Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Home Prices Soar at 8.1% Annually Highest in 6 years.

January was the second consecutive month-over-month increase in house prices and the eighth consecutive year-over-year increase.
According to the most recent release by Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller 20-City Composite House Price Index rose by 0.1% on a not seasonally adjusted monthly basis and the 10-City Index rose by 0.2% on a not seasonally adjusted monthly basis. In the 12 months ending in January 2013, house prices rose by 8.1% according to the 20-City Composite Index and 7.3% according to the 10-City Composite Index.

 Year-over-year house price growth has been generally widespread. House prices have risen on a not seasonally adjusted 12 month basis in each city tracked by the 20-City Composite Index

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pet Owners Fighting Housing Bans With "Nuclear Option"

Pet owners who move into apartments or condos have to deal with all kinds of restrictions. Many ban pets altogether or have weight limitations on dogs. Other large new projects allow pets when they first open, but clamp down later when homeowner associations takeover. When the original owners move, they may not even know that they can't transfer all their "grandfathered" rights to the new owner or renter.
Exceptions were often made for Service Dogs owned by the blind or severely handicapped.
Now, legal precedents have expanded the Service Dog rules to include the emotional support of  "Assistance Animals."  Faced with choosing between their dream home and their forever pet, dog owners are beginning to resort to a "Nuclear Option."
While it can't hurt to have a doctor's note prescribing the need for the animal, Americans With Disability(ADA) and Fair Housing regulations state that
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work.
This option for Emotional Support Animals (ESA) could conceivably be applied to almost any animal.

The owner can be charged for actual damage done by the animal, but they may not require the applicant to pay a fee or a security deposit in order to keep the animal.

If this process becomes seriously abused by pet owners, we can expect pushback from the owners of multifamily homes and apartment complexes. Since Fair Housing regulations are federally mandated, appeals of the substantial fines may ultimately wind up in the Supreme Court.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Budgeting for Fossil Fuels

This is the top section of an informative new infographic illustrating the reality of the world's past, present, and future use of fossil fuels.