Phone: 310-729-6573
Email: martin@martinfeinberg.com

Author Archive

Ride-sharing Scooter Program in Culver City off to a Fairly Good Start

Image is a picture of a Bird scooter.The ride-sharing scooter program has been operating in the Culver City Real Estate area since July 1stand some residents, such as Martin Feinberg, Realtor, are wondering how the program has been going. Most city officials though believe that it’s probably still too early to tell.

The ride-sharing scooter program is a pilot program for dock-less scooter operators like Bird and Lime.  Things have not gotten out of hand yet, but there have been some complaints, as well as a few positive comments.

“It’s certainly been a challenging issue,” said Mayor Thomas Small. “It’s been a rocky debut for most cities that have scooters. I think we’ve been lucky here in Culver City because we had some rules in place before they got here. “It’s gone more smoothly here than in other places,” Small added.

Since July 1, Culver City police have issued 175 citations for scooter violations. The violations ranged from riding without a helmet to riding without a valid driver’s license.  Over the last six weeks Culver City has received 169 comments or complaints about scooters in the area:

  • 49 of the comments were complaints about scooters blocking access to sidewalks.
  • 29 complaints were related to riders on sidewalks.
  • 18 complaints were related to riders without helmets.
  • 17 were positive comments about the program.

Jesse Mays, assistant to the city manager, stated, “We are continuing to monitor the program and work with Bird and Lime to solve the problems that come up.”

Mays also said that Bird and Lime have been hit and miss when it comes to some of the program’s goals, particularly with response times to complaints.  According to the ride-sharing scooter program rules, the two companies have to respond to any comments or complaints from residents and resolve them within two hours.

Not all communities have reacted to the ride-sharing scooters in the same way.  Culver City is monitoring scooter programs in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, as wells as regulation at the state level, Mays said. They are also keeping an eye on West Hollywood, whose City Council voted to ban scooter operators in their city altogether.

Image is a Lime scooter.However, local listing agent Martin Feinberg notes that Culver City officials believe that the ride-sharing scooter program will benefit their town.

“It’s definitely new technology and something that can benefit us in the long run and help reduce the number of cars on the roads,” Small said.

Managing Noise Complaints and Tenants in Rental Properties

Image is a close up of a girl's face while she makes the symbol for being quiet.If there is one issue that property managers are likely to hear about more than any other, it’s noise complaints.  Noise complaints often go up in the summer, when windows are open and more tenants are spending time outdoors, but they can be a hassle at any time of the year. Professional property managers such as Martin Feinberg understand that doing nothing is not an option, but knowing what to do is not always clear.

Noisy tenants can be detrimental to an investment property and those who own them.  They can drive good tenants away, make it difficult to attract prospective tenants, and can also sometimes even lead to police involvement.

Reliable property managers will deal with a noise complaint promptly.  They will work with all tenants—both the accuser and the accused—to find a quick solution to the problem.

Typically, a one-warning system works best, especially if the noisy tenant is caught in the act by management.  If a property manager receives another complaint for the same infraction, the managers need to look to their lease for remedies and then follow them.  A good lease will always have clauses that deal with different infractions and outline how they will be handled.

Once the noisy tenant has been dealt with managers should always follow up with the complainant to help them feel heard and to let them know that management has not ignored the problem.

Knowing how to handle noise complaints is important, but the best way to quell noise complaints is to keep them from happening in the first place. This can be accomplished with good leasing policies.

  • Find out if prospective tenants have a bad reputation for noise problemsbefore you allow them into your property.
  • Anticipate the common elements of noise complaints—TV, stereos, barking dogs, guests—and set appropriate limits in your lease or house rules.
  • Set a noise curfew.
  • Make sure tenants understand they are responsible for keeping their guests quiet.
  • Treat all tenants equally.
  • Document all noise complaints and the efforts made to handle them.

Image is a audio symbol for volume.Occasionally, resolving a complaint requires a property manager to push back against the complaining tenant.  For example, the tenant complaining may simply dislike kids, and any noise they make will be a problem. When that happens, property managers need to talk to the tenant and outline discrimination policies or remind them that other tenants also have a right to reasonably live their lives.

 

Culver City Man Spends Saturdays Caring for the Hungry and Homeless

Image is an illustration of two brown paper lunch bags.Martin Feinberg, Realtor, was impressed to learn that Paul Ehrlich issues a weekly reminder for his Saturday, “Caring for the hungry and homeless.”

Each Thursday Ehrlich posts a reminder on Facebook for people to bring him lunches before noon on the coming Saturday to feed the homeless.  Often local stores such as The 99 Cent Store, Costco, and Smart & Final are suggested as good places for food.

“Your generosity is so appreciated,” Ehrlich states. “We are so grateful for the lunches, blankets, and women’s sanitary items that were received and distributed last week. Time again to remind all to please bring lunches to feed the homeless this Saturday, before noon.”

According to Sandra Coopersmith, who spent time with Ehrlich learning about his service for the hungry and homeless in the Culver City Real Estate area, “Every Saturday morning the dining room in Ehrlich’s Sunkist Park home is transformed into a workstation where sandwiches are made and bagged for distribution to the poor and homeless he encounters along his route that day.  Leftover food and any merchandise that has been donated by the public or local businesses–such as clothing or toiletries–are dropped off at a shelter. Ehrlich welcomes donations for his efforts, as well as help in preparing the sack lunches.“

“People sometimes call me at night during the week after a party or event and tell me they have all this leftover food and don’t know what to do with it,” Paul said. Ehrlich also mentioned that Whole Foods in Marina del Rey is a generous food contributor. He does not accept monetary donations.

Image is a picture of a homeless man sitting, staring at the ground.For those who would like to prepare the lunches for the hungry and homeless in their own home, Paul recommends including a bologna or peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, processed cheese, mustard or mayonnaise, a piece of fruit, a dessert or energy bar, a bottle of water, and a napkin. Cookies are always appreciated as well.  Ehrlich also accepts donations of new socks, toiletries, blankets and pillows, and tarps.

Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, notes that donated lunches or other items can be left at his home, 11472 Diller Ave., near El Marino Park.

 

 

Culver City Implements new Coyote Hotline in Response to Concerns

Image is a coyote sitting on a paved path.The coyote problem within the Culver City Real Estate area continues to be a source of distress for many residents.  To help assuage local concerns Culver City officials are ramping up their efforts to handle the growing problems caused by coyotes wandering local neighborhoods.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that one such change is the implementation of a “dedicated coyote hotline” that citizens can call to report sightings or incidents with coyotes.  The City is also placing permanent warning signs in public parks.

Gelli Harris, with the group Save Our Pets, stated, “We documented 50 deaths of animals where there were still enough of the remains so that we could identify them.”

Though coyote sightings have been reported in most areas of Culver City, the majority of reports have come from the communities of Carlson Park, Culver Crest and Blair Hills.

According to a written statement provided by the City, “We are investigating the possibility of adding additional animal-control staff.  The City will participate in an upcoming field study which will help us learn more about coyote behavior and strategies to protect the community.”

The City has also issued some safety guidelines:

  • Don’t leave pets unattended. Cats and small dogs are especially vulnerable to attacks.
  • Don’t leave food outside. The small animals it may attract may, in turn, lure coyotes.
  • Keep your yard clear of fruit droppings. Coyotes prefer meat but will also eat fallen citrus or vegetables.
  • Secure refuse containers. Open garbage cans or bags can attract the unwanted visitors.
  • If confronted by a coyote, don’t ignore it or run. Instead, wave your arms and yell at it.

Besides following the safety guidelines, Culver City officials are also urging residents to join “Wildlife Watch,” a partnership program in which “the community and City departments work to establish a comprehensive and integrated management strategy to minimize problems that can result when residents interact with wildlife-or, vice-versa.”

Image is a close up of a cat sitting outside in the grass.For more information about the program, contact Police Lieutenant Aubrey Kellum at aubrey.kellum@culvercity.org.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg encourages all residents who encounter coyotes to call the City’s coyote hotline, which is (310) 253-6141. Sightings or incidents can also be sent via email to http://www.animal.services@culvercity.org or filed online, https://geodata.ucanr.edu/coyoteCacher/form.

A Culver City spokesperson stated that such reports should include the date, time and location of the coyote activity.

 

Property Management and the art of Saying no to a Tenant

Image is two red hands with the letters n and o written in white on each one.Successful property management companies understand that they must be effective business managers.  Real Estate investment is a business and rental property owners want their investments to be profitable.  Property managers are responsible for making the kinds of decisions that will help their owners’ investments be lucrative, all while staying within the bounds of the law.

With this goal in mind, one of the most effective things a property manager can do in order to run their business effectively is to learn to say no.

Mastering the skill of saying no will help managers keep their sanity, streamline their management business practices, and will also make things easier on their tenants in the long run.

Dealing with demanding tenants

Our current culture sometimes makes it difficult to politely refuse to do something for another person.  It can feel mean, rude, or uncaring to refuse to give in to someone’s requests.

However, a property management company that is dealing with demanding tenants must learn how to say no and draw boundaries.  Honing the ability to say no will help property managers assess responsibility, limit their time focused on unnecessary tasks, and prioritize goals. It will also allow the property manager to say yes to other more reasonable or appropriate requests.

Learning to say no can sometimes be difficult.  Following these tips will help property managers master this important business skill.

6 helpful tips on saying no to tenants:

  1. It takes practice—It may take some practice with saying no before a property manager feels comfortable doing it. Running through scenarios and formulating answers to requests a head of time can often help.
  2. You don’t have to be mean—Remember that when saying no, it is never necessary to be rude or mean. Professional property managers must learn how to turn down requests in a polite manner using language that is clear and concise but not abrupt or negative.
  3. Body language is important—Body language and tone of voice is a key part of delivering an effective no. Managers should make eye contact, keep his or her voice even and firm, and deliver decision with an explanation if needed.
  4. Don’t apologize..too much—Many people bundle up a no with copious apologies, which minimizes the effect of the conversation and suggests room for negotiation or another petition. Avoid overly apologizing—one simple and sincere apology will do.
  5. Be respectful—Property managers must learn how to say no to the situation or request, not to the person. Being polite and respectful to the tenant while denying the request emphasizes that the property manager is clearly focused on the business decision being made, not putting the tenant down.
  6. Explain your reason clearly—Offer an explanation as part of the message if possible. When reasons are presented clearly, the tenant is more likely to accept the answer as final. They may not like it, but at least they will see the reasoning behind it.

Image is a professional woman in a business suit.These tips can help property managers boost their confidence and get mentally ready to stand their ground when needed.  Good property managers like Martin Feinberg will use their ability to say no when necessary to effectively manage their business while safeguarding their property owners’ investments.

The Patch Mayor Program Allows Culver City Residents Chance to Shine

Image is a block of gray words against a white background that say things like share, radio, data, web, Facebook, popular, friends, etc.The Patch, a national website that allows locals to keep up with news and events in their area and also contribute content, is offering a new volunteer program that will allow Culver City Real Estate area residents to get more involved in their community—the Patch Mayor program.

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, is excited to learn that the Patch Mayor Program allows people who love their communities an opportunity to share that enthusiasm and expertise on local activities with those not as well connected. Patch’s reporters will continue to cover Culver City’s big news, but they will work with Patch Mayors as a way to give residents more of a voice on Patch sites.

According to the Patch website, local Patch Mayors will have the ability to:

  • Post stories on Patch and social media to spread the word about charity events, local celebrations, civic issues, weather, new restaurants or businesses, and more
  • Guide local conversations as the host of your Patch
  • Reach your neighbors and fellow residents through daily newsletters
  • Earn the recognition of your Patch community

Being a Patch Mayor isn’t for everyone however.  The ideal Patch Mayor should be civic-minded, sociable, and plugged into what people in the neighborhood are saying and doing.  He or she should also like to write, be active on social media, and be excited to share the stories of his or her community.

Per the Patch, “If you’ve ever wanted to write a blog about your neighborhood or town, this is your opportunity to do so — with the full support of our editorial team, a great publishing platform, and access to thousands of newsletter subscribers and Facebook fans.”

Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, encourages everyone who is interested in representing Culver City to the Patch community in the Patch Mayor Program to fill out the short application form located here.  Patch editors will soon be in touch with more information.

Culver City Sign

Here are the Best Places to eat During National Breakfast Month

Image is a plate of pancakes with raspberries on top.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, was surprised to learn that September is National Breakfast Month.  To help commemorate the start of the breakfast food celebration the Culver City Patch compiled a list of the best places to eat breakfast within the Culver City Real Estate area.

Area residents were asked where their favorite breakfast and brunch spots are in Los Angeles County communities and their answers have been compiled below.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg notes that all restaurants in the same city that were tied by votes were all added to the list.  Happy National Breakfast Month!

Agoura Hills:

Altadena:

Beverly Hills:

Brentwood:

  • Amandine Patisserie Cafe

Calabasas:

Cerritos-Artesia:

Culver City:

Eagle Rock:

Echo Park-Silver Lake:

Encino-Tarzana:

Hermosa Beach:

Highland Park-Mount Washington:

  • Gloria’s Cuisine LA

Hollywood:

La Canada Flintridge:

Long Beach:

Los Angeles (city and unincorporated areas):

Malibu:

Manhattan Beach:

Marina Del Rey:

Monrovia:

Montrose-La Crescenta:

North Hollywood:

Northridge-Chatsworth:

Pacific Palisades:

Palos Verdes:

Pasadena:

Redondo Beach:

San Marino:

Santa Monica:

Sherman Oaks:

South Gate-Lynwood:

South Pasadena:

  • Cos&Pi

Studio City:

Torrance:

Venice:

West Hollywood:

Westwood-Century City:

Woodland Hills:

  • Leo and Lily

Image is a plate of bacon, eggs, toast, and sausage.

Culver City Police Discuss Using Drones at Informational Meeting

Image is an illustration of a drone.The Culver City Police Department will soon be using unmanned aerial vehicles—otherwise known as drones—in its police work and many Culver City Real Estate area residents are concerned.  To help allay those worries, the city recently held a meeting at the Senior Center to discuss the controversial use of drones within the city.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg recalls that late last year the Culver City Council approved a plan to purchase a few drones for use in police work. The drones are about the size of a small microwave oven. They can be operated by a police officer sitting at a desk, rather than walking the streets or driving a patrol car.

According to police, the drones would be a cost-efficient way to make Culver City even safer.  They would also lessen the risk to law-enforcement officers or other personnel when responding to emergencies.

Culver Fire Department Chief David White also stated that the drones could also be helpful in house fires by entering the property to look for people or pets without having to put a firefighter’s life needlessly at risk.

Though there are many different legitimate uses for drones in the city, some local residents have expressed concerns about their use.  Some, for example, fear that the devices could allow police to unlawfully “spy” on people.

“This smacks of ‘Big Brother’,” one older woman said at the community meeting.

Image is a picture of a drone with a camera mounted on the bottom.Though there were some privacy concerns, Martin Feinberg, Realtor, noted that other Culver City citizens supported the Police Department’s plan to deploy unmanned vehicles. They felt the use of drones was an intelligent and cost effective way to keep both Culver City, and Culver City police officers, safe.

“I think that it’s a great idea,” said Kerri Payne, a resident of Blair Hills.

“It’s all about making our city safer, without putting our police officers or firefighters at more risk,” she said.

Culver City’s Art in Public Places Program Turns 30 Today

Image is a sculpture of a man with birds in front of a skyscraper. The Art in Public Places Program turns 30 today and in honor of that 30thyear anniversary Culver City is offering many different ways to celebrate.

The Art in Public Places Program was adopted on August 29, 1988 by the Culver City City Council.  The program was established by ordinance and applies to most private and City development projects.  It was created to balance Culver City’s physical growth and revitalization with its cultural and artistic resources.

According to the Culver City Public Art webpage, the purpose of the Art in Public Places Program is to improve “the general welfare of the city, and increase the availability of art to a broad and diverse group of people.”

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, was interested to learn that the original Art in Public Places Program ordinance has changed some over the years.  Funding has been added for an annual Performing Arts Grant Program, along with an option of having a building’s architecture fulfill the Arts in Public Places requirement.  A cultural facility was also incorporated at the development site.

Today, there are over 100 individual artworks included in the City’s Art in Public Places program. These pieces span across the Culver City Real Estate area.  Many are on public (City-owned) property but others are on private property, though still easily visible to the public.

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, encourages all who are interested in celebrating the Art in Public Places Program anniversary to take advantage of the following opportunities:

  • A downtown cultural walking tour in book form – pick up your free copy from City Hall in September
  • Sketchbooks for all CCUSD 3rd graders will be distributed during National Arts in Education Week in September
  • A free downloadable mobile app for the downtown cultural walking tour – available in September
  • A temporary art installation for City Hall which will be revealed soon

Image is a bronze sculpture of three young girls playing next to a lake.

Five Legal Reasons to Evict a Tenant from a Rental Property

Image is a drawing of a home being foreclosed on.One of the most difficult and daunting aspects of investment property ownership is dealing with evictions. The fear of needing to evict a tenant is typically one of the reasons that rental property owners choose to use property managers.  Though evictions don’t’ happen often, dealing with them can be expensive, time consuming, and fraught with legal challenges.

The formal eviction process tends to follow the same steps in most counties in the United States. First the lease must be terminated with proper notice.  When the tenant does not leave, an action needs to be filed with the local eviction court.  Then the owner or property manager will attend a hearing, win the judgment, hire (make an appointment with) the sheriff, show up on eviction day with the sheriff, reclaim possession of the property, and change the locks.

Some rental property owners get themselves into trouble by not understanding the legal requirements to evict someone.  So called “Self-help evictions,” which can include lockouts or utility shut-offs, are almost always illegal and can get owners in a lot of trouble.  Professional property managers understand that taking the law into their own hands is not an option.

Typically there are five reasons to legally evict someone.  They are nonpayment of rent, lease violation, property damage, illegal or drug-related activity, and expiration of lease.

Nonpayment of Rent

The most common reason for a lease termination and eviction is nonpayment of rent.  Most courts and judges will not allow a non-paying tenant to remain in a rental property.  However, if a landlord is not providing a habitable living space then occasionally a tenant may have a legal right to withhold rent until a property is habitable again.  Property managers must also be aware that not paying a late fee is not the same thing as not paying rent and most courts will not allow an eviction to proceed in those cases.

Lease Violation

The second most common reason for eviction is when a tenant violates a clause in their lease. Typically a lease can be terminated within 3-30 days for lease violations, but most courts will require that a tenant be given three chances to correct the problem.  Unauthorized pets, extended or unapproved guests, unapproved subletting, improper use, and nuisance complaints are all examples of valid lease violations that can legally result in eviction.

Property Damage

Most damage caused by tenants is not intentional but rather a lack of common sense and good judgment. Failure to maintain parts of the property, such as a pool, can result in costly damage.  So can altering parts of the property without proper experience or know-how.  Hoarding is another activity that can cause significant property damage.  In cases of hoarding however, if a tenant is claiming it is a mental disability, it might not be legal to evict them.  Care must be taken and all laws must be followed.

Illegal or Drug Related Activity

Image is a close up of law case books.In a lot of states a landlord can terminate a lease with 24 hours or less notice for drug or crime related activities.  In Texas, a landlord can immediately terminate the lease of any tenant who is convicted of public indecency, for example.  Property managers and owners must know their local laws.  And they should always call local law enforcement if illegal activity is taking place in or on their property.

Expiration of Lease

The final legal reason to evict a tenant is when their lease has expired but they refuse to leave the property.  If a lease has naturally expired or been terminated, that can be reason enough to file an eviction action in court.