May 24

The NY Mag has an excellent, sorry depressing, article about “Dr. Doom” Nouriel Roubini prediction of an extended depression.

In September 2006, Nouriel Roubini told the International Monetary Fund what it didn’t want to hear. Standing before an audience of economists at the organization’s headquarters, the New York University professor warnedthat the U.S. housing market would soon collapse — and, quite possibly, bring the global financial system down with it. Real-estate values had been propped up by unsustainably shady lending practices, Roubini explained. Once those prices came back to earth, millions of underwater homeowners would default on their mortgages, trillions of dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities would unravel, and hedge funds, investment banks, and lenders like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could sink into insolvency.

His predictions for 2020 are far more dire

A decade later, “Dr. Doom” is a bear once again. While many investors bet on a “V-shaped recovery,” Roubini is staking his reputation on an L-shaped depression. The economist (and host of a biweekly economic news broadcastdoes expect things to get better before they get worse: He foresees a slow, lackluster (i.e., “U-shaped”) economic rebound in the pandemic’s immediate aftermath. But he insists that this recovery will quickly collapse beneath the weight of the global economy’s accumulated debts.

Go read the article

May 14

My life is too exciting, so I skimmed through the HERO ACT proposal hoping the 1,815 page document would put me to sleep  Unfortunately it did not.
https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20200511/BILLS-116hr6800ih.pdf

Cliff Notes version:
No late fees, scheduled repayment periods, no evictions for a year, extra Rent Assist and emergency assistance, ten times penalties for violations.  Bad for landlords and mortgage providers

[P]age 934 [L]ine22 
SEC. 110201. EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE.
(a) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There is 24 authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (referred to in this section as the ‘‘Secretary’’) $100,000,000,000 for an additional amount for grants under the Emergency Solutions Grants program under subtitle B of title IV of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11371 et seq.), to remain available until expended (subject to subsections (d) and (n) of this section), to be used for providing short or medium-term assistance with rent and rent-related costs (including tenant-paid utility costs, utility- and rent arrears, fees charged for those arrears, and security and utility deposits) in accordance with paragraphs (4) and (5) of section 415(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 11374(a)) and this section.

P 961 L5
SEC. 110203. PROTECTING RENTERS AND HOMEOWNERS FROM EVICTIONS AND FORECLOSURES.

(b) MORATORIUM.—During the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending 12 months after such date of enactment, the lessor of a covered dwelling located in such State may not make, or cause to be made, any filing with the court of jurisdiction to initiate a legal action to recover possession of the covered dwelling from the tenant for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges.

All rentals are covered, not just those with Rent Assist or Federal backed mortgages :P966 L1

(1) COVERED DWELLING.—The term ‘covered dwelling’ means a dwelling that is occupied by a tenant

(A) pursuant to a residential lease; or

(B) without a lease or with a lease terminable at will under State law.

P1004 L16
(b) TENANT-BASED SECTION 8 RENTAL ASSISTANCE.—There is authorized to be appropriated for an additional amount for fiscal year 2020 for the tenant-based rental assistance under section 8(o) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f(o))  $3,000,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2021, of which not more than $500,000,000 may be used for administrative fees under section 8(q) of such Act (42 24 U.S.C. 1437f(q)).

P1037
SEC. 110402. RESTRICTIONS ON COLLECTIONS OF CON2 SUMER DEBT DURING A NATIONAL DISASTER OR EMERGENCY.


(1) COVERED PERIOD.—The term ‘covered period’ means the period beginning on the date of enactment of this section and ending 120 days after the end of the incident period for the emergency declared on March 13, 2020, by the President under section 501 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 4121 et seq.) relating to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

P1038
(1) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no debt collector may, during a covered period—

P1039
(D) commence or continue an action to evict a consumer from real or personal property for nonpayment;

P1040
(e) VIOLATIONS.—Any person or government entity that violates this section shall be liable to the applicable consumer as provided under section 813, except that, for purposes of applying section 813

(1) such person or government entity shall be deemed a debt collector, as such term is defined for purposes of section 813; and  

(2) each dollar figure in such section shall be deemed to be 10 times the dollar figure specified.

Apr 30

Feeling wealthy. I made more money yesterday, in one day than any previous full year. In fact, more than the previous few years combined. How you ask? I simply read my City of Milwaukee tax assessment letters.

Oh, wait… What are you saying? That means I’ll have less money come December?

They should hold the city government elections two weeks after assessments, not two weeks prior!

Kidding aside, this is a real PR blunder on the part of the city with so many folks fearing that they’ll lose their homes and properties due to the economic impact of the COVID shutdown.

(Note: An increase in assessments does not actually mean an increase in tax payments. Nor does it mean the value of the property actually went up)

Apr 21

The Minnesota congresswoman’s proposal to cancel rents and mortgages during the coronavirus pandemic is both wildly impractical and constitutionally dubious.

And this is why we need to work together as an industry.

Small landlords are often independent and segmented, allowing us ot fall victim to these things.

What can you do? Join a real estate investor group, in fact join a few of them.

Mar 29

[Governor Evers] suspended evictions this week, and the bill calls for banning landlords from moving to evict tenants for nonpayment during a public health emergency and the 45 days after it’s over.

Links to legislation in article

Feb 25

On its surface the article is about homelessness in Seattle, but it outlines many of the challenges we will face in coming years such as rent control and programs favoring public housing over private.

https://www.city-journal.org/seattle-homelessness

You may ask, for example, what is wrong with supporting public housing?  
Public housing would be great if it provided housing to those who are often “unrentable” in the private market such as those with serial evictions, recent or serious criminal convictions, addiction issues, poor housekeepers, sex offenders, etc. 

Yet public housing screening policies often exclude those difficult to house populations, while directly completing with private sector owners, taking the best tenants due to their incentivized rents.  So we are ultimately competing with our own tax dollars working against us. 

Feb 23

It seems many of the same people who want to implement rent control are the same folks who support exclusionary zoning for their neighborhoods and communities. NIMBY Not In My Back Yard

The answer to housing costs, like most things, is to increase supply. When there is an abundance, sellers, or in this case landlords, must reduce prices to compete. When supply is restricted and demand is increased, you can get more.

Here is an interesting New York Times article on one such NIMBY fight. The wealthy residents weren’t to happy with allowing multi units in there community:

In letters to elected officials, and at the open microphone that Mr. Falk observed at the City Council meetings, residents said things like “too aggressive,” “not respectful,” “embarrassment,” “outraged,” “audacity,” “very urban,” “deeply upset,” “unsightly,” “monstrosity,” “inconceivable,” “simply outrageous,” “vehemently opposed,” “sheer scope,” “very wrong,” “blocking views,” “does not conform,” “property values will be destroyed,” and “will allow more crime to be committed.”

Dec 03

From Rebecca Knox at Brew City REI Club

********Brew City: If you are concerned about the MPS referendum suggesting a SIGNIFICANT PROPERTY TAX INCREASE 64-128% and want to relay your thoughts on this, the LAST MEETING with the task force will be at 5:30 p.m. at Bradley Tech High School, 700 S. 4th St, Dec. 10.
********

All of the meetings will be open to the public. The panel is expected to make a recommendation to the school board in December 🤨😲 This is the last meeting they are having.

We spoke to District 4 elected MPS board member, Annie Woodward and she said there are a lot of agendas going on and encourages everyone to share their opinions.

The current conversation across our industry is Evictions.

What will happen to tenants who are already near failing, when tax bills force widespread rent increases?

What will happen when rental owners, who are already operating on slim margins, cannot find tenants that can pay the increased rents that mirror the increased taxes.

What will happen to homeowners who are barely keeping up with expenses today?

If property taxes double, which is the mean predicted increase, Milwaukee, and Milwaukee alone, could easily see a foreclosure/failure rate comparable to 2008.

Owners in the rest of the metro will be unaffected, making rentals and homes there more valuable and desirable, furthering the exodus from, and the decline of, the City of Milwaukee.

The Journal reported just two weeks ago of the harm caused by 28% of City workers leaving the city for the burbs.

Nov 28

Read a great article at Forbes on Rent Control. Hat tip to WI Landlord Tenant Law Attorney Tristan Pettit for sharing the article with us.

“Because the downsides of rent control are all born by other people in the future, while the upsides of rent control, be they either real or imagined, are conferred on renters today. Politicians would gladly accept that someone else pays you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

The article is good, but better is his full analysis. You can read it at:
http://www.seattleforgrowth.org/rent-control-politics-less-housing/
or download it at:
http://www.seattleforgrowth.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Rent-Control-Analysis-Ver1-Complete.pdf

Additionally, the benefit of having rent lower than market rent may or may not help people that supporters intended to help. In a study of New York rent control in the 1960s, found that the “benefits were higher for older tenants, richer tenants, and white tenants than for their counterparts,” and “the cost to landlords exceeded the benefits to tenants by about 75 percent.

Even when apartments are price controlled, if they aren’t abundant, and one can’t pay more for them, then people must wait in line for them. Bread lines in the Soviet Union were symbolic of the fact that bread was cheap, but there wasn’t any bread to be had. Because of this, people with plenty of money to spend end up in rent-controlled apartments they won’t leave.”

Nov 13

There is talk of national rent control, with maximum rent increases of 3%, as well as only just cause evictions..

If your rents are below market, they could remain so forever. When it comes time to sell and you are getting $600 a month and the neighbor $800, the value of your property will be gravely diminished.

This punishes owners who allow long term tenants to remain below market. Eventually this will punish those tenants as well.

In some markets perhaps owners are evicting to gentrify, but in our market when an owner uses a 28 day no cause notice it generally means there is a behavioral problem. This will result in bad tenants staying and annoying their neighbors longer as well as more contentious relationships between owners and people that are problematic.

https://www.bisnow.com/national/news/multifamily/whats-in-aocs-national-rent-control-proposal-101041

“The economists are right, and the populists are wrong,” the Washington Post wrote in an editorial. “Rent-control laws can be good for some privileged beneficiaries, who are often not the people who really need help. But they are bad for many others.”

Specifically, the Place to Prosper Act calls for a cap of 3% or the annual U.S.. Consumer Price Index increase, whichever is greater, for rents in housing markets nationwide.

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