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Email: martin@martinfeinberg.com

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Easy ways for Tenants and Property Managers to keep Pests Away

Image is a drawing of an allergen made to look like a monster.If there is one thing that both tenants and property managers can agree on, it’s that dealing with pests is the worst.  Pests aren’t only a nuisance; they can cause serious health problems while cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars to combat.  Given all that is at stake, both experienced tenants and professional property managers understand the need to keep pests at bay.

With that goal in mind, doing the things listed below can significantly help stop most pest problems before they start.

VACUUM:

Food crumbs, dust, and organic particles like dead skin and hair can quickly accumulate in the fibers of carpeting, which can then become the perfect way to attract ants, dust mites, and other insects.  Vacuuming often is a very simple and easy way to keep pests away.

WASH THE CURTAINS:

Washing your curtains twice a year can really help eliminate dust and mites that have been collecting on the fabric.  Curtains should be washed in hot water, and if possible a sanitation mode on the washing machine should be used.  Besides washing twice a year, curtains can be vacuumed once a month to keep them from becoming to enticing to pests and to cut down on allergens in the home.

CLEAN OFF THE WEBS:

Many exterminators agree that one of the best solutions for keeping a space spider-free is to be efficient and consistent with knocking down webs. Spiders, like most of us, don’t enjoy having to build a new home every day, and will eventually move on when it becomes obvious that the property is not a safe place for them to set up house.

WASH THE SHEETS:

Bed sheets need to be washed on the “hot” cycle at least once every two weeks, and sometimes more frequently, to eliminate allergens in the home and keep other pests away as well.

NO CLUTTER:

Large amounts of clutter allow spiders, bed bugs, and other pests a safe place to create a home.  Once an infestation occurs, it can be very difficult to treat so keeping a property clutter free from the beginning is one of the easiest ways to keep insects and mice from moving in.

SECONDHAND PROBLEMS:

Image is a drawing o a mop, bucket, and dustbuster.Purchasing upholstered items secondhand can be a good way to save money, but it can also be a very easy way to introduce pests into a home.  The best way to mitigate infestation risk is by buying new furniture or purchasing used items from people you know and trust.

Proper and regular cleaning can go a long way in preventing rest problems, but experienced property managers like Martin Feinberg understand that pests can find their way into the best kept properties.  If that happens tenants need to let their landlords know as soon as possible so that remedies can be discussed and applied.  The longer a pest problem goes untreated, the more likely a costly infestation will occur.

Exchange Club to Host Tribute to Heroes Event Veteran’s Day Weekend

Image is a Veteran Holding an American Flag.The Exchange Club of Culver City is addressing the growing problem of homeless veterans in Los Angeles County by organizing a Culver City Tribute to Heroes—Field of Valor during the Veteran’s Day holiday weekend of November 9-12. Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the Culver City Chamber of Commerce and the City of Culver City will be partnering with the Exchange Club for the event.

As part of the the Tribute to Heroes the Exchange Club is hoping to display 1,000 American flags at Veteran’s Memorial Park.  This would be in commemoration of the sacrifice of American veteran’s, military service members currently serving, fallen heroes, Gold Star Families, and first responders.

Individuals interested in sponsoring a flag can do so with a $50 donation. Businesses or individuals interested in sponsoring blocks of flags can start at the “Bronze Hero” level of $500 and go up to “Platinum Hero” for $10,000.  All higher-level sponsors for this event will receive special recognition.

According to news sources, “each full-size flag will be mounted on an eight-foot standard with a yellow ribbon showing the name of the person to be honored and an insignia designating their branch of service. Flag sponsors will be encouraged to post personal notes, mementos or photos of those being honored on each flagpole. A full list of the honorees will be published.”

The flags will be on display through the Veteran’s Day weekend. The Tribute to Heroes will begin with an opening ceremony on the steps of the Culver City Veteran’s Auditorium at 10 a.m. on Saturday Nov. 9.

Earl Eskridge, a 92-year-old Navy Veteran and Past President of the Culver City Exchange, stated, “Everyone knows someone who has served and sacrificed to safeguard our way of life.  Each of our heroes deserves to be recognized and remembered. The truly great thing is that all the profits from this event will help us in our push to end the tragic cycle of homelessness for America’s Vets.”

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg was pleased to learn that all proceeds from flags for the event will be donated to New Directions for Veteran’s.  New Directions is a non-profit group run by veterans to help fellow veterans in need.

Image is a field of American Flags with yellow ribbons tied on each flag pole.Colin Diaz, president and CEO of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, stated, “This is a terrific way for our local businesses to support our heroes while addressing the critical problem of homelessness among America’s Vets. At the Culver City Chamber, we really hope that our entire business community gets behind this important effort.”

To learn about becoming a flag sponsor for this Culver City Real Estate area event, or about the opening ceremonies, visit CulverTribute.org. To find out more about New Directions for Veterans, visit NDVets.org.

Holiday Tree Lighting Already on the mind of Some Culver City Residents

Image is a close up of a bunch of holiday lights.Though it’s not yet Halloween, there are some within the Culver City Real Estate area that already have Christmas on their minds.  This became especially apparent on Tuesday, when a proposal to merge the Holiday Tree Lighting at Veterans Park with the Culver City Downtown Business Association’s tree lighting, was presented at a meeting of the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Board.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg noted that if the proposal is adopted the community event would take place on Thursday, December 5 at the newly finished Culver Steps in Downtown Culver City.

According to news sources, the main reason for the proposed merge of the two events was to resolve the competition that went on between them.  Because both celebrations normally happened a day a part, with the Vets Park lighting taking place on the first Thursday of December and the Downtown Business Association’s event taking place on the first Friday, the events competed with each other for entertainment and crowds.

Image is a close up of a pine tree.The newly proposed revelry would follow a more “open party” format, with many different types of entertainment and a full live stage. There was also talk of a portable ice-skating rink being included in the affair.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, also noted that discussion on the best way to handle the lighting of the tower at Veterans Park also took place during the board meeting.  It was suggested that the lighting of the tower could take place on the same night at as the lighting of the Holiday Tree at the Culver Steps though the tower at Veterans Park is not visible from that location.

Why Rent? The Benefits of Being a Someone’s Tenant

Image is a hand holding a house key against a black background.The rent vs. buy debate can seem never-ending, especially for people trying to decide which option is best for them.  Though there are many benefits of homeownership, there are also multiple benefits of renting as well.

Buying a home can sometimes be cheaper than renting a similar space, and it can provide options for equity growth and tax breaks.  Renting, however, is typically the favored housing choice for people who want flexibility and the affordability related to delaying ownership and maintenance responsibilities that come with buying a home.

BENEFITS OF RENTING

Renting is usually a low maintenance endeavor.  If the furnace breaks in the middle of winter or the roof suddenly has a leak, the only thing a tenant needs to worry about is calling their property manager and letting them know.  Property managers like Martin Feinberg have the primary responsibility of maintaining the property and taking care of repairs, which helps to keep life simple for their tenants.  Some property managers even handle tasks such as shoveling snow or cleaning gutters. Though these things sound simple they can add up to a lot of time and expense for homeowners.

Renting can also be much less stressful than homeownership.  Homeownership requires dealing with everyday responsibilities such as landscaping, appliances, and regular upkeep along with the more difficult problems like rotten structures or cracked foundations.  A renter’s main responsibility, on the other hand, is to pay the rent on time and maintain the property in the same condition they leased it.

Another benefit of renting is the flexibility that it provides.  If relocation becomes necessary, moving from a rental property is a lot easier than moving from a home.  Most renters enjoy the ease at which they can move for a new job, decide to live in a new city, move to be closer to family, or upgrade and downgrade to a different type of property.

Image is a hand signing a tenancy agreement.Also, for those people who want to live in more urban areas and enjoy the economic energy that typically exists in city centers, renting is almost always the more affordable option. Renting in such locations allows tenants to enjoy the convenience of living close to stores, restaurants, and offices.  Home-buyers would usually need to look in the suburbs for similarly priced properties.

Professional property managers can help potential tenants understand the many advantages of renting, and help them decide if renting a specific property or unit makes sense for them.  Professional realtors understand that owning a home comes with its own perks as well and can also help potential homebuyers with that important decision.  In the end, the choice ultimately comes down to a person’s financial situation, personal preferences, and which benefits they believe to be most important for themselves and their families.

Protect Culver City Announces Intent to Change Municipal Code

Image is a blue and white illustration of a clipboard and pencil.Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, is not surprised to learn that Protect Culver City, a recently formed group focused on rent prices in the Culver City Real Estate area, has given notice of intent to the City Council to propose amendments to the Culver City Municipal Code.  The proposed amendments are related to a prohibition on passing of rent control without voter approval.

According to the group’s website, the proposed amendments are:

Section 1. Statement of Findings and Purposes (a) The City Council of Culver City, California has passed an urgency ordinance establishing rent control at 3% per year because they believe that there is going to be an increase of 5,749 new employees to the local job market over the next four years and thus cause substantial pressure on future rental options for residents of Culver City. (b) Rather than resolve the purported rental unit shortage by providing for the immediate building of more housing units in Culver City, the City Council has decided to restrict the rights of owners of residential property by imposing rent control – thus encouraging the sale and further reduction of affordable rental units. (c) The City Council has also created a new rent registry program whereby Culver City is to maintain a massive new database that contains the information of all the rental units in Culver City, the rent amounts, and the tenancy information. (d) By passing this ordinance, the City Council broke their campaign promises to not impose rent control on the city. (e) Therefore, the people hereby amend the Culver City Municipal Code to require voter approval of the recent rent control ordinance and any future attempts to impose rent control on the residents of Culver City.

Section 2. Voter Approval of all Interim or Permanent Rent Control Measures Section 2.1. Section 15.09.060 is added to Title 15 to the Culver City Municipal Code to read: (a) The City Council shall not pass any ordinance establishing either an interim or permanent rent control measure or a prohibition on the increase in residential rents unless and until that proposed rent control measure is submitted to the electorate and approved by a majority vote. (b) All ordinances that establish either an interim or permanent rent control measure or prohibit the increase in residential rents imposed after Jan. 1, 2019 shall cease to be imposed unless and until approved by the electorate.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that once a notice of intent of given, the California State Elections Code requires a review by the city attorney.   Protect Culver City will also be required to collect enough signatures from registered voters within the Culver City community to get the amendments placed on the ballot.

According to City Clerk Jeremy Green, the number of signatures required is dependent on several different issues but is normally somewhere between 10 and 15 percent.

In related news, Ron Bassilian, the current head of Protect Culver City, has also announced his candidacy for the 37th Congressional District. That district seat is currently held by Congresswoman Karen Bass.

Image is an illustration of a group of raised hands.

Culver City City Hall Zero Waste Program Moves Towards Stage Two

Image is an illustration of a green recycling symbol.Local listing agent Martin Feinberg was recently reminded that Culver City launched the City Hall Zero Waste Program on April 22 and is continuing to move towards that goal.  The program is a three-phase initiative and is meant to help Culver City create a healthier, more resilient, and more sustainable Culver City Real Estate community.  Since the launch of the program, and as City Hall has moved through stage one, the City has been able to reduce the trash it produces by approximately 30 percent per week.

Culver City Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells stated, “My parents taught me to lead by example, and that’s exactly what Culver City is doing by making City Hall zero-waste. We can all be leaders in tackling pollution, helping the environment and saving money by eliminating the single-use items that are sent to landfills.”

In the effort to meet their goals the city put together a “Green Team,” made up of City Staff, which has been tasked with the job of continuously educating staff, answering questions, and tracking progress to ensure the City is staying on track.

The first phase has consisted of the staff learning the definition of zero waste, why eliminating waste is important, and easy ways to contribute to the cause.  The Green Team has helped with janitorial training and provided new desk-side recycling and organics waste containers. They have also installed new containers for landfill, recycling, and organics in kitchenettes and conference rooms and provided a new dishwasher in the City Council’s Closed Session Room. Reusable dishware has also replaced disposable options. Finally, the Green Team wrote an ‘Environmental Purchasing Policy,’ evaluated staff efforts, and hosted a Lunch and Learn workshop for staff to allow them ask questions and learn more about the program.

Image is an illustration of an office wastebasket full of garbage.As phase one winds down and phase two begins the Green Team is planning to create an e-waste collection policy, establish written agreements to integrate waste reduction efforts, use Zero Waste Checklists to produce yearly reports, and make a Green Office Certification Checklist for department use.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the final phase of the City Hall Zero Waste Program requires City Hall to reduce paper waste by identifying an electronic document imaging solution and switch to electronic timesheets.

How Property Managers Protect Themselves and Others from Scams

Image is an illustration of a bunch of roads signs in a pile with the word scam on each one.Dealing with scams and scammers is a part of life for most of us.  It’s not difficult to find people who are trying to take advantage of another, especially when it comes to real estate and renting.  Needs for housing, poor credit, and/or a criminal background can lead some perspective tenants to utilize deceptive measures to secure a rental.   Renters can also fall prey to scammers, who can use fraudulent rental listings to steal money from tenants without providing an actual place to live.

Understanding how rental scams work can help property managers like Martin Feinberg protect themselves from risky situations while protecting perspective tenants from scams aimed at renters as well.  Professional property managers understand their duty to shield the rental market from scams, regardless of the target.

Tenant Scams

The most common scam perpetrated by would-be-tenants is lying about income and job stability on rental applications.  Lying about pets or the number of tenants who will be living at the property are other common lies heard by property managers.  Such lies create potential risk and can end up costing a landlord hundreds of dollars in missing rent or property damage.

To combat such scams, property managers must conduct thorough tenant screenings, require every prospective tenant to fill out a rental application, and use real credit, background, and evictions reports when deciding whom to rent to.  No property manager enjoys being cynical but trusting the information provided by a perspective tenant without verifying is an unnecessary risk and should never happen.

Rental Scams

Tenants most often fall prey to scammers who have created ads with real or fake information and photos about homes that have already been rented or are actually for sale.  These scammers then communicate solely through email, claiming they are out of town for a job or overseas doing missionary work and that the property will need to be rented site unseen.  Once money is provided, the promised keys never materialize, and would-be renters find themselves out of a lot of money with nothing to show for it.

What can a Property Manager Do?

Image is an illustration of someone on a computer with a fraud alert symbol on the screen.Experience property managers will usually report any listings they come across that seem problematic or cause red flags.  This helps to protect the integrity of the industry.  Only working with reputable websites that actively monitor their site’s content is also important.  Property managers can also add watermarks or their business’ brand to photos of their rental properties to keep scammers from repurposing them.  To help protect themselves from scams, property managers should also always screen tenants to verify identity and income, and should never provide any refunds for overpayment before the original check clears.

Mayme Clayton Library and Museum still Looking for Permanent Home

Image is the outside of the old Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum

The Mayme Clayton Library and Museum is currently storing most of it’s collection at the West Los Angeles College after being evicted from its previous spot within the Culver City Real Estate area.  The library and museum, which has more than two million books, films, and artifacts related to African-American culture, was forced to move from it’s previous location when it lost its lease last year.  It is still looking for a new permanent space.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the Mayme Clayton Library and Museum had occupied the former Culver City Courthouse since 2006.  However, L.A. County made the decision to end the museum’s lease in 2018, despite multiple petitions and rallies against the announcement.

The museum’s board has stated that it believes it is within the museum’s best interest to stay in the greater Los Angeles area since the museum’s collections have close ties to Culver City.  Many organizations around the area have already helped the museum by providing temporary space for the large collection, with West Los Angeles College being one, but finding a permanent space is the end goal.

According to a press release by President of West Lost Angeles College Dr. James Limbaugh, “West Los Angeles College is acutely aware of the importance of the Clayton collection, and we’re glad that we can be good neighbors and provide the necessary space to store the museum’s artifacts and archival materials while a search is conducted for a permanent location.”

Image is the outside of the Wende Museum of the Cold War.The Wende Museum of the Cold War, an art museum and educational institution with a focus on Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during the Cold War, is currently partnering with the Mayme Clayton Library and Museum and has put forth a proposal to Culver City to use a nearby vacant building as a “creative cultural space” that the museum would have full access to for showcasing some of its collections while the search for a permanent home continues.

Justin Jampol, executive director of the Wende Museum, stated, “As neighbors, friends, and fellow collectors of important historical artifacts, the Wende is thrilled to join with the MCLM to keep this vital institution in Culver City forever, ensuring diverse constituents from our community will continue to be represented here. Innovative, strategic partnerships like this will serve as a powerful model for equitable access to knowledge, culture, and history.”

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg was surprised to learn that the Mayme Clayton collection holds the largest collection of African-American literature, memorabilia, and artifacts west of the Mississippi River.

Culver City Firefighters Foundation Golf Tournament Coming in November

Image is a fire truck.Local listing agent Martin Feinberg has learned that the Culver City Firefighters Foundation will be holding their 2nd annual Culver City Firefighters Foundation Golf Tournament on Monday, November 18.  The event is scheduled to be held at the private Mountain Gate Country Club.

The Culver City Fire Fighters Foundation Golf Tournament is billed as a special opportunity for Culver City Real Estate area residents to support their local firefighters. Monetary donations, raffles, and silent auction items are all tax deductible and will go towards supporting Culver City firefighters.

According to their website, the Culver City Firefighters Foundation “is actively involved in the community through many fundraising events that allow us to provide donations to many different non-profit organizations throughout our community such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Movember Foundation, Culver City High School Football Program, and several others. Money raised during this event will allow us to continue to support these, and other organizations year round.”

The Culver City Firefighters Foundation, which runs the tournament, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  Its main goal is to support community partners along with local firefighters and their families, especially in the event of death, disability or serious illness.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that space at the tournament is limited.  The Culver City Firefighters Foundation expects to sell out tickets for the day so interested parties should purchase tickets as soon as possible.

Those who are interested in more information should visit: http://www.Golf.CulverCityFirefighters.org.  They can also contact the tournament director, Firefighter/Paramedic Alec de Mattos, directly at alec.demattos@culvercityfirefighters.orgor 818-731-0364.

Image is a man playing golf.

Property Managers Utilize Fall Inspections to Safeguard Properties

Image is a close up of a red brick wall with red autumn leaves against it.Fall is officially here and for property managers and rental property owners that means making sure that all rentals are ready for the change in season. Professional property managers like Martin Feinberg understand that property maintenance is a year-round endeavor but know it’s still a good idea to take some time to ensure that tenants and units are in good shape when the weather changes with fall inspections.

One ofthe most important thing to check as winter approaches is the exterior of the rental unit.  Look for areas that need caulking, gutters that should be cleaned, and/or shrubbery that could be trimmed to prevent future damage.  Such repairs are usually inexpensive and can go a long way towards keeping a property sealed against both water and pests.  Fall is also a great time to check for loose or missing shingles on roofs.   Taking care of small issues before they grow into big ones can have a big impact on everyone’s bottom line.

Autumn is also a good time to inspect supports and railings for decks, patios, and entryways.  Handrails and other supports can weaken over time, especially during rainy or cold weather. Making sure that they are still capable of supporting what they were made to support can help guarantee that everyone remains safe while they are on the rental property.

Fall can also be a good time to focus on infestation prevention.  Changes in weather can sometimes cause insects and rodents to seek shelter indoors.  Checking the exterior for entry points, caulking small holes, and covering larger ones can help keep pests at bay.

Image is a tall tree, leaves changing color, standing over the top of a house.Experienced property managers know that yearly inspections are very important, and autumn can be a good time to schedule them with tenants.  Chimneys should be cleaned of debris, smoke alarms should be checked, and HVAC systems need to be serviced and cleaned every year.  And while those inspections are taking place, it’s a perfect time to do routine property inspections to make sure that tenants are following the terms of their leases as well.

Seasonal maintenance can sometimes seem like a chore but proactive property managers can help ensure that rental property owners’ investments are protected, both during fall inspections and also all year long.