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

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Culver City Council Joins State in Lawsuit over Sanctuary City Law

Image is a judge's gavel.The Culver City Council, representing the Culver City Real Estate area, has chosen to back the State of California in its fight against the Trump administration over the Sanctuary City law.  With many cities and several counties currently suing the State of California, Culver City voted 3-1-1 to stand behind its previous decision to become a Sanctuary City.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, remembers that the Culver City Council had voted to become a Sanctuary City on March 27, 2017.  At that time the Council stated, “The City of Culver City is a sanctuary city for all of its residents, and the City stands in solidarity with other sanctuary jurisdictions.”

The item was added to the May 11 City Council meeting agenda at the last minute as a closed season item.  It was reported in general session and addressed at the end of the session.

According to an article in the Culver City Observer, Mayor Thomas Small, Vice Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells and Councilman Daniel Lee all voted to support the state, while Councilman Goran Eriksson abstained from voting.  Councilman Alex Fisch recused himself because he is employed as a Deputy Attorney General in the California State Attorney General’s office.

Eriksson chose to abstain because he believed that the item should have been brought up in public session first before being voted on by the Council.

Image is a close up of the spines of books with the words "law cases" on them.There have been many cities and counties in California that have supported California’s lawsuit but not all cities and counties agree with the state.   San Diego County and Orange County have both backed the Trump Administration.  Los Alamitos City Council was the first city to opt out of California’s sanctuary law, stating that it “finds that it is impossible to honor our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States” without opting out of the policy.

Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, notes that the City Attorney claims there is no cost to Culver City joining the amicus brief.

Property Managers Keep Tenants Happy by Resolving Maintenance Issues

Image is a group of tools.While owning a rental property can be a lucrative investment, dealing with tenants and maintenance issues is often stressful and expensive.  Because of this, some property owners might be tempted to ignore repair issues for as long as possible, especially if a maintenance worker states that they couldn’t find a problem and everything is fine.  This mindset can be a costly mistake.

Service Requests are Inconvenient

Tenants do not typically ask for maintenance to come to their apartment or home without a reason.  Requesting service from an owner or property manager takes effort, as does clearing up time in their schedule and straightening up their home or apartment in anticipation of a maintenance visit.  Maintenance calls need to be effective on the first visit so that tenants and maintenance workers don’t have to deal with repeated requests for repairs of an unresolved problem.  That will only cause frustration.

Repeat Service Calls Cause Frustration

Failure to fix maintenance issues the first time is frustrating for the tenant, but is also frustrating for the maintenance worker and those who are scheduling such appointments. Repeated visits for one problem are a waste of time and resources.

One way to help cut down on such aggravation is to teach tenants how to describe problems or issues accurately.

Focus on Descriptions instead of Repairs

Often when a tenant calls in a request for maintenance they request a specific repair to be made rather than describe a problem to be fixed.  This happens when tenants attempt to trouble shoot a problem themselves. However, if the tenant is wrong, the maintenance visit will often fail to resolve the real issue.  This is because the worker showed up prepared to repair a specific problem rather than diagnose the problem himself or herself.

Help tenants report problems accurately by teaching them to describe problems rather than request repairs. For example, rather than a tenant putting in a service request to:

-Replace thermostat
-Change air filter
-Replace oven broiler element

They should instead consider these descriptions of the problem they are having:

-Air conditioner isn’t cooling
-Furnace turns off part way during the cycle.
-Oven takes too long to heat.

These descriptions tell maintenance the condition that needs to be fixed while also being as specific in detail as possible.  Maintenance workers can then schedule appointments ready to deal with the actual problem rather than the perceived problem that might not be accurate.  This will lead to less frustration for everyone involved.

It’s all About the Service Request

It can take practice for tenants to learn how to provide a well-written service request but it’s a skill that is beneficial to everyone.  Professional property managers can aid tenants in developing this ability.

A good service request will include permission to enter a property if the resident isn’t home and also give instructions for dealing with the presence of pets in the household and how they will be secured or contained.  In addition to the description of the problem, a good service request will include a contact number in case there are any questions.  This can help reduce the number of “Couldn’t Find A Problem” service requests.  Also, a call from an owner, property manager, or maintenance supervisor or technician to clarify the service request demonstrates a desire to provide good customer service.

Image is an electrician fixing a breaker box.Good Maintenance is Worth the Hassle

Satisfaction with maintenance repairs is often the deciding factor on many lease renewal decisions.  The importance of timely and accurate service can’t be underestimated.

Property managers understand that tenant satisfaction matters.  They can help keep a profitable rental property from becoming a financial failure by taking care of maintenance issues the first time a problem is reported.

Professional property managers such as Martin Feinberg understand how important it is to keep tenants happy while also watching the bottom line.  They know how to respond to maintenance calls quickly and efficiently, with reliable vendors that can get the job done one the first visit.

Culver City Park to Playa Regional Trail Construction Begins this Month

Image is an Under Construction sign in yellow and black.Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that construction on Segment 7 of the Park to Playa Regional Trail began on May 7 and will likely continue into July. This segment of the trail travels through Culver City Park and connects the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Western Gateway with Ballona Creek.  The Park to Playa Regional Trail is located within the Culver City Real Estate area.

This project will include:

  • Trail improvements,
  • Rehabilitation of decomposed dirt paths,
  • Construction of two new ADA accessible path sections,
  • Improvements to the entryways of the Boardwalk,
  • Repairs to the Boardwalk, and
  • Improvements to the extension of the Culver City Park Bicycle Path.

While construction is taking place, visitors to the area will have to contend with temporary loss of parking and access to walking paths. Construction fencing is in place to protect users from the construction site and activities.  Local listing agent Martin Feinberg encourages all park visitors to be aware of construction zones, traffic controls, and parking restrictions.

Construction work will generally take place Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

According to the City of Culver City Public Works page, the approximate Construction Schedule for the Park to Playa Regional Trail will go as follows:

  • May – June: Hillside ADA concrete ramp will be constructed along hillside near the upper field with limited impact to park users.
  • Last 2 weeks of June: A portion of the uppermost parking lot and a short segment of the road leading up to the parking lot will be partially closed.
  • June – July: a) The Culver City Interpretive Nature Trail, aka the Boardwalk, will be closed including the upper and lower entrances; b) approximately one-third of the lowest parking lot (across from the Dog Park) will be closed; 3) periodically, there will be no parking on the north side of Duquesne Ave.

Those looking for more information should contact Diana Szymanski, Project Manager/Associate Engineer, at (310) 253-5623 or diana.syzmanski@culvercity.org.

This Project is partially funded by a Proposition 84 Grant from the Baldwin Hills Conservancy. The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority will provide wayfinding signage for the Trail.

Image is a male construction worker building a trail in the woods.

Culver City Police Department Offers Citizen’s Police Academy

Image is a male and female police officer standing in front of a brick wall looking at a phone.The Culver City Police Department is gearing up for another session of its Citizen’s Police Academy and is encouraging all interested Culver City Real Estate area residents to apply.

According to the Culver City Police Department website the Citizen’s Police Academy is “designed to educate residents and local citizens on the various aspects of law enforcement. It is for those interested in learning more about how the Culver City Police Department functions and operates. There are many misconceptions about police duties and the Academy will help dispel these notions and allow community members a closer look at their police department.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the goal of the program is to open the lines of communication and encourage interaction between police officers and the community.  The program is designed for those with a deeper interest in understanding the challenges and decisions that Culver City Police Officers face daily. It is not intended to train participants to be police officers.

The academy lasts eight weeks and is scheduled to begin sometime this summer.  Exact dates will be announced soon.  The academy and course curriculum includes the opportunity to attend a patrol ride-along, and classes on the Criminal Justice System, Development of a Police Officer, Tactical Options, Traffic Enforcement, Special Responses, Forensics, Investigations, and Community Preparedness.

To be considered, interested citizens must fill out an application.  To download applications go to: https://www.culvercitypd.org/city-hall/city-government/city-departments/police/citizen-s-police-academy.

Image is a group of men and women in a circle smiling, looking down at a camera on the floor in the middle of them.The selection process also requires a limited background check due to the sensitive nature of some of the material and security concerns.  All applications are retained and those who are not selected for this summer’s Academy will be considered for future classes.

Persons selected to attend the Citizen’s Police Academy will be notified by mail and/or phone at least two weeks prior to the beginning of classes.

Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, encourages interested residents to print and complete the application.  Applications can either be mailed in or dropped of at the Culver City Police Department, attention Lieutenant Troy Dunlap. Applications must be received by July 3rd, 2018 for consideration. Call (310) 253-6258 if you have any questions.

Rental Prices Begin to Plateau Across Los Angeles County Region

Image is a illustration of a "for rent" sign in orange and white.Living in Los Angeles County has typically been an expensive prospect. However, though the cost of buying a home continues to skyrocket, rental prices have begun to plateau.

According to the rental website Apartment List, the median price of a two-bedroom apartment was $1,740 in April, the same as it was in March. The median cost of a one-bedroom rental for April was $1,360.  That was an increase over March’s rate up but only by $10. Apartment List prices are based on census data.  Other sites such as CoStarbase rental calculations on databases of current listings. CoStar finds the average price for a one-bedroom to be $1,651 and $2,109 for a two-bedroom.

These new stagnant rental prices come after years of steady price growth.  Because of the Great Recession, Los Angeles had been one of the most difficult areas in the nation for renters to afford to live in. Things have begun to change though. Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at USC, believes that new housing construction in the Los Angeles area is at least partly responsible for steadying rent prices.

Green states, “In LA, we’ve sort of been building enough to meet new demand, and that helps.”

A recent state analysis found that Los Angeles is failing to meet goals for affordable housing construction.  However, the city has already exceeded its 2021 benchmark for new market rate housing.

Though Green is somewhat surprised by how quickly rental prices have tapered off, that is good news for those looking to make a rental property home. He wondered if steady job growth throughout the area has allowed more renters to become homeowners.

“If people are buying homes and moving into them, that opens up rental inventory,” Green explains.

Image is a picture of house keys hanging in an outside door lock.Rental prices may begin to rise again, depending on what the economy does in the future.  A strong economy can lead to under-developed areas outside of the city center bringing rising prices across the region. An economic slowdown or recession would help keep rent prices low.

For rental property owners trying to navigate a changing rental price environment, professional property managers such as Martin Feinberg can help handle some of the headache.  Property managers are equipped to follow price trends and ensure that properties are renting for market value to reliable tenants.

National Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Happening Saturday May 12

Image is a United States Post Office sign at night.This Saturday May 12 the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will be hosting the 26thannual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.  Culver City Real Estate area residents, along with U.S. citizens in other areas, can take part in this effort to end hunger by leaving bags of food by their mailboxes.

According to the NALC website, “The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is held annually on the second Saturday in May, a time of year when food bank stocks are dwindling—and it’s just before many school systems end their years, which can often mean a suspension in subsidized meals for many students.”

Martin Feinberg, one of the local real estate listing agents, was interested to learn that local NACL branches had collected food for the needy as party of their ongoing community service for years, but it wasn’t until 1991 that discussions began concerning a national food drive.

“A national, coordinated effort by the NALC to help fight hunger in America grew out of discussions in 1991 by a number of leaders at the time, including NALC President Vincent R. Sombrotto, AFL-CIO Community Services Director Joseph Velasquez and Postmaster General Anthony Frank. A pilot drive was held in 10 cities in October of 1991, and it proved so successful that work began immediately on making it a nationwide effort.”

The annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is the largest one-day drive in the United States.  It will take place in over 10,000 cities and towns across the country.  Though the majority of letter carriers will take part in the drive, participation is strictly voluntary.

Image is an illustration of a man holding a bag of food.For those Culver City citizens who wish to take part in the food drive, the NACL states that they should “leave bags of non-perishable food by their mailboxes well before the time their letter carriers make their normal mail pick-up and delivery.”

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that all donated food will then be delivered to local food banks and that all donations stay local.  Those wishing to learn more about the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive should visit stampoutfooddrive.us.

Don’t Miss the May Informational Meeting for 2019 Quo Asia Youth Trip

Image is a young boy riding on the back of an elephant in Cambodia.Culver City Real Estate area youth in grades 8-12, plus college freshman ages 18-19, are invited to a Summer 2019 information meeting to learn more about an upcoming Student Cultural Education and Service Project Program in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam sponsored by Quo.  The meetings will take place this Thursday or Friday, May 10 or May 11.  Both information meetings will happen at 7:00 p.m.  All participating youth must be the correct age or grade by program time.

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, notes according to the Quo website “In addition to industry-leading Travel Safety standards, all-inclusive pricing, the most highly-trained Leaders & Travel Managers available anywhere and an impressive minimum 6-to-1 Leader-to-student ratio, Quo’s founders are rooted in education as well as travel. We have a proven track record of building innovative travel programs that literally change students’ lives and enhance their Cultural Intelligence. We create Global Citizens who are better prepared to apply what they have learned to their education and who better understand their place in today’s world. Our approach to cultural immersion and experiential learning in the global classroom is uniquely Quo, and the curriculum we have spent decades perfecting is a key element in adding value to your educational travel investment.”

The program is meant to help students expand their understanding of different cultures and learn history from a different perspective.  It was developed to enable youth to  “encounter an incredible spectrum of experiences, from ancient palaces & pagodas to ornate French colonial architecture. From soaring modern cities that define the future, to spectacular, crumbling ruins that anchor nations to their past.”

The Summer 2019 expedition will last 16 days and will cost $7,595 per paying traveler. Prices are all inclusive. Minimum group size is 30 and a $500 deposit is due at the time of enrollment.  A monthly payment plan is available beginning this month.  This is a California-based group and the program is priced from the leader’s departure airport.

Image is a close up of statues in Angkor Wat in Cambodia.Martin Feinberg, Realtor encourages all who may be interested to RSVP for the info meeting at https://tinyurl.com/TCV2019 or contact Teacher Leader Chris Cleveland at travel.with.quo@gmail.com to learn more.

To view a program highlights video visit here.  For an itinerary schedule and more information go here.

Regular Property Maintenance Keeps Investment Properties Profitable

Image is a drawing of a house.Rental properties can be a great way to earn extra income.  However, even the most well kept rentals will eventually need repairs at some point.  Professional property managers will not only be able to help a property owner stay on top of necessary repairs but will also have a list of reliable and vetted vendors at their disposal who can carry out repairs and replacements quickly and efficiently. Being proactive about property maintenance while also being able to anticipate when repair and replacement costs are likely to occur can help keep an investment property profitable.

Having an appliance break while a renter is living in a property can quickly lead to an angry tenant.  Knowing the lifespan of essential household items will allow property owners to plan a head and be prepared for such expenses.  Using a respected property manager like Martin Feinberg simplifies the process even more.

Though this guide is not meant to be exact or completely comprehensive, it can help give a basic outline of the life expectancy of many parts of an investment property.

Exterior:

Outside fixtures suffer a lot of wear and tear in general because they are exposed to the elements, but they are usually also very sturdy for the same reason. Though outside fixtures will sometimes last decades, none of them will last forever.

Window unit air conditioners will need to be replaced every 8-10 years. Garage doors will last around 10-15 years.  Siding has an average lifespan of 30-40 years.  Roofing, barring hail or wind damage, can last an average of 25 years. 50 if it’s steel.  A deck that is kept in good repair and regularly maintained will last around 35 years.

Interior:

Maintaining the interior of a property can be the difference between a property that always has tenants and a vacant property that is a financial burden. Being proactive in repairs and property maintenance can also help avoid emergency repairs, which can be very costly.

Carpet in a rental property typically has a 5-15 year lifespan but high traffic areas can begin to look old, matted, and outdated even more quickly regardless of upkeep.  Plan to evaluate carpet often and replace it when necessary.  A reliable property manager will be able to help with such property maintenance decisions.

Faucets and fixtures will last between 10-20 years if well maintained and kept free of hard water deposits.  HVAC systems last around 15 years, but filters need to be changed regularly. Countertops can last 15+ years but stone countertops have been known to last over 100, so choose wisely.

Appliances can be some of the easiest things to fix or replace in a rental unit.  However, it is usually best to keep an appliance for the duration of its lifespan. Replacing appliances often as a way to keep up with technological advances can be costly with little benefit.

Microwaves last around 5-15 years, depending on usage and quality.  Most dishwashers will last 7-12 years. Washing machines and dryers average 10-15 years of use before needing to be replaced.  Ovens can go up to 20 years if well maintained but coil burners might need to be replaced sooner.

Miscellaneous:

There are other household items that are also very important to maintain.  Not only can these items be expensive to replace if ignored for too long, they can also cause legal issues.  Professional property management companies will know all state and federal code requirements, making sure owners are always following the law.

Image is a drawing of a wrench and a hammer crossed over each other forming an X.Smoke alarms must be constantly maintained.  Batteries should be replaced every 6-12 months and detectors typically need to be replaced every 8-10 years.  Fire extinguishers usually have expiration or purchase dates printed on them. Replace all extinguishers that are over 10 years old or those with pressure gauges where the needle is no longer in the green.  Sprinkler systems can be expected to last between 10-30 years depending on how well they are maintained.  Electrical wiring can be a serious safety issue but if property maintained can last 100+ years.

Conclusion: 

A properly maintained investment property will allow an owner to get long lives out of most appliances and fixtures. Saving around 1% of a property’s value every year for repairs, and using a professional property management company, can help keep rental property ownership stress-free and lucrative.

Culver City High School Spring Teams Prepare for CIF Playoffs

Image is a close up of a softball on a softball infield.  The beginning of May means the end of regular season games, matches, and track and field meets for Culver City High School athletes.  Regular season play will come to an close this week and next, meaning that the last few matches of the season are critical for those teams trying to make the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) playoffs.  Martin Feinberg, Realtor, is happy to learn that Culver City High has five teams with a good chance at making the postseason.

Culver City’s baseball, softball, boys’ volleyball, and the girls and boys track and field teams are all expecting to make postseason and continue into the end-of-the-year playoffs.  All five teams have enough talent and skill to make it happen and represent the Culver City Real Estate area with pride.

The baseball team is currently 15-4 and 4-2 in the Ocean League., but the result of last night’s game with the Santa Monica Vikings has yet to be published. On Tuesday, May 8, they play Beverly Hills and next Thursday the Centaurs finish the regular season at home against Beverly Hills.  El Segundo is currently in first place and Culver City is in third.

The Culver City boys’ volleyball team is 15-11 overall and 6-4 in the Ocean league. Their regular season ended last Tuesday with a win over Beverly Hills.  The team is currently in third place in league play with a strong chance of qualifying for the playoffs.

The softball team is currently 12-8-1 overall and 3-1 in league play. They are in second place behind El Segundo but the results of matchups with Hawthorne last night, Santa Monica on Monday, and Beverly Hills on Wednesday can change that. The Centaurs softball team must win all three games to stay in second place.

Image is a close up of a running track in track and field.The Culver City boys and girls track team ended the regular season unbeaten and is preparing for the CIF prelims.  Local listing agent Martin Feinberg notes that the track and field team finished their regular season last Wednesday in the Ocean league finals at Culver City. The Centaurs actually have four track and field teams:  Varsity boys and girls, and the freshman/sophomore boys and girls teams. Only the varsity advances to the CIF preliminaries.

Culver City Car Show set to take place on Mother’s Day Weekend

Image is of classic cars in an outdoor car show.Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that Culver City’s 15th annual Car Show is set to take place on Saturday May 12—the day before Mother’s Day—from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The Culver City Car Show is scheduled to take place “rain or shine.”

According to the Culver City Car Show website, the show is open “to all Rods, Customs, Classic & Muscle Cars, Trucks, Specialty Vehicles, Cobras, Mustangs, Corvettes and Motorcycles.”  The show is limited to 400 vehicles so potential participants should register as early as possible.  “First come, First Entered—No Weather Refunds.”

The Culver City Exchange Club hosts the Culver City Car Show every year. The CCEC is “an all-volunteer, national service organization of men and women who serve their community, develop leadership skills and enjoy new friendships.”  Club members live, own businesses, and /or work in the Culver City Real Estate area.

Like last year, this year’s car show will be held at Veteran’s Memorial Park, which is at the corner of Culver Blvd and Overland Avenue just west of Downtown Culver City.  The actual address is 4117 Overland Ave.  From the 10 Freeway, exit at Overland and go south. From the 405 Freeway, exit at Culver Blvd and go east.  Free parking will be available at the Sony Studios Parking Structure—Level 4 and above. The entrance is on Overland Ave.

The show will feature a beer garden, gourmet food truck court, and other vendors. Black Sabbath, 310, and The Red Surf Band will provide live entertainment.

Money raised by the Culver City Car Show will go towards supporting many different local organizations, including the Culver City Youth Center, Culver-Palms YMCA scholarships, Disabled Children’s Carnival, the Culver City Senior Citizen’s Association, the Santa Monica Youth Football program, and many others.

Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, encourages all to attend.  For more information or questions call 310-499-4840 or email info@culvercitycarshow.com.

Image is of classic cars in an outdoor car show.