Biting The Hand That Feeds You: San Francisco’s Pet-Friendly Housing Conundrum

By | February 24, 2015

According to San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SF SPCA), there’s been a surge in owners abandoning their pets due to an inability to find pet-friendly housing. In fact, throughout the past year a whopping one in four owners who left pets with the organization cited problems finding rentals that would allow four-legged family members.shutterstock_219318241

With approximately 65% of the population living in rentals, Competition for each apartment is so fierce that landlords can afford to be more selective about tenants. Moreover, an influx of highly-paid tech workers have displaced many low- and middle-income renters, and increased the overall average cost of monthly rent.

“Now with the market moving with great speed and with vacant units in high demand, an owner doesn’t have the incentive to be pet-friendly,” explained Mark Campana, president of Anchor Realty, which incidentally does not allow pets in any of its roughly 1,000 units.

While some landlords may be flexible about allowing small dogs or cats, it’s all too easy to find another tenant without an animal in the current market. Because of this, a unit can be advertised as pet-friendly, but that doesn’t guarantee it will go to a pet owner.

Pet-friendly options also tend to be more out of reach for low-income renters, unfortunately. According t

“There are a lot of wonderful pet owners and not enough affordable housing for them,”  notes Jackie Tom, president of leasing company RentalsinSF, who manages 35 pet-friendly units in the city. “They can keep their pets, but there is a price.”

Tips and Tricks For International Property Management

By | February 18, 2015

Are you thinking about expanding your property portfolio into another country or region? If so, there are a number of critical questions to consider before you sign on the dotted line.  Whether you want to purchase office space in the fastest-growing cities or start your own vacation rental resort, here is a look at how to successfully manage your new properties:

1) Research The Appeal. The right investments in sought-after locations will create strong rental demand. Assess similar properties in your chosen area and verify each of their rental costs so you know what type of revenue to expect. It’s also helpful to anticipate an average vacancy rate when you’re calculating potential income.shutterstock_81788224-resized-600

2) Consider Utilizing a Property Management Professional. If the property you’re interested in is in an area you’re unfamiliar with or far away from your headquarters, hiring a local expert can save you  money in the long run. Along with having local connections for getting repairs and maintenance take care of for a reasonable price, they can also screen and manage potential tenants.

3) Know When to Sell. A successful property investor has the knowhow to realize when to sell their investment and when to hold onto it. Remember that most markets tend to move in cycles, and if you see property prices rising beyond their anticipated values, it may be a good time to sever ties with yoru current locations.

4) Keep An Eye On Your Valuation. Any asset has room for negotiation. Make sure to frequently evaluate both the current valuation and your monthly mortgage payments to see how your property measures up to the market rate. If there’s a significant variance between your costs and the market’s, you may be able to re-negotiate the terms of your contract.

5) Be Aware Of Tax Regulations. When purchasing an international property, make sure you appoint an advisor with a thorough knowledge of the taxation laws.You don’t want to have some trouble during your annual audit!

Successful international property management is undoubtedly one of the many ways in which you can increase your revenue, but you need to be prepared before jumping into new markets. Do you have any tried and true processes for managing your overseas properties?

Innovate or Stagnate, the Choice is Yours!

By | January 23, 2015

The most successful companies understand that most innovation is incremental and evolutionary, rather than revolutionary.

Today’s blog post is written by Oren Rosen of Cougar Software, a member of the MRI Partner Connect program.

With the pending launch of MRI’s Version X and in today’s ultra-competitive business climate, your company’s ability to innovate may be one of its key competitive advantages. Although real estate may not have the same universal appeal and sizzle as consumer electronics, innovation is just as important.

Traditionally, companies have viewed the introduction of technology as a sure way of being perceived as innovative, but this is only part of the story. The real innovation behind the introduction of technology is how the technology solution is able to easily solve your problem without the Band-Aid approach.

When cutting edge real estate tools like financial modeling are implemented and adapted to suit your company’s requirements, business analysis shifts from being purely reactive to proactive and most importantly predictive.

The most successful companies understand that innovation is incremental and evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Small, constant changes are the keys to innovation success. Over time, the impact on the organization is cumulative. This has the effect of steadily moving ahead of those competitors that are less innovation focused.

Undoubtedly, real estate companies can always do with better methods and solutions to meet their ever changing needs. Sticking with what has always worked well in the past does not guarantee any measure of future success, and doesn’t move your company to the next level.

Cougar Software’s real estate management software and financial modeling tools help you realize the best return on your real estate investments and helps you make better decisions faster.

Let’s talk about your unique real estate needs and processes. Book your FREE 30 minute Requirements Review today, and we will prepare a personalized demo to show how our real estate management software can enhance your real estate portfolio.

Protections for HUD Households in Tax Credit Properties: A Must Read

By | January 22, 2015

Editor’s note: Jed Graef, Bostonpost Product Manager, provides the latest information on the upcoming TRACS 202D affordable housing industry specification update. For more on the pending TRACS 202D changes, read Jed’s previous post.

HUD has issued a memorandum, dated January 12, 2015, titled “Occupancy Protections for HUD-Assisted Households in Properties with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.”  The full memo can be found on the HUD websiteahpicture

HUD has published the guidance after hearing that some owners may attempt to terminate the tenancy of HUD-assisted tenants who fail to meet tax credit eligibility rules—specifically income and student eligibility rules. HUD’s position is that such terminations of tenancy are prohibited and only terminations permitted in the lease are allowed. “This restriction also covers any proposed termination for criminal activity, which generally is limited to specified activity during the term of the lease or where an owner discovers there was fraud in the application process.” In addition, tenants whose HUD assistance is terminated as a result of increased income retain all rights under the HUD lease and may remain in the unit.

HUD does permit owners to offer incentives to HUD tenants to vacate a unit so long as the incentives are not paid from Section 8 or FHA project funds.

HUD’s website contains a page from the Region 10 Hub (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington) that goes beyond the recent memo and deals with many more issues including income targeting (in some cases you may be in violation of HUD rules if you enforce LIHTC income targeting).  The strong recommendation is to deal with all such conflicts in advance of adding tax credits to a HUD project and obtain waivers wherever possible.  Otherwise, the advice is to consider a mixed tax credit project to give the ability to move tenants into and out of the tax credit program as may be necessary.  This post also warns that certain regulatory and use restrictions remain on a property even after a HUD loan is paid off. For more information, visit the organization’s website.

Should you find yourself with potential conflicts between the HUD and tax credit rules and have not received the necessary waivers from HUD it is probably a good idea to consult your legal advisor.


TRACS 202D and DUNS Numbers—End of Transition Rules is Approaching

By | January 13, 2015

Editor’s note: Jed Graef, Bostonpost Product Manager, provides the latest information on the upcoming TRACS 202D affordable housing industry specification update. For more on the pending TRACS 202D changes, read Jed’s previous post.

As previously reported, HUD decided not to enforce new rules on the submission of DUNS numbers and Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) immediately in TRACS version 202D. When asked at the October TRACS Industry Meeting when the rules would start being enforced the reply was soon after the end of the 202D transition period.  While we still do not know when enforcement will start, the formal transition is over on February 1 and it is not too soon to be sure that you are compliant.shutterstock_89957470-resized-600

The requirement is that the owner’s DUNS number and TIN must be reported in TRACS submissions for Section 8, Rent Supplement, RAP and 202 and 811 PRAC contracts.  In addition, if the owner entity has a parent company, the DUNS and TIN information for the parent must also be provided.  The consequences of not reporting are severe—once the rule is enforced, TRACS will reject any files not containing this information.  This means that you will not get paid unless you are compliant.

It is important to note that HUD wants the DUNS number and TIN for the owner of the property—not for the management agent if there is one.  Some have said that they are having trouble getting this information from the owners.  If you are an agent in this position, it may help to remind the owner that HAP vouchers will not be paid after the rule is enforced unless the information is provided.

If you do already have the DUNS and TIN numbers, you should enter them in your software now so that you do not have to scramble to do so when the deadline arrives.

As soon as HUD announces the date for the enforcement of this rule, we will let you know.

Remember – MRI Bostonpost 9.2 includes full support for all of the new TRACS 202D requirements. Our goal is to keep you compliant! To learn more about our award-winning product, visit the MRI website.


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