#243 ESAligator and Rent Control

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We’re talking about an aligator that is an ESA, Rent Control in Oregon, Cats for tenants and other crazy stories.



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Resources Mentioned in this Episode

ESA Aligator:
https://www.ydr.com/story/opinion/2019/01/19/emotional-support-alligator-comfort-column/2578333002/

Jackson, MI landlords must pay for housing of displaced renters: (said Michigan on the podcast… sorry meant Mississippi)
https://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/2019/01/landlords-must-pay-for-housing-when-displacing-renters-new-ordinance-says.html

Oregon Rent Control:
https://reason.com/blog/2019/01/18/oregon-likely-to-become-the-first-in-the

San Diego Apartment Association urges landlords to ease up on federal employees:
https://www.10news.com/news/local-news/san-diego-county-apartment-association-asks-landlords-to-ease-rent-on-workers-hit-by-shutdown

LA County to Prohibit Landlord Discrimination Against Section 8 Families:
https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/LA-County-Landlord-Discrimination-Section-8-Families-504422071.html

Shutdown Leads to Threatening Letter To Section 8 Tenants:
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/government-shutdown-evictions_us_5c4370b3e4b0bfa693c4196d

2 Cats are Paying $1,500 in Rent!?
https://www.nbc4i.com/news/u-s-world/silicon-valley-landlord-rents-1-500-studio-to-2-cats/1707969757

Show Transcription:

00:04 Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of RentPrep for landlords. This is episode number 243 and I’m going to be doing some recent news from the last seven days and I’ll let you know ahead of time, you know, you’re probably a landlord or property manager and you’re not going to like some of this news, but I’ll try to slide in maybe a few goofy or funny stories in the meantime to help lighten it up a little bit. So let’s get to that right after this.

00:33 00:41 1,2,3,4 ya ya ya…. Welcome to the RentPrep for landlords podcast. And now your host, Steven White and Eric Worral. All right. We’re going to kick it off with a pretty unusual story. I think we’ve all heard the emotional support animal stories and the craziness that can ensue. Well, this is a new one. This is Joy Henne who is living in a senior living community center outside of York, Pennsylvania and he has an emotional support animal, but it’s a four and a half foot alligator.

00:58 Yeah. So he, uh, he’ll go on walks with his alligator on a leash and a, I guess that’s nice of him to use a leash. But, uh, yeah, the uh, the article is highlighting how it’s pretty unusual and some people, uh, you know, feel a little uneasy and other people, I think it’s pretty fun to have a, a alligator in the community center for these senior citizens because somebody needs it. Uh, it’s just, uh, just crazy, you know, like I’m trying to imagine as far as getting emotional support from an animal, I feel like a dog, you know, might come up and sit in your lap and, you know, be curly and gets happy when you come home and sad when you leave and wagging his tail. And I’m just imagining that kind of same relationship that you’d have with an alligator. I mean, does it a visit wag giant tail, uh, as you leave, does it get excited, you know, does it open its mouth really wide and let you put your head in it and uh, not chopped down on your head or, you know, eat the neighbor’s dog.

01:55 Like, I don’t know how that works, but I think that’s a pretty ridiculous story. So, uh, you can check that out at York daily, uh, willing to hit in the show notes. We’re going to be buzzing through some quick stories here. We got a lot. I mean, there’s so much recent news and to be honest, it’s all kind of a anti landlord for the most part, but I want to keep you guys up to date on what’s going on around the country.

02:18 This next news story comes from mlive.com on January 18th. And uh, this one was written by Taylor DesOrmeau. I’m going to guess on that last name there. Uh, but this is for Jackson, Michigan. So landlords must pay for housing when displacing runners. New Ordinance says, so, uh, tenants have a matter of hours to find a new temporary home. And city of Jackson inspectors shut down rental properties. Sometimes the landlords pay to put displaced residents up in an hotel. Other Times it’s community leaders or the city itself footing the bill if residents can’t find or afford a place to live, city officials said, so when new city of Jackson Ordinance, however, would require landlords to set up and pay housing costs for displaced runners for up to three months, tenants wouldn’t have to pay rent. Mayor Derek Dobies said, but runners who caused the property to fail inspection aren’t eligible. This to me takes that penalty away from the victim and places that were belongs. Councilwoman Colleen Sullivan said, so this ordinance passed six to one on the first reading at city council on Tuesday, January 15th and will come before the council for a final vote later this month.

03:28 When I read this story, uh, I guess you could kind of see it from both ways. I like the fact that it’s more just for dilapidated properties where you know, it gets shut down essentially by the local city and they’re saying that the, this place is no longer habitable. So your tenants need a place to live and you’re going to pay the bill for it. That’s all good. And, well, as long as that definition of habitable doesn’t become kind of crazy. The tough thing with that is there might be judgment calls involved, you know, and I’m trying to think of like a scenario. Let’s say that a tenant damaged a sink or created a leak in the house, will then it’s going to be up to that city official to determine, well, did that tenant create this problem or did the landlord create the problem by being neglectful? Or was it somewhere in the middle? So then it’s like, how do you decide you’re going to have to go to court just to figure out if you’re going to have to pay for three months potentially of hotel bills. I mean, that could run up a pretty penny real quick.

04:28 So that’s a interesting story coming out of Jackson, Michigan. Uh, I’ve heard of this before, at least similar were in, I believe it’s Portland, Oregon. If you evict a tenant, you have to pay for their moving costs. But this is the first time running across this where you would have to pay for somebody’s apartment or hotel for up to three months if your, uh, your property is shut down by the local inspectors. The other thing to consider here too is you’re really incentivizing tenants to essentially snitch, if you want to call it that, on the property, uh, if they don’t like something about the way the property’s being managed or don’t like their particular situation at this moment, they could upgrade into a hotel and get free breakfast every morning as long as they’re not the reason for the damage or the, uh, unlivable situation of that property. So yeah, I think you to tailor through that article coming out of Jackson, Michigan. So if you’ve got properties out in Jackson, make sure they’re in good shape.

05:29 This next article comes from reason.com From Christian. We had these last names are tough. Christian Britschgi. Christian Britschgi. Yeah. I’ll go with that. Uh, from January 18th. And this is talking about that Oregon likely to become the first in the nation to adopt statewide rent control. I’ll read you a few paragraphs here. As home and rental prices rise across the country, more and more locals are giving serious consideration to a policy long denounced by economist. Rent control that includes Oregon, which increasingly looks likely to become the first date and the country to adopt a rent control statewide. We are long past the point when we should have passed meaningful tenant protection state, how speaker, Teaneck Kotek says to William Atweek clearly more needs to be done statewide to give runners more security and stability. So she goes along with our counterpart in the state, senator Jenny Murdoch have introduced as b six, oh, eight, a which would forbid landlords from increasing rents during the first year of a person’s tendency. And would cap future rent increases at seven percent per year plus inflation thereafter. So I guess the title, um, it was pretty scary, but you’re looking at it. You Do, you would be able to still increase the rents seven percent per year. Uh, the biggest issue I have with this is obviously, I mean, it’s very heavy handed and kind of big brother. Uh, essentially, you know, we’re going to just cap the profitability of your rentals. I’m, one of the things that this, uh, this article mentions is that it’ll probably make housing less affordable, not more so. Uh, as we read down further, it says that these caps would apply to all rental properties, save for those built within the last 15 years. Uh, currently there are no vacancy controls in the proposed bill, meaning that landlords would be able to raise rents and unlimited amount once a tenant moves out.

07:23 For this reason, the bill also bands no cause evictions. A landlord will have to show a government approved reason for kicking a ton of it out. So these are all controversial policies in Oregon where there is a state level preemption on cities passing their own rent control measures. And we’re a no eviction bill died in the legislator or just two years ago. So this is, it goes on further to say that you’d be hard pressed to find any economist who comes out in favor of rent control is a means to help to improve whatever failure you were experiencing. Uh, the chief complaint about rent control is that it reduces the return a landlord or a developer can earn from throwing up new units, meaning you’ll wind up with fewer overall units, worsening housing affordability in the long run. Uh, this holds true for what is being proposed and Oregon says Wilkerson, the though the specifics of sb six away, particularly its 15 year exemption on new buildings and it’s seven percent cap complicate the picture. So that’s probably why they have that 15 year exemption as they don’t want to deter developers from creating new properties. But you know, if you have your choice to where you’re going to build and you know, if you’re going to build here that in 15 years you increases on rent are going to be controlled by the government, by the local state. You may not build there, you know, you might go to a different state than if you’re, you know, a big developer and you’re trying to make financial decisions to help improve your company’s situation. So it’s pretty crazy situation. Now in Oregon, I don’t know if it’s actually going to get past, but, uh, this is, uh, all within the last four days as I’m recording this, so we’ll keep an eye on that and see what happens with that. Uh, out in Oregon.

08:59 A article from 10news.com and this is posted on January 15th, uh, it is talking about how in San Diego County apartment association ask landlords to ease rent on workers hit by, shut down. You know, we’ve got to get a couple of government shut down updates in here. But this is saying that they are asking its members, landlords to alleviate the burden on rent paying federal employees affected by the ongoing government shutdown. So the associations, roughly 2000 member landlords wave that they’re asking them to waive late payment fees except partial rent payments and set up alternate rent payment plans for tenants who are federal employees. Association also noted to with members, landlords that uh, the federal housing subsidy programs like section eight are also affected by the shut down. So when I read this, my issue with this is we talk a lot on the podcast about, you know, being consistent across the board and by being consistent, you can limit discrimination. My issue with changing the way that you accept rent, let’s say you’re not going to charge fees, you are going to do partial rent payments. That’s fine if you want to do that for a load government employees. But in my opinion, if you’re going to do that, you should do that for any single tenant who loses their job because of downsizing or any reason outside of their control such as a furlough, a furloughed, an employee by the government. So to me, it’s not fair if you’re going to say, uh, you know what, government employees, since we’re all well aware of what’s going on, we’re going to reduce your rent. Those monster accept partial payments. But let’s say you worked at, uh, you know, I’m trying to think of a big company that’s gone down recently. You worked at Sears and they closed up your store and you don’t have a job anymore. Like, why would you not allow partial payments and push for that person to, you know, be able to not pay the fees for late rent and not be kind to them. It’s not consistent if you’re doing that for government employees but not for other employees who have lost their jobs to downsizing in my opinion. So you guys can check out the link for this in the show notes if you’re curious to read up a little bit more on it. But that’s, you know, I understand it, I get it and you want to have a heart for people that are going through a tough time, but if you are going to do that, I’d say be consistent in the way you’re doing it. Don’t just try to ask for it because it’s such a large scale issue right now, uh, with the government shutdown.

11:28 So, going over to NBC Los Angeles, we have a article written here by Elizabeth Marcellino, and this was written on January 16th. And it’s saying that La County is to prohibit landlord discrimination against section 8 families. Well, it’s kind of an interesting title because you shouldn’t be discriminating against any families regardless of if they’re on section eight or not. Uh, but the Los Angeles County Board of supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to spend 5 million to prevent housing discrimination, including drafting an ordinance to prohibit landlords from denying runners who use section eight vouchers and implementation and the nations fair housing act is 50 years overdue said La County is saying we will wait no longer discrimination in housing is exasperating our housing and homelessness crisis by allowing landlords to discriminate and deny leases to families who want and can pay for housing. So going down a little bit further, it’s saying that the motion was spurred by a community development commission. Housing Authority report that the county has less than three percent vacancy rate and discriminatory practices limit options for renters with section 8 vouchers in a 2016 survey of five cities conducted by the Urban Institute, 76 percent of landlords in the city of Los Angeles refuse to accept vouchers. So you can check out the article in the show notes on from nbclosangeles.com If you want to learn more about that as well.

12:54 We got an article coming from the Huffington post written by Arthur Delaney, and this one is talking about how the government shut down is hiking rents for hundreds of low income tenants. So we covered this on a recent last week’s episode actually, but I wanted to get to this because this article is interesting and it was just posted on the 19th so it wasn’t out when we aired the podcast last week and it’s talking about the fact that a property management company told tenants and a letter this week that because of the shutdown, the federal government is no longer subsidizing their rent and in it they said as of February first 2019, all tenants were responsible for full basic rent. The company tristate management confirmed to sent the letter to tenants at 28 buildings in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Mississippi. Altogether the apartments have 758 units, so in official with Tristate told the Huffington Post that eviction proceedings could begin at the shutdown continuous past February. I hope it doesn’t come to that. The official said, I hope the government shut down is over. So the shutdown continues into February rent hikes and eviction threats will probably spread, is more landlords get antsy. The letter follows a similar note that a different Arkansas landlord sent to 50 properties last week. The landlord or the property manager in Arkansas. I read this article on a different blog posts. They said that they were kind of a little bit early. They jumped the gun with their section eight employee or a tenants. They said if they didn’t pay for the rent and full by January 20th, which I think they were talking about for the next month, that they were going to be evicted. Uh, it turned out they did have funding. Uh, I guess they just didn’t get the check or whatever. And, but in their situation they said the tough thing was, and this is what we were talking about last week, is that the normal people that they reach out to at Hud just they furloughed. So they can’t get an answer on anything. So it’s not only the fact that funding is getting jammed up and we’re going to run out of funding for these programs, but it’s also the fact that the communication, uh, usually comes from the top down, but those people in those top positions aren’t there. So it’s just a bunch of people kind of shooting in the dark, uh, hopefully handling things the right way. But to be honest, they don’t know if they are not. So this is gonna be a mess that’s just going to kind of keep unfolding until they shut down ends and we will cover it for you to see what else kind of unfolds within the next few weeks here as well.

15:12 So the last story we have here, this one comes from nbc4i.com. And maybe you saw this one, but it says at a silicon valley landlord rents of $1,500 a month studio to two cats. Yup. Uh, this one comes from the Associated Press on January 17th. And it said that the two cats are living large at a $1,500 a month studio apartment. Their owner rents for them in silicon valley where a housing shortage has sent rent skyrocketing. So if you’re wondering this $1,500 a month studio, it’s 425 square feet. There’s not even a kitchen in it, but so that the mercury news reports the 20 pound cats named Tina and Luis moved to the studio in San Jose after their owner moved away to college. So the owner was a younger girl, her dad didn’t want to take care of the cats. I can’t really figure this one out, so they just dumped the cats into living space and maybe the landlord lives in the house in front, which he does. He was planning on renting out this studio in the back on Airbnb, but he got the situation where he could add two cats to the studio and get 1500 bucks a month for it. Not too shabby, you know, 750 per cat. I’m thinking, you know, my first rents that I charged, we’re about a $300 per person when I was living with two friends inside of my apartment. So, uh, that’s pretty, uh, that’s pretty great for this landlord, but just wanted to assure this ridiculous story with you and again, you can find all of these in the show notes.

16:35 Yeah, like I said, it’s getting not getting kind of crazy, right? Whether it’s rent control or government shutdown or a emotional support, alligators or, you know, the, uh, the situation in Jackson, Mississippi, or excuse me, Jackson, Michigan, but, you know, I guess it’s also the day and age we live in, uh, all this information be disseminated so quickly to us. And you’re hearing it now on the podcasts and probably thinking, oh my gosh, like I don’t even know if I’d want to be a landlord or property manager anymore, but there is good out there too. There’s good things happening. Uh, don’t fall victim for all the, all the scary stories out there because there’s good stuff in the world. So that wraps up this week’s episode. Until next week. Thank you guys for listening. We’ll be in touch soon. Have a great week.