Veteran denied housing
Sgt. Joel Morgan has served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan alleges that his service protecting America has kept him from renting an apartment, as he was turned down for housing by 63 year old anti-war activist, Janice Roberts, according to CBS Boston1.
[ba-pullquote align=”right”]Sgt. Morgan was told that he should find somewhere else to live in Boston that is “less politically active.”[/ba-pullquote]The landlord left a voicemail for the 29 year old divorced father, explaining why he would not be suitable for the apartment, and that he should find somewhere else to live in Boston that is “less politically active.”
CBS Boston cites voicemails shared by Sgt. Morgan’s lawyer in which Roberts said, “Because of what you told me about the Iraq war… we are very adamant about our beliefs… it’s just not comfortable for us… and I’m sure now that you know this, it would not be comfortable for you,” [the landlord] said in a voicemail to [the veteran]. I would suggest you do the right thing and look for a place less politically active or controversial.”
Divorced father training to be a Boston firefighter
Sgt. Morgan was rightfully stunned, saying that “I’ve been deployed so many times, I really haven’t had much of a home.” His apartment search led him to an ideal location as he trains to be a Boston firefighter. He says all he wanted to do was give her a check, and rent an apartment, but now he is confused.
[ba-pullquote align=”right”]”Should I not let people know that I’m a combat vet?” Sgt. Morgan asks.[/ba-pullquote]”It really freaked me out that ‘Is this what I’m going to be facing? Should I not let people know that I’m a combat vet?'” Sgt. Morgan asks.
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status and national orientation with the National Association of Realtors amending their own Code of Ethics this year to include sexual orientation as a protected class. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) offers a variety of protections, including certain protections from foreclosure while on duty.
Neither Fair Housing nor the SCRA protect renters from being denied housing, but under Massachusetts state laws, military service members and veterans are part of a protected class and cannot be discriminated against. Despite finding another apartment to rent, Sgt. Morgan’s rights were allegedly violated, and he plans to sue Roberts.
Earlier this week, another American war veteran was threatened with eviction for needing a companion dog to help treat his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an increasingly common method of PTSD treatment.
[ba-quote]Note from the COO of AGBeat: AG has long stated that we support housing as a human right, regardless of laws, and we will not tolerate discrimination like this in any part of our nation, especially against those who have risked their lives to keep our nation safe.
We invite you to leave comments to Sgt. Morgan and/or Janice Roberts below, which we will send to them directly in coming weeks.[/ba-quote]
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?
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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