I've started my own realty firm, Signature Realty Services. I've moved my realty-related information to that site, www.SigRealty.net. Please go there for your realty interests!


Mike Avila
Signature Realty Services


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- I wonder what local democrats really feel about Sandy Newman trying to  get Gerstmann bounced as winner of the Democrat rep for auditor. I wish she would. I would like to see the Democrats re-elect Newman instead of the more qualified Republican. How do I know the Republican is more qualified? C'mon, folks. Be realistic. Can anyone be worse than Sandy?

- I'm undecided on whom will receive my vote for president. Having said that, it sure seems like Obama has changed his position on "16 months and out of Iraq." Is malleability a trait I want in a President? I don't know yet. Like I said, I'm undecided.




I guess it's easy to pick on the auditor ... in light of the special prosecutor calling for an investigation into the auditor: 1) am I the only one who enjoys a chuckle at the irony of Sandy Newmann calling for the resignation of a public official because she's not pleased with the execution of the responsibilities -- when her own party and probably the majority of Monroe County residents want her to resign for her admitted incompetence in the performance of her duties as auditor?, and 2) her office makes the mistake so she asks for the resignation of the person who properly reported the discrepancy? Man, this reeks of political inbreeding. No wonder people are so repulsed by American politics. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, eh? Lesson to be learned: follow your conscience and vote for the best candidate, don't be a sheep in the herd and vote straight ticket.



Well, still no reply at all from any HAND officials regarding my request for a copy of my inspection report. It's been three or four days since I asked. I wonder if the mayor can help.



Final update on HAND - they said no to giving me a five-year instead of three-year permit. Despite all the confusing red tape and overlapping deadlines, they said no. A friend's unsolicited comment to below-left pretty much sums up dealing with this office. It's no wonder people would rather not bother getting a permit when renting properties if this is the kind of interaction they have with the HAND office.


"Loved the HAND write-up!! LOL As you will probably recall, I worked there for a short while before [leaving for a new job], and there were times that I felt like I was part of some neo-Nazi population control experiment!"


My fun is with HAND, an Orwellian acronym if there ever was one -- "Succumb to HAND's will or you will suffer the wrath of HAND!" Bloomington's Housing and Neighborhood Development, HAND, has among its responsibilities the administration of occupancy permits for rental properties in the city of Bloomington.

I have a rental property and received notice that it was time to renew my HAND permit. Everything was fairly routine, except I got gigged for having windows whose sills were 1/2" inch too high from the ground. This must be a new requirement, as I bought the property five years ago, and it had a HAND permit back then. I also renewed my HAND permit three years ago, and this deficiency was never noted then, either.

The bottom line was that, even though the property had passed inspection at least twice before without this deficiency  being noted, I had to request a variance so that I could continue renting this property with this code violation. The result of the hearing was that I could get my permit if I hard-wired all the bedrooms with smoke alarms.

I did this, at a cost of $500, and called in for HAND to re-inspect that it was done. Well, what I didn't realize was that I had missed my re-inspection deadline by three days. It seems that the appeal board threw in a deadline at the end of the meeting minutes, typed in after the legalese, that I must re-inspect by June 9. What is odd is that the HAND cover letter did not mention the deadline at all. I think it would have been a sign of good faith on HAND'S part, as well as more professional, to put the deadline in the cover letter, and I hope they change the format of their variance cover letters to include deadline dates from now on. The cover letter states when the hearing was and the decision that was made -- but doesn't include the deadline to get the work done. That doesn't seem logical to me.

Not having seen this deadline, I'd called for the re-inspection on June 12. The three-day difference resulted in my getting a three-year permit instead of a five-year permit. And that is that even though I, in my opinion, acted in good faith in getting the inspections and repairs done. In addition to the smoke detectors, I also promptly had made other repairs required by HAND (painting the exterior of the building and servicing the HVAC) at a cost totaling a few thousand dollars. I have acted in good faith throughout this process.

Despite my acting in good faith to promptly get all the repairs done, because I didn't read past the legalese in the meeting minutes and because HAND doesn't think it necessary to put the deadline on the cover sheet, I am being punished.

So I've sent an email to the Director of HAND explaining my position as outlined above and asking for a five-year instead of three-year occupancy permit. I'll keep you posted on how that process goes! (As always, there is 'the rest of the story' that I don't want to publish yet because I don't want to jeopardize my chances of HAND approving the five-year permit. But once this process runs its course, I will post it online. Thank God for email!)




I've started my own realty firm, Signature Realty Services, and have moved my real estate content to that company's web site, at www.SigRealty.net. Please go there for your realty needs. - Mike