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Hellacious landlord duo gets over four years in prison

Kip and Nicole Macy made their tenants’ lives a living hell to force them out, and when they finally landed in hot water, they fled to Italy. The landlord duo has been extradited and will now spend several years in prison for their nightmarish deeds.

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Landlord story from hell

Many landlords are “accidental landlords,” meaning they couldn’t sell their home so they rented it out and relocated, while others are investors hoping to buy a property and flip or repurpose it for a fat profit. In most cases, these landlords play by the rules no matter what, but when Kip and Nicole Macy bought an apartment building (744-746 Clementia Street) in San Francisco, they got impatient and engaged in bizarre, dangerous, and illegal activities to get the tenants to move out so they could find their fat profit.

After hiding in Italy for two years, the couple pleaded guilty to residential burglary, attempted grand theft, and stalking for their years of essentially torturing their inherited residences.

Under the plea agreement, the duo will be sentenced in August to four years and four months of prison time each, according to court documents. For now, they will remain in the County Jail on $2 million bail each.

Setting fires, death threats

The Macys bought an apartment building in 2006 and some residents report the couple wanted to renovate the building and flip it, while others said they wanted to increase rents. To accomplish this, they wanted the tenants out, but when they didn’t voluntarily jump ship, they began terrorizing their tenants for two years, stealing from them, changing their locks, setting small fires by soaking their belongings in ammonia, cutting holes in the floorboards and playing loud music at all hours.

When none of this worked, Nicole Macy impersonated one of her tenants and fired the tenant’s lawyer over email, threatening to kidnap and dismember the attorney’s children. They couple directing workers to board over windows while tenants remained inside. When one tenant who had refused to leave reported the two for construction on his neighboring unit without a permit, they were notified by the City and ultimately obtained their work permit. They shoved a copy of the permit under the tenant’s door with the note, “Scott get lost! Get a job!” mocking his being disabled.

Stealing, stalking, cutting support beams

The couple also cut water and power to the apartments on a regular basis to make life miserable, they stomped on vacant units’ floors at all hours, regularly locked the main gate entrance so no one could enter, and threw rocks at windows to scare tenants. The property manager who lived on site was caught by the couple helping the residents and going against the landlords so many times that the husband not only threatened the manager’s life but kicked his door down and threw away many of his belongings when he was away.

After all of that, some tenants remained, so the landlords began cutting holes in floors and slicing support beams in hopes the building would be declared uninhabitable and tenants would be forced to remove. Then, they could get it back up to code and flip it.

Finally facing the music

In 2008, the landlords were charged and released on $250,000 bail each, and in 2009, they were offered a plea deal of one year in the County Jail with five years of probation, but rather than take the District Attorney up on his offer, they ran away together to Italy. Two years later, they were extradited to face trial. Their new plea deal was less generous, so the two have pleaded guilty and will spend over four years in jail each.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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