Aug 18


Below is an Op-Ed by Yusuf “Joe” Dahl, past president of the Apartment Association. I think owners should be able to exclude drug dealers for a longer period than other crimes, but not a lifetime ban found in the HUD regulations and guidelines.

Opinion | Congress should remove the drug-sales exception to fair housing law – The Washington Post

Yusuf Dahl is a past president of the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin; founder of the Real Estate Lab in Allentown, Pa.; and board chair of the Petey Greene Program, a national prison education nonprofit.

At 18, I was sentenced to 10 years in prison for dealing drugs. Twenty-five years later, as a Princeton-educated nonprofit leader and entrepreneur, I thought that part of my past was far behind me.

I had a rude awakening last year when my application to rent a home was denied after a background check. My prospective landlord exercised their legal right to discriminate against me for my prior conviction.

More about Joe:

Joe is a past president of the Apartment Association, a Princeton Alumnus, and until this summer, the Director of the Dyer School for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Lafayette College, PA. He runs the Real Estate Lab in Allenton. Here are links to his Prison to Princeton and TED talk videos. They are short and worth viewing.


Tim Ballering


Aug 16

Andreessen said in the blog post that he was interested in Flow because the rental real estate market is ripe for disruption. That’s especially true, Andreessen said, now that more and more people are working from home and “will experience much less, if any, of the in-office social bonding and friendships that local workers enjoy.” He also hinted that the company might try to address one of the biggest challenges renters face: “You can pay rent for decades and still own zero equity — nothing.” He added: “In a world where limited access to homeownership continues to be a driving force behind inequality and anxiety, giving renters a sense of security, community and genuine ownership has transformative power for our society.”

This will be interesting.  

Aug 09

Maybe this falls under the heading of “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” Sounds like the property owner had kept the rent well below market for years, and now is being attacked for bringing it close to market rate.

Her Rent Is Going Up $700 A Month Because Her Landlord Claims That’s What The Apartment Is Worth

Unfortunately, Grace’s case is not uncommon. According to Rentec Direct, “Most landlords do not regularly raise their rent to match the cost of owning and maintaining a property,” the site explained.

What ends up happening is after 5 years at a steady rental rate, the owner will realize that a rent increase is necessary to keep up with increasing property taxes, maintenance, and market rates.”

Stories like this lead to calls for rent control. If owners kept their rents at market rate instead of large increases, there would be less conflict.  However, most owners, including myself, are reluctant to raise the rents of existing renters.

Mar 01

The forecast

More than three out of four (77%) economic forecasters believe the highest inflation in four decades is either fueling a wage-price spiral or poses a “major risk” of doing so this year, the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) said Monday in its release of survey results.

Rising wages, supply chain bottlenecks and shortages of materials prompted more than half of the forecasters to warn of “upside risks for inflation” in 2022, the NABE said. The week-long survey of 57 forecasters ended Feb. 15, several days before the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed up prices for oil and other commodities worldwide.

The forecasters “see a risk that inflation will remain higher than previously expected over the next three years, coming largely from the labor market,” according to David Altig, research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and NABE president.

Who are the winners and losers from inflation?

Inflation is a continuous rise in the price level. Inflation means the value of money will fall and purchase relatively fewer goods than previously.

In summary:

• Inflation will hurt those who keep cash savings and workers with fixed wages.
• Inflation will benefit those with large debts who, with rising prices, find it easier to pay back their debts


Those with fixed assets and fixed-rate debt are the winners unless of course the entire economy fails and we fall into social chaos. But keep 2007 in mind, and do not overpay, lest you end up like so many did in 2008

Dec 13

Interesting. When renting beats owning, holding rentals makes less sense.

In the following cites owners of one and two families appear to be better off if they sold.

In Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City and Seattle, consumers looking to build wealth are better off renting a property and reinvesting the money they would have spent on ownership, according to an analysis by professors at Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University.

That’s because the total monthly cost of homeownership in those areas is rising faster than monthly rents, the researchers said.

In the following cites owners of one and two families may see equal returns if they sell or hold, but the alternatives to rentals are actually passive investments, where scattered-site small properties are more like buying a job.

In Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and St. Louis, consumers are just as likely to create more wealth by renting and reinvesting as owning and building equity.

And the part the media often overlooks

Despite strong demand leading to rising rents, renting typically still costs less per month than owning, after factoring in home maintenance costs, homeowner association dues and other fees. Renters who don’t invest that monthly savings in stocks and bonds might be better off buying because homeownership is a forced savings plan, the professors said.

Nov 14

HT: Dawn Anastasi

Note that this site most likely violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act, but it shows a level of frustration that owners are seeing

“Most landlords are good & hardworking people,” declares. “Some tenants need protection, but many have simply lied and leaned into recent provisions that make it impossible for homeowners to defend themselves or their properties.


Nov 07

Second-order effects in action again. 

Since January of this year, the national median rent has increased by a staggering 16.4 percent. To put that in context, rent growth from January to October averaged just 3.2 percent in the pre-pandemic years from 2017-2019.

We expected to see rents increase as a result of the moratoriums. In fact, using we are witnessing even slightly higher increases in many Milwaukee neighborhoods. 

  • Owners need to make up for lost rents caused by the moratoriums.
  • The lack of units available for rent. I find this due to owners removing them from the market to sell or out of fear of removing nonpaying renters. Many owners I’ve spoken are prepping units for sale rather than offering them for rent.
  • The dramatic increase in real estate prices drives up both the cost of ownership and the income needed to meet cap rate expectations. Home Prices Continue Record-Setting Pace, Rising 19.7 % in July | Economy | US News
  • Inflation will force rents to increase. The CPI is up 5.4% year over year. CPI Inflation Calculator Private sector hourly wages in Milwaukee have increased 5.6% YoY Sept. If you look at weekly earnings, it is 11.9%. Databases, Tables & Calculators by Subject At my company, labor costs have risen nearly 10% since June, as we keep up with the wages others are offering. And it is very hard to find employees today.

Point one is temporary, as is the second point. We have already seen a slight increase in vacant units in the past two weeks. We are still below 0.5%, a tenth of what we expected.

I anticipate the third and fourth points having a lasting impact on rents. In part, the sale prices are driven up by artificially low-interest rates. In part, sale prices are up due to the inability to build new homes due to material shortages, U.S. homebuilding stumbles amid unrelenting supply constraints | Reuters and labor shortages U.S. Chamber Commercial Construction Index – Q3 2021 | U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Some will clamor that this calls for rent control, but rent control has failed communities terribly

Oct 09

A good, should read, article

The predictions were dire.

“The tragic, consequential, and entirely avoidable outcome of this ruling will be millions of people losing their homes this fall and winter, just as the delta variant ravages communities and lives,” said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in late August.

“The Supreme Court failed to protect 11 million households across our country from violent eviction in the middle of a deadly global pandemic,” said Rep. Cori Bush (D–Mo.), citing one estimate of how many renters were behind on rent.

But the reality was different

“It’s going up but it’s not going up by a ton,” says Peter Hepburn, a sociology professor at Rutgers University and researcher with Eviction Lab. “You look at September relative to historic averages, that leaves eviction filings at 48.5 percent below historic averages…We didn’t see a jump up to normal, let alone a jump past normal into a giant wave of eviction filings.”

Sep 30

My company receives messages and phone calls daily from prospective renters who are upset that we have nothing for rent.  Prior to March 2021, on a typical day, we would have 35-60 units for rent.  The number of total units we run has not changed.  One of the small local papers that we used to advertise in told my staff they were struggling financially because, like us, so many owners stopped advertising rentals.  Rental housing today is the Cabbage Patch Kids of 1983.  

In talking to owners it appears the dramatic reduction in vacancies is largely due to small properties being taken off the market and being made ready for sale.  Sellers want the place freshly prepped to sell fast and are aiming for owner-occupant buyers, who typically pay more.  

It is a perfect storm for this disruption.  

Small owners were severely, financially battered by a year and a half of moratoriums.   Dramatically reduced rent collection made it difficult for them to pay their bills, let alone receive compensation for their work and investment.  Harvard had a good report this week, Findings and Lessons from Two National Surveys of Landlords | Joint Center for Housing Studies  Generally, you can not harm one side of an economic equation, without ultimately impacting the other.

There is a general fear amongst owners that the government can step in at will and prevent rent collections anytime in the future for any reason, making selling more attractive.

Housing prices have skyrocketed, in part driven by low-interest rates and in part by a slow down in new construction as both materials and labor are harder to obtain.  Home Prices Continue Record-Setting Pace, Rising 19.7 % in July | Economy | US News

If you burned through all your savings, maxed your credit cards, and are three months delinquent on the mortgage, why would you not sell at the prices offered today?

I fully expect to return to normal vacancy rates within a year as we did not lose 8% of our housing stock and Milwaukee’s population continues to decline.*  However, I do not expect rents to return to 2020 rates due to the prices that are being paid for properties today and the large volume of sales.

The state, federal, and in some places local governments’ actions to “cancel rent” is the prevailing wind in this storm.  Peer pressure- I had to use a weather-related analogy. 😉  The story that these moratoriums simply delayed payment is a false narrative. Less than 2.4% of eviction judgments are ever paid, and less than a third of unpaid rent is reflected in eviction judgments.  So a short-term cancel is resulting in what is undoubtedly long-term harm for lower-income renters.

The answer is FoodShare for Housing.

Aug 30

As the first step, the CFPB urges renters to talk to the property owner/manager.  Urging communication is important.  I would add as step two; seek mediation. 

The CDC eviction moratorium has ended: Learn your options | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

If you are facing eviction now, we have resources to help

Whether you are facing an eviction lawsuit or worried about getting evicted in the future, it’s important to understand your rights and what next steps you need to take.

Talk with your landlord about making a repayment plan. Find out if your landlord is willing to work with you or if they plan to file an eviction lawsuit. Here is information to start that conversation.

Talk with a lawyer, don’t delay. You may qualify for free legal help. If you’re a servicemember, talk with your local Legal Assistance Office.

Housing counselors can help you make a plan based on your situation and needs. Again, you may qualify for free help. Find a HUD-certified housing counselor.

Learn more about rights and protections based on your situation

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