Feb 25

On its surface the article is about homelessness in Seattle, but it outlines many of the challenges we will face in coming years such as rent control and programs favoring public housing over private.

https://www.city-journal.org/seattle-homelessness

You may ask, for example, what is wrong with supporting public housing?  
Public housing would be great if it provided housing to those who are often “unrentable” in the private market such as those with serial evictions, recent or serious criminal convictions, addiction issues, poor housekeepers, sex offenders, etc. 

Yet public housing screening policies often exclude those difficult to house populations, while directly completing with private sector owners, taking the best tenants due to their incentivized rents.  So we are ultimately competing with our own tax dollars working against us. 

Feb 23

It seems many of the same people who want to implement rent control are the same folks who support exclusionary zoning for their neighborhoods and communities. NIMBY Not In My Back Yard

The answer to housing costs, like most things, is to increase supply. When there is an abundance, sellers, or in this case landlords, must reduce prices to compete. When supply is restricted and demand is increased, you can get more.

Here is an interesting New York Times article on one such NIMBY fight. The wealthy residents weren’t to happy with allowing multi units in there community:

In letters to elected officials, and at the open microphone that Mr. Falk observed at the City Council meetings, residents said things like “too aggressive,” “not respectful,” “embarrassment,” “outraged,” “audacity,” “very urban,” “deeply upset,” “unsightly,” “monstrosity,” “inconceivable,” “simply outrageous,” “vehemently opposed,” “sheer scope,” “very wrong,” “blocking views,” “does not conform,” “property values will be destroyed,” and “will allow more crime to be committed.”

Feb 20

An amazing story of the lead up to the housing bubble

http://www.workingre.com/interview-appraiser-who-brought-down-countrywide/

Among the many firms and individuals who acted irresponsibly, and maybe criminally, perhaps none did so with such flair and recklessness as Countrywide Financial.  Before its rescue-sale to Bank of America (BOA), Countrywide was the largest mortgage lender in the United States.

Feb 10

Here is the first “final” draft of the one page form and flowchart for animal accommodation request. This is only a draft, put out for feed back and comments. This form is based on HUD’s recently released Guidance on Documenting a Person’s Need for Assistance Animals in Housing.

I previously posted a draft flowchart for reasonable accommodation requests for assistance animals to use while making the determination.

Initially I did not feel the new HUD guidelines offered much relief from the problem with people who skirted no pet policies with fake “service animals”

After working through this I feel that this will prevent many of the problem we are currently experiencing, while protecting the tenant that has a true need for a service or support animal. While fake service animals concern me, I have no sympathy for the owner that would deny or charge extra for a seeing eye dog, a service dog for a person in a wheelchair, a person suffering from PTSD, etc.

Clarifying that the accommodation only applies if the requester has a disability that imposes a substantial limitation on major life activities is important.

Clarifying that property owners can request documentation of both a disability and the need for a disability-related need for the animal from a licensed professional rather than having to accept some $29 vest from Amazon as proof is important.

Jan 31

Here s something that we as an organization had spoken of over the years.  Joe (Yusuf) Dahl, the former AASEW president, has made it a reality out east where he runs a school of entrepreneurship at Lafayette.  


Milwaukee needs this as well. Joe, are you coming back anytime soon?  😉

First-of-a-kind program aims to help people get into real estate

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – City Center Allentown and Lafayette College are coming together to launch a first-of-a-kind program to help people get into real estate. 

Yusuf Dahl’s life story took him from prison in Milwaukee to Princeton University, and now he wants to help others do the same.

“The goal of this program is to create a pathway to real estate entrepreneurship for people who have historically been excluded,” Dahl said.

Dec 14

The is a great, worth the time to read, article on landlord regulation over at BiggerPockets.

Dec 04

Over on the ApartmentAssoc@groups.io email discussion list Mike writes:

Fortunately the facts are not as laid out in the post.  The article makes this clear.   “Property taxes” would not go up 64-128% under the proposals being considered.  The MPS portion of the property tax bill would go up by those percentages, not the whole bill.  The increases are still substantial – I estimate 25-50% of the whole bill.  If we landlords want to be involved in the political process we must arm ourselves with facts to avoid embarrasing ourselves and damaging our cause. 

Mike is correct, the percent of increase is the school portion. The original Journal article, which I based my comments on, stated:

“For a home assessed at $300,000, that would push property tax bills from $2,874 to $4,716 on the low end and $6,723 on the high end — increases of 64% and 134% respectively.”

Milwaukee Journal article as it appeared on 11/19/19

The Journal article has since been rewritten to “school property tax”

This represents an annual tax increase of $921 to $1925 on an average Milwaukee home.

I stand by my original comments of the dire consequences this will cause to our market.

Dec 03

From Rebecca Knox at Brew City REI Club

********Brew City: If you are concerned about the MPS referendum suggesting a SIGNIFICANT PROPERTY TAX INCREASE 64-128% and want to relay your thoughts on this, the LAST MEETING with the task force will be at 5:30 p.m. at Bradley Tech High School, 700 S. 4th St, Dec. 10.
********

All of the meetings will be open to the public. The panel is expected to make a recommendation to the school board in December 🤨😲 This is the last meeting they are having.

We spoke to District 4 elected MPS board member, Annie Woodward and she said there are a lot of agendas going on and encourages everyone to share their opinions.

The current conversation across our industry is Evictions.

What will happen to tenants who are already near failing, when tax bills force widespread rent increases?

What will happen when rental owners, who are already operating on slim margins, cannot find tenants that can pay the increased rents that mirror the increased taxes.

What will happen to homeowners who are barely keeping up with expenses today?

If property taxes double, which is the mean predicted increase, Milwaukee, and Milwaukee alone, could easily see a foreclosure/failure rate comparable to 2008.

Owners in the rest of the metro will be unaffected, making rentals and homes there more valuable and desirable, furthering the exodus from, and the decline of, the City of Milwaukee.

The Journal reported just two weeks ago of the harm caused by 28% of City workers leaving the city for the burbs.

Nov 29

From the Milwaukee Journal :

A new report from RENTCafe found that West Allis registered a 14.6% increase in average rent rates from just one year ago.

Per RentCafe, Milwaukee saw a 4% increase. Their report for WI is at:

https://www.rentcafe.com/blog/rental-market/local-rent-reports/wisconsin-rent-report-october-2019/

4% for Milwaukee sounds about right. 14.6% for West Allis is surprising.

But if the proposed MPS budget goes through with its expected 64-134% property tax increase, then I expect that Milwaukee rents will skyrocket, all the while profitability will decrease.

Oct 21


https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/19/ben-carson-hesperia-california-discrimination-charge-051504

The ordinance also mandated unannounced annual inspections and criminal-background screenings by the sheriff’s department. The county sheriff’s department enforced the ordinance in a way that targeted minorities and evicted some residents who were the victims of crimes, including people who had called the police, HUD alleges.


HT: Tristan Pettit

This is similar to, Magner v. Gallagher a case that went to the SCOTUS. St Paul withdrew under political pressure from the Obama Administration.

Five years ago almost to the day, I shared the comments of Attorney John Shoemaker who represented the property owners in Magner. You can read that here:

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