Even as Rents Drop, More Apartments Sit Empty

Apartment vacancy rates reached an average of 7.2 percent in the first quarter of 2009, a 1 percent increase over the previous two quarters and the highest level since 2004, according to real estate research firm Reis Inc.

At the same time, asking rents fell 0.6 percent and effective rents—what landlords are actually able to collect—declined 1.1 percent.

Metro areas where Reis says rents have fallen the most are:

  • San Francisco, -2.8 percent
  • New York, -2.6 percent
  • San Jose, -2.5 percent
  • Long Island, N.Y., -2.3 percent
  • Fairfield County, Conn., -1.9 percent


Metro areas where rents have increased the most:

  • Portland, Ore., 0.8 percent
  • Miami, 0.7 percent
  • Houston, 0.4 percent
  • St. Louis, 0.4 percent
  • Tampa-St.-Petersburg, Fla., 0.4 percent


Source: The Wall Street Journal, Nick Timiraos (04/2009)

Police Arrest Couple in CraigsList Rental Scam

A Las Vegas man claiming to be a licensed real estate practitioner and a female assistant have been arrested and jailed for renting out vacant homes belonging to seasonal residents.

Emilio Gonzales and Melissa Cowan advertised properties for rent on CraigsList. They asked potential renters to sign leases and took security deposits totalling several thousand dollars. Rents were collected in cash at various locations the pair specified.

The scam fell apart when the real owners showed up and found people living in their vacation homes. Police arrested Gonzales and Cowan by following a tenant to the agreed upon spot to pay rent. The two are being held on burglary, conspiracy and fraud charges.

Source: KVBC-TV

Make Some Money With Your House

For owners of vacation homes or properties in tourist-friendly areas, here’s a money-making tip.
If there’s a major sporting event or arts festival in their town, make some extra money by renting your primary or vacation home to tourists and moving elsewhere for a couple of weeks.
If you rent your home for 14 days or less in a given year, you don’t have to pay any tax on the rental income, says Bob Scharin, senior tax analyst for Thomson Reuters. You don’t even have to report the income to the IRS, he says.
If you rent your vacation home for more than 14 days, you’ll have to report the income on Schedule E when you file your tax return. That’s not as bad as it sounds, because you’ll also be permitted to deduct expenses, such as insurance, utilities, property management fees, and depreciation.
Source: USA Today, Sandra Block