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

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A Child’s Dream to Host Back to School Event on Saturday

Image is six kids with books lying on the floor together. Top view.

Community outreach program A Child’s Dream will be holding their annual Back to School Give-Away this Saturday August 18.  A Child’s Dream serves children who live within the Culver City Real Estate area.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, noted that the mission of A Child’s Dream is focused on “Helping to meet essential needs through practical means; one man, one household, one street, one community at a time.”

According to a press release concerning the Back to School event:

“We are preparing to provide backpacks, school supplies, windbreakers, socks, personal hygiene products and more to for 800+ underserved school-age children from Pre-K to 12th grade. In addition to the Back to School supplies, we also host an amazing Resource Fare; providing families with connections they may not otherwise seek out. Our Resource Fare ranges from information on healthy-eating, dental care, reading and overall wellness.

“Hundreds of under-served children look forward to receiving new items for school.  A smile of a child is priceless; seeing a sign of relief from the parents when their children are given school supplies and hygiene items is as compelling.”

Cassandra Steptoe-Sampson, Founder and CEO of A Child’s Dream-CA stated, “At our Annual Back to School Outreach, we firmly believe in getting families a hand-up and not a hand-out.  Every child’s dream is to be loved, protected and cares for. It is our responsible to let parents know that they are not alone in providing the essential needs of their children; we are here as their partners.”

The A Child’s Dream Back to School Give-Away will take place on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Culver City Teen Center located at 4158 South Overland Ave. in Culver City.  School supplies will be available for the first 800 children so plan accordingly.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg, encourages all who are interested in learning more about A Child’s Dream to check out their website at achildsdream-ca.org.

Image is a cartoon of three stick figure kids playing on the grass.

Firefighting Strike Team XLA-1075A Travels California Battling Wildfires

Image curtesy of Culver City Firefighters Association Local 1927.Multiple wildfires rage across California right now and firefighters who normally battle home and business fires on city streets are finding themselves in different parts of the state in rural and wild terrain.  One such group is Strike Team XLA-1075A.  After seven days on the fire lines at the Cranston Fire in Idyllwild, firefighters in Strike Team XLA-1075A headed north. The Strike Team, which consists of 22 firefighters, five engine companies, and a battalion chief, was reassigned to help with blazes in that part of the state.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, noted that the team includes eight Culver City firefighters, plus firefighters from Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. The team leader came from Los Angeles.

Strike Team XLA-1075A had originally planned to travel 26 hours to the Mendocino Complex fire in Northern California after leaving the Los Angeles area. However, at the last minute the team was redirected to the Eel Fire, a new blaze in Northern Mendocino County.

According to Culver City Battalion Chief Robert Kohlhepp, the team did eventually make it to the Mendocino Complex fire, and after 16 days away, was able to return home again. Strike Team XLA-1075A was then replaced by 44 other firefighters, including eight more from the Culver City Real Estate area.

The Mendocino Complex fire, which has now become the largest in California history, continues to draw relief crews from across the state.  Local listing agent Martin Feinberg was surprised to learn that it has consumed more than 300,000 acres, or 470 square miles.  That is an area of land bigger than the City of Los Angeles or the entire City of New York.

Image is of a California wildfire.As of August 9, the fire had destroyed more than 100 homes and was only 50 percent contained. Officials do not expect full containment until September.

Kohlhepp commented that if released, Strike Team XLA-1075A might be reassigned to the Holy Fire burning in the Cleveland National Forest in Orange and Riverside counties.  He stressed that Culver residents and businesses remain fully protected, and that the department still has adequate resources to deal with any local issues.

The Best ways to Handle Rental Property Damage as a Property Manager

Image is an illustration of a woman holding a door closed against a flood.Rental property damage is a serious issue.  Most professional property managers are well versed in knowing how to prevent it as well as deal with it when it happens.  Damage is usually either due to routine wear and tear or tenant-caused neglect and abuse. One important job of professional property managers is to determine who is responsible for the damage during the tenancy and get it taken care of.

The first thing a property manager such as Martin Feinberg will need to do is to determine if the tenant damaged the property or if it’s in need of routine maintenance. Once that has been determined it’s a fairly straightforward process to charge the tenant for the repair or have the income property owner pay for it.

Usually the easiest way to handle rental property damage caused by the tenant is for the property owners to pay to fix the damage and then bill the tenant immediately for the cost of those repairs.  If the tenant is vacating the property then the funds can be taken from the deposit when they move out.  That way, there will be no delay in getting the damage fixed.

If property damage is the fault of the tenant, then property managers need to document everything extensively.  Take pictures, write work orders for future work, and send a damage letter to the tenant that includes a list of charges for damaged items.  If the repair is more than the amount of the security deposit, send the bill and an accounting statement to the tenant requiring them to pay within 30 days.

Image is a close up of a broken window.If a tenant refuses to pay for damages they caused, property managers need to discuss collection options with the property owner.  Owners should be aware that collection agencies typically only collect around 40 or 50 percent of the balance owed.

Professional property managers know that attention to routine maintenance will usually reduce the risk of property damage.  Examples of such maintenance can be regular roof cleaning, furnace servicing, painting, and regular property inspections.  Property maintenance can be a gray area and a professional property manager can often help a property owner determine if the problem was caused by the tenant or is the owner’s responsibility.

 

Culver City Council bans Offshore Drilling in State and Federal Waters

Image is an offshore drilling rig.Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, was interested to learn that the Culver City Council recently approved a resolution that supports a ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling.  Even though the city does not have authority to regulate drilling in the Pacific Ocean, the ban applies to both federal and state waters.  The Culver City Real Estate area resolution deals with new offshore drilling permits only.

Many members of the Culver City Council believe that it is time to invest in more jobs that focus on clean energy, especially considering the current environment.  To that end, the resolution, which aligns the city with most of California’s legislator’s positions on offshore drilling, was sent to several different state and federal agencies that govern and regulate drilling.

“It takes decades to get rid of a new lease. We don’t have decades on climate change,” Councilman Alex Fisch said about approving the resolution. “We need to start now.”

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, noted that no all Culver City Councilmembers agreed with the resolution to ban offshore drilling however.  Councilman Goran Eriksson stated that he had reservations about approving the resolution because it is focused on a non-local issue. Eriksson stated that he believed it was inappropriate to spend City Council time on items that don’t directly impact Culver City residents.

“This issue is, in my mind, not what I called a Culver City-specific or a Culver City-centric issue, which is our primary responsibility,” Eriksson said during a conference call at the council meeting. “…We have other things to spend time on.”

Image is an offshore drilling rig and tankers.

Fiesta La Ballona Carnival Ride Wristbands go on Pre-Sale this Week

Image is a carnival at night.Fiesta La Ballona is coming to the Culver City Real Estate area August 24-26 and the Fiesta La Ballona Carnival will be part of the party.  In preparation for that fun event, carnival ride wristbands are now available for pre-sale at a discount price.

The regular price for a wristband at the event will be $35 but they can be bought early for $25. Wristbands are good for unlimited carnival rides on August 25 and August 26 from 11:00 to 6:00.

According to Fiesta La Ballona carnival website, attendees can purchase a “voucher this week at the Recreation Office at 4117 Overland Avenue. Our office hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM-7:00 PM. The sale ends Friday, August 24 at 7:00 PM.  You can also find the wristbands on our website. If you purchase your wristbands online, please visit the Recreation Office to pick your tickets up between the following dates: August 20-August 24. If you cannot pick your tickets up between those dates, please visit the information booth at Fiesta La Ballona on August 25th. Quantities are limited so don’t miss out on the best deal in town! Call the Recreation Office at (310) 253-6650 for more info.”

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the following wristband rules must be observed:

  • Wristbands are valid from 11:00 AM until 6:00 PM on Saturday or Sunday.  After 6:00 wristbands are no longer valid and tickets must be used.
  • Wristbands can only be used Saturday or Sunday, not Friday
  • Each Wristband can only be used for one day
  • Each Wristband can be used by only one person (cannot share)
  • Wristbands are non-refundable and non-replaceable

Image is a carnival swing ride.For those attendees that don’t wish to purchase a wristband but are still interested in checking out the carnival, individual tickets can be purchased for $1 a piece or at a discount price for purchases of 20 tickets or more.  Rides vary in the number of tickets required to ride.  It is between 3-5 tickets a ride.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg reminds readers that the Fiesta La Ballona will be at Veterans Park from August 24-26 with live entertainment, food and drinks, carnival rides and more. For more information, visit the Fiesta La Ballona website.

Good Policies and Practices when Dealing with Service Animals

Image is of a Pit Bull Service dog.Most professional property managers understand the importance of having a good pet policy. Even property managers and rental homeowners that don’t allow pets on the property should have a pet policy clearly outlined in all rental leases.  Many rental property owners though struggle to know how to adequately or legally deal with service animals and assistive animals.

Landlords are required to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with service animals and assistive animals under the Fair Housing Act.  Property managers should also know that service animals are not pets and are not covered by any pet policies they or investment property owners may have.  There are many different laws and rules for assistive and service animals on rental properties and though it can seem daunting, understanding the basic legal requirements for renting to a tenant with a service animal will save a lot of headaches down the road.

One of the best sources for basic guidelines for landlords and property managers is outlined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on their website:

What is a Service Animal or an Assistive Animal?

“An assistance animal is not a pet. It is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Assistance animals perform many disability-related functions, including but not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to sounds, providing protection or rescue assistance, pulling a wheelchair, fetching items, alerting persons to impending seizures, or providing emotional support to persons with disabilities who have a disability-related need for such support. For purposes of reasonable accommodation requests, neither the Fair Housing Act nor Section 504 requires an assistance animal to be individually trained or certified.  While dogs are the most common type of assistance animal, other animals can also be assistance animals.”

What Information can a Property Manager seek when A Reasonable Accommodation for an Assistive Animal is requested?

“A provider is entitled to obtain information that is necessary to evaluate if a requested reasonable accommodation may be necessary because of a disability. If a person’s disability is obvious, or otherwise known to the provider, and if the need for the requested accommodation is also readily apparent or known, then the provider may not request any additional information.  If the disability and/or the disability-related reason for the requested accommodation is not known or obvious, the requesting individual, medical professional, a peer support group, a non-medical service agency, or a reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual’s disability may also provide verification of a disability. In most cases, an individual’s medical records or detailed information about the nature of a person’s disability is not necessary for this inquiry.”

When may a Property Manager Refuse to Provide a Reasonable Accommodation for an Assistive Animal?

“A housing provider can deny a request for a reasonable accommodation if the request was not made by or on behalf of a person with a disability or if there is no disability-related need for the accommodation. In addition, a request for a reasonable accommodation may be denied if providing the accommodation is not reasonable – i.e., if it would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider or it would fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations. The determination of undue financial and administrative burden must be made on a case-by-case basis involving various factors, such as the cost of the requested accommodation, the financial resources of the provider, the benefits that the accommodation would provide to the requester, and the availability of alternative accommodations that would effectively meet the requester’s disability-related needs.”

Property managers and rental property owners should be aware that service animals are allowed wherever a person may go, including restricted animal areas.  They cannot collect a pet deposit or charge a pet fee for a service animal and they cannot enforce weight or breed restrictions for service animals or assistive animals.  They can require written verification from a tenant’s health care provider explaining the need for a service animal but cannot ask for any specific information concerning their disability.   Property managers can also require all service animals to be parasite free and vaccinated.

Image is a service dog in vest with badge.Should a service animal cause damage to the property or threaten the safety and/or well being of other tenants, property managers are allowed to give written warnings and even evict the tenant if necessary.   Tenants can also be liable for any damages caused by service animals or assistive animals.

Professional property managers like Martin Feinberg are always aware of their legal responsibilities, both to their rental property owners and to their tenants. Understanding and following state and federal laws regarding service animals and assistive animals is an important aspect of their responsibilities and one more reason why using a property manager often makes good financial sense.

 

 

A Helpful Guide to Handling Parking as a Property Manager

Image is a no parking sign.Parking is usually important to prospective tenants.  No one wants to have to park long distances from his or her front door, and most rental properties come with some accommodation to allow for parking near the unit.  Just like with most other aspects of property management, parking allowances can sometimes end in parking problems.  When parking violations happen, professional property managers must be prepared to handle them.

There are a few simple procedures that property managers and rental property owners can do to help ensure that parking in or near their units’ works smoothly and legally.

First, if the unit is located in an apartment building or complex, there should be a simple way for property managers to recognize which cars have a right to be there and which are parked illegally or belong to guests.  One simple way to handle that is to give colored stickers to all tenants. A dot on the review mirror is easily seen from outside of the car and will not be in anyone’s way or forgotten.

Second, if a unit is located in an apartment building or complex, guest parking should also be provided. Tenants appreciate knowing that if someone comes to see them, there will be a place for them to park.  If guest parking cannot be designated in a specific area, then visitor passes should be available.

By following both of these simple procedures property managers will always know who comes and goes on the property they manage.   This helps protect both the tenant and the investment property owner.

If a tenant does park illegally, then a good property manager will have a procedure in place to handle it.  Warning tickets should always be given.  It’s also good policy to have a contract with a towing company so that illegally parked vehicles can be taken care of as soon as possible.  If a car appears to be abandoned, law enforcement should be notified immediately.

Parking violations don’t need to ruin a tenant’s or an owner’s day. Property managers like Martin Feinberg are always prepared to handle ever scenario, and they understand what it takes to keep tenants happy while keeping rental property owners happy at the same time.

Image is a black and white illustration of a tow truck towing a car.

Scooter-Sharing Company Bird now Operating within City Limits

Image is a man in shorts with a leg tattoo standing on a blue-green scooter.There will likely be a lot more scooters cruising around the Culver City Real Estate area in the next few months.  The Culver City Council has signed off on an interim agreement that will allow the scooter-sharing company Bird to operate within city limits.

Bird uses an app that is similar to other ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. However, instead of using the app to request a ride, Bird allows users to rent electric scooters to get from one destination to another.

The agreement between the Culver City Council and Bird allows the company to deploy up to 200 scooters within city limits to start with.

The Council’s decision was made at the beginning of July.  At that time they also authorized the city to negotiate an agreement with Bird competitor Lime, which will operate a similar business in the city.  Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the agreements will be in place until the city creates an ordinance that can govern popular rideshare businesses.

According to Bird spokesman Tim Harter, in order for a customer to use the company’s app, they must provide a valid driver’s license and be at least 18 years old.

It will cost customers a dollar to rent a scooter and then they must pay 15 cents per minute until they are done with the scooter and turn it back in.

Image is an illustration of a treelined street with a large building on one side.There are similar programs that operate in surrounding communities, including Santa Monica.  In those area though there has been some pushback with the idea. West Hollywood recently voted to ban motorized scooter companies from operating in the city.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg encourages all who take advantage of Bird scooters to be sure and follow existing laws.  Scooters are banned from being used on sidewalks and also on streets that have a posted speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour, unless the road has a designated bike lane.

Culver City Council Discusses A Change to its Mayoral Policy

Image is a city hall sign on a brick building.The Culver City Council’s policy on electing its mayor and vice mayor is still in limbo, and will remain undecided for some time.  At their last council meeting in June the Culver City Council voted 4-1 to set aside it’s mayoral policy and requested that staff create a comprehensive report on what a policy change might look like, should a change be adopted.

Depending on what the report comes up with, Culver City’s tradition for how it elects its mayor and vice-mayor could change, or it could stay the same.

The entire controversy surrounding the current policy stems from an April council meeting where Councilwoman Meghan Sahli-Wells was voted in as vice mayor instead of Councilman Goran Eriksson.  Eriksson had been in line for the position but was passed over when the new council was sworn into office. He was the lone dissenting vote during the June council.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that Sahli-Wells will remain vice mayor while a change in policy is being considered.

Several Culver City Real Estate Area residents believe the Culver City council violated the Brown Act when it held prior conversations before its April vice mayor vote without the public’s attendance.

Bret Osterberg stated, “We know what was discussed and voted for in the meeting, that’s not a question.  The issue is what went on before. Staging a second vote for show doesn’t get us anywhere.”

Sahli-Wells told those in attendance that she didn’t feel comfortable voting Eriksson as vice mayor or mayor, due to his voting pattern.

“It’s not about being mean or nice,” Sahli-Wells said. “It’s not about tradition. It’s not about taking turns. It’s absolutely about leadership in an incredibly important and critical time.”

Eriksson stated his support for the policy, as a way to keep the council transparent and stop political agendas.

“When there are stakes in the game, logic might disappear,” Eriksson said. “…This is how its (policy) done and the reason for that is to avoid exactly what we have today. This doesn’t do the city good, none whatsoever.”

Jamie Wallace, another resident who spoke at the meeting, had hoped the council would make Eriksson the city’s vice mayor.

“No one has ever been denied their vice or regular mayoral appointment when it was their first term, except now,” Wallace said. “The council deliberately ignored the policy and snubbed Goran Eriksson for his hard-earned vice mayoral appointment based on years of service.”

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg is interested to see how the Culver City Council will handle the issue in the coming months.

Image is two signs, one green and one red, with the words "Choice" on them, pointing in different directions.

How to Handle Unauthorized Pets as a Property Manager

Image is a red and black No Pets sign.Many good property managers and rental property owners recognize that allowing pets onto a property can help attract good tenants, and keep good tenants in the property for a longer length of time.  However, even property managers that allow animals will occasionally find themselves dealing with unauthorized pets.  Regardless of their pet policy, professional property mangers will be prepared to handle such situations when they arise.

Unauthorized pets are usually discovered by management during routine inspections or when handling repairs.  Sometimes they are spotted and reported by neighbors.  They can come in many different forms, from unregistered pets or prohibited breeds or sizes or too many pets, to pets in properties that prohibit them altogether.   When unauthorized pets are found, a property manager must be prepared to handle them both professionally and legally.

The first thing a property manager must do when dealing with unauthorized pets is remember that their tenant is likely bonded with the animal and that removing the pet is going to be emotional.  Property managers need to enforce the terms of the lease and follow legal procedures to help their tenant handle their lease violation, but they should remain compassionate while doing so.

When an unauthorized pet is discovered property owners or managers need to send the tenant an official notice outlining the lease violation and the timeline that they have to fix the problem.  Timelines need to be based on state laws and the pet policy in the tenant’s lease.  In some states tenants can be given as few as 24 hours to remove the pet while in others, a tenant is allowed 3-7 days to remedy the problem.

After a tenant has been served notice of their lease violation, property managers must remind them that if they fail to fix the issue within the timeline given, they will be evicted.  Tenants should also be reminded that they are responsible for any damages caused by unauthorized pets.

Always use official notices and follow formal procedures when dealing with unauthorized pets, as tenants are more likely to take such communication seriously.

Image is a bulldog laying down.Skilled property managers such as Martin Feinberg know to always review their pet policies with all tenants at lease signing to ensure there is no misunderstanding.  By remaining professional and understanding local and state laws, property managers and investment property owners can keep tenants happy while taking their responsibilities seriously.