Apartment Rental News Weekly Roundup: May 8, 2008

Each week, MyNewPlace provides a compendium of news articles on apartments for rent, the rental market and interesting apartment features. We also track legislation that affects the rental market, highlighting new features for apartment owners and renters, and taking a look at notable apartment trends.

Political Corner

A plethora of legislative actions are affecting the multifamily industry this week at both the state and federal levels.

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We’ve been covering a proposed federal bailout of banks and homeowners and featured summaries on the roundups from April 21st and April 28th. On May 5th, H.R. 5830, the FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act of 2008 was placed on the Union Calendar, means that it will be considered by the Committee of the Whole, a parliamentary tactic used to expedite legislation. This haste is due to the perceived timeliness of bill’s legislative remedy, as well its authorship by the Chair of the House Finance Committee.

In California, we have highlighted two political issues in previous blog posts whose upshots may affect the apartment rental industry.

The first is a bill that has just passed the State Senate’s Judiciary Committee, which would protect apartment owners who seek to make their apartments smoke free. Since there has not been any lawsuits filed against apartment owners on the grounds preserving a tenant’s right to smoke, the bill has been criticized as not going far enough by some smoke free advocates who would like to see an outright ban, as exists in two California towns.

Also in California, two competing statewide ballot initiatives will be decided by voters on June 3rd. Both initiatives seek to reform eminent domain, but one, Proposition 98 is tackling another property rights issue, rent control. Proposition 98 would phase out rent control in California and make it more difficult for governments to seize property under eminent domain.

Green Apartments

A column in LA Weekly suggests that renting an apartment is much more ecologically friendly than owning a home. We have touched upon this issue, exploring how living density is integral to a green lifestyle. By living in apartments people can share resources as well as preserve existing open spaces.

Of course, these effects are only optimized when an apartment building undertakes to become more sustainable by conserving power and water.

To that end, Thomas Scali of the U.S Energy Group offers some insightful commentary on being a proactive ‘building efficiency driver.” A property manager should not only react to emergencies or tenant complaints, but be intimately acquainted with the energy mechanisms of each apartment building. This attentiveness will reduce emissions and costs.

A Creative Renting Strategy

And finally, we leave you this week with an article from the LA Times that offers a creative approach to finding renters. Would you rent your home out as a ‘crashpad’ to airline crews? To offset living expenses, one homeowner rented out four bunk beds in an extra bedroom for $250 a month per person each month.

Check back with us each week to get the latest from the apartment rental industry.

As always, feel free to send us links to stories that you find interesting.

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