Congratulations! We’ve Been Turned Into Our Tenants’ “Bitches”…?!!

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Have we?  It feels that way.  Through the stroke of the pen by our Governor, Mayors, and County Supervisors, it feels as though we have become our tenants’ “bitches.”  Hold on, now…I am not making any derogatory comments about women or anyone else here merely by stating that we have become our tenants’ “bitches.”  Yet, Microsoft Word scolded me as I typed the “B-word” warning me that it might be offensive to the reader.  Well, just get over it, Microsoft, and each of you too!  Let me finish making my point.

No, I am using the term in the context of “someone’s bitch” as in someone (we landlords in the context of this editorial) who does everything for another, not very loved by the other person who we are doing stuff for. In other words, if we are our tenants’ “bitch,” then we are their indentured servant like someone who they need to clean-up for them, or someone who does not mean very much.  Stripped of all of our rights, forced into providing free housing services, handcuffed from taking legal action to protect property and other residents, and all at the same time, shamefully and harmfully demeaned, lambasted, demoralized, and subdued.  The past year and a half, or so, has been like hell in a handbasket for many of us.

Like the famous comedian, Rodney Dangerfield, always said, “I don’t get no respect.”  And that in a nutshell, is us.  I am just so tired of the treatment we have received and continue receiving in the media, by elected officials, and the ‘I’ll take what I can get for free’ tenant rights groups who are forever advocating for free housing along with many other “frees” like college, medical care, and more free unemployment.  Sadly, it is a never-ending cycle…so very easy to just handout, entitlements like the free ride given to renters and so many others the past year and a half will be incredibly difficult to wrench away when the time comes.

Yet, we have endured so far.  True, there are stories of rental property owners facing financial crisis, foreclosure, and even homelessness themselves.  Many have made amazing sacrifices as they have pushed themselves and family members almost to the brink…and the ball keeps moving beyond our control.  Assembly Bill 3088’s tenant protections forced us into providing free housing services until January 31, 2021, and then when that was not enough, Senate Bill 91 kicked the ball down to the June 30, 2021, yard line.  But, June 30, 2021, was not enough so our State Legislature and Dear Governor “French Laundry” Newsom gave us Assembly Bill 832, which moved the ball forward, yet again, to September 30, 2021. How can anyone possibly run a business when the rules keep changing?  It’s as if we are playing a game of “Whack-a-Mole.”

However, truth be told, we landlords have been true heroes throughout the entire pandemic.  Yet, public opinion and public officials have only treated us as “Enemy Number One.”  All this time we have worked our “arses” off, stepping up cleaning protocols, dealing with tenants staying at home more who have been over-taxing appliances and building systems, dealing with increased maintenance issues and tenant noise complaints, and of course, struggling to collect rent and to turnover units when they become vacant.  If I could name a song, just one song, that was written in honor of landlords, it would be the song so perfectly “belted-out” by Freddie Mercury of Queen fame, “We Are the Champions.”  We are!

Yes, we rental housing providers have been stalwarts in the battle against COVID-19 over the past 16 months as we have endured significant, financial obstacles in the face of government mandated moratoriums.  Many of our members today have either been forced to liquidate retirement savings or sold their rental properties and permanently exited the rental housing business.  That less fortunate face foreclosure or its imminent threat.  Rental housing providers are the only small businesses that have been required by government mandate to provide services without compensation.  They are now facing large amounts of uncollected debt with too complicated, too slow, and too tenuous rental relief.  Further compounding the severe harm to rental housing providers in general is the fact that those most harmed are the small to medium size housing providers that have the least ability to withstand such strains and yet provide the most affordable housing. 

Someday, perhaps, we will get credit where credit is due.  The majority of us have continued to “hang in there” despite tremendous adversity and unfair challenges.  No other business could have possibly survived in the face of such tremendous and overhanded government intervention.  By the time this is being published, we will hopefully have just a bit more time to go until Assembly Bill 832 finally expires.  But who knows what may be next?  What evil lurks there in the Twilight Zone of Sacramento politics, or of anti-property right zealots controlling local governments! 

Not to make anyone feel the need to jump off of a cliff, but many think we could see further extensions of the State’s or of many local government’s eviction moratoriums past September 30, 2021, and into 2022 sometime.  It has been so unpredictable before, nothing in the future here can ever be certain.  I guess we will see what happens before September 15, 2021, when our State’s Legislator’s take a recess and time off to rest and to contemplate the next plots against us.

Surely following the Legislatures’ well-deserved restful bliss, we can only expect more attempts at socialized housing here in the State of Anarchy we know and love as the once-great Republic of California.  Perhaps we should be nicely asked by the State to relieve ourselves of the burden of income property ownership and to merely hand-over our private property to address the grave homelessness situation that today has proliferated along our streets and throughout the public right away.  After all, it has been the policies created by our State and local governments that has caused the homelessness crisis, so what better way to solve a crisis than through government expropriation?  It appears to me that this is the prerogative of our State and local government these days, and seemingly, “what’s theirs is theirs and what’s ours is theirs?”  To me, it seems as if it is so.

In the meantime, as we wait for our governments’ next move, let me give a “shout-out” here.  I must applaud the Texas realtor community for honoring our own, Governor Gavin Newsom, for electing him as the “Texas Realtor of the Year.”  He has certainly done a great job creating a real estate “boom” not only in Texas, but in Florida, Tennessee, Nevada, and elsewhere but here in California.  Who, can I ask you, will be sticking around to continue paying the taxes needed to fund the whopping State budget needed here in California?  I feel as though we may soon be at the brink, as if the ground has begun shaking and the rocks are falling at the edge of the cliff, we Californians are standing on…one false move, and it all could be over.

As more and more money and wealthy and middle-class Californians continue emptying out of our former “Golden State,” and more and more homeless from other states, illegal narcotics, and undocumented aliens keep on pouring in, I am waiting with anticipation for the next big shoe to drop.  That might happen relatively soon.  Although, whatever may happen in the future, I am sure that somehow, just someway, we landlords will be to blame and that more of our rights will be slowly stripped away.

So, what do you say…are we?  Certainly, all of the seemingly apprehensible regulations imposed on us today gives us plenty of reasons to complain, places us at extreme disadvantages when it comes to protecting our hard-earned interests, and we do feel as though we are in a disadvantaged position and severely underappreciated.  Here at the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, we have been and will continue to be embroiled in the fight as if every day were a battle for our lives and livelihoods.  I promise that so long as I maintain my position as this organizations Executive Director, we will continue to represent your interests and wage war whether it involves standing up for housing providers in the media or governmental meetings, lobbying the elected and their staff members, or fighting back in a court of law.  Nobody, no one, shall make us their “bitches.”  Not in my lifetime.

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