Homes my clients rented

Homes my clients rented

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Renters: the great ignored

Barney Doran, Delray Beach Opinion originally published in the Sun Sentinel

Now that John McCain has proposed that the U.S. government buy up $300 billion in mortgages, write down the outstanding amounts and lower the payments for the homeowners, it is time for the voices of America's 34 million renting households to be heard. Please note this constitutes approximately 135 million people and roughly 65 million potential voters. Americans are regaled daily in the media with the vicissitudes of the homeowners who were "forced" into dwellings by rapacious bankers and mortgage brokers. How about the 7 million rental households with annual incomes under $10,000 who pay over half that income on rent? Haven't heard too much about them in this great national brouhaha, have you? But not only the poor rent in this country. Twenty percent of rental households (6.8 million equating to approximately 27.2 million Americans) make over $60,000 a year.

Back in the heady days of house gambling, don't you think they received calls at dinner time from mortgage brokers offering zero-down, no-income-verification, no-credit-check mortgages? Yes, they did, but they were either reluctant to get entangled, or they realized this was one big casino. In other words, they didn't take the bait, but the fish across the street in foreclosure did and is about to be bailed out by the government. The sober renter, however, is being totally ignored, even though his rent was increased during the housing Vegas days because of "rising property values."

Is it fair that his tax dollars are going to bail out a greedy/stupid neighbor? I don't think America's renters are going to think so. But I do think the politicians representing these renters will ignore this inequity at their peril. These voices will be heard.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Peeping Landlord

Pennsylvania landlord was arrested for taping female tenants. Thomas Daley, a 45-year-old Phoenixville man whom authorities said owns three apartment buildings in Norristown having a combined total of 16 apartments, is charged with invasion of privacy, criminal use of a communication facility and violations of the wiretap and surveillance laws.

County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said Daley, of the 1000 block of Spring City Road, installed hidden cameras and audio equipment in three of the four apartments in a building he owns in the 500 block of Stanbridge Street.

This equipment, which was hidden in bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms, was hooked up to enable him to spy on the private activities of his clients from his computer at home for his own sexual gratification, according to Ferman.

"This is just creepy at its worst," said Ferman.

The alleged victims "feel completely violated," said Ferman.

"This kind of personal invasion is just harrowing," said Ferman. "These victims just now are finding out that their most private, most personal times in their own homes have been captured on videotape and that somebody else has been watching them for their own personal gratification."

"To say it is unnerving, to say it is disconcerting doesn't even begin to express how upset they are," she said.

Ferman called the charges against Daley for the property in the 500 block of Stanbridge Street just "the tip of the iceberg."

Norristown police have been interviewing past and former tenants of the other two buildings throughout the weekend and on Monday, and "we expect many additional charges," said Ferman. Authorities suspect that Daley may have been engaged in this type of activity for almost 20 years.

Police first learned of Daley's alleged activities on Sept. 18 when one of the Stanbridge Street tenants contacted 911 to report she had found a hidden camera behind the bathroom mirror in her apartment. The woman's boyfriend was changing a light bulb in the bathroom when he spotted a small micro "pinhole" style video camera hard-wired into the wall.

Police said the wires appeared to go from the first-floor apartment down into the basement. The tenant told police that the landlord kept the basement area locked and did not allow tenants access.

While waiting for Daley to arrive at the apartment building, police discovered another camera, similar to the one in the bathroom, in the living room.

When Daley arrived, police learned that there was another camera in the bedroom ceiling fan pointed down at the bed and a fourth one in the bathroom, according to the criminal complaint. They also learned of cameras in two of the other three apartments in the building, the complaint said.

Daley later gave police a statement allegedly admitting that he installed the cameras, some of which were activated when a tenant turned on a light switch. Some of the cameras recorded on a VHS system that was in the basement while other digital cameras fed a digital video recorder, also stored in the basement.

In addition to being able to record what was happening in the apartments, Daley said he could access the DVR system from his computer at home and get a live feed. He also could turn the cameras on and off from his home computer, according to the criminal complaint.

Daley allegedly told police he would save the VHS tapes and, if he viewed an act he liked, he would record the video on the digital recorder and save them, the complaint said.

Police confiscated Daley's computer equipment and electronic taping and recording equipment as well as numerous tapes and DVDs. Some of those tapes showed the four alleged female victims in various states of partial and full nudity while in the privacy of their residences.

"This system was a very sophisticated and elaborate," said Ferman. "Mr. Daley, in the privacy of his own home, could invade the privacy of his tenants."

By Margaret Gibbons, Special to The Mercury

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Insult to Injury

The Florida legislature just gave the ok to increase court fees for "removal of tenant action" aka evictions. The court-related fees will go into effect on July 1st. Currently it costs $80 but will more than triple to $270. Whoa! thats gonna hurt.
Be proactive contact your property attorney for details and make sure to consider the increases for your '09 budgets!

To view a copy of the bill, go to www.flsenate.gov/Welcome/ and type in 1790 under the Jump to Bill tab on the left.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In loving Memory

We can't believe, We don't want to believe, but we must believe that you are gone.

Technology can be cruel. Our in boxes & voice mails have become sacred, erasing your replies & messages is impossible.

We're too sad to move on, but its too painful to remember every conversation, every meal and every laugh we shared.

We cant miss you, We don't want to miss you, but we will miss you.

For more information on how you can contribute to the Sloan Gentile Memorial fund, please email me at Tanisha@RentandReason.com

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why Risk It?

The concept of Renters' Insurance is a simple - demand it, or deal with the incredible risk involved with damages ranging from fire to power surges. An article published in the latest edition of NAA's magazine Units - highlights that mandatory renters insurance reduces the financial expenditures related to resident caused damage by 79%.

A 2006 study by Dirk Wakeham CEO of LeasingDesk Insurance Services reported a majority of owners from his survey (82 percent) who offered and required residents to have a renter's insurance policy--and then enforced it--said they would "absolutely" recommend this type a mandatory renters insurance program.

Grant Berkey, Vice President, Capstone Real Estate Services Inc., an Austin, Texas-based fee management firm responsible for more than 50,000 units described an experience of A resident at one of their properties that had a kitchen grease fire which spread to both adjacent units causing damages totaling more than $38,000 in repairs. Berkey explained "fortunately, the resident was insured and we were able to file our claim through their renter's insurance policy."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

12th Annual SEFAA Volleyball Tournament

Friday, May 9, 2008

11:00 am Volleyball Tournament . 1:30 pm Oceanside Buffet BBQ

Hollywood Beach Resort

101 N. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, FL - 954-921-0990

Here's a link to a few helpful tips

WOW 12 years! Below is probably what the 1st annual was like:

Friday, May 2, 2008

Opportunities and risks for renters in Broward and Palm Beach counties

Rental bliss
Sisters Jill and Melissa Melzer in front of Jill's apartment complex, the Mizner Court in Boca Raton, last month. Melissa will also be living in her own apartment in June at Mizner Court.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
ROBIN BENEDICK Finding a place to rent in Broward and Palm Beach counties is easier and in some cases cheaper than it has been in years because more housing is available and the competition for tenants is lowering prices.

"We're seeing a lot more concessions being offered to get people moved in," said Dori Rones, general sales manager of For Rent Media Solutions, which publishes For Rent Magazine and operates forrent.com.

Read full story

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Meaningful Amenities : Smoke-Free Apartments

The momentum in South Florida for smoke free apartments burned out. It was a buzzing topic that gained popularity in mid 2005 and seemed to have had the ears of local industry leadership. But in the fog of the condo boom there were more pressing issues to address, leaving the potential for smoke free apartments to newly formed condo boards.

Three years later. . . and boy how times have changed, property managers in South Florida are performing awe inspiring maneuvers to keep the influx of mortgage refugee residents happy and ultimately retained, but only the most meaningful amenities will make the difference.

According to a survey about smoke-free apartments conducted by the California Apartment Association it may be an issue important enough to spark renewed interest in South Florida.

The Survey Results:

• 69% of renters favored regulations requiring
all apartment buildings to offer
non-smoking sections, where all the
apartments, patios, and balconies
in that section were non-smoking.

• 39% of renters would prefer to live in a
building where smoking is not
allowed anywhere.

• 46% of renters experience secondhand smoke
drifting into their own apartment.

• 70% of survey respondents believed
a tenant should be evicted for
repeated violations of smoking prohibitions
in a lease

Thursday, April 17, 2008

1st For Rent ,Then Foreclosed, Finally Forced Out!

The shock is over, when reading or hearing about renters getting the surprise of their lives in the form of a foreclosure notice. A recent Daily Business Review article indicates that this scenario is becoming more common in South Florida multifamily industry. A Hialeah single mom is the subject in the story published earlier this week that describes her struggle to find a new place to rent as she is forced out of what was typically a safe bet for renters.

Her landlord like so many other smaller investors, collected rent while defaulting on his mortgage -creating a devastating dilemma for the residents.
Click here for the full story

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Blackberry Friendly

I love emails that are Blackberry friendly, polite, brief and to the point. I've heard too many stories from colleagues that are incensed by emails rivaling a novel. At a recent SEFAA breakfast a manager complained "You just keep scrolling until your thumb is soar". I hear ya girl.

My advice -
1. Judge the source before you get suckered into a scrollathon. If its not your boss, maintenance supervisor, etc. let it wait until you get to your desktop.

2. Build a text message network-let your vendors know that text messaging works for you. People are accustomed to space limitations in text messages and have little choice but to keep their message short and sweet!

Here's a few tricks to help train your Blackberry

A Blackberry can be a girls best friend, especially if looks like this one.
Kimora Lee Simmons -Fabulous custom Blacberry .

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Boca's Missing Bridge

Last week Boca Raton’s Housing Authority faced a near riot as applicants literally camped out (some overnight) in hopes of securing a housing voucher. This incident shockingly demonstrates that the demand for housing in our region is clearly strong. But- this is the side of the market that is obviously linked to subsidized apartments that cant seem to satisfy a seemingly desperate demographic.

Palm Beach County and in this case Boca Raton is constantly facing occupancy challenges , and will only get tougher during the traditional summer season as the snowbird population migrate north. The evidence is the increased dawning of large bright street signs at “A” rated luxury apartment communities, shouting move in specials. Unfortunately, the signs usually generates the polar opposite of what was set off by a mere announcement of voucher applications- that drew Christmas sale like lines to the doorstep of the city’s housing leaders.

There is obviously something missing here, something that requires a bridge between the two markets.

The riot police, the comments from desperate residents, the shocking video of people swarming makes for interesting media content, but the true story is once the cops and cameras are gone the Boca Raton Housing Authority will remain in the spotlight.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

SEFAA Legislative Breakfast Meeting

Speaker: Jeff Rogo, Florida Apartment Association (FAA) Government Affairs Director

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Deerfield Beach Hilton 100 Fairway Dr., Deerfield Beach, FL 954-427-7700

Issues impacting the bottom line of Florida apartment communities will be discussed. These include early termination, fire alarm monitoring, rental inspection preemption, mandatory telecommunications access, licensing for apartment personnel, mandatory background checks, sexual offenders, and more. As we approach our annual trip to Tallahassee to speak with legislators, April 2 - 3, we want to share these important issues with you.

Download the registration form and invoice.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Renter's Dilemma

One night last fall, a process server went to Dan Dixon's house and gave him papers informing him of the foreclosure. Dixon stands in front of the house he continues to rent even though the bank has foreclosed on the owner. He is moving soon.

Tenants: Be aware of landlords facing foreclosure

BY SCOTT ANDRON MiamiHerald.com

The following headline has become the best leasing point of a rental community-
Landlords have always asked potential tenants about their financial situation. But in today's housing market, renters may need to ask if potential landlords are facing foreclosure.

While South Florida's falling housing prices may favor renting rather than buying right now, the recent real estate bubble is also creating new risks for tenants.

Plenty of homes and condos are available for lease because their owners can't sell them, giving renters a variety of options. The problem is that many of the owners may not be on steady financial footing.

If they end up in foreclosure, tenants can be kicked out -- despite having a lease.

''That's happening. A lot of people are losing their homes,'' said Samira Ghazal, a Miami consumer lawyer. ``They don't know if the landlord is paying the mortgage or not. Then they end up getting evicted.'' Read more

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Who's Missing In Florida's Anti-Foreclosure Task Force?

The threat of homelessness has always loomed over struggling homeowners in our region, and often the only true safety net for families is a well managed affordable rental community. So when I read the credentials of the members of Gov. Crist appointed Anti-Foreclosure Task Force I was at the very least disappointed with the lack of representation from the Multi-housing industry leadership(FAA). Below are ideal candidates for Gov. Crist's consideration- (left to right) Marc Rosenwasser NAA Vice Chairman, Dave Watkins CAPS NAA Immediate Past Chairman of the Board , Mark Ogier, CPM President of FAA.

Task Force Members:
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink
Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp
Sens. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge
Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville
Reps. Franklin Sands, D-Plantation
Garrett Richter, R-Naples
Alex Sanchez, president and CEO, Florida Bankers Association
D. Ritch Workman, president, Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers
Mike Fields, president, Bank of America Tallahassee
Thomas Kuntz, chairman, president and CEO, SunTrust Bank, Florida
Nancy Riley, past-president, Florida Association of Realtors
Bill Newton, executive director, Florida Consumer Action Network
Steve Auger, executive director, Florida Housing Finance Corp.

In 2007, Florida ranked second in the number of home foreclosures, with twice as many foreclosures than in 2006. In addition, one out of every 95 households experienced foreclosure in the state last year, a more than 275 percent jump when compared with 2006. I truly believe that the Multi-housing rental industry has without a doubt served as refuge for so many of the Floridians counted in these statistics and our industry's perspective will be necessary to make this initiative a true success.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Faces In The Crowd At Trade Show

Property Managers Kathleen & Frank Heather Geraci, Regional Director of Adventir Real Esate Management & SEFAA Exec Board Member
The Apartment Guide Team - Featuring SEFAA Exec Board Member Susan Harding (in white)

For More Faces Click Here

Monday, February 25, 2008

No More Excuses

By Andy Reid | South Florida Sun-Sentinel

After South Florida's driest back-to-back years on record, a new Web site aims to teach residents and businesses how to save water beyond just turning down sprinklers.

At www.savewaterfl.com, the lessons and tools include adding food coloring to toilet tanks to check for leaks, a "water audit" for users to gauge their water use and tips for planting landscaping less dependent on water.

"What we are trying to do is promote a culture of conservation. This is one of the tools we are going to use," district spokesman Jesus Rodriguez said. The Web site includes pages geared toward residents, businesses, agriculture, government, teachers and the news media.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Another Reason To Rent In Miami

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - 3:59 PM EST
BankUnited blacklists 191 condo projects

South Florida Business Journal - by Brian Bandell and Oscar Pedro Musibay

Interested buyers looking for mortgages to buy units in Miami's Opera Tower, Everglades on the Bay or Four Ambassadors shouldn't bother approaching BankUnited. The Miami-based bank has included them on a list of 191 condo projects it won't write loans for.

Declining market value was the biggest culprit, followed by high investor concentration -- as much as 70 percent in one case. BankUnited also cited numerous foreclosures, delinquent homeowners association dues, structural-based litigation and the bank's existing exposure in the buildings.

Even buyers with good credit can't get a mortgage for a condo that has an uncertain value, said Lewis Goodkin, president of Miami-based Goodkin Research. He said because sales have been so slow and 35 percent to 40 percent of buyers could pull out of contracts in some buildings, no one knows the real value of these condos. And, if lenders don't know the value, he said, they can't set a loan-to-value ratio with any certainty.

BankUnited's non-permissible condo list

Fair Housing Seminar 2008

Its always a full house at this event, and this year I can just imagine the range of topics that the Lowenhaupt & Sawyers team must cover. For more info or to register--lowenhauptsawyers@yahoo.com. (305) 412-5636

Friday February 15th 9am

Signature Grand
6900 State Road 84
Davie, FL 33317
Tel: (954) 424-4000
Fax: (954) 423-2400

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How TV May Influence S. Florida Cultural Tolerance

The recent Broward County commission vote that has put Transgender rights in full public view may represent the evolution or influence of tolerance in South Florida. As it relates to gender or the transformation of it, arts and entertainment especially television can provide society a less prejudice perspective. Cultural perspectives influenced by;the Cosby show of the 80's, Margaret Chu's short lived sitcom, Will& Grace, The George Lopez show and more recently ABC's Dirty Sexy Money that has boldly casted an actual transgender character when tastefully done can convince audiences to identify with commonalities of other cultures, rather than confirm prejudices and stereotypes.

Transgender residents protected in Broward


Transgender people and pregnant women are now protected groups in Broward County after the County Commission voted to make it illegal to deny housing or jobs to those two groups.

With Tuesday's vote, Broward joins a growing number of local governments across the nation to include ''gender identity and expression'' in their non-discrimination laws. And the two new criteria will join 11 other categories in the county's Human Rights Act, such as gender, race, color, marital status and sexual orientation.

And Tuesday, one-by-one, more than 20 speakers took the podium and praised commissioners for adding Broward to the list. And many of them arrived before the county to share their own tales of discrimination, like LeAnna Bradley, who talked about what it was like to have paramedics refer to her as ''it'' while riding to the hospital. Or Jacqui Charvet, who lost her job after telling her boss she was going to start the medical process to become a woman. Or Nikki Hatch, who described receiving stares, rude comments and even, at one point, a mail bomb.

There are no statistics that track the number of transgender people. But advocates estimate that between 3 and 5 percent of people in Broward County struggle with gender identity. Many of those who decide to make a transition, say advocates, face trouble with employers and landlords.

While no one spoke against the changes on Tuesday, in the past, critics say the new laws are not needed and say they view it as wrong for transgender residents to try to redefine gender.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Golf Cart Tragedy

Over the years, I've probably driven the distance of the entire state of Florida on golfcarts. Its simply the way we do most of our business at gardenstyle apartment communities. So, after reading about a woman in Wellington on life support after falling of a golfcart it instantly provided me with a new and more cautious perspective. Below is the story as reported in the Sun-Sentinel By Sally Apgar

February 5, 2008 Wellington - A 43-year-old Connecticut woman is on life support after falling off a gas-powered golf cart following a Super Bowl party Sunday night, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

Audrey S. Hanrahan, of South Glastonbury, Conn., was leaving a party at Tavern on the Green restaurant just after 11 p.m. with two friends. Investigators said the cart, driven by Christine McCrea, 29, of Wellington, was traveling east on Equestrian Club Road with Hanrahan in the front passenger's seat and McCrea's husband, Jonathan, 35, riding on the back seat. Near Pierson Road, Hanrahan stood up to wipe off the windshield, lost her balance and fell, striking her head on the pavement.

Hanrahan was flown by Trauma Hawk to the Delray Medical Center, where she was treated for severe head injuries. At 1:36 a.m. Monday, she was placed on life support to preserve her organs for donation.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Vote To Veto

Originally Posted Sunday, July 1, 2007

A bill proposing double rent that eventually met a single no.

It seems as if Gov. Crist has the final word on the ambitious (HB 1277)Early Lease Termination bill that attempted to give property managers the right to instantly charge up to 2 months rent as a fee for breaking a lease.
Florida Apartment Association lobbyist Ron Book vigorously promoted the infamous "double rent bill" at a recent press conference arguing its benefits to tenants. The current law holds renters responsible for the remaining term of a lease, or until a unit is re-rented.

The legislature favored the new bill so much that in May of '07 the it passed with flying colors through the state senate with a unanimous 37-0 vote. Ultimately, it met a swift veto from Gov. Crist. A well documented but interesting fact is that up until his impressive election victory, Crist was one of the state's estimated 5.4 million renters. "I had to do that(break a lease) when I moved into the mansion. And it was costly - like 900 bucks," Crist said. "I feel the people's pain. I live it."

In its memory here's a clip that I couldn't resist posting that may shed a little light on the short life of an ambitious bill. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Little Fumble Before The Big Game

I feel as if my leasing team and I dropped the ball in recent days. Largely because
Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend and I cant help to think that somehow a little bit of fan fare could have helped us standout amongst our competition. I'm not suggesting anything outrageous like a Budweiser keg in the middle of the leasing office or dressing up as NY Giants cheerleaders. Instead I'm thinking more along more the lines of a team spirit theme: wearing football Jerseys, replacing cookies and French vanilla coffee with chips,pretzels and coke while replaying halftime "PG" rated shows of past on the clubhouse TV.

Its hard for any of us to plead ignorance in this case especially when considering last year when South Florida hosted Super Bowl XLI and we all salivated over the estimates of $400 million dollar boost to our local economy. So not only am I surprised at myself for forgetting to resurrect the spirit of last year's bowl- I'm trying to figure out why it seems the entire region (with the exception of Publix) has fumbled too.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Candidates as Residents

I'm beginning to see the Presidential candidates in ways that just weeks ago I couldn't imagine. I guess its a side affect of paying more attention in preparation to carry out my civic duty in the upcoming primary. . . blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, its really tough to decide, and I'm not just talking about choosing an individual candidate or party, but an authentic person I could believe in to lead our country. So I got to thinking. . . and figured I'm looking at this all wrong. Why not use my highly evolved property management abilities to help me select the right candidate. In fact this method might even make it easier for all of us Apartment Industry/multi housing pro's to vote with clarity.

So I finally asked myself---What type of resident would each candidate make? With this simple question I was able to evaluate each candidate with much more confidence.

P.S. heres my answers, whats yours?

Hillary- Likely to be the resident that insists on being present to oversee a service request (even if Bill is home)

Mitt- Likely to complain about limited parking spaces

Barack- Hangs around the clubhouse after work to watch Oprah

McCain- Typical retiree veteran that walks his miniature poodle every morning like clockwork 0600 hours sharp!

Edwards- Constantly threatens to sue his neighbor McCain for "excessive" dog barking every morning at exactly 0600 hours.

Guliani- Quintessential snowbird/empty nester that cant stop comparing New Yawk to Floridah

Huckabee- Is likely to face eviction for the weekly classic rock jam sessions

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Casino Night! SEFAA Does Vegas....

The best remedy for those holiday credit card hangovers has to be this year's Casino Night brought to you by SEFAA.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

6-10 p.m.

CORT Furniture Showroom, Boynton Beach

Blackjack, Texas Hold Em, Craps, Roulette, with professional dealers and despite what you may have heard their will be NO strip poker tournaments.

Click here for more details.

Cooling Your Heels

From the golfcart to maintenance shop, walking vacants, and touring perspectives-- the demands we put on one of our most dependable body parts can now relax. Introducing Camileon Heels the convertible and fashionable shoe thats attempting to revolutionize the comfort for women in business.

I find the style of the shoes fresh and modern, but the true beauty is in its ability to convert from a low to high heel. My only hangup,is the price tag that ranges from $200-325, Ouch! At that price I can only hope that the concept of the shoes find its way to our salaries and bonuses .

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Home Sellers’ Pain Is Renters’ Gain

From the Wall St. Journal January 15, 2008

There’s one bright side to the housing crisis: some lower rents.

The regions hardest hit by the housing downturn have seen ailing builders, rising foreclosure rates and a glut of unsold homes, amid other signs of distress. But there are also stories like Laura Evans’s.

The 38-year-old elementary-school teacher moved to Stuart, Fla., from Orlando with her husband and baby last fall. Looking for a rental apartment, they were pleasantly surprised: There were plenty of choices at lower-than-expected prices, thanks to the multitude of owners trying to rent units they couldn’t sell.

“When we got down here, we shopped and shopped around,” says Ms. Evans, who rented a new 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom townhouse with a pool and a playground for $1,150 per month. The owners allowed the couple to move in with their dog, despite a prohibition against pets.

To be sure, rents have continued to rise steadily in many markets. And the housing downturn means that more people are looking for rentals as well, increasing demand. Many would-be buyers have become renters because they can’t get a mortgage in today’s tight credit environment, or because they’re sitting tight in hopes that prices drop further.

Behind the trend are tens of thousands of unsold condominium units that are being dumped on markets such as South Florida, Las Vegas and Phoenix. While thousands of single-family homes also are coming on the market, renters prefer condos to houses, which typically have more expensive upkeep. “Tenants have to pick up more of the bills,” says Artur Ciesielski, a Phoenix real-estate agent.

More than 4,200 units have been pulled out of the for-sale condo market and put into the rental pool in Florida’s Palm Beach County alone, according to Mary Grace Breeding, president of McCabe Research & Consulting in Deerfield Beach. Those units include the 216-unit Aventine at Boynton Beach and the 450-unit Mizner Court at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, where rents range from $975 to $2,000.

Nor are so-called condo reversions limited to the Sunbelt. In Brooklyn, N.Y., two luxury condo developments converted to rental apartments last spring, including 99 Gold Street, which had begun accepting sales contracts less than a year earlier. Rentals at the 88-unit building range from $2,000 a month for 700-square-foot studios to $5,500 for two-bedroom penthouses.

Savvy renters in struggling markets are playing landlords off each other. Ms. Evans, of Stuart, Fla., says the same day she and her husband leased their apartment for $1,150 a month, the owner of a bigger home they had looked at called to lower his asking price from $1,500 to $1,200. “If he had called earlier, we would have taken it,” she says.

Housing experts predict that many would-be home buyers may be forced to rent for years because the relationship between rents and home prices are out of whack. Rents remained at around 5% of home prices throughout much of the postwar period, but beginning in 1996, home-price growth rapidly outpaced rent growth. By the end of 2006, home prices had more than doubled while average rent was up just 48%, driving down the annual rent/price ratio to 3.48%.

A study by one former and two current Federal Reserve economists suggests that home prices will have to fall by 15% over the next five years while rents increase by 4% a year to return that rent/price ratio to normal.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Rolling Into 2008

Happy 2008! Its been almost 2 months since my last posting and I blame it all on that avalanche referred to as the holiday season. The shopping, the parties, the food and of course my personal contribution to national debt has made it almost impossible to update this blog and fully launch its sister blog Rent Roll and Recruit. But it’s a New Year and I’m ready to get back to business.

Overall my holiday season was pretty good, and one of the best and most surprising gifts was a noticeable up tick in occupancy throughout our region despite the notoriously slow December market and I’m loving it! Wrapping up a sluggish and unpredictable 2007 on such a positive note. I can only hope its an indicator of what to expect as we roll into 2008. Stay tuned!