Trump Acts to Roll Back Regulations on Businesses

President Trump signs an executive action in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday in Washington, D.C., saying he will "dramatically" reduce small business regulations overall.
President Trump signs an executive action in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday in Washington, D.C., saying he will “dramatically” reduce small business regulations overall. (Andrew Harrer/Getty Images)

President Trump signed another executive order Monday morning, fulfilling another campaign pledge, this one to eliminate two federal regulations for every new regulation enacted.

Trump signed the order during an Oval Office photo op, saying, “We’re cutting regulations massively for small business and large business,” adding, “This will be the biggest such act our country has ever seen.”

The order stipulates:

“Unless prohibited by law, whenever an executive department or agency (agency) publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed.”

Trump said earlier Monday that he wants to eliminate “a little more than 75 percent” of the regulations now on the books. “We don’t need 97 different rules to take care of one element,” he said.

The directive exempts regulations relating to the military, national security and foreign affairs.

Business groups applauded Trump’s order. The National Federation of Independent Business calls it “a good first step on the long road toward eliminating ball-and-chain regulations.”

Environmental groups, however, were dismayed. Center for Biological Diversity director Kieran Suckling called the new policy “as dumb as it gets.” In a statement, Suckling said, “So you’ll protect my drinking water but only in exchange for allowing oil drilling in national parks and more lead in my paint?”

Rolling back regulations has long been a goal of Republican and Democratic administrations, but it’s not easy, as we’ve reported.

There are some 80,000 pages in the Federal Register, where all federal rules are published. But in order to repeal a regulation, a federal agency has to go through the same notice and comment rule-making process used to formulate new regulations. And that generally takes at least a year.

There is a workaround for newly enacted regulations, the Congressional Review Act. It gives lawmakers the opportunity to repeal regulations approved in the last 60 days of the congressional session. But that, too, is a time-consuming process. And given the Senate’s need to act on Trump’s nominations, it’s likely that only a relatively few regulations will be repealed in this manner.

One is likely to come up this week. House leaders say they will attempt to repeal the stream protection rule, an Obama administration regulation that forbids coal companies from dumping rocks and other debris created by mountaintop removal mining into nearby streams.

Republicans and the coal industry say the regulation threatens jobs. The Natural Resources Defense Council says mountaintop removal mining, in which ground is blasted to access coal seams below, has been responsible for the destruction of 2,000 miles of streams in Appalachia.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Making Your HOA Community More Pet Friendly


In a previous article, we discussed the appeal of community amenities to California homebuyers. In this article, we look at amenities targeted specifically to pet owners.

You may have noticed that many homeowners associations are adding amenities aimed at making their communities more pet friendly. These can range from simply having water bowls and dog treats available in the main office to providing on-site pet grooming services.

Why have pet amenities become so popular? Quite simply, the number of households with pets continues to grow. And since most pet owners consider their animal companions to be part of the family, they want them to enjoy where they live.

According to the latest statistics, nearly 53 percent of California households have a pet (American Veterinary Medical Association). Forty percent of those have at least one dog (seeCalifornia.com). In addition, 16 California cities—including San Francisco and Los Angeles—were named among the top 100 pet-friendly cities on WalletHub’s 2016 list.

But before spending money on pet amenities for your residents and to attract potential buyers, do a little research:

  • Find out how many current residents actually have pets.
  • Evaluate your space to determine if you are set up for the amenities you have in mind.
  • Survey your homeowners to see if they are willing to appropriate space and money for pet amenities.

Depending on what you discover, you may want to consider some of the following suggestions for making your community more pet friendly.

1. Provide ways for pet owners to socialize. This can be as simple as putting up a bulletin board where pet owners can find each other or sharing referrals to pet services. With just a little extra planning, your community can go a step farther by sponsoring activities such as social hours, pet parades or dog-friendly hikes. Invite all residents to attend so everyone can meet and enjoy the community’s four-legged residents.

2. Offer specialized pet services. Depending on how your community is set up, you might want to consider leasing on-site space to a veterinarian or groomer. Alternatively, you could provide pet owners with a directory of local pet services.

3. Install pet waste stations. Putting stations along routes and open spaces where residents typically walk their dogs makes it easier for them to dispose of waste. Not only is this a convenience for pet owners, but it also keeps the community cleaner. Waste stations should have both plastic bag dispensers and covered receptacles to minimize odor, and they should not be located directly in front of anyone’s home. Be sure to have a plan for regularly replenishing bags and emptying waste.

4. Build a dog park. Dogs (and their owners!) love to socialize, and dog parks provide a safe way to do just that. Plus, well-exercised pets tend to be calmer, making them more enjoyable for everyone in the neighborhood.

Choose a location far enough from homes so barking won’t disturb residents. The space should be large enough for the dogs to run, but it doesn’t need to be perfectly flat. If possible, have separate enclosures for small and large dogs. Make fencing at least five feet high, and include a double gate. For the surface, use decomposed granite rather than grass. Grass is easily damaged from use—not to mention urine—and it requires regular maintenance. Add benches and shading where pet owners can relax while their dogs play. A nice addition is a high/low water fountain so that both people and dogs can get a drink.

5. Create a dog run. Not enough room for a dog park? A dog run may be just the answer. Dog runs can be a smaller version of a dog park, or they can be built into an existing structure. A large terrace or even the roof of a building can provide the ideal location. If the dog run will be part of a structure, plan to include a built-in rinsing and drainage system to keep the surface clean.

Your HOA must be realistic about what your community can accommodate and what it can afford. Before building anything, check local ordinances, speak to your insurance agent and get bids from reputable companies. Most importantly, don’t just think about what the pet owners in your community want; be sure to consider the needs of your pet-free residents, too. Managed correctly, amenities that enhance pet-friendly living can actually benefit your entire community.

Want to find out more about how you can enhance your residents’ quality of life? An experienced community management company can help. Contact FirstService Residential, California’s leading provider of HOA management services, or fill out the form below.

Making Your HOA Community More Pet Friendly


In a previous article, we discussed the appeal of community amenities to California homebuyers. In this article, we look at amenities targeted specifically to pet owners.

You may have noticed that many homeowners associations are adding amenities aimed at making their communities more pet friendly. These can range from simply having water bowls and dog treats available in the main office to providing on-site pet grooming services.

Why have pet amenities become so popular? Quite simply, the number of households with pets continues to grow. And since most pet owners consider their animal companions to be part of the family, they want them to enjoy where they live.

According to the latest statistics, nearly 53 percent of California households have a pet (American Veterinary Medical Association). Forty percent of those have at least one dog (seeCalifornia.com). In addition, 16 California cities—including San Francisco and Los Angeles—were named among the top 100 pet-friendly cities on WalletHub’s 2016 list.

But before spending money on pet amenities for your residents and to attract potential buyers, do a little research:

  • Find out how many current residents actually have pets.
  • Evaluate your space to determine if you are set up for the amenities you have in mind.
  • Survey your homeowners to see if they are willing to appropriate space and money for pet amenities.

Depending on what you discover, you may want to consider some of the following suggestions for making your community more pet friendly.

1. Provide ways for pet owners to socialize. This can be as simple as putting up a bulletin board where pet owners can find each other or sharing referrals to pet services. With just a little extra planning, your community can go a step farther by sponsoring activities such as social hours, pet parades or dog-friendly hikes. Invite all residents to attend so everyone can meet and enjoy the community’s four-legged residents.

2. Offer specialized pet services. Depending on how your community is set up, you might want to consider leasing on-site space to a veterinarian or groomer. Alternatively, you could provide pet owners with a directory of local pet services.

3. Install pet waste stations. Putting stations along routes and open spaces where residents typically walk their dogs makes it easier for them to dispose of waste. Not only is this a convenience for pet owners, but it also keeps the community cleaner. Waste stations should have both plastic bag dispensers and covered receptacles to minimize odor, and they should not be located directly in front of anyone’s home. Be sure to have a plan for regularly replenishing bags and emptying waste.

4. Build a dog park. Dogs (and their owners!) love to socialize, and dog parks provide a safe way to do just that. Plus, well-exercised pets tend to be calmer, making them more enjoyable for everyone in the neighborhood.

Choose a location far enough from homes so barking won’t disturb residents. The space should be large enough for the dogs to run, but it doesn’t need to be perfectly flat. If possible, have separate enclosures for small and large dogs. Make fencing at least five feet high, and include a double gate. For the surface, use decomposed granite rather than grass. Grass is easily damaged from use—not to mention urine—and it requires regular maintenance. Add benches and shading where pet owners can relax while their dogs play. A nice addition is a high/low water fountain so that both people and dogs can get a drink.

5. Create a dog run. Not enough room for a dog park? A dog run may be just the answer. Dog runs can be a smaller version of a dog park, or they can be built into an existing structure. A large terrace or even the roof of a building can provide the ideal location. If the dog run will be part of a structure, plan to include a built-in rinsing and drainage system to keep the surface clean.

Your HOA must be realistic about what your community can accommodate and what it can afford. Before building anything, check local ordinances, speak to your insurance agent and get bids from reputable companies. Most importantly, don’t just think about what the pet owners in your community want; be sure to consider the needs of your pet-free residents, too. Managed correctly, amenities that enhance pet-friendly living can actually benefit your entire community.

Want to find out more about how you can enhance your residents’ quality of life? An experienced community management company can help. Contact FirstService Residential, California’s leading provider of HOA management services, or fill out the form below.

6 Common HOA Nuisances and How to Handle Them

What’s A Nuisance?

Nuisance complaints are a major cause of legal action in HOAs, both by and against homeowners. For those who might be unfamiliar with the legal definition of “nuisance”, a nuisance typically consists of one or more of the following issues:

  1. an activity that unreasonably interferes with the use or quiet enjoyment of another resident of their separate interest or exclusive use common area;
  2. a use that creates conditions that are hazardous, noxious or offensive; or
  3. a violation of a local, state or federal law.

Common nuisances at homeowners associations include odors (e.g. cigarette smoke, garbage, pets and food), noise (e.g. loud conversations, yelling, musical instruments, home theatres and hard surface flooring), visual issues (e.g. clutter on balconies and patios) and health and safety issues (e.g. outdoor fires, pests/rodents, hoarding and smoking).

Almost all California community association CC&Rs contain a “nuisance” section addressing the definition of nuisances and their prohibition. This is a catch-all provision that can address issues that are not expressly addressed in the association’s Governing Documents. Nuisance violations should be addressed by an association’s board of directors in the same manner as other types of governing document violations. The question that a board will need to grapple with is the level of association involvement. Even if the alleged nuisance is only impacting one other owner, California law seems to require that the association attempt enforcement.

In this article, we address six common nuisances:

  • Smoking on Balconies and Patios
  • Home Businesses
  • Noise From Units Above
  • Children’s Behavior
  • Renter’s Bad Behavior
  • Dogs/Pets

We offer a few methods an association’s board of directors can use to address and resolve those nuisances.

It is important to note that if an association does not act promptly and decisively in enforcing nuisance covenants and rules, then the association may be barred from enforcing those governing document provisions against an offending owner (and possibly other owners). So, an association’s board of directors should systematically and uniformly review nuisance complaints and, if appropriate, enforce the nuisance provisions contained in the association’s governing documents.

Smoking On Balconies and Patios

Over the last several years, we have seen secondhand smoke complaints become more and more common. As more people stop smoking (and they are), more and more people are vocally complaining about smoke that is wafting into their homes.

If a balcony or patio (or terrace or deck) appurtenant to a residence is exclusive use common area, then an association’s board can likely adopt an operating rule banning smoking in the common area, which will apply to those appurtenant areas. And the association members can vote to approve a CC&R amendment banning smoking in common areas at the development, which would include exclusive use common area balconies and patios. The owners can also vote to amend the CC&Rs to prohibit smoking in yards, homes or units. Keep in mind that if the board will be taking action to enforce an operating rule, it is important to make certain the board’s actions do not exceed the authority given in the CC&Rs. There are limits to how far rules can go.

If an owner violates the smoking restriction, then the board should call the owner to a properly noticed hearing before the board with an opportunity to be heard, and it can then impose discipline (e.g. possible suspension of membership rights and the imposition of fines, depending on the language of the CC&Rs) as permitted under the association’s governing documents. If an owner continually fails to comply with the association’s smoking restrictions, the board will need to meet with the owner in internal dispute resolution (IDR – often referred to as a “meet and confer”) and/or alternative dispute resolution (ADR – such as mediation or arbitration). If this is a neighbor-toneighbor dispute in which the association has become involved, the association would serve on the complaining and smoking owners a Request for Resolution, pursuant to Section 5900 of the Civil Code.

If the nuisance issue is not resolved after these enforcement actions are taken, the board will need to decide if the nature of the dispute, its impact on the community and the cost in terms of money and time warrant the association filing an enforcement action/lawsuit against the owner. The relief sought from the court in that action would be the issuance of an injunction against the owner to bar them from smoking on their balcony/patio.

If the balcony or patio is an element of the unit/lot (rather than exclusive use common area) and only one neighbor/ owner is complaining about smoking in that area, then the complaint should generally be dealt with as a neighbor-toneighbor dispute (more on neighbor-toneighbor disputes below). However, if multiple owners are complaining about smoking on the balcony or patio or yard, this is not a neighbor-to-neighbor issue or dispute.

Some cities have adopted ordinances that prohibit smoking on balconies and patios in multi-dwelling unit residential buildings (whether the balconies and patios are exclusive use common area or an element of a unit). For example, the City of Santa Monica adopted an ordinance in 2010 that prohibits smoking within 15 feet of any window or door of an apartment or condominium unit; this ordinance effectively prohibits smoking on balconies and patios at any condominium project in Santa Monica. Some cities, like Pasadena, have even adopted ordinances prohibiting smoking within residences in multi-dwelling buildings, which would include owners’ units in an association’s development. Should an owner fail to comply with such a city ordinance, that failure to abide by the law would likely be considered a nuisance violation under the association’s CC&Rs, and the board could pursue IDR and/or ADR and, if unresolved, a court action related to that violation.

With respect to smoking within an owner’s separate interest (home or unit), if smoking within a unit/lot causes a nuisance to another owner, the offending/ smoking owner can be required to take steps to minimize the impact of his/ her smoke on other units to avoid the creation of a smoke nuisance (e.g. use air circulators/fans/cleaners, not smoke near open windows, seal air ducts). However, in many instances, as stated above, smoking complaints between units are considered a neighbor-to-neighbor dispute that may not affect the community as a whole. The above said, boards and managers should keep in mind that the smoking conduct needs to be evaluated with respect to the impact it would have on a person of ordinary and reasonable sensibilities, not a hypersensitive person.

Home Businesses

Many people have started businesses from their homes, or have been asked by their employers to work from home in order to save the employer overhead costs. If there is a blanket ban on commercial activities in an association’s governing documents, then technically it is possible that no home office is permitted. Reasonably speaking, however, a teacher grading papers, a lawyer reviewing documents, an accountant preparing tax returns, etc., would not be a commercial activity. The issue is whether the use of a home for commercial purposes will impact the residential character of the community. If home offices are permitted, the following should be prohibited to protect the common area and avoid the creation of a nuisance:

“no items should be manufactured, stored or sold from or in the unit/ lot in a manner that is visible from the common area; no employees should work in the unit/lot; and no clients, customers, messengers, delivery personnel or other individuals should regularly visit the unit/lot or cause a nuisance at the development.” 

These are the types of activities that can impact the residential character of the property.

We have been called upon to address home offices where there are multiple employees, refrigerator repair with people coming into the association to drop off refrigerators, car repair, piano lessons, tutoring of groups of kids, hair cutting, and the list goes on. If an owner violates an association’s restrictions on commercial use of their unit or home, the association can levy fines, engage in IDR, ADR or an enforcement action against the owner. Generally speaking, a court would be more likely to enforce an association’s commercial use restrictions if there is actual commercial activity, such as employees, customers or clients visiting the owner’s residence, deliveries being made to the owner’s residence and/or an impact on the residential character of the community.

Noise From Units Above

In buildings with stacked units, there are often issues related to impact noise complaints involving activities in upstairs units. The most common of these complaints relates to hard surface flooring, in that the presence of hard surface flooring (such as wood, tile or stone) amplifies noises related to walking, moving furniture, exercise regimens and play activities. Many associations’ CC&Rs or other Governing Documents, especially those that are older, do not prohibit hard surface flooring, but most cities have ordinances that require a low threshold for required sound attenuating materials (e.g. floor surface padding, underlayment).

In the event a nuisance violation exists with respect to hard surface flooring installed that purportedly does not comply with an association’s governing documents, it is a good idea for someone from the board to go and visit the complaining owner’s unit to determine if there is really a nuisance issue. An association’s enforcement options are generally limited to two actions: (1) the filing of a lawsuit seeking removal of the noncompliant flooring and the installation of compliant flooring materials; and (2) requiring proper sound attenuating materials under the floor covering, the placement of area rugs with appropriate sound attenuation materials and thickness padding in high traffic areas and the placement of felt cushions under furniture legs to help reduce noise. If an upstairs flooring violation/noise nuisance is alleged, testing can be done to determine the decibel level of flooring noise, and this testing should be paid for and conducted by the complaining owner and submitted with their complaint/ violation notice to the association.

As for complaints about loud noises unrelated to the type of flooring in a unit above, such as noise nuisances related to music, televisions and home theaters, parties, bedroom activities and vibrational energy (from speakers and other noise devices), those complaints need to be investigated and/or evaluated on a reasonable basis by the board. Following are three considerations the board should keep in mind:

  • if there is only one owner making the noise complaint, then this matter could be a neighbor-to-neighbor dispute;
  • nuisance issues need to be addressed with deference to the sensibilities of an average person, not a hypersensitive person; and
  • noise nuisance complaints are always fact specific, and may need to be dealt with differently depending on whether the noise issue is ongoing or was a one-time event.

With respect to these types of nuisances, which tend to be more technical to deal with than other types of nuisances, it is advisable for a board to contact association legal counsel to formulate a plan to address the dispute and confirm the association’s responsibility (if any) to resolve the dispute.

Children’s Behavior

We are often contacted by managers or board members regarding nuisance complaints related to children. Typically, we hear that owners are complaining about kids playing in the common area, claiming that there is too much noise. State and federal fair housing laws do not allow an association to discriminate on the basis of a resident’s or guest’s age, and an association should not adopt or enforce any governing document provision that treats children differently or refers to them separately. For example, a rule that limits children’s activities in the common area is going to be found to be discriminatory. Even a rule that limits recreational activity in the common area may be found to be discriminatory. In fact, several associations have been fined by Fair Housing authorities for these types of rules. And a pool rule regarding incontinency should require that all persons using the pool who are incontinent must wear swimwear specifically designed for incontinent persons while in the pool, rather than the rule providing that children should wear swim diapers while in the pool (or, worse yet, only allow potty-trained children in the pool).

An owner’s family members, cohabitants, guests, tenants and invitees are all required to comply with the association’s governing documents, no matter their age. So, if an owner’s child, or a guest’s child, violates the association’s governing documents by, for example, yelling, running or skateboarding in the common area, the board needs to address that violation in the same manner as if an adult committed the violation. Most nuisance issues involving children relate to noise nuisances, which are discussed above. When addressing these complaints, always refer to children as persons (which they are) to avoid the slippery slope of fair housing violation complaints.

Renters’ Bad Behavior

An owner is ultimately responsible for the actions of their tenants (as well as the owners’ family members, cohabitants, guests and invitees), so the owner is the person who would be subject to a hearing and discipline for their tenants’ violations. Many associations’ CC&Rs require an owner to provide the CC&Rs and other governing documents to a tenant before the tenant moves into the owner’s property, and some CC&Rs require owners to include a reference to the CC&Rs and other governing documents in the tenant’s lease with a statement that a violation of the association’s governing documents is grounds for immediate termination of the lease. These types of provisions are important to help ensure that tenants are familiar with the association’s covenants, restrictions, rules and regulations and comply with same.

If a tenant violates the governing documents, the owner should be advised of the violation and called to a hearing, as appropriate (the association has no authority or right to discipline a tenant, as the tenant is not a member/owner). The board can discipline the owner for his/her tenant’s violations, and require the owner to ensure that the tenant commits no further violations; as necessary, the association can pursue legal action to obtain a court order to enjoin the owner and the owner’s tenant from committing ongoing violations. If the association’s CC&Rs include a provision that allows the association to seek removal/eviction of the tenant in the owner’s name for governing document violations, that may be a viable option for the board; the cost of that legal action would likely be chargeable to the owner as a cost of the enforcement action. Further, a useful enforcement tool (which can be imposed after a properly noticed hearing with an opportunity to be heard before the board, and subject to governing document authority) is to suspend the owner’s and the tenant’s right to use the association’s common area amenities as the result of a governing document violation by the tenant.

Dogs/Pets

Pet nuisances are a regular issue at many associations, particularly with respect to dogs. Loud and/or continuous barking (and other animal noises), soiling in the common area, damage to common area property and unleashed/uncontrolled animals in the common area are all examples of common pet violations. Owners are required to ensure that their pets are in compliance with governing document provisions related to animals, and owners can be disciplined (after notice and hearing) for pet violations. In certain cases, an association can force the removal of a pet that becomes a nuisance, and the association in such a case can seek reimbursement of its attorneys’ fees when prevailing in that enforcement action. It is important to note that while the association may have to make a reasonable accommodation under state and federal fair housing laws to allow an owner to keep a service or companion animal in their unit/lot that may violate type, size, weight or breed restrictions contained in the association’s governing documents, that service or companion animal is not permitted to create or cause a nuisance at the association’s development.

Neighbor-to-Neighbor Disputes

There are some cases where a complaint raised by an owner or owners is in actuality a neighbor-to-neighbor dispute that does not involve the community interest, meaning that only one unit is being affected by the alleged nuisance and no other residents have complained of the alleged nuisance (typically a noise or odor issue). In that case, the board may determine that the association has no obligation to address or resolve the issue. A board should always check with association legal counsel if it is considering making this determination to ensure it is in a defensible position to make that determination.

Even if a board determines that the association does not have a duty to resolve a nuisance issue between owners, it is possible (or perhaps likely) that the association will be dragged into a lawsuit involving the matter. A board might consider engaging in a three-way mediation with the two owners and the association, with the board or the association’s legal counsel acting as facilitator, to try and help resolve the issue and avoid the association being named, and having to defend itself, in a lengthy and expensive enforcement action/lawsuit. If this informal mediation is unsuccessful, it may be necessary for the board to pursue a formal mediation between the two owners and the association, with the cost of the mediation split evenly three ways between the two owners and the association. A board should confer with association legal counsel before undertaking such mediation to ensure that it is following proper protocols and adequately protecting the association.

Enforcement and Resolution Considerations

Nuisances can be dealt with in the same manner as other governing document violations. If permitted by the governing documents, fines and suspension of membership rights (voting and use of common area recreational facilities) can be imposed after a properly noticed hearing with an opportunity to be heard by the board. If an association does not have a formal violation and/or hearing policy, the association’s board should adopt one to ensure compliance with Civil Code Section 5850.

When determining how to resolve a nuisance violation, an association’s board of directors needs to consider the level of board intervention required, whether the board should engage in IDR or ADR with the owners and whether legal action seeking injunctive relief is required. A board that does not act timely and decisively to enforce nuisance restrictions can expose the association to court-imposed penalties (and the board could be subject to a breach of fiduciary duty claim). And, boards should not be vague, arbitrary or unreasonable in their enforcement of nuisance provisions – nuisance provisions in governing documents can backfire.

To ensure that a board’s actions with respect to nuisance issues are defensible, and that the association is properly addressing the situation and protected, an association’s board should always confer with association legal counsel when dealing with nuisance issues that may involve: possible legal action against an owner, resident or the association; statutory protections; complicated facts; and/or fair housing laws.

PG&E Gets $3M Fine for San Bruno Blast, Must Advertise Its Conviction on TV

A San Francisco federal judge on Thursday imposed the maximum sentence he was able to under the law against PG&E for violating pipeline safety laws before and after the deadly San Bruno gas pipeline explosion in September 2010.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson imposed a fine of $3 million against the utility, a tiny fraction of the $562 million that federal prosecutors originally sought.

A jury last year found PG&E guilty of five counts of violating pipeline safety rules and one count of obstructing a federal investigation of the disaster that killed eight people, injured dozens more and destroyed 38 homes.

Henderson also ordered PG&E to air advertisements explaining its pipeline safety violations. The ads will have to run on the same television networks that the company used during its trial, as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle and Wall Street Journal.

PG&E will have to air 12,500 of the commercials over a three-month period, up to a cost of $3 million.

Henderson also sentenced PG&E to five years of probation, and to submit to a court-appointed monitor to ensure that the utility complies with Pipeline Safety Act regulations.

PG&E will also be required to perform 10,000 hours of community service, with at least 2,000 of those hours being performed by high-level personnel.

Henderson strongly recommend that service be geared toward giving back to communities affected by PG&E’s negligence, and to San Bruno in particular.

Earlier, the company protested the prosecutor’s request to restructure PG&E’s bonus compensation program to prioritize safety. Attorneys for the utility argued that PG&E emphasizes safety, and that public and employee safety measures are supposed to make up 50 percent of bonus criteria. They also argued that the proposal could encourage employees to underreport safety incidents.

Henderson declined to support the bonus restructuring on Thursday.

Two years ago, the California Public Utilities Commission fined PG&E $1.6 billion for its role in the fatal blast. That money mostly went into safety improvements and into the state’s general fund. PG&E has already settled claims amounting to nearly $500 million with San Bruno victims and families.

Prepared Property Managers Can Handle What Comes Down the Pipeline

by   –

In case you haven’t read the following quote in awhile, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Benjamin Franklin gets the credit for this piece of powerful wisdom.

Whether it’s taking on a new partner, new employees, more risk, less risk or using intuition to keep up with the latest trends in our industry, we can’t be too prepared.

Tip #1 is to be “written ready.”

What that means is to write yourself a list of possibilities for the immediate future. It’s not like predicting the future. It’s about anticipating what you’ll need and what may change in your area.
Start a written list today of what you’re hearing, seeing, feeling and knowing regarding the rental housing market, the property management business. Write it on the list even if it’s unlikely or absurd.

Why would you want to be “written ready”? It’s because you want your unconscious to be able to expect the unexpected, or at least be processing all the possibilities. Psychologists and neurologists know that the operating system of our human awareness is mostly subliminal and below the surface of our waking thoughts. What they’ve also recognized is that we can “program” the subconscious to create possible scenarios and relevant responses. Yes, it’s amazing!

Tip #2 is to know the trends that are already in full momentum. You can do this by reading articles like this one and subscribing to trade journals and the publications of our industry’s associations.

If you haven’t joined your local and national associations, don’t hesitate to do so soon. A good example is The National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM®), which I recently wrote about.

One trend that’s getting lots of publicity now is an increase in inner-city evictions. Researchers found that one of the major reasons is that institutional investors now own more rentals than ever.
These large, corporate investors evicted at higher rates even after accounting for the demographics of the community where the rental units were located. They know the eviction laws and have investors or shareholders to answer to.

The National Rental Home Council reports that institutional investors have purchased large blocks of homes and used them for rentals. This is one of the reasons that in many areas of the country there is a limited supply of lower-priced houses for sale. The corporate or syndicate investors also purchased rental units from other landlords and inherited residents who sometimes can’t afford to pay rent. Anecdotally, they also tend to evict more quickly.

Government researchers don’t say why many institutional investors evict at higher rates. Some say it’s because their size enables them to negotiate less expensive legal rates and replace renters more quickly than smaller, local property managers. Be aware of that possibility going forward.

Local landlords and managers tend to treat responsible residents more patiently. They’re more likely to work with someone who has lost a job or can’t pay for the short term. Emphasize this in your marketing. Prepare for the advantages and disadvantages of what may impact your corner of the property management world. Remember “Brexit” and the 2016 presidential elections as poignant examples of unexpected outcomes.

Every time you hear a rumor, opinion or statistic that’s relevant to your work, add it to your list. Have a fist full of preventive “ounces” so you won’t need a “pound of cure.”

Know The Difference Between Made in USA and Assembled in USA?

Know The Difference Between Made in USA and Assembled in USA?

Made in USA. Three little words, with a not so little impact! These days, some companies will do anything to hide where their products are actually manufactured.  And they are getting clever. Companies will label their products as “Distributed By ABC Corp” and list a US address.  Others will label their products as “Produced By ABC Corp” and list a US address, seeking to obscure the origin of its products.  Some will only show the company name and address on the packages!

american made products, Know The Difference Between Made in USA and Assembled in USA?

Made in USA

Product is assembled in the U.S. Most parts or materials are Made in USA. For a product to be called Made in USA, it must be “all or virtually all” made in the United States,This includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories”All or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing must be of U.S. origin. The product should contain no — or negligible — foreign content.

Made in USA with Foreign & Domestic Components

Some materials or parts are Made in USA

Assembled in USA 

Imported parts put together in the USA

Packaging displays U.S.A. Flag, U.S.A. Map, the words “U.S.A.” or “American” are part of the brand name

This is an implied statement of American origin. Look for fine print to see where the product was actually made. Without such a statement it is questionable at best.

Distributed for, Manufactured for, or a Product of (COMPANY NAME)

Since this has no statement of American origin, actual or implied, it cannot be considered to be USA made.

It’s too easy to add Made in USA stickers to a Foreign made product to make them appear to be USA made. Not to mention that falsely labeling a product as USA made is against the law.

What is a qualified Made in USA claim?

A qualified claim describes the extent, amount or type of a product’s domestic content or processing; it indicates that the product isn’t entirely of domestic origin.

EXAMPLE: 
  • “60% U.S. content”
  • “Made in USA of U.S. and imported parts”
  • “Couch assembled in USA from Italian Leather and Mexican Frame”

Made in USA Certified, Made in USA Label, American Made Matters, Made in America Certified, Made in America, American Made CertifiedOf course, the best way to know is if the product is Made in USA Certified. CERTIFIED Inc. is the United States’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and independent 3rd party Certification Source for “Made in USA, Product of USA – Country of Origin Claims”. The CERTIFIED Technology team are experienced professionals with extensive, pioneering backgrounds in systems integration, software development, encryption, load balancing, electronic signatures, and data collections and national analysis… all on a worldwide scale who have developed a proprietary system of certification authentication, big data recovery and analysis.

WHY MADE IN USA MATTERS

Your customers will ask for USA-Made products because they know American manufacturing is a big deal – it supports over 17 million jobs across the country and contributes over 12% to U.S. GDP. Buying products with the Made in USA label keeps those jobs going, and keeps our economy thriving. And, when you buy a product made in the USA, you can be sure you’re getting American quality and not a cheap, foreign knock-off. So be ready to show customers your Made in USA products. Learn more about Made in USA Certification. OR Request a FREE Quote!

Have you come across some creative, yet deceitful labeling?  Let us know in the comments below.  If you have pictures, email them to us!

Source – US Federal Trade Commission