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

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With some Planning Property Managers can Weather Coronavirus Storm

Image is a man holding a newspaper that says "the world is changing" on the front.With April 1st right around the corner, property managers across the country are about to get a real sense of how the coronavirus is going to impact their business as well as their rental owners’ bottom lines.  But just because property managers like Martin Feinberg are on the front lines of this crisis it doesn’t mean that their hands are tied.

Accurate information coupled with empathy and a solid plan can help professional property managers survive and even thrive during the next few months.  The more understanding property managers have of the current climate—and how it is likely to impact their tenants, employees, and vendors—the better they will be able to cope with the current situation.

Below are four things that property managers should be aware of and plan for in the coming weeks.  By doing so they will be better able to sustain their businesses until the coronavirus disaster has passed.

Lost Rental Income

As the number of Americans who file for unemployment insurance rises, so does the likelihood of tenants not being able to pay their rent.  Property managers should work with their rental property owners to have a solid plan in place for dealing with this probability.  Property managers should also watch for policy updates and additional legislation regarding rental payments, both on the state and the federal level, as governments attempt to mitigate some of the financial fallout the coronavirus is causing.

Dropping Rental Demand

If the coronavirus crisis continues to worsen, it is very likely that online traffic to property managers’ rental listings with drop significantly.  It would be smart for experienced property managers to look for innovative ways to help perspective tenants who are looking to move during this unique leasing season.

Retention is Essential

Right now, the most effective way for property managers and rental property owners to protect their income is to do whatever is necessary to keep heir current tenants.   Property managers may want to examine the benefits of extending existing leases, moving out renewal decision dates for current tenants, and providing excellent service under the current circumstances.

Though the number of people looking to move is likely to fall over the next few months, rental demand remains high in many markets.  Property managers who can keep their current tenants until the affects of the coronavirus begin to wane will be a head of the game.

Image is an illustration of the dropping stock market.Technology will Save the Day

For those renters who are looking to move right now, being able to look for a place online is their key concern.  Property managers who make it easy for perspective tenants to house hunt,  communicate, and lease online will often win out in this current climate over those who don’t have those capabilities yet.  Professional property managers need to do what they can to make sure their leasing process works well for those Americans who are currently sheltering in place.  This will give them a leg up over the competition that can’t offer the same resources.

COVID-19 Doesn’t Stop Property Managers from Being Effective

Image is a drawing of the earth with the word COVID-19 superimposed over it.COVID-19 has been impacting everything from health care to grocery shopping in the United States for the last two weeks, and property management isn’t any different.  Though social distancing due to the coronavirus is essential, property managers like Martin Feinberg must still keep up with maintenance requests, repairs, and general property upkeep.  Understanding the best ways to do that while staying in compliance with government regulations and mandates is essential.

Below are four possible ways that property managers can work to maintain their property management obligations while also following social distancing protocols:

1.) No Nonessential Repairs

The easiest way to reduce person-to-person contact is to eliminate or postpone all non-urgent repairs.  Property managers should let their tenants know through email or text that, for everyone’s safety, only emergency repairs will be handled at this time.   Landlords should be empathetic and promise follow up on issues where needed, but should remain firm.  Deferring nonessential requests will make it easier for technicians to take care of emergent problems during this uncertain time.

2.) Boost Communications

Professional property managers should find as many ways as possible for their team members to work remotely.  This will be easiest when everyone is able to communicate effectively and promptly.  Mobile tools can help streamline communication efforts

3.) Talk with Vendors

During this time of social distancing due to the coronavirus, it’s very important for property managers to maintain effective communication with their vendors as well as their tenants.  Landlords need to make sure that any vendor they send to a property is following safety and social distancing protocols.  Asking about a vendor’s COVID-19 management plan is also a good option.

4.) Embrace Virtual Inspections

For those property managers that utilize routine annual inspections, and have inspections scheduled over the next few weeks, virtual inspections may be the way to go.  Tenants may be able to accommodate an inspection if they have access to and are willing to use their smart phones to provide visual access to their units.

Image is an illustration of a man and woman kept a part by the words social distancing.

Culver City Press Release on Coronavirus Closures and Cancellations

Image is the word Covid-19 superimposed over a world map.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, recognizes the efforts of Culver City officials in helping to stem the spread of the coronavirus within the Culver City Real Estate area.  Helping to slow the rate of transmission is an essential part of making sure that health care services remain able to handle their patient load and provide the best care possible, including advanced care when it is needed.

In that vein, the City of Culver City has released a statement outlining recent city closures and program cancellations.  The press release also includes links with further information about the coronavirus and access to local updates.

“Beginning March 11, 2020, the City of Culver City has cancelled all nonessential City-sponsored events for the next four weeks as a Coronavirus precautionary measure.  This includes the My Brother’s Keeper program (March 14) and Egg-stravaganza (March 21) which are now cancelled.

Program cancellations, facility closures and/or gathering size restrictions related to Coronavirus precautions are now in place for the Veterans Memorial Complex (Senior Center, Veterans Memorial Building, Teen Center), and all Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department staffed and contracted classes and programs with the exception of only a few.  We ask that you please read the information below carefully.  If you have questions or would like more information, call the Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) Department at 310-253-6650 or email us at prcs.department@culvercity.org.

Culver City Senior Center Programs & Services

Starting Saturday March 14, 2020, the City of Culver City will close the Culver City Senior Center until further notice. This includes the fitness room, pool room, computer room and all classes, programs, workshops, and events.  All City-sponsored events and classes for the age 50+ population will be cancelled. The entire building will be closed for older adult programming. The Senior Center WILL still provide essential services such as lunch through an outdoor pick-up program and social services via telephone.

Senior Center information desk staff is available via phone at 310-253-6700 between 9:00 am – 5:00 pm to answer any questions.  Many of our partnership organizations such as WISE and Healthy Aging and the LA County Department of Mental Health will be available by phone should patrons need to contact them.  If you have questions regarding specific programming and activities, please contact programming staff at 310-253-6715.

Registered participants in the Senior Center nutrition program will be able to pick up lunches at the Senior Center on Mondays and Thursdays between 10:30 am – 12:30 pm.  Frozen meals will be provided for the days when there is no meal pick-up service.  The home delivered meals program will also continue to provide meals to our local housebound seniors.  If you have questions regarding meal pickup or home delivered meals during this time, please contact nutrition program staff at 310-253-6712.

The City’s social services partner, Special Services for Groups, will be available at the Senior Center to receive calls between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm and they can be reached via phone at 310-253-6717.  Special Services for Group social workers are here to provide you mental health services, care management, and address other social service needs.

Facility Reservations

Effective immediately, large facility reservations (i.e., events over 250 people) in City-owned/managed facilities are cancelled.  We are highly encouraging renters during this time period to cancel or reschedule events, especially those with 50 or greater people in attendance. (Mandatory cancellations may occur in the future.) If renters decide to cancel or reschedule your event, the City can offer these changes at no charge. Please contact our rental office staff at vmc.booking@culvercity.org or 310-253-6625 with any questions or changes.

Aquatics / The Plunge

The Plunge will be closed as was previously scheduled for annual maintenance from March 14 – April 4, 2020.

Spring Camp, Enrichment Programs & Classes

Effective immediately, all adult and youth sports programs and contract classes are cancelled with only three exceptions: 1) Preschool programs; 2) Afterschool programs; 3) Spring Camps (starting March 23).  However, please keep in mind that this may change at any time.

For Further Information and Updates

The Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department takes pride in the role we play in the lives of residents of all ages in the Culver City community and looks forward to the time when we can all gather together in good health. Updates and additional information will be posted on our webpage as it is available.

The City will continue to work closely with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to protect the health and safety of our Culver City residents, visitors and staff.  Learn more about the Coronavirus on the County’s website.

The City of Culver City is providing updates on the Coronavirus.

For your convenience, you may download a copy of the information above.”

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg encourages everyone to stay informed and support the necessary protocols outlined above.

Image is a Sorry We're Closed sign.

Popular Culver City Television Game Shows to Film without Audiences

Image is Vanna White next to the puzzle board for Wheel of Fortune.Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, has recently learned that television game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, both of which are filmed at the Sony Pictures Studios in the Culver City Real Estate area, will begin taping shows without live studio audiences this week.  This change to closed sets is due to concerns over possible community spread of the coronavirus.

According to the popular tabloid news source TMZ, Production sources at the two shows stated that the preventative measure was decided upon because of “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek’s pancreatic cancer as well as the high average age of the shows’ core audience.  Many of the shows’ audience members come from out of town, which is also a concern.

As most should be aware of by now, older people, those with compromised immune systems, and those with certain preexisting medical conditions are considered to be at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

Sources for TMZ suggest that Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune will continue to tape without a live audience for the foreseeable future, though officials will continue to monitor the situation with the new virus closely.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg notes that viewers of the two television game shows won’t notice any difference for a while however, as both shows tape their episodes weeks before they are aired.

Those who would like to get updates on both local and statewide news of and responses to coronavirus developments and precautions should Sign up for Patch alerts and daily newsletters.

Image is of empty theater seats in an auditorium.

How to Hire the Right Property Management Company for Your Needs

Image is four hands coming together in a show of unity over a pile of papers and tablets.Often one of the harder questions for rental property owners to answer is whether or not they should use a property management company to manage their rental properties.  Some owners are up for the challenge of meeting the needs, and taking care of the challenges, that come with rental property ownership.  Many, however, are not sure they have the time or inclination to do the job properly.  For those that do decide to utilize a property manager, it can be daunting to find the right landlord for the job.

Most owners understand that vetting property managers, like vetting tenants, is important.  But not all owners understand how to go about the process successfully. Knowing what questions to ask can be very helpful in determining whether or not a specific property management company is right for a rental property owner’s needs.

Five Questions to Ask a Prospective Property Manager

  1. How long have you been in the property management business?

It’s often easier to work with property managers that already have a working relationship with reliable contractors and vendors. It generally means that maintenance and repair requests will be handled professionally and timely, with good results for tenants and owners alike.

  1. How big is your company?

Small companies can be very efficient, but in general, it’s important for a property management company to have at least a few employees to help ensure that there is always someone on duty who can take care of emergencies or other issues.  A one-man-operation can work, until that one man goes on vacation or has his own personal issues to deal with.   A property management company with staff is usually a better option.

  1. What are your fees?

No rental property owner should hire a property manager without knowing exactly how much it is going to cost.  Legitimate managers like Martin Feinberg are always upfront and honest about how much they will be charging for all of their services, including fees associated with vacancies, service calls, or to renew a lease.

  1. How do you determine your rental rates?

Image is a drawing of a concept tree with words like Goals, Team, Ideas, Strategy, etc. in colored bubbles.Experienced property managers know their markets well and will be able to analyze the market to ensure that the property owner is getting a good return on their investment.  They will also be able to help rental property owners manage their profit expectations.

  1. How will you provide updates about my property?

Most professional property managers send out a monthly report that shows expenses as well as rental income for the properties they manage.  These reports should include maintenance and repair costs.  Owners should also be sure to find out how the manager will handle other issues that require communication, like repair requests that are over the prior approval rate, or impending vacancies, etc.

Culver City Releases Statement on Spread of Coronavirus

Image is a person hand putting hand sanitizer on.The Culver City Real Estate area—along with the cities of Malibu, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood—released a joint statement earlier this week asking residents to work to prevent spread of the new coronavirus.  The five Westside cities often work together on public safety matters, disaster response, large-scale public events, and emergency preparedness.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, also noted that the joint joint news release stated that all Westside cities are “at-the-ready for local action” if the county or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend it.

As of Thursday, 11 Los Angeles County residents had contracted the Coronavirus, with the county going from no cases to 11 in less than three days.  However, each case has been linked to travel outside of the country rather than local community transmission.

The news release went also stated, “Together, and within our local jurisdictions, the Westside cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, Malibu, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood undergo emergency management training and meet regularly in preparation for a range of emergency scenarios.  Each city, in standard preparation for any emergency or disaster, has robust plans in place for continuity of government services and business operations.”

The five Westside cities are asking residents to take the following precautions to stop the spread of the Coronavirus:

  • Avoid / Stay away from sick people;
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand cleaner;
  • Keep hands away from eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • Disinfect public counters, desks, common areas, phones, keyboards, etc.;
  • Use disinfectant wipes identified for use against Influenza A&B and Coronaviruses;
  • If you have symptoms (fever, cough, vomiting, difficulty breathing) stay home and call your doctor;
  • Remain home until you have spoken with your doctor or health provider and are cleared to return to work; and
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.

Image is a close up of different disinfectants and household cleaners.The Los Angeles County Public Health Department has reminded residents that “At this time, there is no immediate threat to the general public and no special precautions are required. Los Angeles County residents, students, workers, and visitors are encouraged to engage in their regular activities and practice good public health hygiene, as this is the height of flu season across the County.”

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg encourages anyone looking for further updates and information about the coronavirus or other important public health information in multiple languages to visit the Los Angeles County Public Health website and the CDC website.

Early Results for Measure CC Suggest Half-Cent Tax will Pass

The word VOTE stamped on card stock hanging from old twine and clothes pins over a rusty vintage background.

Tuesday was Election Day in the Culver City Real Estate area and early tallying for the proposed Measure CC gave it a strong chance of passing.  Martin Feinberg notes that Measure CC is a continuation of the current Measure Y, which is a half-cent sales tax added to the normal statewide sales tax for California.

According to a City of Culver City press release, “Currently, Measure Y will sunset in the year 2023.  If approved by Culver City voters, Measure CC would extend Measure Y by 10 more years.”

Estimates by city officials show that if passed, Measure CC ‘s half-cent sales tax would generate roughly $9.8 million dollars annually until 2033.

Revenues from Measure CC, just as with the current Measure Y, would fund:

  • Police, fire, and public safety services
  • 911 emergency response
  • Programming for seniors and youth
  • Maintenance of parks and recreation centers
  • Street repairs and traffic improvements
  • Emergency preparedness efforts and resources

As reported by the Culver City Patch, as of 9:43 p.m. last night 73.60 percent of the votes were in favor of Measure CC, with 26.40 percent voting NO on the new Measure.

The City also reminded residents that “The half-cent sales tax (in other words, 5 cents for every $10 spent) applies only to certain goods and services within Culver City, such as restaurants, bars, gasoline, and retail stores like clothing stores. It does not apply to most groceries or the services of a doctor, dentist or attorney.”

Hand with marker writing the word Your Vote Counts

According to public record, and as of Jan. 3 in Los Angeles County, 88.91 percent of the 6,184,646 eligible voters were registered.  Out of that 5,498,704, 51.11 percent are registered Democrats, 16.81 percent are registered Republicans, 2.4 percent are registered American Independents and 0.42 percent are registered Green Party.

To learn more about Measure CC local listing agent Martin Feinberg suggests visiting the City of Culver City website.

An Adverse Action Notice Ensures Property Managers Follow the Law

Image is a "denied" stamp, in red ink against white.Novice rental property owners and property managers are not always aware of the many different laws and regulations that they are required to follow.  Some, for example, may not know that, under certain conditions, property managers are legally required to provide an adverse action notice to perspective tenants whose rental applications were denied during the tenant screening process. This is one of the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Many landlords use a perspective renter’s consumer reports to help them decide whether or not the applicant will be a good match for their rental property.  Basically, a consumer report is a background report that contains personal information on a consumer.  They typically include:

  • Credit score
  • Rental history
  • Eviction history
  • Credit history
  • Criminal history
  • Bankruptcies, liens, and judgments

According to the FCRA however, if a property manager looks at a rental applicant’s consumer reports as part of their tenant screening process, and decides to deny the application, that property manager must send an adverse action notice to the applicant.

The Federal Trade Commission(FTC) and FCRA generally define the term “adverse action” as when a property manager denies a rental applicant housing or decides not to renew a lease agreement, based on information found in a consumer report.

Other examples of adverse action that can be taken by a property manager such as Martin Feinberg include:

  • Requiring a co-signer on the lease;
  • Requiring a deposit that would not be required for another applicant;
  • Requiring a larger deposit than might be required for another applicant; and
  • Raising the rent to a higher amount than for another applicant.

Likewise, if a property manager decides to deny a rental application for any legal reason, and they accessed a consumer report as part of that process, they must also provide an adverse action notice to the applicant.

Legal Screening Processes

Professional property managers are allowed to screen for qualified tenants by reviewing a perspective tenant’s credit report and criminal record, verifying employment and income, checking references, and speaking to past landlords.

However, under the Fair Housing Act property managers and rental property owners are not allowed to deny any rental applicant due to the applicant’s race, religion, gender, familial status, disability, or nationality.

For this reason, many experienced property managers choose to protect themselves from discrimination claims by informing all applicants exactly why they were not approved to rent the property through an adverse action notice, even when it may not legally be required.  It is the best way to ensure that FCRA  and FTC requirements have been observed.

Image is two boxes with a choice between a check mark and an x.

The Plunge, Culver City’s Municipal Pool, Closes for Maintenance

Image is the Culver City PlungeLocal lending agent Martin Feinberg notes that the Culver City Municipal Pool will be closed for maintenance from Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, April 5. The Plunge, as the pool is also known within the Culver City Real Estate area, is undergoing maintenance to ensure that the facility is in top shape as the warmer weather approaches and more swimmers take advantage of the changing seasons.

The following the maintenance period the pool will reopen with the following modified schedule:

Monday, April 6

  • Evening Lap Swim, Late Start 7:30 PM – 9 PM
  • Culver City Unified School District Swim Meet

Thursday, April 16

  • Evening Lap Swim, Late Start 7:30 PM – 9 PM
  • Culver City Unified School District Swim Meet

Saturday, May 23

  • Weekend Recreation Swim Begins
  • Saturdays and Sundays 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Monday, May 25–Memorial Day Hours

  • Lap Swim (Long Course) 5:30 AM – 12 PM
  • Recreation Swim 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
  • active-blue-blur-child

The Plunge Summer Schedule begins on Monday, June 15, with lap swim offered during specific hours and recreational swimming open 6 days a week in the afternoon.

Lap Swim: 

  • Monday – Friday 5:30 AM – 9:30 AM, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM & 7 PM – 9 PM
  • Saturday: 6 AM – 9:30 AM, 9:30 AM – 11 AM, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
  • Sunday: 10 AM – 12 PM & 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Recreation Swim:

  • Monday – Sunday 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, reminds swimmers that lanes, hours, and closure dates can change at any time.  For questions or updated schedules please call the Aquatics staff at (310) 253-6680.

Image is a little girl in a pool with swim goggles.

Culver City Residents now Able to Access Early Voting Options

Hand with marker writing the word Your Vote Counts

Culver City Real Estate area residents were able to begin casting votes in the presidential race and other state and local issues last Saturday thanks to a new early-voting system.   Though Election Day is officially March 3rd, 20 percent of the almost 1,000 new voting centers opened last week to voters. The remainder will open at the end of February.

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, notes that another new feature in this year’s election is that voters who missed the registration deadline can now cast a conditional ballot anytime during early voting through Election Day. However, eligibility will be confirmed before such votes are counted.

According to the Patch report, once at a voting center “registered voters are handed a blank ballot with a bar code that — when inserted into the voting machine — will load the relevant national, state, county and city races onto an electronic touch-screen tool. Once they use the touch screen to select their candidates and vote on various ballot measures, their choices are printed onto a paper ballot.”

Voters with access to a printer or smartphone can also choose to save time by using an electronic sample ballot at https://lavote.netand preloading their choices onto a printed or mobile “poll pass.”  This poll pass can then be scanned into a ballot reader at the voting center revealing the voter’s choices.  Last minute changes can be made at that time.

Culver City Resident Voting Locations:

St Mary in Palms
3647 Watseka Ave, Los Angeles CA 90034
Hours: February 29 – March 2: 8AM – 5PM
March 3: 7AM – 8PM
Additional Info: St Joseph Hall

Veterans Memorial Complex
4117 Overland Ave, Culver City CA 90230
Hours: February 22 – March 2: 8AM – 5PM
March 3: 7AM – 8PM
Additional Info: Auditorium

Iman Cultural Center
3376 Motor Ave, Los Angeles CA 90034
Hours: February 22 – March 2: 8AM – 5PM
March 3: 7AM – 8PM
Additional Info: Community Room

To find other locations and/or operating hours for the voting centers, local listing agent Martin Feinberg suggests visiting the L.A. County Registrar website or calling the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk at 800-815-2666, Option 1.

Image is a group of scrabble tiles with the word VOTE spelled out on top of them.