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Yelp review from a Landlord

I own a condo in L.A. (Westwood area) and I’ve been working with Anton from Blackstone for the last 3 or 4 years and so far, I’m very happy with how well it’s worked out. Anton is very responsive to me as well as the tenant.

Blackstone’s office staff are friendly, and the management cost is very reasonable.

Anton has twice found fantastic and reliable tenants, and was able able to find them quickly in a tough market. He is professional and makes good recommendations as needed. I live out of town and he saved me a lot of worry and headache.

I would recommend Anton and Blackstone to other property owners looking for someone reliable and who makes your life easier by not having to worry about your property.

Yelp review from a previous Blackstone tenant:

Upon the start, to the finish of my tenancy, my girlfriend and I received fabulous management to all degrees. Whether it was small or large, any problem would be attended to promptly, and accurately.

I must say, I have lived in numerous cities and many rentals, none comparing to the attentiveness I received. People have mentioned communication problems in previous posts, but I received the complete opposite. Anton was great. Blackstone is great. And I highly recommend them as a management company.

Good luck!

Smoke Alarm Safety in your Home


A survey conducted by ORC International on behalf of Kidde Fire Safety reports that almost five times as many Americans know the shelf life of a Twinkie over the recommended operating life of a smoke alarm.

Gooey Carbs 1, Fire Safety 0.

Not surprising when you think about it. Chalk another one up to Americans’ love affair with sweet snacks. Usually, fire detectors only get our attention after chirping repeatedly, as a result of low battery power. In our household, that sends our dog in orbit, which is incentive enough for us to keep both our alarms supplied with fresh batteries.

Smoke alarms simply aren’t that glamorous in the grand scheme of things. We tend to forget about the safety value they offer (and we definitely think more about our waistlines). Properly working smoke alarms cut the chances of fire-related deaths by half, according to the National Fire Protection Association. They are largely responsible for the big decline in fire-related deaths in the last 30 years.

For apartments, they are inexpensive potential safety nets that protect lives and property, once maintained.

Smoke alarm technology changing to keep up with quicker flashovers

Because their stake in keeping America safe from deadly fires has increased, these little buggers are working harder. In the last 30 years, a changing modern residence has reduced the amount of available, safe fire escapes.

Simply, house fires are reaching quicker flashovers – when flames begin to spread rapidly – and burning eight times faster than they did 50 years ago. It takes about three minutes for the fire to get out of control, about as much time as it takes to devour a snack cake, crème filling included.

Our appetites for today’s home has changed. Dwellings are larger, contents are greater and the use of petroleum-based synthetic materials in furnishings and construction is on the rise. These factors have changed the smoke and gas characteristics of residential fires and in some cases accelerated the speed of fire growth, according to Underwriter Laboratories (UL).

Researchers are trying to better understand the characteristics of various types of fires and their smoke and gas byproducts to develop the next generation of smoke alarms. Many of the newer models are based on ionization and photoelectric smoke detection technologies. While today’s smoke alarms are much better than their counterparts from 40 years ago, there is still room for improvement.

Monthly testing and replacement of old smoke alarms help ensure fire safety

One obstacle has already been hurdled. Two years ago, a physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed a new smoke alarm technology that differentiates between nuisance smoke – smoke from cooking that triggers the alarm, for example – and smoke from a real fire. Nuisance smoke is a major reason why people disconnect fire alarms, fire prevention officials say.

Until the new generation of smoke alarms emerges, smoke detectors should be checked periodically to ensure they are ready to meet the call when an apartment or home is on fire. Understanding more about fire detectors and adhering to steadfast fire safety rules will be more meaningful than ever.

NFPA recommends that existing smoke alarms be tested at least once a month by pressing the test button. If the alarm doesn’t test correctly – most respond with a harsh chirp – then it can either be time for a new smoke alarm or replacement batteries.

The other recommendation is one that apparently has been trumped by baked goods in America’s minds. Smoke alarms should be changed every 10 years from the date of manufacture. That’s a much longer shelf life than for a box of snack cakes, but it’s something your residents and maintenance staff needs to know and understand.

We do know one thing, and that is that smoke alarms save lives. That’s real food for thought.






Los Angeles Apartment Rent Growth Gains Traction

Annual growth in effective rents for new leases in metro Los Angeles apartments reached 4.2% as of Q3 2014. For the first time in this cycle, then, LA is registering rent growth a little bit above the average pace for the nation as a whole.

Some regard this performance as a return to a normal position for Los Angeles, since the metro has tended to realize rent growth stronger than the U.S. average over its long-term history. Others regard current results as a blip to some degree. This is a late-recovery market in terms of its overall economy, so today’s healthier rent growth can be viewed as mostly catch-up momentum experienced in many other parts of the country two to three years ago.

From the viewpoint of MPF Research’s analysis team, whether or not Los Angeles can maintain a rent growth premium overall during the near term largely comes down to what happens in the metro’s large stock of class B to C product. While the very best and very worst units in LA are posting solid rent growth of 3% to 4%, it’s the growth of more than 5% in the units from the 1980s and 1970s that has really started to move the needle.

A positive for the prospects in class B to C product in Los Angeles is that there’s a huge amount of room between the monthly rents for these units, about $1,500, and the prices commanded by the class A stock, roughly $2,300. (Class A- to B+ units register monthly rents around $1,700, but there are too few of them to have much impact on the rent-by-product-class comparison.)

The argument against sustained robust rent growth in LA’s class B to C apartment product comes down to simple affordability considerations. The share of income that residents of these communities spend on rent is already pretty high by national standards, and Los Angeles remains among the country’s under-performers when it comes to wage growth so far in this economic cycle.

MPF Research is anticipating that class B to C apartments will continue to achieve the most rent growth by product niche in LA, but that the size of that premium should shrink to around 100 basis points, rather than 150 to 200 basis points. The wild card in the size of that premium may be how aggressively this product gets traded, with new owners coming in and making property upgrades that perhaps could sustain more aggressive rent upturns.

While the class B to C apartment stock in metro Los Angeles is spread out across the area, key spots to watch for important performance patterns within this niche will be the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys as well as Hollywood and Southeast Los Angeles. Although those neighborhoods don’t comprise unusually large shares of the metro’s total class B to C inventory, they are areas where almost all the stock within the individual submarkets consists of this middle-market apartment inventory.