“Reconsideration of HUD’s Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard.”

Click Here for the Statement of the Rental Housing Association Regarding FR-6111-A-01
Statement Regarding FR-6111-A-01

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

Click Here for the August Edition of The RHA Insider
The RHA Insider - August
Lapatin on the Law is a monthly legal update for RHA Members

Click Here for Lapatin on the Law
Lapatin on the Law - August 2018

Click the button below to read the July/August 2018 RHA NextGen Member Newsletter featuring stories on:

  • Multifamily Industry Trends in the Boston Market
  • Member Spotlight of Aaron Cornish, Director of Sales, BG Multifamily
  • 2 Takeaways from APARTMENTALIZE
  • New Community Spotlight: 200 Brookline at The Pierce

Click for Newsletter

NextGen Member Newsletter July/August
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has released it’s 2018 Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate. This report is an in depth look at foreign buyers and sellers, the countries they are moving to and from, how much they are spending and what they are looking for. Overall, the report found that foreign buyers and recent immigrants accounted for 8 percent of the $1.6 trillion in existing home sales, a decrease from 10 percent during the 12-month period that ended March 2017.

“After a surge in 2017, we saw a decrease in foreign activity in the housing market in the latest year, bringing us closer to the levels seen in 2016,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a press release. “Inventory shortages continue to drive up prices and sustained job creation and historically low interest rates mean that foreign buyers are now competing with domestic residents for the same, limited supply of homes.”

Some of the key findings of the report indicate that:
• Foreign buyers purchased $121.0 billion of residential property from April 2017—March 2018, a decrease from $153 billion during the previous 12-month period (April 2016—March 2017). 
• Foreign buyers continued to purchase properties at a higher price point compared with all existing home buyers: among existing home buyers, the median price was $249,300, whereas properties purchased by foreign buyers sold for a median price of $292,400.
• The major foreign buyers were China ($30.4B), Canada ($10.5B), the United Kingdom ($7.3B), India ($7.2B), and Mexico ($4.2B).

If you’re looking to take advantage of this sizeable market of international buyers and sellers, GBAR is offering two elective courses for the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Designation.  

Our first course, The Americas & International Real Estate on August 21st, introduces real estate professionals to the basic skills and knowledge necessary to facilitate international transactions with clients in Canada, the U.S., as well as Central and South America. It is designed to benefit both experienced international professionals as well as those just getting started. Our second CIPS elective course on October 29th focuses on Europe & International Real Estate and teaches the principles and knowledge you need to work with European clients. 
NAR Report Examines Market for International Home Buyers and Investors
What are some of the main things to watch out for with escrow accounts?

Three of the most common escrow account pitfalls our members encounter are:

a. Commingling of Funds.
Funds cannot be transferred from the escrow account to an operating account until the transaction has closed. We often hear of members who preemptively transfer funds from their escrow to their operating account so that they can bring a check for the co-broker at closing. Even if it is a near certainty that the transaction will close as scheduled, this is an impermissible commingling of funds. There is nothing in 254 CMR 3.10(a) that would prohibit the disbursement of funds directly from the escrow account after the closing has occurred. 

b. Having Non-Broker Signatories.
The Board interprets 254 CMR 3.10(a) as allowing for only brokers to keep and maintain escrow accounts. Neither salespeople nor unlicensed individuals, such as a bookkeeper, may have check signing authority. 

c. Escrow Accounting:
The broker is responsible for keeping a proper account of the escrow account. This requires not only tracking all deposits and distributions, but also maintaining copies of each check deposited into and withdrawn from the escrow account for a period of three (3) years from the date of issuance. The check register must be kept for a period of ten (10) years.
Escrow Account Pitfalls to Avoid
We have extended the deadline to submit a nomination for 2019 REALTOR® leadership positions to Monday, August 20th. We are seeking REALTORS® who have the knowledge, passion and communication skills to be an industry advocate and voice for fellow REALTORS® to help bring our association to the next level in 2019. If you or know someone you know has these traits, please consider submitting a Candidate Nomination Form for yourself or a colleague.

There are several elected leadership positions available for 2019, including the offices of treasurer, vice president and president-elect, as well as six seats for two-year director terms. We also are seeking candidates to serve on the boards of directors for GBREB, MAR and NAR. It’s our strong desire that the association's leadership reflects the diversity of business models and licensee population we serve.

To learn more, access the qualifications and duties of all elected leadership positions and our online Candidate Nomination Form.
2019 REALTOR® Leadership Nominations Deadline Extended
On July 31, the U.S. Senate approved a bill to keep the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) operating for four more months. The NFIP was set to expire that same day, and previously had an extension approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. Following these votes, President Donald Trump signed the bill into law, extending the program until November 30, 2018.

“We applaud lawmakers for taking this needed action to prevent disruptions to closings in thousands of communities across the country,” said Elizabeth Mendenhall, president of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) in a statement. “Although the program is now extended through Nov. 30, the NFIP is in desperate need of reforms that will make the program solvent and sustainable for the long term. The National Association of REALTORS® will continue fighting for these reforms.”

REALTORS® have been urging extension of the program for months. Nearly 125,000 REALTORS®—about 15 percent of the NAR membership—sent letters to their members of Congress in support of the extension.

For more detailed information about the NFIP, visit NAR’s webpage here.
President Trump Signs Flood Insurance Extension

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

Read the August BOMA E-News

August 2018 ENews
Click Here for pictures from the 2018 RHA Summer Golf Outing
2018 RHA Golf Outing Pictures
Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which was scheduled to expire on July 31, 2018. House lawmakers passed a four-month extension for NFIP in a bipartisan, 366-52 vote. Action now turns to the Senate and once the Senate votes, the bill goes to President Trump for his signature.

So far, about 105,000 REALTORS® have sent letters to their members of Congress urging action under NAR’s Call for Action. If you have not already done so, please participate in the Call for Action on the NFIP as your messages will go directly to Massachusetts Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren.

“Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States. Without an extension of authority, the National Flood Insurance Program cannot write or renew flood insurance in 22,000 communities nationwide," said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall in a statement. "The bill passed by the House today ensures the program remains available to those Americans who rely upon it, while enabling Congress to continue working toward a long-term reauthorization and reform measure. We urge the Senate to take swift action on this bill before the program expires on July 31.”

For more detailed information about the NFIP, visit NAR’s page here.
House Passes Flood Insurance Extension
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently published its 2018 REALTORS® Member Profile, a random study of NAR’s membership based on a variety of economic and demographic characteristics as well as business practices. 

Overall, the total number of REALTORS® rose from 1.22 million in March 2017 to 1.30 million in April 2018. The report showed that the overall median age of REALTORS® has risen from 53 to 54 this past year, however as recently as 2015, the median age of a REALTOR® was 57. This recent drop in age may be attributed both to members retiring and to new younger entrants to the business including that 33 percent of REALTORS® were over 60 years old and five percent were less than 30, slightly up from last year. 

Additionally, for the third year in a row, inventory has plagued members across the country as 35 percent of REALTORS® cited finding the right property as the biggest challenge facing potential buyers.
“A familiar story lingers from last year, as limited inventory continues to plague many housing markets across the country. For the fifth year in a row, the difficulty finding the right property has surpassed the difficulty in obtaining a mortgage as the most cited reason limiting potential homebuyers,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a news release about the report. 

NAR also created an infographic about the profile and the highlights of the report are available here. The full report can be purchased online as well.
NAR Report Details Growth in Membership
Last week, the National Association of REALTORS®(NAR) issued a scam alert regarding an email phishing attempt. Please see below for details regarding this scam and how you can protect yourself from scams like these.

If you receive an email appearing to be under the REALTOR® Party banner, it is not from NAR. The email is a solicitation to help "Jim" with a financial donation. This solicitation is not from the REALTOR® Party or the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR will never solicit donations for personal or individual charities. All donations go through the REALTORS® Relief Foundation. Please delete this email if you see it. Anyone who received the email or sent money to the link in the email should file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

The National Association of REALTORS® urges its members and state and local REALTOR® associations to be on high alert for email and online fraud.

For more information on cyberscams and cybersecurity best practices, visit these resources:
Data Privacy and Security
Risk Management
Internet Security Best Practices
REALTOR® Safety Articles
Combat Real Estate Cyberthreats
Wire Fraudsters Targeting Real Estate Transactions
Protecting Your Business and Your Clients from Cyberfraud
Scam Alert: Email Phishing Advisory from NAR
Sales of single-family homes and condominiums remained historically strong in June but were unable to keep pace with year ago levels due to stubbornly low inventory levels and steadily appreciating home values, according to data issued today by the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).

The single-family detached home market experienced a softening in sales in June as 1,822 homes were sold compared to 1,942 homes sold in June 2017, which was a record high for the month. Despite this 6.2 percent decline, this was the fifth highest sales volume on record for the month of June in Greater Boston and reflects a near 50 percent increase in home sales over the number of homes sold in May.  The condo market experienced a more modest decline in sales of 2.3 percent, as the 1,342 condos sold last month fell short of the June 2017 total of 1,374 units sold. This is the seventh highest sales total on record for the month of June and a healthy 20 percent improvement from the previous month.

“The fundamentals of a healthy housing market remain in place,” stated GBAR President Marie Presti, broker-owner of The Presti Group in Newton and Stoneham.  “We simply lack enough homes to sell to satisfy current buyer demand.  That’s led to some slowing in sales activity over the prior month, but it’s also helping to shorten market time and boost home values, making this an optimum time to sell for those considering doing so,” she observed.  

In June, median selling prices once again rose to new record-high monthly figures in both markets. Among detached single-family homes, the median sales price rose 7.1 percent to $652,500 this June, up from a median sales price of $692,250 in June 2017, marking the fifteenth consecutive month the median home selling price has climbed on a year-to-year basis.  Likewise, in the condo market, the median sales price increased to $575,000, which is a 10.6 increase from a median selling price of $520,000 in June 2017.  Last month’s gain represents the ninth consecutive month the median selling prices for condominiums has risen on an annual basis in Greater Boston.

Today’s home prices speak to the desirability to live and work in the metropolitan Boston area, Presti asserts.  “We are seeing little in the way of sticker shock.  Rather, buyers and investors alike remain bullish on Boston,” she said.  

One key factor fueling the appreciation in property values is the supply of homes for sale.  Even though new listings for detached single-family homes improved 5 percent from last June, active listings for single-family homes fell a modest 4.6 percent to 3,059 homes, down from the3,208 active listings in June 2017.  Meanwhile, active listings of condos rose on a year-over-year basis from 1,975 in June 2017 to 2,007 units for sale last month, which is an increase of 1.6 percent, but new listings for condominiums slid nearly 3 percent from the previous June.

As a result, homes are selling more quickly than at the same time last year. Single family homes are remaining on market for just 33 days, which is a 10.8 percent drop from last June’s figure of 37 days to off market. The condo market also experienced a drop, falling 9.4 percent from 32 days to off market in June 2017 to 29 days this year.

“Unfortunately, there is no quick fix that will solve the current shortage in homes for sale, and if it continues to persist it could begin to negatively impact our economy,” Presti cautioned.  “We call upon our state leaders and the Massachusetts Legislature to pass measures like H. 4290 that would simplify the process for communities to modify zoning regulations to allow for increased production of new housing, as well as approve other initiatives aimed at creating more housing units in the Commonwealth.  Without action, we risk losing residents to outmigration and becoming less attractive to businesses that want to relocate, build, and grow their operations here,” she added.  

For additional information regarding June 2018 Greater Boston Housing statistics, including our new interactive housing market data dashboard, visit the Monthly Housing Market Reports page
Greater Boston Housing Market Remains Hot in June
Earlier this month, three GBAR members were named as recipients of the Women of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) awards by Banker & Tradesman. This year, seventeen women we recognized for their careers achievements and commitment they have made to personal and professional growth in their chosen profession.

The latest edition of Banker and Tradesman features an article about each recipient, linked below:

Lisa Drapkin, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Cambridge
Linda O’Koniewski, RE/MAX Leading Edge in Lexington
Marie Presti, GBAR President, The Presti Group in Newton

Congratulations to all you on your well-deserved honor and achievement! 
GBAR Members Honored as Women of FIRE
There are several laws and regulations that require certain transaction documents to be retained for a specified amount of time. They are as follows:

Client Funds

State Regulation CMR 254 CMR 3.00 (10)(b) requires every broker to keep “a record of funds deposited in his/ her escrow accounts, which records shall clearly indicate the date and from whom the broker received the money, date deposited along with the source of the money and check number, date of withdrawal with the name of the person receiving such withdrawal, and other pertinent information concerning the transaction and shall clearly show for whose account the money is deposited and to whom the money belongs. Every broker shall also keep a copy of each check deposited into and withdrawn from the escrow account for a period of three years from the date of issuance.” 

Agency Disclosure

State Regulation CMR 254 CMR 3.00 requires brokers to retain the Massachusetts Mandatory Licensee-Consumer Relationship Disclosure, as well as Consent to Dual Agency Disclosures and Designated Agency Disclosures for a period of three years from the date of the notice.


State Regulation 254 CMR 7.00 (2) requires the following items to be retained for a period of 3 years: the Tenant Fee Disclosure, from the date on which the notice was provided; “all rental listings and written documents that demonstrate the availability of an apartment at the time it is advertised for rental” from the date on which the apartment was rented; and “a copy of any check, money order, and written cash receipt for any fees, deposits, or payments made by a prospective tenant or actual tenant” from the date of issuance.

Lead Paint

Federal Regulation 24 CFR § 35.175 requires brokers to retain the Lead Paint Form for three years. Additionally, HUD recommends that, “given the liability issues associated with lead-based paint,” the following forms should be kept indefinitely: Receipt of Lead Hazard Information Pamphlet; copies of the Lead Hazard Evaluation and Reduction Notices; Evaluation, Lead Hazard Reduction and Clearance Reports; and ongoing Maintenance Records.

Regardless of the specific retention requirements noted above, it is a good idea to keep all transaction documents for seven years. The statute of limitations for most contract actions is six years, so you want to make sure you retain documents along enough to be able to defend yourself, if necessary. Certain documents, such as corporate records, partnership agreements, audit reports, general ledgers, tax returns, and deeds should be kept permanently. It is a good idea to work with attorney and/or accountant to develop and maintain a record retention policy. In most cases, it is acceptable to store these documents electronically, as long as you are safely and securely backing up all of your data.

Additionally, please see this record retention schedule for a overview of how long you should keep different documents.
How Long Must My Office Retain Documents?

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

Click Here for the July RHA Insider
The RHA Insider- July

Thank You For Supporting: REFA 2018 Charitable Golf & Tennis Tournament

On Monday, July 23rd, REFA held its 15th Annual Charitable Golf and Tennis Tournament benefiting both FamilyAid Boston and Rosie's Place, two organizations whose missions are to help end homelessness in Greater Boston. Over 130 golfers and tennis players joined us at Dedham Country & Polo Club for a great day on the course (and courts!), followed by the awards and dinner ceremony. 

For photos from the day, please visit the event site

Thank You For Supporting: REFA 2018 Golf and Tennis Tournament

Reminder Regarding Elevator Inspection Certificates

The Office of Public Safety and Inspections reminds building owners that all elevators in the Commonwealth must have a current elevator certificate posted in a conspicuous place in or near the cab of the elevator.  According to the state many owners, or their elevator companies are not posting the most current certificate in their elevator.
After an elevator has passed an annual, new installation or modernization inspection the Office of Public Safety and Inspections issues an inspection certificate via email to the property owner, and to the owner's elevator company. The owner of the property in which the elevator is located is responsible for posting the current certificate at the completion of the inspection.
In order to ensure that certificates are e-mailed to owners, it is essential  the state has current owner information in our database.  The Office of Public Safety and Inspections encourage owners to make sure that e-mails are kept up to date in their database by submitting a Notice of Updated Owner Information any time e-mail or other owner information changes.   IPS Portal users have the ability to print Elevator Certificates through the IPS Customer Portal.
Please be advised that the Office of Public Safety and Inspections will be performing compliance visits to ensure that current elevator certificates are posted.

Reminder Regarding Elevator Certificates

Ten teams representing twelve commercial brokerage, architectural and construction firms recently competed in the Commercial Brokers Association’s 2018 Charity Softball Tournament at Moakley Park in South Boston, which raised $9,000 for Caritas Communities.

Horvath & Tremblay was the winning team, and Lee Kennedy Co. Inc. was the runner-up.  Also participating were CBRE|New England, Commodore Builders, Cube 3 Studios, Cushman & Wakefield, JLL, NELSON, Officeworks, Unispace, Vantage Builders and WB Engineers.

For more than 33 years, Caritas Communities has helped fill the need for safe, secure housing in Greater Boston by providing very low-income individuals with permanent housing, support, a sense of community and expanded opportunities.
Charity Softball

Upcoming Events

2018 CBA Charity Golf Tournament
Dedham Country & Polo Club