Aug 30

As the first step, the CFPB urges renters to talk to the property owner/manager.  Urging communication is important.  I would add as step two; seek mediation. 


The CDC eviction moratorium has ended: Learn your options | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/the-cdc-eviction-moratorium-has-ended-learn-your-options/

If you are facing eviction now, we have resources to help

Whether you are facing an eviction lawsuit or worried about getting evicted in the future, it’s important to understand your rights and what next steps you need to take.

Talk with your landlord about making a repayment plan. Find out if your landlord is willing to work with you or if they plan to file an eviction lawsuit. Here is information to start that conversation.

Talk with a lawyer, don’t delay. You may qualify for free legal help. If you’re a servicemember, talk with your local Legal Assistance Office.

Housing counselors can help you make a plan based on your situation and needs. Again, you may qualify for free help. Find a HUD-certified housing counselor.

Learn more about rights and protections based on your situation

Aug 26

Last night the Supreme Court ruled that the CDC eviction moratorium is invalid.

What should you do now as a rental property owner?

Little should change with or without the CDC moratorium. It remains in the owners’ and renters’ best interest to work together to get the ERAP funding. The only reason to evict for nonpayment at this time is if the renter refuses to apply for ERAP or does not qualify due to no loss of income. In Milwaukee or Waukesha Counties, they can apply at Community Advocates. City of Milwaukee residents can also apply at SDC

If the renter is refusing to apply, try Mediate Milwaukee or call (414) 939-8800. It will only delay for a few days and often provides superior results to eviction as renters often stay and pay. If the renter refuses this as well, then eviction is probably the only option, but it should be the last option.

Remember that in Milwaukee County less than 2.4% of eviction judgments are paid within 5 years, less than 7/10ths of 1% within 18 months. So rushing to court only stops future losses, it seldom results in recovering past rent.

Aug 22

This is not about the streetcar per se, which is a political lightning rod, but rather effective use of available resources.

I was reading an article on the eviction moratorium and Emergency Rental Assistance on the Fox 6 site. Ironically the next suggested article was “Milwaukee streetcar sales tax floated to fund $330M expansion

This made me once again question our governments’ spending priorities. Unpaid rent in Milwaukee County is at least $36M to $48M a year,  BC (before COVID). For the price of a novelty bar hopping ride, we could end all the problems associated with the nonpayment of rent for 7-9 years. This kind of funding could solve many housing and social issues for far longer due to the benefits of stability.

The median rents in 53204 and 53208, two zips with lots of renters, is less than $800 per Census data. The median rent of two-bedroom units that are currently available is $950/$850 in 53204 and 53208 respectively, using rentometer.com So the streetcar expansion will cost 367,000 to 412,000 months of rent…

Streetcar or no streetcar will have limited impact on those who will use it. ~400,000 months of rent on the other hand could have a significant impact on a great number of people as well as the overall local economy.

Sure, 80% of the $330M is federal, but we can’t give a pass to any level of government for not using taxpayer money for the greatest good.

Aug 06

Little should change with or without the CDC moratorium. It remains in the owners’ and renters’ best interest to work together to get the ERAP funding. The only reason to evict for nonpayment at this time is if the renter refuses to apply for ERAP or does not qualify due to no loss of income. In Milwaukee or Waukesha Counties, they can apply at Community Advocates. City of Milwaukee residents can also apply at SDC

If the renter is refusing to apply, send them to Mediate Milwaukee https://www.mediatewisconsin.org or call (414) 939-8800. If the renter refuses this as well, then eviction is probably the only option, but it should be the last option. Remember that in Milwaukee County less than 2.4% of eviction judgments are paid within 5 years, less than 7/10ths of 1% within 18 months. So rushing to court only stops future losses, it seldom results in recovering past rent.

The current CDC order addresses this issue at page 14, explicitly permitting challenges to improper declarations. Milwaukee County Court previously was requiring a motion hearing to challenge the dec. With the new CDC order, and if owners state the challenge to the declaration in the initial pleading/complaint, the Court should hear the challenge without the extra delay of a motion hearing.

The new CDC order at page 14:

This Order does not preclude a landlord challenging the truthfulness of a tenant’s, lessee’s, or resident’s declaration in court, as permitted under state or local law.

Aug 05
Fox 6 Interview on mediation
https://www.fox6now.com/video/962073

Jul 13

With inflation according to the Wall Street Journal: “…last month’s consumer-price index increased 5.4% from a year ago, the highest 12-month rate since August 2008.

I was in this business in the late 70s and early 80s, where inflation reached 13.3% YoY. In October 1981 a 30 year fixed FHA mortgage for a primary residence was 18.45% APR. Crazy stuff. Real unemployment was 10.8% in 1982.

For those who are unfamiliar with inflation, here is a neat little article that explains it in an interesting manner.
https://finmasters.com/how-inflation-works/

Jump down to the “Who Benefits…” section to see opportunities and dangers. (Spoiler alert – owners of leveraged physical assets with fixed rate debt typically do well)

Jun 18

The Guardian has a longer, but interesting article on the end of the CDC moratorium. I recommend reading it

Unpaid rent is a large problem. The article of course looks at this from the renter perspective, but the $50-100B of unpaid rent currently has only impacted owners due to the moratoriums.

In mid-May, 7.49 million US adults said they were not current on rent or mortgage payments and had slight or no confidence they could make next month’s payment, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

So far, the eviction moratorium has kept many of these families housed. There were 1.55m fewer eviction cases last year than would be filed in a typical year, according to an estimate by the Eviction Lab.

Without the moratorium, they will need access to the $46.55bn in rental assistance allocated by the government to help renters and landlords – though its distribution got off to a slow start.

The Guardian

The federal aid favors rural states, with few renters over urban areas. The taxpayers’ money should be distributed where the need is, not on political lines. This is a point that Heiner and I agree with Peter Hepburn of the Eviction Lab. We all need to urge Congress to fix this.

And Hepburn has found that because of the way the assistance is being allocated, more money will be available in small, rural states than in larger, urban states.

Black and Latino renters, particularly women, are disproportionately at risk of eviction and face more uncertainty as the moratorium expires.

“It was a series of omissions and mistakes that taken jointly result in a really inefficient and inequitable distribution of this money,” Hepburn said. “I don’t know that that was done with any sort of intent to disadvantage communities of color but I think it inevitably does.”

Geographically the evictions crisis will also be unevenly distributed.

In Wyoming, households can collect more than $5,167 in rental aid, while in New York’s expensive renter markets, households will have access to $766, according to his analysis.

Jun 05

As a rental property owner, it is in your self interest to work with the renter, secure Emergency Housing Assistance, and get the back rent paid.  If you evict, you no longer will be able to recover the unpaid rent through these programs.  

Only 7/10th of 1% of eviction judgments are paid within the first year, over five years that number is only 2.4%.   Smart money says, encourage your nonpaying renters to apply for Community Advocates or SDC ERAP funds. 

Rental Assistance Process | How to Apply for Rent Assistance | Community Advocates in Milwaukee WIor
Milwaukee Emergency Rental Assistance | Social Development Commission

There is an upside though to the moratorium ending, whether that end is next week or in three weeks, in that eviction, or the threat of eviction can be used to compel renters who refuse to apply for aid to do so.  Of course, there are also a few renters who are not paying and do not qualify for assistance because they have not been financially impacted by the COVID financial crisis. 

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/03/politics/supreme-court-realtors-eviction-moratorium/index.html

The Realtor groups asked the justices to step in — on an emergency basis — arguing that “Congress never gave the CDC the staggering amount of power it now claims.”

They argue that the moratorium has resulted in “over $13 billion in unpaid rent per month.”

May 06

Evicting is so 2019.

You want the rent paid. The partners at the Rental Housing Resource Center have the resources to help your residents pay the rent. My company, Affordable Rental Associates, LLC, has adopted a mediation first policy as an alternative to eviction for a year now, with great success. Renters become current and do not move far more often than the court alternative.

If you are on the fence, look at how much that last eviction cost you in lost rent, repairs, court costs, time and aggravation. When it is all over, statistically you will collect less than 2.7% of your eviction judgment amounts over the next five years.

If you have questions, ask here, or email me directly.

Apr 25

This one-hour Harvard webinar is a well-done,  “must watch”  if you are interested in the negative impact of the COVID economic crisis on housing. 
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ke2xkZwwYA

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