next to 581 so it's a short commute to anywhere. The Roanoke Star is huge looking out of my window.

There is clearly an impact on our neighborhood that is a direct result of the Mission. We can not bear to take another hard hit by more beds being introduced. Otherwise my owner occupied neighbors are going to take a very hard hit and will be financially devastated. All of SE Roanoke property values will be impacted as well because as I said if we flood 200 more into the neighborhood it will really make it the homeless mecca that it is already becoming, no self respecting person will want to drive through these kind of conditions on their way to their house at the main gateway to SE Roanoke.

There is absolutely NO reason why the Mission should not be required via zoning regulations to spread out their facilities and locate beds in another part of the city. I understand that they want to increase the size of their business as that increases their salaries. However this should not be done in a manor where the entire SE quadrant of the city will have dramatically impacted property values. Not good for the residents of SE Roanoke and not good for the property tax values or city future revenues.

I am a landlord. It would be in my best financial interest for the prices in the neighborhood to continue to drop like a rock so I can buy every house on the hill and turn it into a rental. However it is hard to rent property that is in a slum area of town. I consider myself to be a Social Entrepreneur and feel that a city neighborhood is healthy when it is mixed with a diverse group of socioeconomic backgrounds. An area that has been pushed to become 100% rental property combined with over 600 homeless will be a very rough area and will isolate SE Roanoke from the rest of the city. It will also draw in a lower class of tenant that enjoys living in the bad area of town. Believe it or not there are many people like that. It's part of this "thug" mentality that people on the criminal path of life have. I don't like renting to people like that but am forced to do so when a neighborhood is in a stage of extreme depreciation. Environmental factors such as high quality of life crimes in a neighborhood prevent a landlord from finding quality tenants that will subject themselves to the daily drama that is associated with residing in an area such as this.

Lets all work together to come up with a good solution that works for everyone. As a fellow entrepreneur, I understand the desire of the Rescue Mission to grow their business. However Social Entrepreneurship also associates itself with the responsibility of doing this in a manor that will not negatively impact SE Roanoke any more than it already has.  So far I have not talked to a single person in all of South East Roanoke that supports this and I consider myself to be well connected in this part of town. The Roanoke Times supports the Missions decision but they are not representing 1/4th of the city. The slanted opinion of a couple writers should not be considered the general consensus. This is an issue that is real important to SE Roanoke and we hope that we have the cities support on this.

Best Regards,


Dallas

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shocking Video Unearthed Democrats in their own words Covering up the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Scam that caused our Economic Crisis

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Did you know that there are people out there that have the ability to actually hear and see video from politicians and will still deny they caused the problem? Pretty amazing!

Government Bails Them Out, Then Sues Them. I guess they don't realize that they are the real problem.

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FHFA Sues 17 Lenders

Posted by Carole VanSickle on Wednesday, September 7th 2011
   
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has filed suits against 17 financial institutions for selling government-controlled GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac around $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that later went south[1].

Word of the suit leaked early in the day last Friday, causing Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs stocks to fall 8.3 percent, 4.6 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively. The actual complaints were not filed until close of business on Friday and the FHFA is seeking billions of dollars in damages and returns[2].

Mike Mayo, a Crédit Agricole analyst, says that the lawsuit is likely to add to the “uncertainty that dogs the industry” and accuses the FHFA of treating banks as a “big piñata [to] the effect of delaying the housing recovery.

”The suit hinges on claims that MBS sold to Fannie and Freddie did not meet due diligence responsibilities under securities law and that the financial firms in the suit “failed to identify proof that borrowers’ incomes were overstated or fake.”

The toxic mortgages quickly plummeted in value as borrowers were unable to make payments. FHFA is suing, among others, Bank of America Corp, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JP Morgan & Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc, Deutsche Bank AG, Barclays PLC, Nomura Holdings Inc, Morgan Stanley, Ally Financial Inc, Credit Suisse Group Inc, First Horizon National Corp, General Electric Co, the HSBC North America Holdings unit of HSBC Holdings, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and Société Générale SA.

Bryan Ellis Real Estate Letter - FHFA Sues 17 Lenders

LexisNexis enhances tenant screening in expanding multifamily market

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by JUSTIN T. HILLEY

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011, 1:55 pm

As millions of Americans across the nation migrate from homeownership to rental housing, multifamily property sellers are gaining a new tool that could help landlords screen tenants.
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Wednesday launched a background screening tool that offers rental management companies access to real-time daily reports on potential and current residents living on their properties.

The tool allows customers of LexisNexis Resident Screening instant access to tailored, daily reports on their property portfolio’s performance against benchmarks from the millions of annual resident screening searches done by LexisNexis, allowing them to strengthen their resident business strategy and property portfolio.

"It does that right down the level of credit score, monthly income, landlord debt, eviction hits and also by offense type for criminals," said Kirsten Porter, Lexis Nexis Senior Director of Product Management. "We go right down to the very smallest level of detail that its possible to give benchmarks against."

The launch of the screening service arrives at a time when declining home values are causing millions of Americans to choose rental housing over homeownership.

In the year ending June 2011, the Census Bureau reported a net increase of 1.4 million households that moved into rental housing, a 4% rise in the number of tenant households.

Doug Bibby, president of the National Multi Housing Council President, said by 2025, singles and unrelated individuals living together will comprise 40% of households. By that time, families with children will make up only 20% households, down from 33% in 2000, he added.

"The U.S. is on the cusp of fundamental change in our housing dynamics as changing demographics and changing housing preferences drive more people away from the typical suburban house and toward the type of housing that rental housing offers," Bibby said.

The nation's homeownership rate fell to 66% in the second quarter, down from 66.4% in the first quarter and 66.9% in the second quarter a year earlier, according the the Census Bureau.

Each 1% decline in the homeownership rate represents a shift of one million households to rentals.
And lenders are taking notice.

Multifamily lenders increased financing for apartments containing five or more rental units by 31% in 2010, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a report earlier this month.

The number of renters swelled by 4 million from 2005 to 2010.

Write to Justin T. Hilley.
Follow him on Twitter @JustinHilley.

 Click to see their tenant screening website here:

New bill to include borrower energy costs in mortgage underwriting

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So now the government is blaming the housing crisis on the energy footprint of a house and not themselves. Trust thy loving government because they are always right. Borrow more and you wont get your house foreclosed on. LOL Interesting article below: 


Posted By JON PRIOR On October 19, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

A bill introduced Wednesday would force lenders to consider a borrower's expected energy costs when underwriting a government-backed mortgage.

Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Col.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) are the co-sponsors of the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy Act. If enacted, lenders for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration would have to take into account how much a borrower pays for electricity and gas when determining if he or she could meet the monthly mortgage payment.

Bennet and Isakson said the average homeowner spends more than $2,000 annually on energy costs, which is more than either real estate taxes or home insurance. The senators claim the legislation would clear borrowers to finance cost-effective home energy upgrades as part of the mortgage.

"The SAVE act would address this blind spot, giving a more complete picture of the costs of homeownership and borrowers’ capacity to service debt," according to a statement from the senators' office.

Tim Cornelison, a lender with United Community Bank in Blairsville, Ga., and a constituent of Isakson, couldn't believe policymakers would consider including such a hazy variable into an already tight underwriting process.

"The idea that utility costs are not factored into the decision process on a mortgage is a misconception and comparing energy costs to taxes and insurance is insane. If you own a home you must pay taxes and if you have a mortgage insurance coverage is required and specified by the lender. Energy consumption varies greatly from household to household in identical residences," Cornelison said.

The SAVE act is backed several industry and consumer groups including Ross Eisenberg, counsel on environment and energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Philip Henderson, the senior financial policy specialist at the Natural Resources Defense Council; and the Appraisal Institute.

"Energy conservation is important but enforcement through underwriting is impossible," Cornelison said. "An underwriter's job is to assess risk and they are not trained to measure energy efficiency. Local governments should establish and enforce conservation regulations through building standards and energy codes that are appropriate for their communities."

Henderson said refinances would be easy to underwrite, as the borrower would already have an energy pay history tied to that property. For existing home sales, the bill would compare energy bills from house to house, not borrower to borrower. "So the fact that different families in similar houses have different expenses isn’t a problem," he said.

Roughly 30% of new homes come with a home energy audit. The trick is understanding how a lender factors the energy audit and the estimate of expenses into the eligibility decisions.

"Enable the mortgage agencies to get a tight a handle on this. It will take some time, but other criteria such as credit scores took years to develop," Henderson said. "There's some question on how accurate it would be, so let's collect the data on this."

Henderson clarified the bill wasn't meant to inundate smaller lenders with more guesswork, especially when new regulations are already pushing more business to larger banks. Instead, he said he supported the bill because estimating energy costs are something Fannie, Freddie and the FHA could automate.

"The bill aims to have Fannie and Freddie do with energy expenses what they do with property taxes and insurance. They already do this. The question is why aren't they doing it with energy expenses," Henderson said.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Philly Landlord Finds People Imprisioned In His Properties Basement In A Disability Check Scam

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View more videos at: http://nbcphiladelphia.com.


See More About This Horrible Crime The Landlord Stumbled Upon Here

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Water Authority Can Not Give Your Property A Lien Without First Obtaining A Judgement On The Tenant Then A Garnishment On Them, Know Your Rights!!!

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CHAPTER 580 An Act to amend and reenact �� 15.2-2119 and 15.2-5139 of the Code of Virginia, relating to liens for water and waste services. [H 2425] Approved March 25, 2011

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  That �� 15.2-2119 and 15.2-5139 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:

� 15.2-2119. Fees and charges for water and sewer services.

For water and sewer service services provided by localities, fees and charges may be charged to and collected from: (i) any person contracting for the same; (ii) the owner, lessee or tenant, or some or all of them who use or occupy any real estate (a) which directly or indirectly is or has been connected with the sewage disposal system and (b) from or on which sewage or industrial wastes originate or have originated and have directly or indirectly entered or will enter the sewage disposal system; or (iii) any user of a municipality's water or sewer system with respect to combined sanitary and storm water sewer systems where the user is a resident of the municipality and the purpose of any such fee or charge is related to the control of combined sewer overflow discharges from such systems. Such fees and charges shall be practicable and equitable and payable as directed by the respective locality operating or providing for the operation of the water or sewer system.

Such fees and charges, being in the nature of use or service charges, shall, as nearly as the governing body deems practicable and equitable, be uniform for the same type, class and amount of use or service of the sewage disposal system, and may be based or computed either on the consumption of water on or in connection with the real estate, making due allowances for commercial use of water, or on the number and kind of water outlets on or in connection with the real estate or on the number and kind of plumbing or sewage fixtures or facilities on or in connection with the real estate or on the number or average number of persons residing or working on or otherwise connected or identified with the real estate or any other factors determining the type, class and amount of use or service of the sewage disposal system, or any combination of such factors, or on such other basis as the governing body may determine. Such fees and charges shall be due and payable at such time as the governing body may determine, and the governing body may require the same to be paid in advance for periods of not more than six months. The revenue derived from any or all of such fees and charges is hereby declared to be revenue of such sewage disposal system.

Water and sewer connection fees established by any locality shall be fair and reasonable. Such fees shall be reviewed by the locality periodically and shall be adjusted, if necessary, to assure that they continue to be fair and reasonable. Nothing herein shall affect existing contracts with bondholders which are in conflict with any of the foregoing provisions.

If the fees and charges charged for the use and services of the sewage disposal system by or in connection with any real estate are not paid when due, a penalty and interest shall at that time be owed as provided for by general law, and the owner, lessee or tenant, as the case may be, of such real estate shall, until such fees and charges are paid with such penalty and interest to the date of payment, cease to dispose of sewage or industrial waste originating from or on such real estate by discharge thereof directly or indirectly into the sewage disposal system. If such owner, lessee or tenant does not cease such disposal within two months thereafter, the locality or person supplying water for the use of such real estate shall cease supplying water thereto unless the health officers certify that shutting off the water will endanger the health of the occupants of the premises or the health of others.

Such fees and charges, and any penalty and interest thereon shall constitute a lien against the property, ranking on a parity with liens for unpaid taxes. However, prior to recording a lien against the property owner, the locality or service authority shall obtain a judgment in a court of competent jurisdiction against the lessee or former tenant who contracted for such services for the amount of any delinquencies. After obtaining judgment against the lessee or former tenant as contracting party and using reasonable efforts to collect on the judgment, if the locality or service authority is unable to collect the balance due on the money judgment, the locality or service authority shall provide the property owner with 30 days days' written notification to allow the property owner a reasonable opportunity to pay the amount of the lien and avoid the recordation of a lien against the property. If the property owner fails to pay the amount of the outstanding judgment within the 30-day period, the locality or the service authority may record a lien in the amount of the outstanding judgment against the property owner. Upon payment of the outstanding judgment, or any portion thereof, or of any amounts of such fees and charges owed by the former tenant but for which judgment has not been obtained, the property owner shall be entitled to receive any refunds and shall be subrogated against the lessee or former tenant in place of the locality or the service authority in the amount paid by the property owner. The locality or service authority shall execute all documents necessary to perfect such subrogation in favor of the property owner. Such amounts, plus reasonable attorney's or collection agency's fees which shall not exceed 20 percent of the delinquent tax bill, may be recovered by the locality by action at law or suit in equity. In any city with a population greater than 390,000, such fees and charges, along with delinquent water and sewer connection fees, and any penalty and interest thereon shall constitute a lien against the property, ranking on a parity with liens for unpaid taxes. Such amounts, plus reasonable attorney's or collection agency's fees which shall not exceed 20 percent of the delinquent fee or charge, may be recovered by such city by action at law or suit in equity. Unless a lien has been recorded against the property owner, the locality or service authority shall not deny service to a new tenant who is requesting service at a particular property address based upon the fact that a former tenant has not paid any outstanding fees and charges charged for the use and services in the name of the former previous tenant. In addition, the locality or service authority shall provide information relative to a former tenant or current tenant to the property owner upon request of the property owner. If the property owner provides the locality a request to be notified of a tenant's delinquent water bill and provides an email address, the locality shall send the property owner notice when a tenant's water bill has become 15 days delinquent.

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, any town with a population between 11,000 and 14,000, with the concurrence of the affected county, which provides and operates sewer services outside its boundaries may provide sewer services to industrial and commercial users outside its boundaries and collect such compensation therefor as may be contracted for between the town and such user. Such town shall not thereby be obligated to provide sewer services to any other users outside its boundaries.

� 15.2-5139. Lien for charges.

A. There shall be a lien upon real estate for the amount of any fees, rents or other charges by an authority to the owner or lessee or tenant of the real estate for the use and services of any system of the authority by or in connection with the real estate from the time when the fees, rents or charges are due, and for the interest which may accrue thereon. Such lien shall be superior to the interest of any owner, lessee or tenant of the real estate and rank on a parity with liens for unpaid real estate taxes. An authority may contract with a locality to collect amounts due on properly recorded utility liens in the same manner as unpaid real estate taxes due the locality. A lien for delinquent rates or charges applicable to three or fewer months may be placed by an authority if the authority or its billing and collection agent (i) has advised the owner of such real estate at the time of initiating service to a lessee or tenant of such real estate that a lien will be placed on the real estate if the lessee or tenant fails to pay any fees, rents or other charges when due for services rendered to the lessee or tenant; (ii) has mailed to the owner of the real estate a duplicate copy of the final bill rendered to the lessee or tenant at the time of rendering the final bill to such lessee or tenant; and (iii) employs the same collection efforts and practices to collect amounts due the authority from a lessee or a tenant as are employed with respect to collection of such amounts due from customers who are owners of the real estate for which service is provided.

However, prior to recording any lien on the owner�s property, the authority shall provide the property owner with 30 days' written notification to allow the property owner a reasonable opportunity to pay the amount of the lien and avoid the recordation of a lien against the property. If the property owner fails to pay the amount of the former tenant�s obligations within the 30-day period, the authority may record a lien in the amount of such outstanding obligations against the property owner. Upon payment of any outstanding amounts due by a former tenant of the property owner, the property owner shall be entitled to receive any refunds and shall be subrogated against the former tenant in place of the authority in the amount paid by the property owner. The authority shall execute all documents necessary to perfect such subrogation in favor of the property owner. Unless a lien has been recorded against the property owner, the authority shall not deny service to a new tenant requesting service at a particular property address based upon the fact that a former tenant has not paid any outstanding fees and charges charged for the use and services in the name of the former tenant. In addition, the authority shall provide information relative to a former tenant or current tenant to the property owner upon request of the property owner with the written notification to the property owner as otherwise provided herein. If the property owner provides the authority a request to be notified of a tenant's delinquent water bill and provides an email address, the authority shall send the property owner notice when a tenant's water bill has become 15 days delinquent.

B. The lien shall not bind or affect a subsequent bona fide purchaser of the real estate for valuable consideration without actual notice of the lien until the amount of such fees, rents and charges is entered in a judgment lien book in the office where deeds may be recorded in the locality in which the real estate or a part thereof is located. The clerk in whose office deeds may be recorded shall make and index the entries therein upon certification by the authority, for which he shall be entitled to a fee of two dollars per entry, to be paid by the authority and added to the amount of the lien. The authority shall give the owner of the real estate notice in writing that it has made such certification to the clerk.

C. The lien on any real estate may be discharged by the payment to the authority of the total lien amount, and the interest which has accrued to the date of the payment. The authority shall deliver a certificate thereof to the person making the payment. Upon presentation of such certificate, the clerk having the record of the lien shall mark the entry of the lien satisfied, for which he shall be entitled to a fee of one dollar.

Rehab A Dump With Tax Payer Money And Flip It

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Looking for a way to flip properties and use Federal money to do it? Here's how it's done. First you start a non profit. We all know that non profits are not really that. All businesses are essentially non profit as we all spend our money at the end of the year so we don't get nailed hard on taxes. The way non profits do it is by acquiring property or paying large salaries to their top people. The last head honcho of Carillion non profit hospital for example got paid 2.2 million dollars a year. Non profits are the new scam. That's why I'm not involved in them because it breaks my morals and values but this is what you do.

Set up your non profit and apply for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grants available through Hud. Click Here.

HUD will give money to States, Local governments, and non profits on a competitive basis. You can compete directly with the local and state governments for this money. However you don't necessarily have to as they give money that they get to non profits to do these kinds of rehab projects in blighted areas. 

But it's looking like Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants and the very large Community Development Block Grant is on the chopping block right now and may not last that much longer.

Programs target empty houses


PETERSBURG - One house on Varina Avenue in Walnut Hill has come out of foreclosure, thanks to the efforts of a local nonprofit agency working through a three-year-old federal program.

Michelle Christian, a Lawrenceville native who needed to move to Petersburg to be closer to her job at Kraft Foods in Richmond, is the new owner, and she couldn't be happier.

"I love this house," she said late last month at an open house held by the organization that made it all possible, Pathways-Va. Inc.

The nonprofit economic development group, headquartered on West Washington Street, bought the house out of foreclosure and rehabilitated it with part of a grant it received under the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Administered in Virginia by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, the NSP program was created in 2008 to help alleviate the effects of a surge in foreclosures that came in the wake of a national banking crisis and economic recession. That wave of foreclosures threatened to swamp cities like Petersburg that were already up to their necks in vacant and abandoned housing.

Michael Watts, Pathways' director of real estate, said his organization has four more houses it's working on rehabilitating for resale under the NSP. Tri-Cities Habitat for Humanity is working on another 12, he said.

It can be an expensive process - the homes must be fully weatherized, in some cases the heating and air conditioning must be replaced, and they must be equipped with EnergyStar-compliant appliances.

The program also stipulates that the homes must be sold as affordable housing, and buyers must meet specific income and creditworthiness standards.

Christian learned about NSP through a first-time homebuyer class she attended, given by Virginia Affordable Housing. Among the program's attractions for her, she said, is the fact that it paid her down payment and closing costs.

Getting one house sold and owner-occupied is a small enough victory in a city like Petersburg, where more than 16 percent of all residential housing units were vacant last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures.

But it's something residents should celebrate, considering the problems that vacant and abandoned homes can create for their neighbors and for a city as a whole.

For example, a study in Austin, Texas, found that blocks with vacant buildings had more than three times as many drug-related calls to police as blocks without vacant buildings, and twice as many violent-crime-related calls.

In addition, abandoned properties lower the value of adjoining homes and keep a lid on the money a city can collect in real estate taxes. That pressure on revenue, in turn, makes it harder for the locality to pay for vital services such as police, fire, street maintenance and schools, and can lead to a self-reinforcing downward spiral.

Enforcing housing codes is one way of trying to prevent vacant homes from deteriorating into eyesores that hurt the whole neighborhood. Petersburg has been aggressive on this front, inspecting nearly 6,400 buildings last year and issuing more than 5,400 notices of violation; 4,100 of the violations were corrected and 45 cases were taken to court.

Finding buyers who are able and willing to make an abandoned property livable again, and who want to move in and keep it that way, is an ideal way to deal with the problem. But it's also a limited strategy, because in many cases the potential value of a blighted house is just not enough to justify the cost of rehabilitating it.

As many cities across the country are finding, sometimes the best way of lowering a high vacancy rate is just to knock down a lot of the empty houses.

Some states have passed laws enabling localities or groups of communities to set up "land banks," which can pool resources to acquire vacant homes and then rehab them for resale or demolish them and package the land for new development.

Virginia doesn't have a land bank law, but Petersburg has taken a similar approach on its own for several years, buying up vacant houses when it could and acquiring others through tax foreclosures - though the latter method can be complicated if the home is owned by an out-of-state landlord or tied up in litigation.

City spokeswoman Joanne Williams noted that City Council is preparing to hold a public hearing on a plan to sell a package of real estate comprising about 30 parcels - mainly on Gressett, Mistletoe and Porterville streets. The package includes some empty lots and some vacant houses. Williams said the properties will be sold with conditions imposed to prevent them from falling back into neglect.

However, every way of trying to reduce the number of vacant homes in a city eventually comes down to one thing: money. With local tax revenue pressured by low and declining home values, help from the state and federal governments is increasingly vital - and also, because of budgetary pressures, increasingly at risk.

For example, under the NSP that helped Christian buy her home, Pathways has been awarded nearly $800,000 in grants. Statewide, about $46 million has been allocated, and nationally about $3.9 billion.
But a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in March and awaiting action in the Senate, the NSP Termination Act, would do exactly what its name says: terminate the program and put any unallocated funds back into the government's general fund. At the time the House of Representatives passed the bill in March, the unspent funds amounted to about $1 billion, including about $6.3 million targeted for Virginia.

Seventh District U.S. Rep. Eric I. Cantor, R-Richmond, and Fourth District U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake, both voted with the Republican majority in favor of the bill, which passed on a party line vote of 242-182. It was then sent to the Senate, where it's still sitting in a committee.

To put it in some kind of perspective, the $1 billion that would be regained by killing the whole program would be enough to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for a little more than three days, based on Department of Defense budget figures.

Another federal program, the longstanding and widely used Community Development Block Grant program, has provided local governments and nonprofits with funding that can be used, among other things, to tackle blighted housing. That program, too, has been targeted for elimination by deficit hawks.

Pathways' Watts said the NSP "is a great incentive to get some foreclosed houses off the market and get some renters into homeownership."

Doing that, he said, creates "tax enhancement benefits, neighborhood benefits, family benefits."
Elimination of the NSP, Watts said, would set back efforts to reduce the city's housing problem.

"Without it, I'm not sure what it is going to take to reenergize the home market in Petersburg," he said.

- Michael Buettner may be reached at 722-5155 or mbuettner@progress-index.com.

 

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