Aug 23

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/1-oklahoma-deputy-dead-another-wounded-serving-eviction-papers-rcna44325

The gunfire erupted after Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputies tried serving eviction papers at a home southwest of Oklahoma City, Sheriff Tommie Johnson told reporters.

Not only are officers in danger during an eviction, but so are owners.  A couple of decades ago, I had a renter who was three months behind at the time of the move, take a swing at my head with a bedpost.  She hit the upper corner of the cab of my truck, leaving a substantial dent. It would not have turned out well if she had hit my head instead.

These days we find that meditation generally provides as good of results as eviction with much less stress and conflict.  We attempt to mediate all nonpayment and a few behavioral issues, and only file when the renter refuses mediation or does not comply with the agreements.

Check out Landlords | Mediate Wisconsin for more information.

Jun 05

As a rental property owner, it is in your self interest to work with the renter, secure Emergency Housing Assistance, and get the back rent paid.  If you evict, you no longer will be able to recover the unpaid rent through these programs.  

Only 7/10th of 1% of eviction judgments are paid within the first year, over five years that number is only 2.4%.   Smart money says, encourage your nonpaying renters to apply for Community Advocates or SDC ERAP funds. 

Rental Assistance Process | How to Apply for Rent Assistance | Community Advocates in Milwaukee WIor
Milwaukee Emergency Rental Assistance | Social Development Commission

There is an upside though to the moratorium ending, whether that end is next week or in three weeks, in that eviction, or the threat of eviction can be used to compel renters who refuse to apply for aid to do so.  Of course, there are also a few renters who are not paying and do not qualify for assistance because they have not been financially impacted by the COVID financial crisis. 

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/03/politics/supreme-court-realtors-eviction-moratorium/index.html

The Realtor groups asked the justices to step in — on an emergency basis — arguing that “Congress never gave the CDC the staggering amount of power it now claims.”

They argue that the moratorium has resulted in “over $13 billion in unpaid rent per month.”

May 06

Evicting is so 2019.

You want the rent paid. The partners at the Rental Housing Resource Center have the resources to help your residents pay the rent. My company, Affordable Rental Associates, LLC, has adopted a mediation first policy as an alternative to eviction for a year now, with great success. Renters become current and do not move far more often than the court alternative.

If you are on the fence, look at how much that last eviction cost you in lost rent, repairs, court costs, time and aggravation. When it is all over, statistically you will collect less than 2.7% of your eviction judgment amounts over the next five years.

If you have questions, ask here, or email me directly.

Feb 05

At my company, we have tenants on bi-weekly, weekly, and alternative pay dates because I have long known the cost to us when a renter fails.

The alternative pay date can be a legal gotcha under Fair Housing. Let’s say a renter receives Social Security Disability, and their check arrives on the 3rd of the month and you have a pay before the 1st policy that has a late fee or unrealized discount after the 1st. If the renter asks you to change their due date to the 4th so that they can receive their payment and get it to you and you refuse this “reasonable accommodation” or may be in violation of Fair Housing.

Dec 22


https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2020/12/22/landlords-tenants-say-rent-assistance-needed-part-eviction-ban/3932908001/

“I  don’t think a landlord should be expected to shoulder the burden of taking care of a property for several months or a year,” when a tenant stops paying rent, said Dawn Anastasi, a landlord who owns 18 properties on the northwest side of Milwaukee. “It’s not the tenant’s fault, but it’s not the landlord’s fault either.”

Even with the rent assistance, landlords will be left holding the bag for much of the unpaid rent, predicted Tim Ballering, treasurer of the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin.

“The unpaid rent will never be paid, let’s be honest about that,” Ballering said, noting that even when a tenant is evicted the landlord seldom collects the past due rent. 

As a result, Ballering, who is also a landlord, predicted a spike in the number of local landlords who sell their properties to large absentee rental companies.

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” Ballering asked. “That depends on your views. Do you think that the small American farmer being driven out by large corporate farmers is a good thing?”

Heiner Giese, attorney for the association, said the $25 billion in rent assistance will be helpful though he agreed it would likely only last a couple of months.

Giese noted that the federal bill will allow landlords to file for rent assistance, unlike other rent assistance programs that require the tenant to apply

Giese, who is also a landlord, said he has seen cases where tenants signed the required CDC declaration that protected them from eviction but then did not apply for any rent assistance.

“They would just say he’s going to evict me anyway, so screw it,” Giese said.

Dec 20

How do landlords think unemployed people will pay rent?:

…an average of 8% of renters don’t pay rent in normal times. During the coronavirus crisis to date, that share has gone up to 15 to 20% of renters not paying.

“But generally, I think we need a better approach instead of just pitting owners versus tenants,” he says. Both the tenants and landlords need some larger, holistic fix from the government that acknowledges that there just isn’t as much money flowing through the system as there should be.

Nearly 12 million renters will owe an average of $5,850 in back rent and utilities by January, Moody’s Analytics warns. Last month, 9 million renters said they were behind on rent, according to a Census Bureau survey.   

The over $70 Billion in unpaid rent, as reported by Moody’s will cripple many housing providers and will cause a housing crisis that will impact both tenants and municipalities for years, if not decades.  In May of 2020 Milwaukee property values finally recovered from the 2008 Great Recession. 

Less than 2.5% of rent judgments are paid in Milwaukee County five years after the eviction.  And eviction judgments represent only a small fraction of the unpaid rent.  In surveying owners, we see on a high end 42% of their lost rent is included in eviction judgments, with most owners reporting less than 10%.  Some owners never pursue money judgments. So the million dollars a month in eviction judgments represent somewhere between $28.5 million to $100 million a year in money that should go into housing but does not.  I peg the number at least to be $48 Million a year in lost rent in one county.  This is just insane. 

The right answer is for the government to step up to the plate and create a portable housing voucher to cover a portion, to all, of the rent /housing costs for people below a certain income, similar to food stamps.

Instead, the government pits tenants against landlords in a zero-sum game where one must lose for the other to win. In the end, this makes housing more expensive or limits choices.

This has been a problem long before COVID. In 1991 I was interviewed by the New York Times on evictions. I asked the reporter, “On $574 a month, how do you buy tennis shoes for the kids, clean shirts for school, and still pay your rent?” Nothing has changed much since then. $574 was the AFDC (now W2) payment amount. Twenty years later in an NYT interview, my comment was basically the same:

“On $673 a month, how do you buy tennis shoes for the kids, clean shirts for school and still pay your rent?” Mr. Ballering said.” 
https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/us/19evict.html 

Some suggest canceling mortgages and rents, thinking that this equivalent and will prevent the economic failure of housing.  Sadly, it will not.

The average mortgage payment is 36-39% of gross income. The average owner earns 7-9% of gross income for their investment of capital, financial risks, and physical efforts.  If you stop mortgage and rent payments, as well as prevent owners from being paid for their investment and efforts, there is still 52-57% of gross rent that is needed to cover other operating costs such as sewer, water, property taxes, maintenance, insurance, etc.

In Milwaukee, for most properties, the City takes a far bigger cut of the rent in property taxes, and sewer/water bills, than the owner gets to keep.

If you read the Brookings report, you will see this plus the “local economic multiplier” effect of wages and other monies expended by owners.

The Census Bureau reported in 2018 that, on average, every unit generates almost $1,200 in wages. Those wages, the property tax money, etc, circulate throughout the community many times over.

Here’s what scholars believe will happen if there is a moratorium without rental assistance; https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3641859 It goes into the economic impact on housing and the cost borne by other current and future tenants. It is an informative read.

Dec 08

We are trying to get a handle on what percentage of uncollected rent is not reflected in eviction judgments.  Any data you share will be aggregated and will not identify you when we share our findings.

This information should be only for your Milwaukee County rentals.

  • How much rent went uncollected?
  • How much of the uncollected rent was included in eviction judgments? Do not include damages or money judgments that were not part of an eviction.
  • OPTIONAL:  How many units do you own or manage in Milwaukee County?

You can email me directly

There is an average of about a million dollars a month in Milwaukee County eviction judgments.  Our initial survey shows this represents somewhere between a quarter and a tenth of the total unpaid rent, which in turn means your tenants who are paying as they should are paying an extra $49 to $123 per month to cover those tenants that do not pay.  

Five years after the eviction has concluded only 2.5% of eviction judgments are paid.

Tim Ballering
Tim@ApartmentsMilwaukee.com

Oct 27

WI evictions are down statewide by 28% year to date through September 30th. In Milwaukee, that percentage is slightly higher, at just under 31% reduction.

A telling part is that August evictions were much lower than last year, despite the state’s moratorium being lifted.

This drop in evictions occurred even while reported collections are down by 12-16%. In talking to property owners, I’ve been told by many they have pulled back on maintenance, some suffering the impact to the point they have forgone insurance, utility and mortgage payments.

The impact on the other side will be higher housing costs for all as owners fail, or try to make up for losses in the future.

Aug 30

A published research paper that found:

“Our research shows that in order to keep rental housing affordable and sustainable for low-income families, lawmakers have to walk a fine line in determining what will benefit the tenant and what may ultimately be detrimental to them,” Shen said. “On the surface, strict landlord regulation sounds good for tenants, but our paper points out, the solution isn’t that simple. The research suggests that conventional thinking on the issue of more regulation may have the opposite effect on tenants.”

“Though advocating for tenant rights seems noble and the right thing to do, the resulting consequences could have a devastating impact on this vulnerable population,” Shen said. “Our research indicates that if landlords aren’t allowed to evict, rent will likely increase to compensate for their losses. The housing supply would diminish, though the demand would still exist. These landlords may choose alternative investments if owning property is no longer feasible. A reduced housing supply would mean less competition, which would drive up the cost of rent for everyone.

Coulson, N. Edward and Le, Thao and Shen, Lily, Tenant Rights, Eviction, and Rent Affordability (July 4, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3641859 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3641859
Aug 22

I grabbed a few of the more pertinent paragraphs, but he article is a worthy read in its entirety.
 
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/21/business/economy/rent-tenants-evictions.html

  • Instead of an avalanche, the appropriate metaphor might be a receding tide that is exposing layers of financial insecurity.
  • Even before the pandemic, about 25 percent of tenants were paying at least half their pretax income for housing.
  • Even as corporate landlords report little change, smaller landlords are reporting declining collections and in many cases expect to use loans and personal savings to cover shortfalls.
  • Partly this is because these landlords have less access to capital than large corporations, but buildings like duplexes and triplexes — the kinds of properties that many small landlords own — tend to be more affordable, so they attract lower-income tenants, who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. 
  • Several tenants haven’t paid rent. Others are making partial payments and asking for extended payment plans. “At the beginning of the pandemic, I expected what I’m seeing now,” [the landlord] said.
  • Avail, a platform that helps small landlords manage their properties, recently surveyed about 5,000 tenants and landlords and found that 42 percent of tenants and 35 percent of landlords were pulling money from savings and emergency funds to make it through the pandemic.
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