LandlordsNY Briefing for July 9th

On Thursday, Judge Eileen Rakower of the Supreme Court in Manhattan overturned regulations that Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo placed on the title insurance industry last spring. These regulations were created to prohibit title insurance firms from giving gifts to real estate brokers, banks, and other real estate professionals in exchange for business.

The New York State Land and Title Association, a prominent trade group who brought the case before the Supreme Court, argued that the regulation unjustly hurt insurers’ ability to market and promote themselves. The judge sided with them because, she claimed, the statutes, as written, exceeded the scope of the department’s authority.

The state has vowed to appeal the decision.

Crain’s New York has more.

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Rental-home investors are increasing the number of homes in their portfolio. Based on the belief that high mortgage rates and dwindling inventories will keep even well-heeled families from becoming homeowners, these companies increased the number of homes they purchased by more than 29,000 homes in 2017, which represents a 60 percent increase from the previous year. The surge in purchases has also been caused by a nationwide glut in multifamily units that have driven down apartment rental prices in many markets.

Much of the capital to keep the American middle class from homeownership has come from wealthy Chinese individuals, pension funds, and bond sales. The trend is likely to grow stronger, as investors' appetite for these single-family homes seems, at present, insatiable.

The Wall Street Journal has more.

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In a Landlords New York Minute – A (Very) Brief Look Around the World

Heavy rains and mudslides have killed as many as 100 people in Japan; the eighth person has been rescued from the cave in Thailand where a soccer team has been trapped for almost two weeks; Eritrea and Ethiopia have agreed to normalize ties after two decades of hostilities; Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte continued his feud with the Roman Catholic Church; the NATO summit later this month will be extremely tense because the Trump administration has intensified calls on our European allies to increase the amount they spend on defense; negotiations between the United States and North Korea over denuclearization have turned rocky; two members of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet, David Davis and Boris Johnson, have both resigned because they do not like the direction that Brexit negotiations are going; and China and Germany have met to see how they could mutually benefit despite being involved in a trade war with the U.S. The Wall Street Journal is surprised that U.S. exporters will be harmed by a trade war; shocked that companies are buying back stock shares instead of investing in capital improvements; and the only newspaper in America where wage gains are reported as bad news. The Republican staffers who wrote the tax plan passed in December have been leaving their posts in the Trump administration to offer their services to companies (for a fee) and tell them how to best exploit loopholes in the law; Trump administration officials at the World Health Assembly in Geneva have come out against breast-feeding and in favor of formula at the behest of infant formula manufacturers; and President Donald Trump will announce who will replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court later tonight. In local news, New York City may have too much parking, the New Jersey city of Camden is experiencing a development boom, a 539-foot development is coming to Koreatown, a soaring 802-unit apartment building in Long Island City just scored a $502 million construction loan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seriously considering building a hurricane barrier in New York Harbor, and people are “glamping” on Governor’s Island.

New Yorkers are only allowed to wash their sidewalks during the hours of 7 p.m. to 11 a.m. between the months of April and October, more Americans are drinking Corona or Modelo, juice isn’t healthy, Paraguay has eradicated malaria, Permethrin may prevent tick bites and curb the spread of Lyme disease, self-driving bicycles could be the vehicles of the future, many sociologists and economists are beginning to think that cities will become the source of most publicly-funded innovations, Bitcoin will usher in a series of cryptocurrency-run utopias or allow a bunch of scam artists to bilk gullible rich people out of their money, a Syrian man has been stuck in the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia for several months, and a 1-year-old Honduran boy showed up for his appearance in immigration court last week in Arizona. Finally, the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to anyone born in this country, was ratified 150 years ago today.

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