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 14

The is a great, worth the time to read, article on landlord regulation over at BiggerPockets.

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.

Oct 09

California rent control does a forced roll back of rents increased after the bill’s introduction.

This penalizes landlords who left long term tenants at below market rent and then raised to market at turn over, a common practice in our industry as well as a benefit to long term tenants.

From the National Law Review:

[California] AB1482 will apply to all rent increases occurring on or after March 15, 2019. In the event that an owner increased the rent by more than five percent (5%) plus the percentage change in the cost of living, between March 15, 2019, and January 1, 2020, the applicable rent on January 1, 2020, will be the rent as of March 15, 2019, plus the maximum permissible increase.

It is worth reading the full article

Sep 17

It is worth reading this entire piece

Rent Control is Missing the Point and Here’s Why

However, it seems to me that this is less about affordable housing and more about pointing fingers. We are villainizing landlords and using the homeless as political tools. We are spending all this time and money fighting over who’s to blame and attempting to hold businesses responsible for the social neglect which is the responsibility of us all, but in truth can only be addressed by the state.

It’s an easy political win to attack landlords, to say they are terrible and we need to control their evil ways, because there’s a clearly defined enemy. But this won’t help anybody.

Jul 01

Oregon to legalize duplexes on nearly every city lot – Sightline

The bill, which would also legalize fourplexes and cottage clusters in larger cities, cleared both House and Senate with wide, bipartisan majorities.

….

“We all have an affordable housing crisis in our areas,” said Rep. Jack Zika, a Redmond Republican who supported the bill before a different committee June 11. “This is not a silver bullet, but will address some of the things that all our constituents need. … We have an opportunity now for first-time homebuyers.”

The prequel up story shows the impact of legalizing four families after 39 years

When people who live in low-density areas think about re-legalizing duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes, they wonder, understandably, about what exactly might happen to their neighborhood.

Will the beautiful Victorian down the block be destroyed? Will all the nice trees be chopped down?

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