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Handover of Control Calms House Republicans

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One of those characteristics of the United States’ experiment with democracy that we tout as a shining example for the rest of the world is the peaceful transfer of power. The fact that every four (or eight) years a new President takes office via the voting booth and not by the tip of a sword or barrel of a gun is pretty amazing. Similarly impressive was the handover of control of the House Republican caucus (and by extension, the House of Representatives itself) last month. Due in large part to the fact that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was willing to take the job of Speaker, a potentially divisive vote within the caucus was avoided. He truly was “the one” who could unite the caucus and put a pin in the intraparty squabbling which dominated for the past several months. Now, let’s see how long he can maintain it.

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December 2017

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Sometimes it is nice to just connect with others to help out in a pinch. This is just what AACSC did in light of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Florida. I must begin by thanking a very special member, Bonnie Stern, and Steve Shaw, who is a Board Member and Rotarian. Bonnie’s idea was born at the library, who said that even reading something to take your mind off of the devastation can be a good thing. She could not be more correct and now boxes and boxes of books, many for children, are headed to a new home. Thank you Bonnie, Steve and the Rotarians for helping us connect. And a BIG thank you to Sylvia Hopper from Friends of Signal Hill Library for the offer—it is a great way to give back.

As we end the year, this is also the best time to talk about how you are going to approach 2018. What are your goals, what NEW things do you want to achieve and how will you be a better owner, manager or supervisor at the end of 2018 than you are today? Moving forward in your career takes time and thought. I love a good journey, but I have always had in mind the direction I want to go. As the Cheshire Cat said, “If you don’t know which way you want to go, then it doesn’t much matter which road you take.” Well said, but you are still following a path—the question now is “to where”?

One determining factor to consider is this: do you want to attend live classes or do you want to take online classes? This is where our NAA Visto Courses can help you even when you cannot attend a live course. In fact, I mention this now because you can receive 20 percent off of online courses when you go to www.GoWithVisto.org. Use the code AFF20 to get your 20 percent discount. Buy one course or buy in bulk and start enhancing your career today. The offer can also be found in the NAA Units magazine.

But the final entry to this year is unfortunately not ending with a bang, that is, unless the words Rent Control are being uttered. We don’t know how this will end but we do know that this is not in the best interest of our tenants. Too bad that the tenant groups are sending an uninformed message. So it is up to us to make sure that our tenants know that a rent control ordinance will not help them but will do just the opposite. It is our responsibility as multi-family owners to protect our industry. NOW is the time to get involved, to support this industry — YOUR industry, YOUR investment and YOUR retirement. 2018 will be a year in which our industry will correctly inform and educate about the realities of and the cost of rent control. My wish for 2018 is that we bring EVERY OWNER to the table to fight this fight. It is not for others to do, but for each of us to contribute to the industry we love.

I wish you peace for the holidays, safety for your loved ones in their travels and the spirit of grace and understanding for those who are not as fortunate.

A Thanksgiving

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Over the years, I’ve seen Thanksgiving celebrated in a number of different ways. The Thanksgiving holiday was pretty traditional at our house when I was growing up. My parents or my aunt and uncle would host dinner, and between our two families plus grandparents, it was a pretty full house.

The dynamics changed when all the kids started to get married. There were new faces at dinner, and along with them came new foods and traditions. Things changed even further when friends joined and the meaning of Thanksgiving expanded beyond our close knit family. It also expanded past being just about the traditional meal and a nice visit when some friends would stop by after they had been to the local homeless mission to serve Thanksgiving dinner to people who were struggling in ways that we never had to.

I’ve come to see Thanksgiving as all of these things. It gives everyone a chance to give thanks for all that they have, whether it’s family, friends or food. It also gives us all a chance to give thanks by extending our hands to others.

Can we embrace this idea of being generous and giving to others as land lords? I think so. I think it’s just as important for us to be generous business people as it is for any local business. In fact, we have the opportunity to make our giving more personal than most businesses, if we direct our efforts toward our tenants.

However you choose to do it, I think you’re doing a wonderful thing any time you make the effort to give back to your community. That’s a tradition we should never change. To me, the Thanksgiving holiday is the low-stress holiday. It’s a day about family, friends and community with minimal commercialism. It’s my favorite holiday.

Floodgates

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About the same time that floodgates and emergency spillways were attempting to corral an abundance of water at the Oroville Dam and the Don Pedro Reservoir, the Capitol was inundated with a flood of a different kind—legislative proposals introduced en mass to beat the self-imposed deadline for bill introductions. Imagine, over 850 bills of all different stripes in the last day alone. What a way to celebrate a Presidents’ Day weekend!

Your legislative team has identified for close scrutiny and ongoing monitoring about 150 bills of the roughly 2,600 bills introduced this year. As usual, some of these bills have a direct effect on the ownership and management of residential rental property while others are more inclusive in scope. This column will report from time to time, in brief or in depth, on the more significant bills affecting the apartment industry. We start the discussion here with several of the most outrageous bills noted to date.

AB 1506 (Bloom)
would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, a decade-in-the-making measure to place restrictions on local government’s ability to enforce overly restrictive rent control ordinances. The Act was designed to curb the excesses of early Berkeley and Santa Monica styled rent control ordinances, exempted all new construction and single-family homes, among other provisions. Its repeal would devastate the housing industry because it would allow local governments to adopt restrictive and punitive forms of rent control.

AB 1505 (Bloom) would authorize local ordinances to require, as a condition of development of residential rental housing units, that the development include a certain percentage of units affordable to, and occupied by, households that do not exceed the income limits for moderate income, lower income, very low income, or extremely low income households as specified by certain cited sections of the Health and Safety Code.

AB 982 (Bloom) would amend the Ellis Act, regulating the permissible limits on local governments’ authority to regulate the ability of a rental property owner to go out of business, to require a minimum one-year notice to all residents as opposed to seniors and the disabled who must receive a notice at least one year in advance of the landlord going out of business.

AB 1585 (Bloom)
would establish in each local jurisdiction a new layer of regional zoning approval for certain affordable housing projects that meet specified standards relating to local housing needs and fast track a comprehensive permit approval process that includes public hearings and appeal to the State Department of Housing and Community Development.

SB 277 (Bradford), similar to AB 1505 (Bloom), would authorize local governments to require inclusionary housing affordability standards for all new developments. AB 915 (Ting) and AB 932 (Ting) also relate to similar local government housing affordability mandates in all new developments.

AB 199 (Chu) would require all private residential projects built on private property pursuant to an agreement with the State or a political subdivision to meet the requirements of projects that are defined as “public works” under existing law, thus imposing payment of prevailing wages or PLA agreements on these private projects.

AB 1667 (Friedman) would require urban water suppliers to install separate dedicated landscape water meters on all existing service connections for industrial, commercial and residential property, requiring massive retrofit replumbing, with varied completion dates depending upon the nature of the structural improvement on the property and the square footage of irrigated landscapes.

AB 291 (Chiu) contains several separate and detailed provisions relating to various prohibitions in the landlord-tenant relationship regarding the known or perceived immigration or citizenship status of a tenant or occupant. Among other provisions, it would create a tenant’s cause of action for damages in the amount of six times the monthly rent for unauthorized disclosure of such information and provide affirmative defenses in UD cases.

AB 1242 (Grayson)
would require an owner or agent of residential rental property having 16 or more units to reside at the property or within five miles of the property. It also would require written disclosure to every tenant by February 1, 2018, the name, telephone number and email address of the property owner or agent.

Much more about these significant bills of interest will be discussed in greater detail as they progress through the committee process in this legislative session. Turning attention to other bills of interest, we note in passing that our jointly sponsored bill on immigration described in February’s column, AB 299 (Calderon), conflicts in several meaningful ways with AB 291 (Chiu) mentioned above. Some other measures in no particular order of attention include the following.

AB 62 (Wood) would require all public housing agencies to implement a policy by July 30, 2018, to prohibit the smoking of tobacco products in all public housing living units, interior areas, and outdoor areas within 25 feet of the units except in designated smoking areas.

AB 1569 (Caballero) would provide a detailed process to be followed by landlords and tenants for dealing with ADA accommodation of animals on the rental property where the disability or the disability related need for the animal is not apparent. It provides a step-by-step interactive procedure to validate important criteria.

SB 2 (Atkins) would create a separate fund in the State Treasury for support of affordable housing development by imposition of a $75 fee on the recording of every real estate instrument, paper or notice required or permitted to be recorded, not to exceed a total of $225 per single transaction.

SB 3 (Beall) would authorize the issuance of $3 Billion in bonds to be used for financing various existing housing programs as well as infill infrastructure financing and matching grant programs.

ACA 4 (Aguiar-Curry) would lower from 2/3 to 55 percent the vote required to authorize general obligation bonds to fund the con struction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of public infrastructure or affordable housing projects, if the proposition proposing that bond includes specified accountability requirements.

Stay tuned for updates on all of these and other bills of interest.

Multi-Family Rehab Loan Program

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The City of Long Beach offers 0% interest loans to qualified owners of multi-family rental properties consisting of five or more units located within the City.

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