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Landlords sued and fined for housing discrimination

A New York landlord must pay a $15,000 settlement after refusing to let a mentally ill tenant keep her emotional support dog in her apartment, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced. This is an important issue for all landlords and homeowners across the country to keep on their radar. HUD regularly takes enforcement actions in situations involving discrimination against tenants. For example, earlier last year, the agency filed charges of housing discrimination

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Rise in home prices slowing down

The most recent data on home prices in 20 U.S. cities showed the slowest rise in four years, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of property values. The data for the 20 cities covers eight months in row as of November 2018. The index increased 4.7 percent year over year. In the prior month, the rise in prices over the prior 12-month period was 5 percent. Despite the slowdown in the rise, all 20 cities

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When your neighbor’s vacation rental becomes a problem

Your neighbors are using their home as a vacation rental. That means you “enjoy” a steady stream of rotating people moving in and out next door. These short-term guests like to stay up late, party in the backyard, and play loud music. What can you do? Talk it over As with any dispute, begin by having a conversation with the property owner. They may not be aware their guests are regularly being disruptive. Offer to help monitor guest

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Where one-third of millennials get the money for a down payment

It’s no secret that the housing market is competitive, especially in big metropolitan areas. Winning a bidding war for the home you want can mean making a bid above the asking price, too. Where do young, millennial homeowners find the money for a down payment? According to a recent Bank of the West survey of more than 600 adults ages 21-34, one-third of homeowners either withdrew from or took a loan against their retirement savings. The

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Bias continues even with online mortgage lenders

It would seem that online mortgage lending would reduce discrimination against minorities, but a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, found otherwise. The study showed that both in-person and online lenders charge black and Latino buyers higher interest rates. People of color and other minorities end up with up to half a billion dollars more in interest than white homebuyers, the study found.

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Avoid problems with your mortgage application: Tips for applicants

There are all sorts of stories out there about predatory lenders being sued for fraud against homebuyers. On the other side of the coin, however, a study by CoreLogic found that fraud by mortgage applicants is also rising. According to the study, approximately 0.92 percent of all mortgage applications during the second quarter of 2018 included fraudulent elements, more than in the second quarter of 2017, when an estimated 0.82 percent of applications did. Even a

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Charitable giving under the new tax law

The new tax law makes it harder to claim a tax deduction for charitable contributions. Charitable giving should not be only about getting a tax break, but if you want to reap a tax benefit from your contributions, there are a couple of options. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, enacted in December 2017, nearly doubled the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples. This means that if your charitable contributions along with

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Prenups as an estate planning tool

As more and more people marry more than once, prenuptial agreements have become an important estate planning tool. Without a prenuptial agreement, your new spouse may be able to invalidate your existing estate plan. Such agreements are especially helpful if you have children from a previous marriage or important heirlooms that you want to keep on your side of the family. A prenuptial agreement can be used in a second marriage when both parties have children.

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Prevent mistaken Medicare denials

Have you or a loved one been denied Medicare-covered services because you’re “not improving”? Many health care providers are still unaware that Medicare is required to cover skilled nursing and home care even if a patient is not showing improvement. If you are denied coverage based on this outdated standard, you have the right to appeal. For decades, Medicare applied the so-called “improvement” standard to determine whether residents were entitled to coverage of particular care. The

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Use a lawyer for Medicaid planning

Many seniors and their families don’t use a lawyer to plan for long-term care or Medicaid, often because they’re afraid of the cost. However, an attorney can help you save money in the long run and make sure you’re getting the best care for your loved one. Instead of proceeding based on what you’ve heard from others, doing nothing, or enlisting a non-lawyer referred by a nursing home, you can hire an elder law attorney. Here

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