Unless you’re looking to live in a senior community or housing facility, the Fair Housing Act protects renters from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or sex. It also says that landlords cannot discriminate based on familial status, which is why the U.S. government is now suing a Seattle property owner accused of refusing to rent to family with children. [More]
Airbnb is moving beyond assisting homeowners in renting out their properties, and is expanding into small town tourism with a new initiative that’s aimed at inventing new projects to draw in more hosts and renters in smaller, less-traveled communities.
Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway are intended as a way to give travelers varied and interesting lodging options, while letting homeowners make a bit of money when they aren’t at home. However, a group of three senators are concerned that the affordable housing market is being squeezed by the increasing number of property owners cashing in on short-term rentals.
The housing bubble that imploded spectacularly in 2008, taking a big chunk of the U.S. economy with it, has a second wave waiting to strike in the form home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Having learned from the lesson that preventing a disaster rather than recovering from one might, in fact, be a better way to go, lenders — at the urging of regulators — are now working proactively with borrowers to stave off potential doom before it happens. [More]
There is no magic solution to the housing crisis that has hit many towns across America, but one man in Carpentersville, Ill. has come up with a very unique way of addressing the situation. In an effort to save his town from becoming a ghost land of empty, foreclosed homes, he’s bought 193 forecolosed home, fixed them up, and either sells or rents them at a discount to locals.
If you own a home with an extra room, you could be sitting on a potential easy income stream. The proposition of taking in a boarder could be especially attractive to those who have basements, since the relative privacy of the bottom floor makes renting the room out less intrusive.
Four Fannie Mae staffers have been placed on administrative leave while federal investigators probe a series of foreclosed apartments the enterprise sold.
One of the country’s largest homebuilders stands accused of running afoul of Clean Water Act requirements at 278 sites in 14 states and must shell out a $625,000 fine. The government accuses the Ryland Group of leaking pollutants into stormwater and messing up procedures involving pollution prevention, inspections and permits.
Although the depressed housing market has made things easy for home buyers, it seems to have had an adverse effect on renters, who face more competition with perhaps fewer openings than ever. Thanks to former homeowners who suffered short sales or foreclosures and are forced into the rental market, there are more renters playing musical chairs.
Although house prices continue to tumble year over year, and analysts expect prices to continue to drop as the months roll by, April marked an ever so slight nudge in the opposite direction. Previously owned single-family home prices rose 0.7 percent from March, according to the Case-Shiller index, which examined sales in 20 cities.
Home prices continue to fall so hard that it’s tempting to believe they’ve either hit bottom or will do so soon. But some economists think home prices will remain depressed for a decade or more.
A new study says that housing prices in the U.S. have finally gone back to a level of affordability that we haven’t seen since before the rapid price inflation of the mid-2000s housing boom.
Here’s one way to make the mortgage mess work for you: According to The Wall Street Journal, the slowdown in foreclosures due to questions about paperwork, note-holders and robo-signers has allowed some homeowners to live mortgage-free for several months; some are even renting out their homes. The Journal estimates that the “stealth stimulus” gives these homeowners a “subsidy” of about $2.6 billion a month.
Last April, Techdirt pointed out that a financial firm in Texas was trying to attach “private transfer fees” to homes, so that developers would get a little bit of each sale as it passed among owners in the years to come. It sounded crazy then–imagine having to pay royalties on clothes or furniture whenever you resold them–but the firm is aggressively expanding its plan and has signed up more than 5,000 developers across the country, reports the New York Times. If you buy a new house in the next decade, look for a “resale fee” covenant hidden in a separate document that might not be included in your closing papers or even require a signature.
Feuds between homeowners and homeowners’ associations can get pretty intense, as BoingBoing pointed out twice last week. One feud in Ogden, NC, was so bad that the man’s house was sold by the court to pay for dues and fines levied by the association. The house was sold earlier this summer, reports the Star-News, and last month the man doused everything in gas and set the place on fire.
The longer prospective home buyers continue to hold out, the better things get for them. The National Association of Realtors revealed some gloomy numbers for homeowners: July sales of occupied homes dropped 27 percent, marking the biggest month-to-month decline in the four decades in which the organization has tracked the figures.