Even though e-cigarettes are increasingly being banned throughout California cities and counties Palo Alto’s City Council is not including them in their new proposed smoking ban for apartment buildings. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them e-cigarettes look like the real thing, they glow when you puff on them, and a smoker puffs out a cloud of vapor when they exhale. Many believe e-cigarettes are a “gateway” drug as the number of teenagers using them doubled from 2011 to 2012, and increased 61 percent from 2012 to 2013. Moreover, e-cigarettes have nicotine, emit formaldehyde, are addictive, and can be dangerous for people with heart problems. There are many unknowns with e-cigarettes and this is potentially the reason Palo Alto is not yet banning them in multi-family buildings.
If you are looking for a quiet, peaceful Palo Alto neighborhood look no further than Leland Manor, Garland, and Embarcadero Oaks. Located in the middle of Palo Alto, there exists these three small neighborhoods, all connected and which extend north from Oregon Expressway, to Middlefield Road, Embarcadero Road, and Louis Road.
These three neighborhoods were annexed into Palo Alto proper in the 1930s. Each quaint neighborhood has its own unique and pleasureful personality. Most of the homes in these neighborhoods were built in the 1930s to 1960s and many have been upgraded and improved with time. Many of the homes in these three mini-neighborhoods were built as three and four bedroom ranch-style homes, sprinkled with the occasional custom Eichler. The central location for Leland Manor, Garland, and Embarcadero Oaks allows for ease of access to US 101, local shopping, great Palo Alto schools, Stanford University, and community amenities.
In a historic move California Governor Jerry Brown issued an emergency order and declaration of water conservation rules which are now imposed on everyone in the state with the exception of farmers. There will be fines and potential rate hikes for residents that fail to hit stepped-up conservation targets as the state endures the fourth straight year of severe drought conditions. Governor Brown has issued water-saving orders for 25 percent statewide reduction in usage which includes bolstering enforcement of water waste, requiring drip irrigation at new construction projects, eliminating rouge farmers who divert water illegally from irrigation channels, and implementing an investment strategy in new water-saving technologies.
Tenants in California, by law, are entitled to rental property that is habitable. In other words, it must meet basic health and safety standards and is in generally good repair. Habitability is a function of the building codes combined with common sense workability. When a tenant is presented with a problem like a broken pipe, a failed water heater, or a defective electrical system they are granted certain statutory rights.
If a landlord or property management company fails to repair or adequately address the issue, once given proper notice, then the tenant has remedies. First, the tenant can pay for the repairs themselves and deduct the cost of the repairs from their rent. Second, the tenant can withhold rent. Third, the tenant can call the local code enforcement officer for an inspection which could lead to administrative problems for the landlord. Fourth, the tenant can file a lawsuit against the landlord. Finally, the tenant may move out without giving any further notice provided the breach of habitability is sufficient to warrant such action.
Are you a rental property owner? If so, it’s great isn’t it? You receive income from the rents, also known as other people’s money (OPM), and you realize capital appreciation from the equity gains in the value of the property – a rising tide raises all boats. In fact using OPM is a great strategy for paying for your child’s college education, and providing a passive income stream for yourself in your retirement. The key is buying and holding onto an investment property as soon as possible and taking full advantage of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) allowable deductions and expenses. Becoming educated about this investment strategy is easy, fun, and should be taught to your children.