lunes, 26 de marzo de 2012

When a Rental Needs a Repair

ONE of the advantages of being a renter is that when the roof starts leaking or the hot-water heater dies, the repair is not your responsibility — in theory, that is.
 
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In reality, some tenants have to go nine rounds with their landlord to get a plumber or a handyman on the scene. Others decide to live with peeling paint, or do without an air-conditioner, to avoid rocking the boat.
Although New York City offers help to tenants who have trouble getting repairs addressed, that assistance is generally more useful for serious problems, like a lack of heat or hot water, than it is for a dripping faucet. And housing court, the renter’s remedy of last resort, has become a less attractive option in recent years because it can land you on a blacklist used by tenant-screening companies to weed out applicants for rentals.
But there are ways to nudge a landlord to address non-urgent maintenance issues, starting with an e-mail or letter describing the problem, so that you have a record of the complaint. An emergency like a waterfall coming through the ceiling obviously warrants a phone call, but it’s still worth following up in writing and mentioning your willingness to provide access to the apartment.
“The main goal is to get the repairs done, so you want to be as clear and cooperative as possible,” said Karen Bacdayan, a housing law specialist with the Brooklyn branch of Legal Services for New York City, which offers free legal advice to low-income clients.
Lawyers who represent tenants recommend taking pictures of problems like mold on the ceiling, and keeping a log listing the dates and times when the heat or hot water wasn’t working. If the heat is not functioning properly, note both indoor and outdoor temperature. New York City requires landlords to heat apartments to at least 68 degrees between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. when it is cooler than 55 degrees outside, and to at least 55 degrees between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when the outside temperature falls below 40.
If your landlord isn’t responsive to either an emergency or a serious maintenance problem, your next option is to call 311, the city’s citizen service center.
“When a complaint is called in to 311,” said Vito Mustaciuolo, a deputy commissioner for the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, “operators enter the information directly into our database and the caller is given a complaint ID number.”
The department enforces the city’s housing maintenance code and New York State’s multiple-dwelling law, so your problem has to be addressable under those regulations. Some problems that are: inadequate heat or hot water; electricity and gas malfunctions; mold; leaks; peeling paint; plumbing or sewage issues; rodent or insect infestations; and safety hazards like broken locks or window guards.
A problem that is not: a broken dishwasher or washing machine.
The department’s manual, “The ABCs of Housing,” available online, addresses repair issues.
When in doubt, Mr. Mustaciuolo said, call 311 and ask if your problem qualifies for city intervention. He notes that the city receives more than 600,000 housing complaints every year.
But give your landlord a chance to respond before you ask for city help. Frank Ricci, the director of governmental affairs for the Rent Stabilization Association, a trade group for property owners, said some tenants dial 311 before even trying to deal directly with a landlord.
“There’s a fair amount of people who think they should call the city or the state when something goes wrong,” Mr. Ricci said.
Once a complaint is filed, the city will contact the landlord or the building’s managing agent, and may send out a housing inspector who can issue a violation. You can look up your address on the department’s Web site to see if any open violations or complaints were filed in the last year; you can also check the status of a complaint.
Depending on the violation, the landlord has 24 hours to 90 days to correct the problem. For immediate hazards like no heat, if the landlord does not act, the city might handle the repair and bill the landlord.
But for less urgent repairs, or for situations in which the city does not intervene, you may have to take matters into your own hands.
“Lots of landlords just ignore violations,” said James B. Fishman, a founder of Fishman & Mallon, a law firm that specializes in consumer and tenant law. “The next step would be to consider an H.P. action, which is a tenant-initiated lawsuit in housing court.”
It costs $45 to file an H.P., or Housing Part, action; the advocacy group Housing Court Answers has a guide and video on its Web site explaining the process. It also operates a hot line, at (212) 962-4795. You can file a Housing Part action on your own, or with other tenants in your building — if, for instance, your landlord has refused to fix the elevator.
Mr. Fishman said he had never seen an H.P. action show up on a tenant-screening report, but he and other lawyers advise tenants against withholding rent as a way of getting maintenance problems addressed, because of the risk that the landlord will sue to collect back rent or start eviction proceedings.
A suit by a landlord is the kind of thing that can end up on the dossiers of tenant-screening companies.
“We get calls all the time from people who can’t get apartments because of this,” said Louise Seeley, the executive director of Housing Court Answers.
The threat of that blacklist is one reason lawyers caution against paying for repairs yourself and deducting the cost from your rent, unless you have received written permission from your landlord.
Jeffrey McAdams, a tenant lawyer in Manhattan, said that you could be sued later for not having paid your full rent. But he emphasized that tenants should not feel they have to live with a problem like a plumbing backup, just because they might have aggravated the situation.
“Part of living in an apartment is that things break,” he said. “Other than an extreme case, it’s the landlord’s responsibility and the landlord’s expense to make the repairs.”

Ask a real estate pro: Can I buy right away after a short sale?

By Paul Owers March 23, 2012 07:00 AM
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Board-certified real estate attorney Gary M. Singer writes about the housing market in this space each Friday. To ask him a question about short sales, mortgages, refinancing, homeowner's associations or any other residential real estate topic, click here.
Q: We began our short sale on our condo last year, and we're still not finished. We were initially told that if we are current on our payments and our short sale is complete, we would be able to purchase another home without a problem. Is this true? – Kia
A: If you never missed a payment, your credit should still be reasonably good and there are banks that likely will lend you money right away. But most people who complete short sales fell behind on payments, and it could be a couple of years before they can get another loan. Each lender has dozens of programs that you may qualify for and there are literally hundreds of lenders out there. Obviously, if you’re paying cash, there’s nothing stopping you from buying a home at any time.
Q: I bought a home a few years ago when I was single, and I recently got married. I put my wife’s name on the home so that we own it together, and we recorded the deed with the county. I received a fairly large tax bill for the transfer. I didn’t sell my wife half the property; I just put her name on it for estate planning purposes. Do I owe this tax? – Bud
A: Yes. Whenever you transfer a property in Florida, you must pay documentary stamps tax on the sales price. It doesn’t matter who you’re transferring it to or what type of deed it is. If you are not selling the property for money and there is a mortgage on the home, the tax man will consider the unpaid balance of the mortgage as the sale price when computing the taxes that you owe for the transfer. If the property is owned free and clear of any mortgage and you transfer to your spouse or close relative and the only compensation that your receive in return is their “love and affection,” then there is no tax. There are also some other exceptions, such as when you have to deed the marital home to your ex-spouse pursuant to a court order, or when you transfer your home to a revocable trust for estate planning purposes.
The information and materials on this blog are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed, nor should any such relationship be implied. Nothing on this blog is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

Sources:SunSentinel

sábado, 24 de marzo de 2012

RENTING HOLLYWOOD WESTLAKE VILLAGE


MONTHLY: USD$2900

BED: 4

BATH: 3

YEAR BUILT: 1996

POOL: NO

WATERVIEW: NO 










RENTING HOLLYWOOD


MONTHLY: USD$3700

BED: 3

BATH: 2 

YEAR BUILT: 

POOL: YES AUTOCLEAN

WATERVIEW: NO 









RENTING HOLLYWOOD DIPLOMAT RES


MONTHLY: USD$ 6895

BED: 3

BATH: 3AND HALF

YEAR BUILT: 

POOL: YES

WATERVIEW: YES












RENTING HOLLYWOOD HARBOR ISLANDS


MONTHLY: USD$8500

BED: 4

BATH: 4AND HALF

YEAR BUILT: 2000

POOL: YESS HEATED

WATERVIEW: YES

OCEAN ACCESS: YES











RENTING WESTON ORCHID ISLAND


MONTHLY: USD$3800

BED: 4

BATH: 3

YEAR BUILT:

POOL: YES

WATERVIEW: YES







RENTING WESTON COUNTRY ISLES


MONTHLY: USD$4000

BED: 4

BATH: 3 AND HALF

YEAR BUILT: 1991

POOL: YES

WATERVIEW: YES