An elaborate short-term rental scheme in Carlsbad tricked a young renter and property owner into losing thousands, according to the victims.
The victims, property owner Nick Foster and renter Courtney Hulla, told NBC 7 the scammer used both Airbnb and Craigslist to carry out the scheme.
On Saturday, Hulla found a Carlsbad condo available to rent on Craigslist, or so she thought.
“$650 deposit, $650 rent. We were like it’s a nice area. That seems too good to be true,” said Hulla.
She contacted a man named David, who told her he was the owner of a rental near the Carlsbad Village. He even invited her to the condo, Hulla told NBC 7.
NBC 7 is not publishing the alleged scammer’s last name because he has not been charged with any crime at this point in time.
“Walked up to the place and checked it out. He was doing laundry at the time,” said Hulla. “He said ‘Check out the place,’ you know, ‘You can walk around. I’m packing stuff up and leaving for Chicago on Thursday. This person bailed. Let me know if you like it. We can start moving forward.’
Hulla met David in person twice and said the man shared details about his life, his work and even signed a lease agreement with her.
She paid him one month’s rent and a deposit, as agreed, totaling $1,300. He gave her a set of keys.
“There’s no way this guy’s trying to do anything, scam me. He’s being too real about it,” said Hulla.
Hulla still felt uneasy, so she went to test out the keys at the condo. She noticed a light on inside and texted David, the so-called owner.
“‘I think that there are people, there are people in there. Can you explain that?’ He was like, ‘Oh they’re my aunt and uncle, just don’t scare them,’” Hulla said.
Turns out that the couple had rented the place through Airbnb from the real condo owner, Nick Foster, a Carlsbad resident.
“He made the condo his own. He acted like he owned it to sell his con to someone,” Foster said.
Foster told NBC 7, David, who had rented the condo through Airbnb before, also stole two portable AC units and other belongings over his two-week stay.
Both Hulla and Foster have reported the incident to the police. Foster has also contacted Airbnb.
“You have a conman on your platform and that he’s clearly done this before and he’s gonna do it again,” said Foster.
Neither has heard from David again.
Hulla was not able to cancel the payments she had made through the Facebook app and PayPal.
Whether you move there or just buy rental properties, these are NAR’s hotspots:
In offering its list, NAR tracked ongoing data including domestic migration, housing affordability for new residents, consistent job growth relative to the national average, population age structure, attractiveness for retirees and home price appreciation.
The 10 markets that made the cut were, in alphabetical order: Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas-Fort Worth; Fort Collins, Colo.; Las Vegas; Ogden, Utah; Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
“Some markets are clearly positioned for exceptional longer term performance due to their relative housing affordability combined with solid local economic expansion,” said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Drawing new residents from other states will also further stimulate housing demand in these markets, but this will create upward price pressures as well, especially if demand is not met by increasing supply.”
“Potential buyers in these 10 markets will find conditions especially favorable to purchase a home going into the next decade,” added NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co. Inc. in San Francisco. “The dream of owning a home appears even more attainable for those who move to or are currently living in these markets.”
For Encinitas homeowners who are considering a granny flat – or buyers who want to purchase a suitable property – this is a 7-minute primer from one of the architects who helped guide the city to their current policy (which is the most flexible in North County).
He quotes the costs to build a granny flat to be between $75,000 to $300,000, depending on size, which still sounds like too much for most people. But he thinks that in the long run the benefits are so great that homeowners who have the right-sized property will build one.
Effective September 1, 2019, weekends and court holidays will no longer count in calculating the time periods for the following tenant notices:
Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
Notice to Perform Covenant (Cure) or Quit
The five-day period in which a tenant has for filing an answer to an unlawful-detainer summons
Under existing law, when a tenant fails to pay rent on time or commits a curable breach of the lease the landlord may issue a three-day notice to pay rent or quit or a notice to perform covenant or quit. Currently, it is calendar days that are counted, which may include weekends or court holidays.
However, starting on September 1st the three days must exclude weekends and court holidays. For example, under the current law, a tenant who is given a three-day notice to pay rent or quit on a Friday would be required to pay by Monday. Under the law effective September 1st, Saturday and Sunday would not be counted towards the three days, so the tenant would have until Wednesday to pay.
The new law also applies to the five-day period that tenants have to respond to service of an unlawful detainer summons and complaint. A tenant served with an unlawful-detainer summons will now have five days excluding weekends and holidays to respond. The law does not impact the notice periods for 30 or 60-day termination notices, or notices based on uncurable breaches such as illegal use, unauthorized subletting, nuisance or waste.
Rob Dawg mentioned the rent-control initiative that will be on the ballot in 2020.
It will be a scaled-down version of the one that got voted down last time:
Amid mounting pressure for lawmakers to protect renters from the steepest of increases in a hot rental market, this initiative is a scaled-back version of Prop. 10. The proposed ballot measure would not give cities carte blanche to impose sweeping rent control rules. New construction would not be impacted.
“We tried to address the concerns we heard during the last campaign,” says Weinstein, “A lot of politicians wanted to see reform instead of repeal of the Costa Hawkins rules.”
The measure would also allow cities to impose rent control on single-family homes if the landlord owns three or more homes, which exempts mom-and-pop landlords. Plus, the measure would allow for limited vacancy control, which is currently prohibited. When a tenant moves out of a rent-controlled apartment, cities and counties could limit rent increases for the next tenant, as long as they allow the landlord to raise the rent at least 15 percent over three years.
The new measure faces many hurdles on its road to the ballot box. Rent control opponents, including real estate interest groups, who describe the legislation as a retread of the old initiative, raised a whopping $76 million to defeat Prop. 10.
“Prop 10 2.0 would drive down property values and prompt an exodus from the rental housing market,” Tom Bannon, chief executive officer of the California Apartment Association said in a release. “California needs sensible housing policies that protect tenants and encourage the building of affordable homes for working families. This measure makes the crisis worse.”
Supporters of Prop. 10 raised only $26 million, the bulk of which came from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. But Weinstein remains resolute.
The California Association of Realtors will also put forth the change to Prop 60/90 that would allow seniors to take their old tax basis with them to their new home, regardless of whether they paid more or less for it, or which county it’s in. The removing of commercial properties from Prop 13 protection will be on the ballot too, and maybe all bundled up together?
I doubt any of them will change home values in the short-term, but what an Election Day!
Staff in public transportation companies and housing rental offices are increasingly finding themselves challenged to sort through which types of service or support animals must be allowed by law. According to these companies, some individuals are cheating by introducing ordinary pets as doctor-prescribed “emotional support” animals in order to bring them into housing where pets are banned or to avoid fees such as pet deposits, pet rent or travel costs.
“I can’t go 30 minutes any time I’m around landlords without someone bringing up assistance animals,” said Paul Smith, executive director of the Utah Apartment Association, which advocates for landlords. “That’s the No. 1 issue for landlords. Landlords want to accommodate people with disability, but want to cut down on fraud.”
To legally gain accommodation for an emotional support animal requires an “impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,” Smith said. “In addition, the animal has to be a medical necessity — it’s not just that having a cat makes me happy. Having the cat treats the medical condition. Our frustration is not that we don’t think there are people who genuinely need one. But under that definition, the animal has to be a medical necessity. We don’t think that definition is met most of the time.”
Landlords know that anyone can go online and buy a letter that “prescribes” an emotional support animal. The Deseret News set out to test how easy it was to obtain such a letter, and within a couple of hours had two in hand from separate sources — each for under $100 and each documenting the “need” for an emotional support animal. That ease of providing so-called proof, coupled with what Smith describes as a dramatic increase in renters saying they “must” have an emotional support animal, has fueled skepticism that could make it harder for those who really need emotional support animals to have them.
While landlords must trust that a letter from a doctor is valid, it’s an issue made more complicated by what Smith calls “online certification mills,” which sell letters prescribing an emotional support animal for a fee, no therapy needed.
The Deseret News decided to see how hard it would be to get an emotional support animal letter online without having a particular need (or even owning an animal). Reporter Erica Evans went after the cheapest option she could find easily: a website which offers airline and housing recommendation forms for $79.
The website advertises “Live and fly with your pet legally and hassle free,” and boasts 30,000 happy customers nationwide. She started filling out the form, but got interrupted after inputting only basic information, including her name and phone number. No worries; within a half hour the company called her, though she hadn’t completed the online intake.
Hat tip to Mark for sending in this conclusion to a previous story seen here:
CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) – More than two and a half years after Team 10 first reported about a North County property management company accused of stealing money from clients, the victims are finally getting their money back.
Kelley Zaun owned Carousel Properties, a Carlsbad property management company. Victims first told Team 10 in 2016, they hired her to pay fees associated with their rentals. They said she did not pay those fees. She was accused of taking roughly $200,000 from victims, according to investigators.
In 2018, Zaun faced 29 felonies for embezzlement, according to Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn. Zaun entered into a plea deal and agreed to a year in custody. With the help of the DA’s office, Zaun’s former clients were able to get their money back through the Department of Real Estate’s Consumer Recovery Account.
Stephen Lerner, the Assistant Commissioner for Legal Affairs for the department, said so far, 23 victims have been reimbursed through the account. Other victims’ payments are still processing. They have been able to reimburse $172,084.68 thus far.
The Consumer Recover Account is an option for fraud victims when trying to recoup money from the person who took it from them. In order to utilize the fund, Lerner said there must be a criminal or civil court order for the defendant to pay back money he or she took. If victims cannot get refunded from the person who stole it, they can apply through the Department of Real Estate.
Winn said she volunteered to be the victims’ liaison with the DRE, as the process for reimbursement is lengthy and many of the victims were elderly. One of Zaun’s victims told Team 10 he is “extremely grateful” for the DA’s office work on this case.
Victims started receiving reimbursements within the past couple of weeks.
Money for the account comes from license fees. Lerner told Team 10 there are approximately 421,000 people with a license under their department, which includes broker and salesperson’s licenses. 12 percent of the license fee paid goes to the account.
Since 1964, the DRE has paid more than $61 million to victims. Approximately 54 percent of all applications are approved.
“Between 2007 and 2017, top-earning renters increased by 175%, while homeowners within the same income bracket exhibited a 67% growth rate,” a study from RentCafe.com revealed. “Out of the 43.3 million renters nationwide, 2.1 million are top earners according to the latest available U.S. Census data. Back in 2007, there were only 774,000 high-income renters.”
A 2018 study from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University also found that high-earners were increasingly renting. The number of renters with incomes above $100,000 rose 5% in 2017, “bringing the cumulative increase in 2012–2017 to about 2.6 million,” the report revealed. Furthermore, the rentership rate in that income bracket hit an all-time high (19%) in 2017 with higher income households accounting “for the vast majority of renter growth over the past five years.”
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