Archive for July, 2012

Raising annual rental license fees was one thing.  But when officials in Columbia, Missouri added yet another regulatory requirement, landlords cried foul.

According to a news report, the Columbia City Council proposed a law which will require landlords to complete an “occupancy disclosure” form at leasing, verifying each occupant, and placing it on file with the city.

Landlords expressed concern that not only would this new requirement be onerous, but it would force them to violate their tenants’ privacy by revealing sensitive information.

Over the past two years, landlords across the country have been slammed with a barrage of government regulatory requirements, from non-smoking disclosures in Oregon, to radon disclosures in Maine, to the most recent voter registration requirement in Madison.  In 2010, Athens, Georgia adopted an “education form” where landlords are required to apprise tenants of their civic duties, including the rules for littering and the city’s occupancy standards. Landlords are challenging that law in court.

City officials in Columbia say that the intent of their proposed disclosure law is to cut down on overcrowding in rental properties.

For landlords, it’s just one more burden that falls on their shoulders, leaving them vulnerable to fines for failing to police the local laws.

The proposal to increase rental licensing fees – nearly doubling them in some situations — was placed on hold pending a study of the city’s actual costs for a rental inspection program, according to the report.

City officials say they will continue to collect comments on the occupancy disclosure form and forward the public input to the City Council.

Ignorance Of The Law

Is NOT Your Get Out Of Jail Free Card

                   While working my full time job as an undercover police detective, I had the opportunity to see a lot of things “behind closed doors.” One of the most powerful phrases most investors and Americans do NOT understand is the title of this short article. I can not tell you how many folks, after being arrested for a crime, would say “I did not know that was against the law.” 

          With the help of media and lenders and our economic market today, the word “real estate” has transformed into an almost bad word. In fact, many consumers are looking for ways to “get back” or get even, or sue the very folks who helped them graduate into homeownership. This means me and you have huge targets on our backs.

          Be very careful in today’s real estate market. Always use the proper disclosures and always do things the right way, the professional way.

          PROTECT YOURSELF NOW! Remember this powerful phrase.

Here’s some simple no-brainer tips and red flags to avoid as a real estate investor.

  • NEVER Buy using a Quit Claim Deed
  • NEVER do “kitchen table closings.” ALWAYS use a “GOOD and REPUTABLE” real estate attorney or title company.
  • ALWAYS buy Title Insurance when you are buying an investment property.
  • If you are selling a property and you want to sell it real bad…. Be very careful about what you do to help your seller. Many times a loan officer or loan broker will ask a Seller to prepare another form or they may ask you to just sign this form and they’ll say “We Do This All The Time.” If you hear this phrase, you might want to run. (Remember, ignorance of the law is not a get out of jail free card.)
  • AVOID buying using a “Contract for Deed, Land Contract, or Agreement for Deed.” Once again, always have a professional full blown closing with a real estate expert attorney or title company. (It is ok for you to sell on Land Contract or Contract for Deed)
  • Some common schemes seen by IRS criminal investigators include:
    • “Property Flipping” — A buyer pays a low price for property, then resells it quickly for a much higher price. While this may be legal, when it involves false statements to a lender who is regulated by the feds, it is not. (Now do you really want to say you are a “FLIPPER” or you “FLIP” Properties… the new F word.) 
    • Two Sets of Settlement Statements — FOLKS, This is FRAUD!
    • Fraudulent Qualifications — Some “professionals” assist buyers who would not otherwise qualify by fabricating their employment history or credit record.

Happy Hunting and watch out for these Red Flags of Fraud.