GBREB NEWS

HELP FOR PROPERTY OWNERS AND TENANTS IMPACTED BY COVID-19

Did you know that you may be eligible for state assistance with paying your rent or mortgage? If you have lost your job or income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Housing and Community Development has programs for low-income renters and homeowners that will help you with past due rent or mortgage payments, as well as future housing costs. 

Visit mass.gov/CovidHousingHelp  to get connected with regional agencies that can help you apply for funds and stay in your home.
 
Summary of the Eviction Diversion Initiative:
The Eviction and Diversion Initiative (EDI) is designed keep people safely housed during the pandemic as we approach the end of the Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium. EDI contains $171 million in resources that include a $100 million commitment for RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition), with an increased benefit cap of $10,000, and $13 million for legal assistance for low-income tenants and owners as they navigate the eviction process. The initiative also includes a commitment to streamline the RAFT application process, provide additional support for the regional housing administering agencies, and allow small owners to apply directly for RAFT benefits.  
Eviction Diversion Information
GBREB

The BOMA Affiliate Spotlight promotes the excellent service and valuable products of BOMA Boston's Affiliate members. 
The BOMA Affiliate Spotlight promotes the excellent service and valuable products of BOMA Boston's Affiliate members. To be featured, please contact Courtney McHugh, cmchugh@gbreb.com

September Affiliate Spotlight Companies
Pritchard Industries

Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email
Usource

Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email
HETI 
Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email

October Affiliate Spotlight Companies 
 Able Services

Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email 


BOMA Affiliate Spotlight
GBREB
On Saturday October 17, 2020, the Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium which has been in place since April will officially expire.  GBREB has been working tirelessly on this issue talking with Legislators, the Governor, the Courts and Housing Providers. A press release was issued by the Governor establishing a SafetyNet called the Eviction Diversion Initiative as the Moratorium expires.    

What this means for members:


Residential Evictions may proceed subject to the requirements of the Federal Moratorium
Commercial real estate evictions will no longer be affected by State or Federal CDC Moratorium law and may proceed through the legal process. 

Some of the key components include:

• $100 million in emergency rental assistance through the RAFT program and an increase in available grant amounts from $4,000 to $10,000 per household, in-line with our recommendation since this summer’s Week of Advocacy. The benefits of this program will be available to property owners with up to 20 rental units and upon application by the property owner, with resident consent. Both of these elements are in-line with our advocacy to increase protections for property owners with more than four-units and to empower property owner to apply for aid (currently RAFT only accepts applications from residents). Acceptance of RAFT assistance requires the preservation of tenancies for 6-months or, for households with school-age children, the longer of: 6-months or until June 2021.
• Up to $12.3 million to provide both property owners and residents with access to legal representation and related services during the eviction process. 
• Nearly $50 million for post-eviction rapid re-housing.
• Expansion of Housing Consumer Education Centers and pre-court community mediation. Keep an eye out for more information on how MAR will be playing an active role in providing mediation assistance statewide.

Summary of the Eviction Diversion Initiative

The Eviction and Diversion Initiative (EDI) is designed keep people safely housed during the pandemic as we approach the end of the Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium. 
EDI contains $171 million in resources that include a $100 million commitment for RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition), with an increased benefit cap of $10,000, and $13 million for legal assistance for low-income tenants and owners as they navigate the eviction process. The initiative also includes a commitment to streamline the RAFT application process, provide additional support for the regional housing administering agencies, and allow small owners to apply directly for RAFT benefits.  This should help tremendously with some tenants who have had difficulty in the application process.  The Administration is also kicking off a public communication campaign to help ensure residents know about these available resources. There will be more to come in the days to follow as the plan unfolds, and GBREB will keep you updated on the latest developments.  

Read the Administration's Overview & Press Release


 
MA Eviction Moratorium Set to Expire
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Clarence Webb

In our current market, listing agents are finding their clients being met with multiple offers on their home. To ensure both sides leave the transaction happy, here are a few tips for effectively handling multiple-buyer situations


Bidding wars are a listing agent’s dream and a buyer agent’s nightmare. In our market’s current state of low inventory, sellers are finding that their homes are receiving multiple offers from prospective buyers.

In Northwest Indiana, it’s unlike any time I can remember. Along with traditional movement, we’re seeing an exodus of Chicago residents looking to escape the busy and populated city life to settle down in more rural areas. The result? Less sellers and more buyers.

Our recent focus has been to guide and counsel our agents on how to properly and effectively handle multiple-buyer situations, where both the seller and buyer leave the transaction happy. Here are a few tips and tricks for listing agents to look out for when their clients are met with multiple offers on their home.

1. Keep your sellers informed and prepared

We always remind our agents that their sellers will likely go through a challenging, emotional journey when they list their home. Their house is filled with countless memories and milestones — and letting go isn’t always an easy process. We have to make sure they’re ready by preparing them with the right information and guidance they need.

Ensure you inform them about market conditions and expectations for the upcoming transaction ahead of time. It’s critical that clients are fully aware of what may come, including the flurry of activity that multiple bids can bring.

While it may be exciting, I urge our agents to prepare their sellers for the shock of potentially getting strong offers within hours of the sign first going into the ground. When offers start pouring in (we’re seeing as many as five in just a matter of hours), we don’t want our sellers to feel overwhelmed by all of numbers and figures coming at them at once. 

We also tell our agents to be prepared. If they understand what may come, they can expect it. It’s similar to when we hear athletes say they prepare by imagining what the game and atmosphere will be like. Being prepared supports peak performance — for athletes and agents.

2. Be mindful of the aggressive buyer 

In the current state of the real estate market, we see a large majority of both buyers and sellers making accommodations toward reaching a common goal during the negotiation period. 
 
However, some buyers will use this period of uncertainty to apply pressure and speed up the process by giving the seller a 12-hour deadline to respond to their offer. 

We encourage our agents to communicate directly with the buyer’s agent to reduce the time-crunch stress. Instant communication is not only a strong negotiation tactic but also helps maintain a good relationship with your agent colleague.

The ultimate goal is to take the fight out of the battle by letting buyers know where you stand on their offer as soon as possible. If a time-sensitive offer is good, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more prep time before moving into the contracting phase. 

3. Look for the net price

The price on the first page of a contract may sound appealing, but what really matters is the net price — the dollar amount the sellers are essentially leaving with. We see this play out as it relates to the wide variety of loan preapprovals out there right now.

For example, if the buyer wants to utilize an FHA loan, the seller may be required to do repairs on the home, which can come out of their pocket. Gathering all of the facts and numbers for the client is extremely important to make sure they receive the best offer that best fits their needs.

4. Time is of the essence 

One of the more interesting things that we see with multiple bids is that agents are not negotiating on price. Instead, they are negotiating on time. 

Agents are doing a great job in setting a solid price that fits with comps and expected appraisals. At the same time, buyer’s agents are doing a great job presenting acceptable offers, usually avoiding “low-ball” offers.

When negotiating the terms of an agreement, the time of possession has become one of the most critical terms. We’ve seen deals fall apart because both sides struggle to agree on timing. Therefore, many of the concessions sellers are making is to ensure they have enough time before leaving for their next home. Those extra days can be even more important than a higher price.

As agents in today’s market where buyers and sellers are up against a clock, we need to focus on preparing and helping navigate buyers and sellers through the transaction, which now includes the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Today’s environment demands preparation, real-time communication and, most importantly, the recognition that taking the time you need through each negotiation can lead to success. 

Clarence Webb is a 14-year real estate industry veteran and responsible broker at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Connections.
Overwhelmed With Multiple Offers? Here's How to Handle Them Better
GBAR

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Check out the October edition of the MAA Insider- featuring highlights from past events, information on upcoming events plus local and national multifamily news.

Read the October MAA Insider.
MAA Insider - October 2020
MAA

Did you miss our October Newsletter? Read about upcoming BOMA Boston events, news, and educational opportunities!

Read the October BOMA Enews.

October 2020 E-News
GBREB

Mass. Governor Charlie Baker has rescinded the Emergency Order extending real estate license validity. As a result, any license in good standing as of March 26, 2020 will remain valid until at least October 1, 2020, even if it was previously set to expire at some point between March 26 and October 1. However, as of October 1, licenses with expiration dates between March 26 and October 1 will lapse. License renewal information is available on the Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons website.

Read more about the order here
.

 

 

Governor Baker Rescinds License Extension Order
GBAR

Become a REFA Member!

 

15 for 12 Membership Promotion:

Join REFA today for 2021 and receive the rest of this year for free!

 

 

Here are just a few of the benefits associated with a REFA membership:

 

Advocacy: Through the Greater Boston Real Estate Board’s Advocacy Group, REFA represents members’ interests on the city, state, and national level. Click here to view our Government Affairs page.

 

Committee Involvement: Take advantage of your membership by joining one of REFA's many committees. Our committees continue to meet via video meetings.

 

DEI InitiativeREFA is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and working towards creating a more diverse commercial real estate community. For more information, please visit our DEI resource page.

 

EducationREFA holds over 30 programs a year, featuring keynote presentations and panel discussions featuring some of the industry’s most prominent leaders. All of our educational events are now being held as webinars. To learn more, click here to view our events calendar. If you have any interest or questions in upcoming events, feel free to contact me directly!

 

Industry Job Board: The REFA Job Board is an online tool to attract top talent by posting opportunities.

 

Networking Opportunities: While in-person events are on hold for the time being, you can look forward to quality networking opportunities through committees, educational programs, the charitable golf tournament, networking receptions, and the annual REFA Gala.

 

Online Membership Directory: Find other REFA members and their contact information with our online membership directory.

 

Social Media: We are also active on Social Media – Now that you’re a member, join our LinkedIn Group and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

 

Become a REFA Member!

 

Questions about membership? Email Alex Levine at alevine@gbreb.com.


15 for 12 REFA Membership Promotion
GBREB

Become a CBA Member!

 

15 for 12 Membership Promotion:

Join CBA today for 2021 and receive the rest of this year for free!

 

 

Here are just a few of the benefits associated with your membership:

 

Advocacy: Through the Greater Boston Real Estate Board’s Advocacy Group, CBA represents members’ interests on the city, state, and national level. Click here to view our Government Affairs page.

 

CBA Achievement Awards: CBA members receive peer recognition through our annual Achievement Awards. Your peers elect and vote for recipients of Broker of the Year, Landlord of the Year and Rising Star. Deals of the Year are nominated and judged by a panel of industry experts and include Office Deal of the Year (Downtown and Suburban), Industrial Deal of the Year, Investment Sale of the Year, Retail Deal of the Year (Sale and Lease) and Life Science Deal of the Year. This year's Awards were held virtually on September 24th. Click Here to see the winners!

 

Education: CBA holds various programs throughout the year featuring keynote presentations and panel discussions featuring some of the industry’s most prominent leaders. All of our educational events are now being held as webinars due to gathering restrictions from COVID-19. To learn more, click here to view our events calendar. If you have any interest or questions in upcoming events, feel free to contact me directly!

 

Social Media: We are also active on Social Media – Now that you’re a member, join our LinkedIn Group and follow us on Twitter.

 

Become a CBA Member!

 

Questions about membership? Email Alex Levine at .


15 for 12 CBA Membership Promotion
GBREB
 As more people rely on photos instead of in-person showings when renting apartments during the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) Maura Healey and the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) have partnered to issue an advisory warning the public about an apartment leasing scam and offering guidance on how to avoid falling victim to it.
  
Both the AG’s Office and GBREB have received complaints from prospective tenants, property management companies, and real estate agents about a scam involving fake apartment listings being posted online. The scammers use photos from real listings of homes for rent or sale, and at times even use the contact information of an actual listing agent or management company, and then post them on Craigslist or other online platforms. Read More.
  
Additionally, GBAR President-Elect Dino Confalone was featured on NBC10 Boston and in the Boston Globe to discuss leasing scams in and around Boston.
 
AG Healey, GBREB Warn Prospective Tenants and REALTORS® About Apartment Leasing Scam
GBAR
 On June 30, Governor Baker announced the creation of a new program to provide direct rent and mortgage assistance. The Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) program will distribute $20 million in funds to help households that have experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 state of emergency, dating back to April 1. 
  
The program will provide up to $4,000 per households that are within the 50-80% range of Area Median Income with funds accessible through eleven Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) administering agencies. Read More 
Governor Announces New Housing Aid Program
GBAR

September, designated as REALTOR® Safety Month, is a time to recommit to your personal safety and the safety of your colleagues and clients.

Real estate is a relatively safe profession, says Breanne Gingerich, marketing manager for NAR’s REALTOR® Safety Program, in this week’s “Pivot in Place” video. But there are risks—and having protocols for client meetings, showings, and open houses can mean the difference between life and death. A third of NAR members say they’ve felt unsafe on the job at some point in their careers, according to NAR’s latest Member Safety Report. In two harrowing incidents just this month, an agent confronted an armed man hiding in a vacant home and another averted an attempted abduction. Find out where pros perceive the biggest threats and the actions they’re taking to protect themselves.

Of course, the coronavirus has added a new facet to safety this year. Consult “Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS®” to review protocols that can keep you and your clients safe from COVID-19. Bookmark nar.realtor/coronavirus to keep up with how the virus is affecting real estate, including regular updates on what NAR is doing to advocate at the local, state, and national levels to help you continue operations and to protect your interests. While you’re at the website, learn more about NAR’s federal and state advocacy operation, including a major leadership transition announced earlier this month by NAR CEO Bob Goldberg.




Never A Bad Time To Practice Safety Protocols
GBAR
The City of Boston has announced that it will be launching a major initiative to combat housing discrimination, which will target rentals, but also investigate complaints in the home sales market, and mortgage lending community. The initiative, which is set to begin on October 1, will include deployment of fair housing testers across the city to identify bias and discrimination occurring among real estate agents and brokers, landlords/property managers, and property owners.  While violations of fair housing law based on race and voucher holder status will be the primary focus, the program won’t be limited to these factors, but instead will test across all 14 classes protected under state fair housing laws.  


The testing program, which is being taken up by the Boston Office of Fair Housing & Equity, is being conducted in the wake of a recent year-long study commissioned by The Boston Foundation and implemented by the Suffolk University Law School, which focused on race and source of income/public assistance (i.e. Section 8).  That study showed empirical evidence of the discrimination that people of color and those with housing vouchers face in our community and city at large, but only reported broad results and general findings of unequal treatment within the rental market.  


The City of Boston initiative not only will be more extensive in its reach, but also include an element of enforcement.  Most notably, all individuals and brokerages investigated during the Suffolk Law School study will be re-tested with the intent of bringing stiff enforcement measures against those individuals and others who are found to commit discriminatory practices, according to Will Onuoha, commissioner of the Boston Fair Housing Commission and executive director of the Office of Fair Housing & Equity, who recently met with the GBAR Board of Directors to discuss opportunities for collaboration in fair housing training, consumer awareness, and disciplinary penalties.  Additionally, the intent is to share results of the investigation, including names of persons who act in a manner that violates fair housing law, with The Boston Globe and several public and private agencies, such as the state Attorney General’s Office, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Lawyers for Civil Rights, and Boston Human Rights Commission for additional sanctions and prosecution.


To better understand and position yourself and your sales associates to comply with state and federal fair housing laws, consider completing this fair housing quiz from REALTOR® Magazine, watching this implicit bias training video, and viewing a three-part webinar series on fair housing and diversity in real estate-- including a session on Section 8 and housing voucher programs-- hosted by the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®.
 
City of Boston Announces Fair Housing Testing Initiative
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Nicole Solari


We can't always spot a bad apple from afar. But here are a few situations when you should say adios
 
Because avoiding trouble is easier than extricating yourself from it, agents who value their own well-being have learned to be choosey about the clients they decide to work with. The spread of COVID-19 has simply underscored the importance of careful pre-screening and ongoing vigilance.

Because nobody can weed out every bad apple in advance, it’s essential to recognize clear signs that you and your client might not be the great fit you hoped you’d be.

These are our top no-go moments:

1. When they refuse to follow public health protocols or showing guidelines


Scofflaws might be your clients or other agents and their clients. Whoever they are, you can’t work with them if you can’t trust them to follow the same (usually state or locally mandated) rules as everyone else.

2. When they aren’t candid with you


Clients you catch shading the truth or straight up lying to you have proven they’re not trustworthy. So, you have to ask yourself if you truly want to deal with untrustworthy people in the middle of a pandemic — or ever.

3. When they won’t listen to reason on price or anything else


Everything about COVID-19 has complicated real estate agents’ work. So, maybe endless patience isn’t such a good trait right now.

Think long and hard about keeping clients happy:

When clients believe they know more about selling their property than you do.
When they’re blind and firmly assure you their home will “sell itself” as is, and the home looks like an ’80s fever dream.
When they’re stubbornly unreasonable about price.

In short, when they refuse to face facts, do you really want to put yourself at risk for people who won’t get real?

4. When they love looking but aren’t eager to buy


The era of COVID-19 is inhospitable to looky-loos. Fortunately, there’s plenty to satisfy real estate tourists online these days. However, there are clients who sincerely believe they want to buy (or should) but have out-of-control trust issues or an irrational fear of missing out on the “perfect” house.

Indecisive clients can be just as much of a time-suck as people who are window-shopping. If they’ve had six agents before you, do you actually have time to be No. 7?

5. When nothing is ever good enough


You pick up the phone at 8 p.m. They complain because they tried to reach you at 9 p.m. the day before, and you weren’t available. You find them the unicorn property that meets all their requirements at their price, and all they can focus on is how “wrong” the shower curtain is.
You bring them a full-price offer, and they insist on countering at a higher price. You can feel for over-the-top perfectionists, but you cannot win this game. You can, however, end it and decide whether you say “enough” sooner or later.

6. When clients can’t agree — on anything


Whether they’re buyers or sellers, clients who drag you into the center of the family firing range will wreck your serenity and take a lot of time doing it, which makes them especially dangerous right now.

If you decide to take on such clients on anyway, establish your choice of ironclad boundaries upfront with the warring parties. Be prepared to enforce them by walking away if they can’t abide by them. And make sure you’re getting combat pay.

7. When they’re outright abusive to you or your associates


Everyone is stressed right now — not that there is ever a time when abusiveness is OK. But, it’s more essential than ever now that agents set clear boundaries around what they will tolerate and what they won’t.

In our world, screaming, cursing, name-calling, projecting blame for the client’s own failings, and personal or professional threats are not acceptable. Why would anyone put up with that kind of treatment?

8. When they routinely violate the terms of their contracts


COVID-19 has slowed inspectors, appraisers and lenders — which is actually the perfect excuse to have at least one pre-contract discussion about deadlines and the importance of everyone doing their best to meet them during this unusual time. And it can’t hurt to emphasize to buyers more than once that inspection reports don’t automatically give them a right to rewrite the contract.

If they still won’t live up to contract terms after all that prep, involve your broker to keep them on track. And vow never to work with them again.

9. When you’ve already had one negative experience with them, and they suggest returning for Nightmare 2.0


You would think every agent would follow some version of “Mistreat me once, shame on you. Mistreat me twice, shame on me.” But an amazing number of agents keep working with clients they know behave badly. Did somebody miss class on the day they practiced saying, “I really don’t think I’m the right fit for you”?

We get it. Firing clients is hard. It’s a loss you now have to fill. Best practice is to avoid such situations, if at all possible. So, resolve to do a more thorough job of prequalifying your clients — not just financially, but also personally.

Spend time with them on some nice outdoor dining patio talking about their goals, how they like to work, what questions they have and what their expectations are. Find out if they agent-hop and bad-mouth everyone who’s tried to help them previously.

Determine whether they’re novice buyers or sellers and if one of them wants to sell or buy but the other one really doesn’t. And be wary of people who want a friend more than they want an effective agent. You’re selling real estate, not companionship.

September is Realtor Safety Month. NAR runs a month-long campaign to make agents think about the dangers we face and the precautions we should routinely take at work. Get with the program. Take care of yourself!

Nicole Solari is owner and managing broker of The Solari Group in Solano and Napa Counties in Northern California. Nicole runs one of the highest producing brokerages in all of Northern California.
Bu-bye! 9 Signs It’s Time to Cut Ties With Clients
GBAR
Have you heard about the latest GBAR Member Benefit through EyeSpy360 Virtual Tours? The platform now integrates with the GBREB e-forms library through zipLogix and LoneWolf Technologies at a new, lower monthly price of $14.99. You can obtain unlimited 360° virtual property tours, 3D models, 2D floor plans with room measurements, and more! Agents also can host multi-property and multi-person remote viewing sessions on any mobile device or computer
  
Additionally, EyeSpy360, in association with LoneWolf Technologies, is launching a brand new Webinar Series, exploring the world of Property Technology (PropTech); The Must Haves and the Avoid at all costs. Hear from industry experts about the impact of technology on you and your business over the next 5 years.The webinars will run September 21 - 24 from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Read More.
 
Offer Virtual Showings for Your Clients With EyeSpy360
GBAR
 
Last month , NAR President Vince Malta and other NAR leaders met with officials from the White House offices of the Domestic Policy Council and the National Economic Council to discuss the CDC eviction moratorium. President Malta outlined NAR's significant concerns with the order and the burden it places on housing providers. He explained that "kicking the can down the road" and creating mountains of debt for renters would simply lead to a flood of evictions come January. Read More.
  
Following the meeting, NAR Director of Federal Housing & Policy Megan Booth discussed the eviction moratorium; providing tips for landlords and actions NAR is taking to advocate for small building owners and property managers. View Video.
  
Additionally, on September 10, GBREB hosted a webinar, "Laws and Regulations around the CDC Eviction Moratorium", which covered the various COVID-19 laws and regulations affecting residential and commercial landlords. Jeffrey C. Turk, Esq. Partner, Turk & Quijano, LLP provided members with an update on state and federal legislation surrounding the September 1 CDC Eviction Moratorium and how it affects an owner’s right to collect rent and enforce a lease. View the webinar here. 
 
NAR Meets with White House on Eviction Moratorium
GBAR
The Tri-Community Greenway is a 12.7 mile moderately trafficked multi-use trail the runs through the communities of Stoneham, Woburn and Winchester.  Officially opened in June 2019, the Greenway offers scenic views and its trail is primarily used for walking, nature trips, and road biking.

The Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® recently applied for and received $3,500 from the National Association of RELATORS® Placemaking Grant program, which it combined with its own community service funds, to provide amenities to the Greenway.  The enhancements include the addition of picnic tables and bike racks, as well as the planting of trees and shrubs.

GBAR is looking for a minimum of 20-25 member volunteers to assist in the installation of these items at two different Greenway site locations in Stoneham – at its intersection with Montvale Avenue and along Pomeworth Street – On Saturday, October 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Rain Date is October 24).  Volunteers are needed for four specific tasks: assembling picnic tables, assembling and installing bike racks, planting trees and shrubs, and cleaning up litter along the trail.  All materials and refreshments will be provided.  Face masks are required to be worn by all volunteers.  For questions or to sign-up as a volunteer, contact Kevin Butler at kbutler@gbreb.com.

Thank You to Our Project Sponsors!


  

       

Tri-Community Greenway Photos:

           

Tri-Community Greenway Placemaking Grant Project Community Service Volunteer Opportunity
GBAR
The City of Boston has announced that it will be launching a major initiative to combat housing discrimination, which will target rentals, but also investigate complaints in the home sales market, and mortgage lending community. The initiative, which is set to begin on October 1, will include deployment of fair housing testers across the city to identify bias and discrimination occurring among real estate agents and brokers, landlords/property managers, and property owners.  While violations of fair housing law based on race and voucher holder status will be the primary focus, the program won’t be limited to these factors, but instead will test across all 14 classes protected under state fair housing laws.  


The testing program, which is being taken up by the Boston Office of Fair Housing & Equity, is being conducted in the wake of a recent year-long study commissioned by The Boston Foundation and implemented by the Suffolk University Law School, which focused on race and source of income/public assistance (i.e. Section 8).  That study showed empirical evidence of the discrimination that people of color and those with housing vouchers face in our community and city at large, but only reported broad results and general findings of unequal treatment within the rental market.  


The City of Boston initiative not only will be more extensive in its reach, but also include an element of enforcement.  Most notably, all individuals and brokerages investigated during the Suffolk Law School study will be re-tested with the intent of bringing stiff enforcement measures against those individuals and others who are found to commit discriminatory practices, according to Will Onuoha, commissioner of the Boston Fair Housing Commission and executive director of the Office of Fair Housing & Equity, who recently met with the GBAR Board of Directors to discuss opportunities for collaboration in fair housing training, consumer awareness, and disciplinary penalties.  Additionally, the intent is to share results of the investigation, including names of persons who act in a manner that violates fair housing law, with The Boston Globe and several public and private agencies, such as the state Attorney General’s Office, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Lawyers for Civil Rights, and Boston Human Rights Commission for additional sanctions and prosecution.


To better understand and position yourself to comply with state and federal fair housing laws, consider completing this fair housing quiz from REALTOR® Magazine, watching this implicit bias training video, and accessing the NAR fair housing resources page.
 
City of Boston Announces Fair Housing Testing Initiative
GBAR

Larry Lenrow CRE Scholarship


BOMA Boston is pleased to present a scholarship opportunity to our members. The scholarship honors long-time member, educator, and real estate executive, Larry Lenrow. 

The scholarship serves to support entry-level Commercial Real Estate professionals looking to enhance their careers in commercial real estate. 

Larry Lenrow was one of BOMA Boston's most dedicated educators and leaders for over 30 years. His passion and knowledge about commercial real estate inspired hundreds of students. He taught numerous course while simultaneously managing some of Boston's most important buildings. Larry passed away in June 2020, and he will be forever missed by the BOMA Boston community. The Larry Lenrow CRE Education Scholarship serves to honor his legacy as a dedicated real estate executive. 

To learn more visit our website at bomabostonscholarships.com

Questions? email Jill Blanco at jblanco@gbreb.com
Larry Lenrow Scholarship Announcement
GBREB
GBREB NEWS

AG HEALEY, GBREB WARN PROSPECTIVE TENANTS AND REALTORS ABOUT APARTMENT LEASING SCAM

As more people rely on photos instead of in-person showings when renting apartments during the COVID-19 pandemic, AG Healey and the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) have partnered to issue an advisory warning the public about an apartment leasing scam and offering guidance on how to avoid falling victim to it.

Both the AG’s Office and GBREB have received complaints from prospective tenants, property management companies, and real estate agents about a scam involving fake apartment listings being posted online. The scammers use photos from real listings of homes for rent or sale, and at times even use the contact information of an actual listing agent or management company, and then post them on Craigslist or other online platforms. The scammers solicit deposits through these ads to be sent to them directly from tenants, who end up not actually securing an apartment to lease because of the fraudulent nature of the ads.

“This scam is the rental market equivalent of catfishing, and while it’s not new, we want the public to be aware of the increased risks during the pandemic,” said AG Healey. “Access to safe and reliable housing is essential to the vitality of our communities and we’ll continue to partner with stakeholders to ensure our residents are not losing money or left without a place to live.”

“Heartless scams like these cannot be tolerated. They are career damaging to hard working real estate professionals, and unscrupulous to consumers,” said Greg Vasil, CEO of GBREB. “The mission of the Real Estate Board is to expose them and protect both its membership and consumers from threats like these. If you have any doubt about a real estate listing, do not send any money before you are sure you’re working with a Licensed Realtor. Please report false ads to the proper authorities.”

To avoid falling victim to this scam, AG Healey and GBREB offer the following advice:

• Thorough inspection: Whenever possible, inspect an apartment carefully before signing a lease or paying a deposit.

• Use a broker: If you must rent an apartment unseen, don’t trust online advertisements—online apartment listings are just too easy to fake. Instead, use a licensed real estate broker or salesperson. You can verify a broker’s license online here.

• Watch for red flags: Keep an eye out for red flags such as poorly written ads, deals that are too good to be true, and requests for payment using untraceable methods.

• Only make secure payments: Never send a wire transfer, cashier’s check, or funds transfer to someone you’ve only met online. If they turn out to be a scammer, you won’t be able to get your money back.

• Protect your personal information: Don’t disclose your SSN or PayPal information to someone you’ve only met online. Meet your landlord in person before agreeing to a background check or ask the landlord to have the background check performed by a licensed real estate broker or salesperson.

• File a complaint: If you are the victim of an online apartment listing scam, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center at IC3.gov.

• Report fraudulent ads: If you’re the owner of a property, realtor or property manager and find that someone else has altered your listing or listed your property for rent, report the fraudulent ad to the website’s point of contact for abuse immediately.

AG Healey’s Office is committed to helping Massachusetts residents access safe and reliable housing, especially throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. AG Healey’s Community Engagement Division has held virtual trainings on tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to do so. Those interested in participating in a training can find the schedule here.

Visit AG Healey’s COVID-19 resource page for information about how the AG’s Office can provide support during this crisis.

 
RENTAL SCAM ADVISORY
GBREB

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