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Email: martin@martinfeinberg.com

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Jerry Maren Last Surviving Wizard of Oz Munchkin Dies at 99

Image is a black and white photo of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin man, and the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of OzMartin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, was sad to learn that Jerry Maren, the last surviving Munchkin from the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, had died at the age of 99.  The Wizard of Oz was filmed at MGM in Culver City in 1938.

Maren played the green-garbed member of the Lollipop Guild—which also included Jakob “Jackie” Gerlich and Harry Earles—in the film. Maren was the member of the Lollypop Guild who handed an oversized lollipop to Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) and welcomed her to Munchkin Land.

Marin was 18 years old and stood 3 feet six inches when the Wizard of Oz was being filmed. He and the other Munchkins were reportedly paid less than $100 per week ($900 in today’s money) for their work.  The movie featured 120 “little people.”

In the past Marin had recounted that there had been a shortage of beds during the filming of The Wizard of Oz, which forced many Munchkins to sleep sideways three to a bed.

Jerry Maren was born Gerald Marenghi in Boston in 1919.  He worked in the entertainment industry for more than 70 years and appeared in countless films and TV shows.  He also played the role of Hamburglar and Mayor McCheese in McDonalds TV commercials in the 1970s and 1980s.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that Maren died in a San Diego nursing home on May 24.

The Culver City Real Estate area has had a special relationship with The Wizard of Oz, and the Munchkins who participated in the iconic film, for many years.  Over the Halloween weekend in 1997, some Munchkins returned to Culver City for the reopening of the Culver Hotel.  It had been their first time back to the city in 59 years.

The historic hotel had been home to many of the Munchkins in 1938 when they were filming “The Wizard of Oz” at MGM Studios.  The Culver Hotel was located only two blocks from MGM.

Six of the original Munchkins attended the gala event.  They received a warm welcome from Culver City officials as they entered the grand lobby. Beyond the Rainbow sponsored the event.

The Munchkins have a collective star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Image is a rainbow with children in front of it, cast in shadow.

Culver City to hold new Meeting on Inglewood Oil Field Project

Image is an oil derrick in a field with trees behind it.Culver City is hoping that all Culver City Real Estate area residents attend a special meeting June 20 to discuss the Inglewood Oil Field Project. This oil field is the largest urban oil field in the United States. 10% of the oil field is in Culver City while 90% is located in unincorporated LA County.

Previous City Councils have debated the ins and outs of the Inglewood Oil Field Project in the past, but the composition of the City Council has changed. It is possible that the new Council might decide to go in a different direction.  It is also possible that the Council will decide to review community concerns.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, noted that discussion at the June 20 meeting would include public transparency, utilization, and assignment of City resources. Public comment and questions could be addressed at the meeting as well.

While previous city councils tended to follow county regulations, it is possible that the new council could decide to make regulations in Culver City stronger than those in the county.

Three community meetings have already been held to inform residents and address questions.  The public review period for Culver City’s specific plan ended March 14.

This informative community meeting will be held Wednesday, June 20, 6:30 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers, 9770 Culver Boulevard. Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, encourages all to attend.

According to Vice-Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells, “I think it will be interesting on the 20th. There’s a lot of desire by most of the public in Culver City to phase out oil drilling altogether and not have it at all. If that’s the direction the City Council decides to go in, a lot of residents will be very happy.”

The Vice-Mayor went on to explain, “This meeting is for getting input from the new City Council. We base what we do on feedback from residents. We absolutely encourage residents to come and tell us how the future of oil drilling should be in Culver City.”

Vice-Mayor Sahli-Wells explained what might happen: “I think we’ve got a great opportunity here to take this in a new direction. From the feedback from residents I’ve heard over the past several years, there’s a lot of appetite to look beyond fossil fuels and into cleaner ways of treating our environment.

“There’s an old plan to transform the largest urban oil field in the U.S. into the Central Park of the West. I think it’s a really beautiful vision. If we can realize that vision, it would be an overwhelmingly positive thing for not only Culver City, but the whole region.”

Image is a shot of the Culver City sign.

Four Ways to Handle Difficult Tenants and Lower their Financial Impact

Image is of an angry woman against a white background.Property managers like Martin Feinberg understand that a great tenant is gold. Unfortunately, as wonderful as it would be for all renters to be good renters, it doesn’t always happen. It can be difficult for rental property owners to attract high-quality renters. Many rental property owners lack the time and infrastructure to vet perspective tenants.  However, even professional property managers can struggle with difficult tenants from time to time.

Problem tenants are those with destructive behavior, poor communication skills, and questionable decision-making. Renters like these can be detrimental to a property’s reputation and also hurt its profitability. However, there are ways to help mitigate and potentially avoid these types of offenders.

While it’s frustrating that these situations are happen, property managers can arm themselves to handle, or even prevent, difficult tenants when they happen.

Tips to Handle Difficult Renters

1. Delinquency

To help keep renters from racking up a large bill, avoid making special exceptions. Keep a consistent process and always follow the rules and regulations that have been set in place. Always send notices and charge late fees with no exceptions. Communicate with the renter in writing for record keeping and document everything.

2. Owes Rent and Skips Out

When dealing with a renter that left owing money, always know the state’s laws to properly confirm abandonment. Follow all laws and rules on handling abandoned property and re-taking possession. Gather evidence, document the process, and report the tenant to the credit agencies to inhibit repeat offenses.

3. Frivolous Lawsuit Threats

Tenants who are always making bogus claims or threatening lawsuits can be a real headache. Property Mangers who are well versed in Fair Housing Laws, Fair Credit Reporting, and their own lease agreements should be just fine. Document everything in writing and be careful to establish legally appropriate policies and procedures. A good attitude can also go a long way. Stay positive and friendly when dealing with this type of renter.  Sometimes that can deescalate a tense situation.

4. Damaged Property

Image is a yellow and black frowny face.Every so often you have a perfectly good tenant, but who might not be the best in the kitchen. Kitchen fires, or other accidental property damage, can cause a great financial loss.  Reliable property managers should always require proof of insurance as a part of all lease agreements. If damage does occur document everything with photos and keep track of all invoices involved in repairing the unit.

Good property managers will have implemented these protocols and preventative processes before a crisis occurs. Having the best tools and practices in place can help avoid difficult tenants. And if one does slip through the cracks, the property management company will be prepared to handle the situation effectively and lessen the negative impact on the rental property owner’s bottom line.

 

LA Countywide Household Hazardous Roundup coming to Culver City

Image is a yellow 'toxic' caution sign with a skull and crossbones on it.Culver City Real Estate area residents, along with the rest of Los Angeles County, will have the chance to safely dispose of household hazardous waste and e-waste free of charge in June.  LA County is holding a Countywide Household Hazardous Roundup this month and Culver City will be participating on June 30.

According to Culver City’s city website, those who wish to participate in the Household Hazardous Roundup need to “collect those unwanted household hazardous waste and e-waste items and bring them to a free Roundup.  We’ll recycle what we can and properly dispose of the rest. It’s easy to participate.  Leave the products in their original container; place them in a cardboard box and drive to the Roundup site.  The entire process only takes a few minutes and you never have to leave your car.  No explosive or radioactive materials, tires or waste from business will be accepted.  Please do not mix liquid products together.”

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that the Free Countywide Household Hazardous Waste and E-Waste Roundup is sponsored by the County of Los Angeles and offered by the Department of Public Works and the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, in cooperation with the city of Culver City. 

Culver City’s free Roundup will take place at Bill Botts, Sundial Parking Lot, at 9910 Jefferson Blvd. on Saturday, June 30, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

For more information on household hazardous waste or upcoming Roundups, residents should call the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works at 1 (888) CLEAN LA, or the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County at (800) 238-0172.

Image is a cartoon man in orange carrying two blue garbage bags.Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, encourages Culver City residents to call the Public Works Environmental Programs and Operations Customer Service at (310) 253-6400 for more information.  Citizens can also See our Culver City Too Toxic to Trash video here.

Los Angeles Rams help Build Homes in Culver City

Image is a cartoon football against a blue and gold striped background.Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, was excited to learn that last Friday, June 8, Los Angeles Rams rookies spent the day in Culver City building ten new homes for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.

Brian Allen, rookie offensive lineman from Michigan State, stated, “First of all it’s awesome to be out here with my teammates and working together with them helping people and building houses and that’s pretty special.  This is my first experience with Habitat for Humanity and it’s pretty cool to be able to do the work that is actually going to help someone.”

Habitat for Humanity Project manager Beth Cobabe commented on the time and effort it took to complete the Culver City Real Estate area project.

“We have been working with Culver City for about eight years trying to put everything together.  It took a lot of years working with the Culver City community and getting the right loans to fund this project. We are building six single-family homes and two duplexes.  It’s a big party today and it’s a big community event. We love the excitement the Rams and the workers and volunteers bring to the project.”

Kaoru Mulvihill, mother of four boys who all attended Culver City High School, was also excited about the event.  Kaoru and three of her boys will live in one of the houses built by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angels.

“Oh my gosh,” said Kaoru.  “To see all of the people giving their time and their hearts to people they don’t even know to help build this neighborhood and community. We are so grateful.”

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that Kaoru is also grateful her home will be equipped with handicap accessibility because one of her sons has Cerebral palsy.

Image is roof trusses on a home under construction.When reminded that her sons will remember that the Los Angeles Rams helped build their home, she stated, “To see the Rams and Hollywood stars gives a lot of voice to Habitat to Humanity and it shows what they can do for this beautiful city.  All my boys and I were raised here in Culver City. This is a complete community project that involved my church and other organizations. This is my town.”

Ten ways to Increase Tenant Turnover and Lose Money on a Rental Property

Image is of a smiling man outside in front of a red wall.Good tenants are at the heart of every financially successful rental unit.  Professional property managers know that tenants can make or break a property owner’s livelihood and because of that, need to be treated accordingly.   Excellent customer service, though time-consuming, is essential in keeping tenants happy, and happy tenants mean less costly tenant turnover.

Property managers such as Martin Feinberg understand how to avoid the most common landlord mistakes listed below, ensuring that the tenant/landlord relationship remains cordial.

Don’t Answer the Phone

Communication is key for a great landlord/tenant relationship.  Avoiding phone calls, emails or text messages from tenants will produce frustration. Being hard to reach can cause good renters to leave, and can also keep good renters from leasing in the first place.  Always answer any communication from a tenant in a timely manner.

Make them Hand-deliver Checks

Most tenants prefer to pay online, and giving them a way to do that will help keep them happy while making it more likely to get rent payments on-time.

Avoid Resolving Maintenance Issues

Legally, rental owners have a responsibility to ensure that the property they are renting out meets the implied warranty of habitability.  Not meeting the requirements or addressing livability issues is a great way to ensure frequent tenant turnover.  It’s also very likely to get a rental owner into legal trouble.  Using a reliable property manager is one way to stay on top of maintenance issues.

Only Solve Maintenance Issues after a lot of Time has Passed

It’s not just about responding to maintenance issues though.  They need to be responded to in a timely manner. This ensures owners are meeting their legal obligations and also keeps tenants from unnecessary frustration.

Show up Unannounced

Most states require that a landlord give a notice of at least 24 hours before inspecting an occupied rental property.  It’s important to check in with tenants but always give proper notice.  This will keep tenants from feeling blindsided by a visit.

Show up too Frequently

Visiting too frequently will eventually get on any tenant’s nerves, even if advanced warning is given. Tenants want privacy, and a good tenant might leave if they feel like their landlord doesn’t trust them.

Raise the Rent in Huge Amounts without Warning

This is an all-too-common issue, and is a great way to lose money on unnecessary tenant turnover. An annual incremental rent raise is normal, but increasing the rent in huge amounts every 3-5 years will likely cause your tenants to find housing with more stable rent increases.

Speak Poorly about your Past Tenants

Always avoid complaints about your past renters to new or perspective tenants. Speaking poorly of tenants looks unprofessional and can cause current tenants to distrust their relationship with their landlord.  Find ways to brag about good tenants without throwing previous tenants under the bus.

Find Creepy Maintenance Workers

Vendors, even though they don’t work directly for the rental owner, become the face of the brand when they are sent to make repairs.  Creepy or unprofessional maintenance workers reflect directly upon the management team. Always fully screen vendors to ensure they are qualified and professional in every interaction with renters.

Don’t Explain Property Rules until they are “Broken”

Image is the inside of a nice apartment.Always explain property rules and lease terms with a new tenant as soon as possible.  Tenants who understand the specific expectations of a rental owner or property manager will feel more secure in the tenant/landlord relationship.

 Keeping tenants long-term is sometimes a matter of knowing what not to do.  While the list of dos and don’ts in rental property ownership can seem long, using a reliable property management company can make sure that owners are getting the most out of their investment.

Summertime Maintenance is Necessary to keep Homes Safe and Secure

Image is a group of wrenches fixing a plumbing pipe.Martin Feinberg, Realtor, understands that homes need regular maintenance to help catch potential problems before they grow into actual problems.  Performing a few important summertime maintenance tasks can help ensure your Culver City Real Estate property stays safe and in good shape.

Unsure where to start? Home Advisor offers a summertime maintenance checklist that every homeowner can use to ensure that his or her home is running efficiently.  Check it out below to find out what to check this summer (and what to check again six months later).

  • Basement and Foundation – Check for cracks and moisture and discuss with a professional if either problem is severe.
  • Toilet – Check for leaks in water feed and tank bottom.
  • Interior Caulking and Grout – Inspect caulking and grout around tubs, showers, and sinks. If the caulking has pulled away, scrape it out and re-caulk or call someone who can.
  • Water Heater – Drain water until clear of sediment; inspect flue assembly (gas heater); check for leaks and corrosion. If this activity is intimidating, plumbers can do this in less than an hour.
  • Clothes Washer – Clean water inlet filters; check hoses and replace if leaking.
  • Clothes Dryer – Vacuum lint from ducts and surrounding areas.
  • Refrigerator – Clean drain hole and pan (more often in warm weather); wash door gasket; vacuum condenser coils.
  • Wiring – Check for frayed cords and wires; check exposed wiring in basements, and call an electrician is if looks shoddy or dangerous.
  • Exhaust Fans – Clean grill and fan blades.
  • Range Hood Fan – Wash fan blades and housing.
  • Sink – Check all faucets, hose bibs, and supply valves for leakage.
  • Bathroom – Check for evidence of leaks around and under sinks, showers, toilets, and tubs.
  • Breaker Box – Trip circuit breakers and ground fault interrupters monthly to insure proper protection.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg also notes that there are home inspections companies that can take care of those semi-annual inspections that some homeowners are not interested in performing twice a year.  Such inspectors can help troubleshoot potential problems with a home.

Image is a beautiful home.

Multiple Coyote Sightings Reported in Culver City Area

Image is a coyote in the wild.Martin Feinberg, Realtor, was interested to learn that multiple coyote sightings have been reported in Culver City in the last few weeks.  Coyotes have been sighted in the areas around Syd Kronenthal Park, Culver Crest and Lindberg Park neighborhoods.

It is not unusual to see coyotes in urban spaces such as the Culver City Real Estate area, especially those neighborhoods and parks that border undeveloped regions.  According to Project Coyote, a national non-profit organization based in Northern California, coexistence between people and wildlife is very possible.

Project Coyote’s mission is to promote compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science and advocacy. They offer up a few tips for coexistence with coyotes:

  • Never let a dog chase or play with a coyote
  • In areas where coyotes have been seen, keep your dog closer to you than usual, and under full control (via leash, etc.) at all times
  • Be aware of what is happening around you and your dog at all times
  • To protect small dogs in coyote areas, avoid using flexi-leashes, avoid walking near bushy areas or “edge zones,” stand or walk with other people and/or larger dogs, and avoid walking small dogs at dawn.

Culver City Animal Services also suggests adopting certain behaviors when in wildlife habitat such as: “keeping all pets, including dogs and cats, indoors at night; not leaving small pets or children unattended outdoors; removing pet food and water bowls when your pet has finished eating; pick up all fallen fruit or ripened fruit on branches in your yard; enclosing or removing wood piles; secure crawl spaces; clean all grill or barbecues after use; and more.”

Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, also notes that it is important to remember not to turn and run should you see a coyote.  Running can trigger the coyote’s chase instinct, and they can sprint up to 40 mph. Also, never let a coyote go by without attempting to scare it by make yourself appear larger (by raising your arms and waving them), waving a jacket or belt, and yelling in a loud low tone. You can also stomp your foot and clap your hands to scare coyotes.

Image is a coyote in a cage.The Culver City Police Department has asked residents to report coyote sightings and other wildlife issues to (310) 253-6143 or animal.services@culvercity.org. For a complete list of coyote tips from the Culver City Police Department, click here.

Property Managers use Mobile Technology to Keep Tenants Happy

Image is a a woman at a desk with a lap top looking at her iPhone.More than 77 percent of the U.S. population owns a smartphone, and as people have become more dependent upon mobile technology rental property owners have also had to adapt.  Tenants and prospective tenants want mobile options for as many services as possible. Professional property managers like Martin Feinberg have the systems in place to make that possible.

Property Management Has Gone Mobile

Rental property owners need to use mobile-friendly technology to help them serve a population that is always on the go.  The easiest way to do that is to utilize a property manager with the ability to automate as much of the rental process as possible.  These are a few of the proven tactics:

  1. Online Maintenance Requests– Use online maintenance requests to keep renters happy, while expediting and prioritizing work orders at the same time.
  2. Online Rent Payments– Many renters appreciate the convenience of being able to make secure online rent payments. Plus, online payment portals that allow automatic withdrawals end late fee hassles.
  3. Online Applications– Mobile-friendly online applications, allow prospective tenants to become actual tenants much more quickly than paper forms.  Vacant units stay vacant for a shorter amount of time while appealing to mobile-friendly tenants.
  4. Automated SMS Messages– Rental property owners must recognize the importance of mobile-friendly communications. With automated SMS messages, property managers can keep renters up to date on everything from scheduled maintenance to amenity upgrades and rent reminders.
  5. Embrace The Power Of Email– Providing excellent services for renters requires rental owners to communicate on the platforms that they most often use. For many people the platform of choice is email.  Whether it’s using an automated feature or sending out bulk messages to renters, emails are a time and cost-effective way to communicate important messages.

Image is of a woman on a park bench looking at a smart phone.Technology improves renters’ satisfaction levels.  Most professional property managers use software that allows them to interact with tenants easily and quickly using mobile technology.  This makes things easier for tenants, cutting down on tenant turnover, while freeing up time and energy for property owners.  Understanding the mobile needs of renters today is a win-win for everyone.

 

SCAQ Kids Swim Team Offers Opportunity to Learn Competitive Swimming

Image is a young girl in goggles learning to swim.SCAQ Kids, a novice swim team located within the Culver City Real Estate area, is currently offering a swimming program to help children learn the basics of all four competitive strokes in an encouraging environment.

Olympian Clay Evans and former American Record Holder Bonnie Adair started SCAQ, which stands for Southern California Aquatic Masters Swim Club, in 1978.  It offers 65 different workouts in seven different facilities each week throughout the Los Angeles area.  Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, notes that SCAQ Kids is an offshoot of the adult program.

According to their website, the SCAQ Kids Culver Swim Club is “a novice swimming program introducing the sport of swimming to the Culver City community.  We offer a progressive approach to swimming in which kids learn to swim.  During beginner and advance beginner swim lessons kids learn swim skills and technique that prepares them to move into our novice group of swimmers. If novice swimmers wish to begin competing and attending swim meets then they have that opportunity as well, but that is a decision determined by the swimmer and their parents.   Families participate at their own pace.

At SCAQ Kids swim practices “proper stroke technique will be emphasized while building cardiovascular endurance through drills, challenges and enjoyable activities.”

Flexible practice options and pricing plans are available to help accommodate families with busy schedules and/or tight budgets.

Image is of two boys swimming competitively in a pool.Those who are interested in learning more about SCAQ Kids swim but who are not sure they are ready for the commitment, a free trial is available. Simply fill out the Trial Swim form and bring a copy of it to the pool on a Tues/Thurs.  Ask for Coach Rada or Tristan.

The SCAQ Kids Swim Club is located at the Culver City Pool at 4175 Overland Ave in Culver City.  Martin Feinberg, Realtor, encourages those who need more information or have questions to email scaq@swim.net or call 310 390-5700.