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

Blog

Culver City’s Rotary Club Lucky Ducky Swim back at Fiesta La Ballona

Image is a close up of a pile of rubber ducks.Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, notes that the Lucky Ducky Swim is coming back to the Fiesta La Ballona this year.  The event will take place on Saturday, August 24, and Sunday, August 25.  The official “swim” will happen at 3:00 pm on Sunday, August 25.  The event is sponsored by the Culver City Rotary Club.

To take part in the Lucky Ducky Swim an interested person must adopt a rubber duck that will then “swim” in the Culver Plunge. Each year there are a number of Lucky Ducky winners, with the top prize being $500 and the second prize being two tickets to a Dodgers game.  There will be other prizes announced at a later date as well.

The proceeds from the Lucky Ducky Swim go to benefit Culver City children and youth programs within the Culver City Real Estate area. The Culver City Rotary Club is an ardent supporter of education in Culver City.  In the past the club has provided dictionaries to every 3rd grader, Chrome books and computers, white boards and projectors, and other technology to the Culver City School District. The club also assists the Backpack for Kids Program, which works to provide food for needy children on the weekend when school lunches are not an option. This year the foundation also provided a grant in support of the Culver City High School Robotics Team.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg encourages all who are interested in taking part in the Lucky Ducky Swim to go by the Rotary booth at the Fiesta.  Each Lucky Ducky can be adopted for $5, with a Six-Quack for $25 and a 25 duck “flock” for $100. Donations for the cause are also accepted.

Rotarian Carmela Raack stated, “Every time we talk about the Lucky Ducky Swim people smile.  It is a pleasure to see people enjoy such a fun and happy activity.”

Contact the Culver City Rotary Club at culvercityrotay@gmail.com, http://www.culvercityrotary.organd Facebook.com/groups/culvercityrotary for more information.

Image is a banner of the Culver City Rotary Club picture.

Canadian Sister City of Lethbridge to send Delegates to Culver City in August

Image is a close up of people holding hands.Six delegates from Culver City’s Canadian sister city of Lethbridge, Alberta, will arrive in Culver City for a four-day visit near the end of August. Local listing agent Martin Feinberg notes that the group will arrive on Friday August 23 and are coming to experience life in Culver City.  While here, the delegates will also be representing the business, arts, and community of Lethbridge.

Former Mayor Ed Wolkowitz and former School Board President Marla Wolkowitz will be hosting a welcome party at their home in Lindberg Park Friday night, and the Culver City community is invited to attend. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and will be a great opportunity for local residents to meet the guests.  Those interested in attending should send an email R.S.V.P. to njrfroggie@aol.com.  This will help to ensure that enough food and drink are available.  Donations of desserts or beverages for the welcome party are encouraged.

There will be another opportunity to meet the delegates from Lethbridge on Saturday when they will be taking turns manning the Culver City Sister City Committee’s booth at Fiesta La Ballona.  The visitors will be at the booth between 10:00 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. When they are not taking their turn in the booth the delegates will have time to visit the other booths to learn about the diversity of the Culver City Real Estate area.  After spending time at Fiesta La Ballona the delegates will visit the ARC and the Wende Museum.

Sunday and Monday’s activities will go from morning to early evening and will include many different planned activities around Culver City.

The visiting Lethbridge delegates will include Michael Bennett, the Lethbridge Twining Society’s Director for Culver City, Dawn Leite, Executive Director, Allied Arts Council Lethbridge/AB, Ted Stilson, Executive Director for the Downtown Lethbridge BZR – Main Street Projects, Tania Stilson, entrepreneur, former Mayor Robert Tarleck, and Adam Whitford, a curatorial and publications coordinator for the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG) in Lethbridge.

For more information about the official sister city delegation Martin Feinberg, Realtor, suggests contacting Sharlene London, Culver City Sister City Committee.  For general information about the Sister City Committee and the sister city program, those interested should visit http://www.culvercitysistercitycommittee.org. or contact ccscc.inc@gmail.com.

Image is a line of people holding hands, backlit and silhouetted by the setting sun.

What to do when a bad Tenant gets Passed the Screening Process

Image is an yelling man pointing his finger at the camera.One of the most difficult parts of being a rental property owner is making sure to rent to the right tenants.  Screening tenants before choosing who to give a key to can be a stressful and difficult procedure and a lot of rental property owners prefer to allow property managers like Martin Feinberg to handle the process.  Even a well screened tenant who looks responsible on paper can end up being a bad choice though.  When a bad tenant gets through the screening process, professional property managers need to know how to handle it.

Tenant Screening isn’t the End

Occasionally a bad tenant gets through the screening process with flying colors.  Bad tenants can have excellent credit, good jobs, and even great feedback from previous landlords.    That doesn’t mean that a tenant who looks great on paper might not end up being incredibly rude, demanding, or flaky.  Even the best screening process will not always reveal a difficult personality.

In the best case scenario, the property manager will recognize such red flag behaviors before the lease is signed.  If that happens, they should feel no guilt in refusing to go forward with completing the lease and signing papers.  Property managers always have the power to change their mind before the lease is executed.

Once the lease is signed though, a bad tenant can become a real problem.  Even then, a property manager still has options.

Handling Bad Tenants after Signing

Handling a good tenant who has gone bad requires a lot of good communication. Sometimes it can be helpful for a property manager to let the tenant know that they might not be the right property manager for them or that the property might not be fitting their special needs, for example.   Property managers with difficult tenants can offer to refund the tenant’s deposit or end the lease early with no penalties to encourage them to move on.  Such communication gives the tenant an easy way out without being pushy or creating unnecessary drama.

The occasional bad tenant is inevitable for property managers and rental property owners alike.  Knowing what to do when confronted with one can go a long way toward mitigating potential damage and remaining successful.

Image is a man and woman arguing.

Culver City’s Fiesta La Ballona Seeks Volunteers for 2019 Party in the Park

Image is a cartoon of a balloon in sunglasses throwing a party.Fiesta La Ballona is once again looking for volunteers for this year’s Fiesta La Ballona celebration.  The event is otherwise known as Culver City’s annual “Party in the Park.”  Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that this year’s event will be held August 23-25.  A hundred volunteers will be needed for this year’s annual “spectacular end-of-summer festival.”

Like it has in years past, the 2019 Fiesta weekend will include carnival rides, games, live performances, booths from local organizations, featuring artisan wares and other vendors, a beer and wine garden, food trucks, a food court, “dive in” movie at Plunge into Fiesta, and other fun activities.

There are many different volunteer shifts available for people with every kind of interest or schedule. Some examples of volunteer opportunities include working in the entertainment tent or participating in the event’s sustainability program.  Fiesta La Ballona is especially good at working with volunteer groups from corporations, churches, schools, clubs, and neighborhoods.  The event can also provide credit hours for students fulfilling service requirements for schools.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg recommends that those who wish to volunteer go online at fiestalaballona.org and sign-up for a specific shift.  Signing up to help at the party is easy.  Just click on the blue “Volunteer” tab on the home page of the Fiesta La Ballona website.

Volunteer training for the event began today, Friday the 17th, at 9:30 this morning in the Garden Room of Veterans Memorial Building so there is no time to lose. All volunteers receive a free Fiesta volunteer t-shirt.

The Fiesta La Ballona Party in the Park will be held at Veterans Park located at 4117 Overland Avenue within the Culver City Real Estate area.

For more information about volunteer opportunities, interested citizens can also email jill.thomsen@culvercity.org or call (310) 253-6722.

Image is a cartoon of the silhouette of a carnival in black against a blue sky.

Culver City Council Votes for Temporary Rent Control Measures

Image is a round sign on a wooden wall that has a red circle with a line across it showing a man with a hand out signaling "stop".Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the Culver City City Council has approved temporary rent control measures to help Culver City Real Estate area residents deal with California’s affordability crisis.  The measure was approved at the council’s latest meeting, which began Monday night and continued into the early morning hours of Tuesday.  Culver City is one of a handful of Southland cities that have implemented tenant protections in the last few months.

With a 4 to 1 vote, the city council capped annual rent increases to 3% in buildings built on or before February 1, 1995. Tenants also gained just-cause eviction protections as well at the City Council meeting.  Just-cause eviction protection means that a landlord can’t evict a tenant unless certain conditions, such as a failure to pay rent, are met.

On a related note, the temporary “rent freeze,” which was voted into existence by the Culver City Council during it’s June 24 meeting, is set to expire in a year.  The temporary rent freeze was created to keep landlords from raising rents while a permanent solution to the affordability crisis is debated.

According to Culver City Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells, “We need to have the freeze in order to have the conversation because the conversation causes displacement.”

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg understands that rent control measures and eviction protection for tenants are becoming popular in Californian cities as homelessness grows and some tenants are seeing rent hikes of 50% or more.

Image is a wallet being squeezed by a vice.According to Joe Delgado of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, in many areas of California the fight for housing protections is being led by tenant movements using protests and rent strikes. In some cases, renters have even protested at their landlords’ homes.

In Culver City however, the push for increased tenant rights has been led by Protect Culver City Renters.

Protect Culver City Renters describes itself as “a group of residents of Culver City who are dedicated to making sure the renters in our City are protected.   Some of us are renters, some of us are not, but we are all committed to making sure our City provides our renters the protections and support they deserve.”

Four Things Every Property Manager Should Consider Putting in the Lease

Image is a black and white sign that reads "leasing".Whether a seasoned veteran or completely inexperienced, almost all rental property owners understand the importance of the lease agreement to ensure a financially safe and legally reliable rental situation.  Leases are so important in fact, that many rental property owners choose to use a professional property manager like Martin Feinberg in order to remove all stress and uncertainty regarding leases from their shoulders.

Most experienced property managers understand how important it is to make sure that each lease covers every detail necessary to ensure the care of the property and the protection of the rental property owner.  Though the details of individual leases will differ, below are four key points that most property managers will want to include in their rental agreements.

Regular Cleaning:

While most tenants understand the importance of keeping their rental unit clean, having a clause in the lease requiring a clean and maintained property will cover those tenants who are o.k. living in unsanitary conditions.  When property managers put a requirement of reasonable cleanliness into their leases it provides legal recourse in the case of a tenant who doesn’t maintain the property correctly.

Tenant Maintenance:

Even when a lease contains a clause requiring the tenant to keep the property well maintained, more specific wording is probably needed to legally protect the rental property owner from negligence.   A good lease will specifically outline which tasks the tenant is required to handle.   A lease could outline the obligation to regularly change HVAC filters and clean gutters for example.  Likewise, a good lease leaves no room for misunderstandings about what has to be done—and whenit has to be done—to keep the property well cared for.  Such a detailed list will also help the property manager when it comes time to assess whether any funds need to be kept from the security deposit because of neglect.

Subleasing Requirements and Restrictions:

Property managers need to understand their individual state’s laws and requirements regarding subleasing and roommates, and make sure those are represented in the lease, along with their own policies on the issue.   The easiest way to avoid trouble is to state in the lease that all tenants must seek permission in writing before allowing anyone else to rent their unit.  It is also smart to include a provision that anyone trying to sublease the property must go through the normal tenant screening process, including credit and background checks.

Image shows to people going over a lease.Detailed Policy on Pets:

It should go without saying that all leases need to formally outline the property manager’s pet policy, but that alone often isn’t enough to offer adequate protection.  Pet policies should be specific.  If, for example, a property manager decides to allow pet(s), the lease should include information on pet fees, breed restrictions, size restrictions, numbers, and all other additional information necessary to make sure the tenant’s expectations and the property manager’s expectations match.

Culver City not Happy with new LAX Flight Plans that Impact Community

Image is of an airplane getting ready to land, taken from the ground.Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, was interested to learn that the City of Culver City has requested permission from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to intervene in the lawsuit that was started by the City of Los Angeles earlier this year.  Culver City made the request on July 19 in an attempt to challenge changes that were made by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to three new flight plans for arriving aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport, otherwise known as LAX.

According to the Culver City Website, “even though the FAA’s changes may potentially cause more aircraft to fly over Culver City and surrounding communities, with resulting noise and air quality impacts in addition to the impacts of the already-implemented Southern California Metroplex project, the FAA chose to perform no environmental review for the new arrival routes. In addition, the FAA refused to allow access to its website for citizens who may wish to comment on the effects of the proposed changes.”

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the City of Culver City has always had a practice of challenging any implementation of aircraft operations or flight plans that could seriously impact the Culver City Real Estate area. Given that history, it is no surprise that Culver City would ask to join with Los Angeles in ensuring that new flight plans do not negatively impact the community.

Image is an airplane landing at LAX in California, taken at dusk.The Culver City Website also says that Culver City will specifically request “that the FFA [take] responsibility for, and, where necessary, mitigate the impacts of its new arrival routes. Culver City is currently awaiting the Court’s approval” to join that lawsuit.

Culver City has taken a stand on the new flight plans because it “strongly believes that the Metroplex Project has ongoing negative effects on the quality of life in the City.”

Four Better ways for Property Managers to be the Bearer of bad News

Image is an illustration of a man in a suit holding a sign that says sorry on it.Being a rental property owner means that sometimes you have to be the bad guy. Delivering news about rent raises, amenity maintenance, or saying no to tenant requests can be difficult.  Rental property owners often choose to hire a professional property manager so that someone else can be the bearer of bad news.  Experienced property managers like Martin Feinberg know how to find ways to deliver bad news while keeping the landlord-tenant relationship intact.

Below are four things that tenants don’t like to hear, along with the best ways to break the news.

You won’t get the rental

Denying a rental application isn’t fun but every good property manager should know how to do it while being both considerate and empathetic.  Property managers should also know the legal requirements in their state before denying an application.  They need to also remember that an unqualified tenant could become qualified in the future, or could provide a referral to a tenant that does qualify.  Being aware of demeanor and tone when issuing a denial can go along way toward preventing bad feelings.

We are raising the rent. 

Sometimes, in order for a rental property investment to flourish, rent will need to be increased.  Taxes, inflation, and maintenance costs must be passed on to the tenant, and when those costs go up, rent needs to follow.  However, there are ways to lessen the surprise and distress for tenants facing an impending rent raise.  Property managers should always let tenants know why the increase is happening so that the tenant continues to feel valued. Property managers can also choose to raise the rent by small increases over a period of time rather than in a large jump to make the change more financially manageable.

This amenity is closed for maintenance

Most tenants enjoy the amenities that come with their rentals and will not be happy to hear that they won’t be available for a time.  To lessen tenant pushback, property managers should plan ahead and inform tenants as early as possible when maintenance is going to happen. This will lessen the disappointment of the bad news.  It’s also a good idea to schedule maintenance in the amenities’ seasonal downtime if possible.  Don’t refurnish the air conditioning units or close the pool for maintenance during the hottest summer months, for example.

We are keeping some of the security deposit

Image is two white text bubbles against a teal background.It can be difficult to tell a tenant that they will only be getting a partial refund of their security deposit back.  To avoid confrontation on the issue property managers should make sure tenants understand all expectations up-front. Tenants need to go over the lease, word for word, to ensure they understand what is expected of them while they are living in the property and also when they move out.  Property managers need to remind tenants that not all damage comes from property abuse, but can also be caused by neglecting to properly care for the property.  When that happens, they will be liable.

Giving tenants information that they are not going to want to hear is part of the job of a good property manager.  But bad news does not have to lead to bad relationships when property managers take some time and put in the effort to make the bad news as easy to accept as possible.

South Bay Workforce Investment Board and Culver City College gets Grant

Image is an illustration of a stick man holding up a magnifying glass with the word "Job" inside of it.Local listing agent Martin Feinberg was pleased to hear that West Los Angeles College in Culver City, along with the South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB) in Hawthorne, have received a $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.  The grant is part of a national endeavor under the Growing Advanced Manufacturing Apprentices Across America program.

The grant, the only one awarded to a California applicant, is meant to prepare and place almost 1,500 workers into apprenticeship roles in the advanced manufacturing sector with a focus on the Aerospace and Bioscience industries. The national program aims to place around 5,000 workers into apprenticeship roles.

According to SBWIB Executive Director Jan Vogel, “This very significant grant award reflects the effectiveness of the apprenticeship programs we have collectively created here in the greater South Bay area.  Our Aero-Flex and Bio- Flex pre-apprentice and apprenticeship models are now being looked at and implemented nationally.”

Included in SBWIB’s local collaborative partners are El Camino College, College of the Canyons, Los Angeles Workforce Development Board, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, Project Lead the Way, Training Funding Partners, Goodwill of Southern California and the Aero-Flex Unilateral Apprenticeship Committee.

Companies and participants interested in this opportunity were asked to contact Deborah Shepard in the Culver City Real Estate area at 310-970-7700 for more information on how to participate.

The South Bay Workforce Investment Board runs four One Stop Business & Career Centers in the South Bay area, plus two Teen Centers in Inglewood and Hawthorne. All employment services provided by SBWIB are offered at no cost to the public.

Image looks like a rubber stamp of the word "approved" in red ink.

Turf Replacement Program Increases Rebate to Remove Lawn

Image is a close up of a lawn covered in dew.Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that beginning on July 1, the West Basin Municipal Water District added one dollar to the Turf Replacement Program rebate currently being offered by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). The extra dollar was approved by the West Basin Board of Directors.  It will increase the total rebate incentive for qualified applicants to $3 or more per square foot of grass removed. Culver City Real Estate area residents are eligible to apply.

The West Basin Municipal Water District is also offering a free series classes on grass replacement options to help encourage residents and businesses of the West Basin service area to apply for the new increased rebate.

West Basin Board President Scott Houston stated, “In keeping with our goal of long-term local water reliability, West Basin is pleased to offer an extra dollar per square foot to encourage replacing thirsty lawns and grass with drought tolerant plants and landscaping across our service area.  This additional financial incentive, combined with free classes and conservation education, will further help our District ensure a sustainable water future.”

The free classes began in June and will continue through October.  The classes are meant to help attendees understand program requirements, learn how to properly remove grass, and effectively convert their yards to a drought tolerant landscape.

The grass replacement class schedule going forward includes:

  • Hermosa Beach Community Center, Hermosa Beach, Calif. – Division III, August 29, 2019, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Veterans Memorial Building, Culver City, Calif. – Division IV, September 18, 2019, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Ken Nakaoka Community Center, Gardena, Calif. – Division V, October 30, 2019, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Image is a group of drought resistant plants used as landscaping.Local listing agent Martin Feinberg encourages all service area residents who are interested in attending the classes to RSVP by visiting http://www.westbasin.org/grass-replacement or calling (310) 371-7222.  Registration is required for event attendance and space is limited.  Refreshments will be served.

Class attendance is not required for rebate eligibility but will help citizens understand how to successfully apply for and utilize the advantages of the Turf Replacement Program.

Further information about MWD’s Turf Replacement Program, and other water-saving rebate programs, is available at http://www.bewaterwise.com.