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.
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.
Over the years I took the deposition of several landlords – each of whom did not know the first thing about what the term “habitability” meant, nor could they articulate the law with respect to their requirements as a landlord. “[I]gnorance of the law is no excuse,” and many landlords and property owners have managed to skate by without knowing they are violating the law when it comes to habitability of rental units. California Civil Code Section 1941 et. seq. states in pertinent part that “a rental unit is required to be fit, or habitable, to live in and rent by tenants. The rental unit must substantially comply with local and state building, health, and safety codes that materially affect the tenant’s health and safety.” In California landlords and tenants each bear responsibility for certain kinds of repairs – however landlords ultimately are legally responsible for making sure the rental unit is habitable.
A landlord who wishes to terminate a periodic (month-to-month) tenancy may do so by properly serving advanced written 30-day or 60-day notices on tenants. The operative word is properly. The reality is that most “mom and pop” landlords are on cruise control and don’t know the “ins and outs” of landlord-tenant law, namely California Civil Code section 1946 et. Seq. Over the years I defended many tenants who were improperly served by the landlord – the result of which was a delayed end of the tenancy. By failing to properly serve notice the landlord will be surprised when they find out (usually at the end of the 30 or 60 day period) that they need to re-serve the notice thus resetting the calendar for another 30 or 60 day period.
Barron Park is the one Palo Alto neighborhood with the greatest range of types of construction and architecture all with a rural to suburban atmosphere. Many people are attracted to Barron Park because there is so much diversity in the housing stock. Barron Park is improving every day with newer homes being constructed with a Craftsman flair. This neighborhood might be for you if you enjoy a slightly slower pace of life with a well-regarded community association and friendly neighbors who make an effort to become your friend.
One of Palo Alto’s oldest and most recognizable neighborhoods – Downtown North Palo Alto – grew out of necessity during the construction of Leland Stanford Junior University – workers needed places to live, shop and eat. Downtown North Palo Alto, located between Alma Street, Middlefield Road, University Avenue, and San Francisquito creek, is a few hundred footsteps from University Avenue which one of the most dynamic, diverse and economically powerful streets in the Silicon Valley. The Downtown North neighborhood is the essence of urban living in Palo Alto, the hub of Silicon Valley. Dozens of wonderful and tempting restaurants, cafes, shops, a theatre, and prestige stores line University Avenue (the heart of Palo Alto) – all within minutes of walking from Downtown North Palo Alto. Jump on your bicycle, or throw on your walking shoes and Downtown North is also minutes from world renowned Leland Stanford Junior University and its sprawling campus. A few minutes walking in the other direction leads to Caltrain – and all points north and south.
Developed after World War II “Midtown” Palo Alto contains all of the essential elements necessary to be a classic desirable family neighborhood. Midtown is unambiguously located right smack in the middle of Palo Alto. At inception Midtown was supposed to be a prototypical track neighborhood designed to accommodate California’s state-wide post-War development boom that defined the start of suburban sprawl. Originally considered South Palo Alto, Midtown grew so big, so fast that the two separate neighborhoods – Midtown and South Palo Alto – were destined to be separated out of necessity. Today Midtown is a distinct, charming stand-alone neighborhood which epitomizes Palo Alto neighborhood living.
Are you surprised both small and large Chinese investors and builders are looking to build in the United States? You shouldn’t be.
It is well known that for quite some time that the Chinese real estate market has slowed dramatically which has created a void that the United States market is filling, including the Bay Area and Palo Alto in particular. We are not talking about just the large Chinese builders, but the small ones as well as they have followed suit and began to look across the globe to seek opportunities. In many parts of China developers are sitting on many empty finished units, undeveloped lots, and no improved economic conditions in site. Moreover because the market has slowed profits have been narrowed and companies are finding it difficult to stay in business – sound familiar? In fact, homes prices dipped approximately 1% in August 2014 according to the China Real Estate Index System.
The last several years has shown the tremendous effect Chinese investors are having on the Silicon Valley real estate market. The influx of Chinese investment in Palo Alto real estate in particular has many factors which together create the basis for this real trend. The abundance of educated people and universities, the already diverse culture and population, the ease of immigration possibilities, the fundamentally sound federal and state government, and the mecca of the greatest high-tech companies in the world form the confluence of primary elements for Chinese investment in Palo Alto.