Info On The Go Ep 21: One Good Hack

Posted on October 9, 2019 at 12:26 pm
Dietric Williams | Posted in Uncategorized |

Info On The Go Ep 20: Avoid These 3 Stressors

Posted on October 2, 2019 at 11:07 am
Dietric Williams | Posted in Uncategorized |

Unpacking Assembly Bill 1482: How CA’s Rent Control Law Would Work

Within the next few weeks, the governor is expected to enact rent control in California by signing Assembly Bill 1482.

That means the state would begin to regulate how much your rent can increase every year, limiting it to 5 percent, plus the local rate of inflation. Once signed, the measure would take effect January 1 and expire in 2030 (unless lawmakers vote to extend it).

“AB 1482 puts teeth in tenant protections without taking an unreasonable bite from property owners,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) said in a statement earlier this month, when the Legislature approved AB 1482. “This moves us forward in battling escalating housing costs.”

The deadline for the Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature is October 13. He has said he will sign it.

The legislation is called a “rent cap” bill—not a rent control bill. Its author, Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), has said the legislation is only designed to prevent the steepest rent hikes as California wrestles with high housing costs and a homeless crisis.

But it effectively is rent control. One reason Chiu and the bill’s supporters might not use that term is because rent control is not broadly popular, including among many economists, who say it can make problems worse for renters in the long run by discouraging landlords to get out of the rental business.

As researchers at UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation cautioned in a July report, “guarding against excessive rent increases alone is not enough to address California’s housing crisis.” They ultimately concluded that AB 1482 could help protect tenants from extreme rent increases, but they also encouraged lawmakers to come up with policies that would preserve affordable housing—and encourage builders to produce more of it.

In the end, they say the positive impacts of AB 1482 will hinge on public awareness of the new rules and effective enforcement. To that end, a breakdown of how the law would work is below.

Would my apartment be rent-controlled?

That depends on where you live. If you reside in a city that does not already have a local rent control law and your rental is at least 15 years old, the answer is most likely “yes.”

The state law would exempt buildings constructed in the last 15 years. That’s a rolling date, meaning units built in 2006 would be covered in 2021, units built in 2007 would be covered in 2022, and so on.

What types of buildings would be impacted?

Rent control would be applied mostly to apartments and other multi-families buildings—with some exceptions—along with some single-family homes.

Condos and single-family homes would be exempt, unless owned by a corporation or real estate investment trust. Duplexes where the owner lives in one of the units would also be exempt.

How much would my rent go up?

If you live in a city that does not already have a local rent control law, rent increases would be limited to 5 percent, plus local inflation, but could never exceed a total of 10 percent.

For example, if you’re renting in Redondo Beach, which does not have its own local rent control law, and you pay $1,550 per month for rent, and Los Angeles County metropolitan area’s inflation rate is 3.8 percent, your landlord could raise your rent as much as 8.8 percent, a monthly increase of $136.40.

To help tenants whose landlords might have gone on a rent hiking binge in anticipation of AB 1482 passing, the law would be retroactive to March 15, 2019. Whatever amount you paid as of that date is that amount by which the increase would be based.

How much is inflation?

The rate of inflation will be tied to the Consumer Price Index in each metropolitan area. In Los Angeles County, it averaged 2.5 percent from 2001 to 2018.

Which communities have local rent control laws?

In Los Angeles County, the cities of Santa MonicaWest HollywoodBeverly HillsCulver CityInglewood, the city of Los Angeles, and unincorporated neighborhoods of Los Angeles County have local rent control laws.

What if I live in a city that already has rent control?

For the most part, the rules would not change. AB 1482 would not override local rent control laws. However, it would cover units that are not already covered by local rent control laws.

For example, in the city of Los Angeles, the local rent control law only applies to buildings constructed before 1978. Several hundred thousand newer units that opened in the nearly three decades from 1978 to 2005 would be covered under AB 1482.

So, in the city of Los Angeles, if you live in a building that opened before 1978, your rent would be capped under the provisions of the city’s law (it’s 4 percent this year.) If you live in a building that opened after 1978 and is at least 15 years old, your rent would be capped at 5 percent, plus inflation.

What else is in the bill?

Equally as important as the rent cap, renter advocates say, is a provision that would require landlords to show “just cause”—such as failure to pay rent—when evicting tenants. That would end the ability that landlords have now, in most parts of the state, according to CalMatters, to evict tenants without giving an explicit reason.

For tenants who have lived at the property for at least one year, landlords would have to give the renter the opportunity to “cure” the violation. Other examples of just cause include violating the terms of a lease and committing a crime on the property.

If a landlord wants to convert the rentals to condos or “substantially” remodel the property, they would have to pay relocation fees equal to one month of rent.

These rules would not apply to cities with their own local just cause laws, including Santa Monica and Glendale.

Posted on September 26, 2019 at 11:12 am
Dietric Williams | Posted in Education, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Video Doorbells and Privacy: Maintaining a Balance

Advancing technology has played a large part in improving home security in recent years. This is due, in part, to the rising popularity of the Internet of Things, or IoT; these “Things” are devices that connect via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or other wireless networks to perform various functions without the need to be hard-wired or attached to a computer. Security-focused IoT devices include things like window monitors, smart door locks and video doorbells – even security lighting.

While these devices provide a number of benefits, including remote monitoring and automation features, some have their drawbacks, as well. Video doorbells, in particular, are being called out over potential privacy concerns. If you’ve been thinking of getting a video doorbell, here are a few things that you should consider, to ensure a good balance between your home security and your neighbors’ privacy.

How to Video Doorbells Work?

Video doorbells use motion detectors to sense when there is someone around the area where the doorbell is installed. This activates the camera, even before the doorbell itself is rung. The process is automatic; many mistakenly believe that the video feed from the devices have to be activated through interaction with the doorbell, but that isn’t the case. Depending on the model and how it’s being used, the visitor who activated the doorbell is either recorded or the video stream is sent live to an associated app. In some cases, video is both streamed and recorded for later review.

What Privacy Concerns Exist?

One of the big privacy concerns comes from what some users are doing with the video recorded by their doorbells. While the recordings are intended for security purposes, some owners choose to upload the videos (or still images from those videos) to websites where others can see exactly who has been visiting their house. Typically, this is done with the purpose of mocking the visitors without their knowledge or consent. In some cases, they may not even realize that they’re being recorded.

Even without sharing the videos, some video doorbells record a large enough area that they also record portions of neighbors’ properties when activated. This creates a similar concern to the installation of standard security cameras that might target a neighbor’s property. This could cause significant privacy problems if too much of the neighbor’s property is visible and may even open the owner up to action based on the claim that they are recording what the neighbor is doing.

On top of this, some video doorbell owners are also becoming increasingly nervous about their devices as the video doorbell manufacturer Ring has partnered with law enforcement agencies in some areas. While the police do not have unrestricted access to video feeds, they can send out messages requesting images or footage from doorbell owners in the area where a crime was committed. Though the request is voluntary, it has still led to unease among users who don’t want their devices used for neighborhood surveillance purposes.

Privacy-Related Restrictions

As a result of these concerns, some homeowners’ associations and local ordinances have targeted video doorbells. In some cases, they aren’t allowed at all, while in others, only certain brands can be installed, which are known to have a narrow focus. A failure to abide by these restrictions can lead to tickets, action by the homeowners’ association and in some cases, even legal action or eviction.

Finding a Balance

Finding a balance between home security and the privacy rights of your neighbors isn’t always easy. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for compromise, however. There are professionals who can help you find the right video doorbell to meet your needs without sacrificing your neighbor’s rights to stay private. If you need assistance to help guide you, contact me so that I can match you with a security-minded pro who can help you find the perfect device to achieve that privacy/security balance.

Posted on September 26, 2019 at 10:55 am
Dietric Williams | Posted in Education, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Is The R22 Phase Out?

The HVAC industry is bracing for the planned phase out of Freon (R22) for commercial HVAC units. Many customers are still unaware of the phase out or are unclear about how it will affect them. The more you know about what is going to happen with R22, the better you will be able to prepare for what needs to happen with your aging R22-dependent systems.

R22 Phase Out Timeline

R22 is being phased out worldwide because of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set January 1, 2020 as the date when R22 becomes illegal in the United States.

After that date, R22 cannot be manufactured in the U.S. and it cannot be imported. R22 still in use in commercial HVAC systems will not be affected.

What Does the R22 Phase Out Mean for Maintenance and Repairs?

The R22 phase out date means that after January 1, 2020, HVAC systems that use R22 will be obsolete. If the repair requires adding R22 refrigerant to the system, the only options will be reclaimed and previously-produced R22 refrigerant.

While some simple electrical repairs do not require recharging the refrigerant, most service calls do require a refrigerant recharge.

HVAC system owners that have leaky systems and that have been periodically injecting new R22 into the system will be forced to replace their system.

In the lead up to 2020, R22 can still be used in repairs and maintenance. But, the supplies of R22 are already shrinking. The closer it gets to 2020, the smaller the global supply of R22 will be available. This will lead to the costs of the refrigerant to soar—making certain once routine repairs cost prohibitive.

Advising R22 System Owners

Obviously, it is not wise to install a system now that uses R22. But, what about customers who already own R22-dependent systems?

These customers can continue to use their systems after January 1, 2020 and get as much useful life as possible out of their systems, until they need a repair. But, this course of action means they may be forced to make an emergency HVAC system replacement which will be much more expensive than a well-planned HVAC system update. For most HVAC owners, this is indeed a gamble.

Some R22 units may be able to be converted to use a different refrigerant. However, many conversions may only buy the customers a few more years of useful life. The numbers for many system owners will not favor retrofitting.

The best option, but the one most customers dread, is replacing their system before 2020. This gives them the most reliability and cost predictability.

The Advantages of Converting to Evaporative Cooling

One way to make the installation of a new HVAC system more palatable is use an evaporative cooling system. These systems are often more cost effective to purchase and install, and they are much more cost-efficient to operate. Additionally, evaporative coolers are better for internal air quality and can help building owners show their dedication to using environmentally friendly technologies.

The 2020 R22 phase out deadline is fast approaching. Now is the time to start working with your customers to make sure they are educated and fully prepared to make a decision on the future of their HVAC system.

Posted on September 26, 2019 at 10:45 am
Dietric Williams | Posted in Education, Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

Info On The Go Ep 19: 5 Homebuying Myths

Posted on September 10, 2019 at 10:12 am
Dietric Williams | Posted in Education, Info On The Go, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

L.A.’s Pizza Scene Is on Fire

Of all the untrue stereotypes about L.A.— and there are many—one of the most outrageous is the idea that it’s impossible to find good pizza here. Sure, not every pizza shop measures up to some of New York’s most iconic slices, but the depth of style and flavor you can find in Los Angeles is nothing to be shrugged off. Here are some of our favorite new spots serving some really great pizza.

60 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood

Brentwood’s celeb-owned-and-frequented pizzeria is finally serving pizzaiolo Daniele Uditi’s now-legendary neo-Neapolitan pies in West Hollywood, too. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest Pizzana is the best pizzeria in L.A.—beloved late food critic Jonathan Gold once compared it to the best pizza in the world (Franco Pepe’s pizzeria in Caiazzo, Italy). The Cacio e Pepe and Neo Margherita pies are tried-and-true favorites, but we’re also excited about the new Salmone—topped with smoked salmon, ricotta crema and herbs, it’s a nod to the signature pizza at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago. 4

1534 N. McCadden Place, L.A.

The iconic pizzeria featured in Eat Pray Love has landed in Hollywood, attracting a cool crowd. The bright patio and homey design pair perfectly with the impossibly thin-crust pizza. The Margherita is famous for a reason, and an absolute must-order. 

1315 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica

Hailing itself as “maximum quality and minimum BS,” Paperboy is tucked into the second floor of the Gallery Food Hall on Third Street Promenade. Grab some thin-crust pizzas (like spinach and ricotta or mushroom and leeks), pair with some shareables (like baked littlenecks or hot wings), and wash it all down with Paperboy’s draft beers or housemade wine coolers. 

826 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica

A recent addition to the already powerful Rustic Canyon Family of restaurants is Milo SRO (a “standing room only” version of Milo & Olive, not too far away), a pizza shop rocking delicious, 48-hour-fermented dough. A much more casual, laid-back spot than its big sister, Milo SRO is bound to be a hit in a neighborhood that can sometimes feel dominated by high-end dining options. 

7212 Melrose Ave., L.A.

The former Napoleon and Josephine space has come back to life with LN2. Though Fairfax is already bustling with pizza options, LN2 is firing up some creative originals, like duck confit with butternut squash, and caramelized fig with onion jam. There’s a strong lineup of ice cream too, all made with liquid nitrogen (hence the name). 

12924 Riverside Drive, Sherman Oaks

Possibly inspired by all the New York culinary transplants in recent years, Chicago has sent one of its most famous deep-dish restaurants our way. Gino’s East will likely come equipped with far too many expats who can’t wait to give you their opinions on pizza, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving Gino’s a look. We could use more deep-dish in L.A. 

1101 S. San Pedro St., Unit F, L.A.

Steve Samson has opened a pizza shop in the same courtyard as his restaurant Rossoblu, just steps away. Superfine is a great addition to a burgeoning section of downtown Los Angeles, and its casual nature truly serves the neighborhood. Don’t leave without some signature chili oil. 

3219 Glendale Blvd., L.A.

Though chef/owner David Wilcox’s Journeymen in Atwater Village didn’t last nearly long enough, he’s kept the space and highlights all the best parts of his cooking at Hail Mary. The small plates and salads here are very tasty, but it’d be a huge mistake to leave without pizza. All of the pies are incredibly creative, covered with toppings made in house and sometimes featuring the homemade sourdough Jonathan Gold loved so much. 

8810 Washington Blvd., Culver City

The acclaimed Brooklyn-based pizzeria now lives in Culver City’s hip Platform complex after a popular pop-up run. You can expect pastas and salads along with pizza, but the real reason to head over is the Bee Sting, topped with sopressata, mozzarella, chili oil and honey. Spicy, salty, sweet and perfect. 

Posted on September 10, 2019 at 10:02 am
Dietric Williams | Posted in Entertainment, Food | Tagged , , , ,

LA County To Vote On Permanent Rent Control

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set to vote Tuesday on whether to make temporary rent control restrictions in the county’s unincorporated neighborhoods permanent.

The ordinance would put a ceiling on how much rent in buildings that opened prior to 1995 (except single-family homes) could be increased each year, with a limit of 8 percent.

The amount would change from year to year, based on the Consumer Price Index. Under temporary ordinance that’s in effect now and set to expire in December, landlords are barred from hiking rents more than 3 percent.

Evictions without “just cause” would continue to be prohibited in all rentals, meaning that, for the most part, tenants could not be evicted unless they broke the terms of their lease or failed to pay their rent.

The permanent ordinance would expand on protections offered by the temporary version, including requiring landlords to provide relocation assistance when tenants take buy-outs (also known as “cash for keys”) or are evicted without fault.

The regulations would apply to rental units in unincorporated areas of the county, including East LA, Altadena, Montrose, and Universal City. The permanent rules would protect 100,000 renters across the more than 120 unincorporated communities in LA County, according to Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

A number of the proposed rules are similar to those in effect in the cities of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood.

Supervisors are also set to vote on a proposal to set up the first phase of an “eviction defense and prevention program” that would include “full-scope legal representation for eligible tenants.” It would establish “eviction assistance centers” in courthouses and provide workshops and events to help educate tenants on their rights and the resources available to them.

If the board votes to move forward Tuesday with the permanent rent cap and the other regulations, the ordinance would be written up by November 12 and would come back to the board for final approval.

To find out if an apartment is in unincorporated LA County, select the “district map look up by address” option from the dropdown menu on the county’s precinct mapping site.

Posted on September 10, 2019 at 9:39 am
Dietric Williams | Posted in Education, Real Estate | Tagged ,

Is a Rental Property a Good Investment?

The price of real estate has skyrocketed over the past several years causing many first-time buyers to consider purchasing real estate in more affordable parts of the country. While this won’t be your primary residence now, it could be someday. If that’s important try to imagine where you’d want to live and the type of home you’d want t live in. 

What To Know About Buying Rental Property?

Real estate markets can shift so buying property in a suburb today might be a better investment than buying something in-town…even if you don’t see yourself living there one day. Try to separate out the investment from your dream home. If it works out, great! If not, and you’ve focused on finding a solid investment, you can always sell that property and use the proceeds to buy the home you want in the future.

You should also consider what type of property might interest you. Do you want to buy a property that might house one to four families. If you’re looking for a property with more than one unit, do you want a duplex, triplex or quadruplex?  Typically anything more than four units is considered commercial property and that may impact the type of financing you get.  In some situations, buying smaller properties might give you more options vs buying a building with 10 apartments. You’ll need to educate yourself in this area to understand how the type and size of the building can affect the financing available to you. 

Managing and Maintaining Your Rental Property

Once you’ve chosen the type of property, you need to focus on the location and how you will manage that property. 

Long distance or out-of-state investors will need some local help (a family member or a professional management company) in order to manage the rental property. The reason is that, they won’t have the ability to quickly get to the property to handle problems or rental issues. If you’re going to rely on friends and family, you’ll need to have the property be in close proximity to them. If the property is too far, they’re less likely to help. 

The duties your property manager should undertake may include 1) scheduling maintenance or repairs, 2) helping find new tenants, 3) collecting rent, or 4) simply driving by to make sure the home is well-cared for. If you hire a professional management company remember to factor that cost into your budget and do some hard due diligence online before signing any type of contractual agreement.   

Keeping the property rented is particularly important. Sure, there will be times when the property is vacant – and you’ll need to cover those times financially – but vacant property carries its own risks (make sure your insurance covers those vacancies). 

Financing Your Rental Property and Tax Implications

Investment properties typically command a higher interest rate for the loan, have higher loan fees and require a higher down payment (usually 20% of the purchase price). You’ll also want the person(s) who prepare your taxes to walk you through the state and federal income tax implications. (Filing in the state in which the property is located may be another expense).

You may want to hire a real estate attorney to guide you in the purchase (even if one isn’t typically used for a residential deal in that part of the country) and be sure to get input on the lease you’ll be using for your future tenants.

There are loads of resources about how to be a successful real estate investor. I am more than happy to talk to you about how to value rental property, the ins-and-outs of being a landlord as well as the mechanics of renting vs buying a property you intend to live in. If you decide you don’t mind being a landlord check out Bigger Pockets an online community for real estate investors. 

Should you decide to purchase out of state, I have a vast array of resources and connections to help you find a real estate agent who can work with to help you make this investment.

That’s a quick summary of some of the biggest issues you’ll face, but there are many others: insurance, repairs and 1031 tax-free exchanges. As always, feel free to contact me should you need professional advise on how to proceed.


Posted on September 10, 2019 at 9:28 am
Dietric Williams | Posted in Education, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , ,

Info On The Go Episode 18 2019 Mid Year Forecast

Posted on August 13, 2019 at 5:39 pm
Dietric Williams | Posted in Education, Info On The Go, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,