Apartment Management Magazine Executive Director Message
This rental housing business can really drive me crazy sometimes! Often it’s the seemingly “little” things that trigger me. When I’m in a bad mood, everyone back off and leave me alone…but I’ll always calm down eventually. An occasional glass of great wine often does that for me.
An EV station in each pot
Recently our state lobbyist briefed me on the seemingly simple and nonchalant proposal from Sacramento known as Senate Bill 1482. ‘Assembly’ 1482 which imposed statewide rent controls and tenant protections on all of us. few years ago. No, this is “Senate Bill” 1482 which would require our building codes in California to include requirements to install at least one electronic vehicle charging station in multi-family developments. Although this does not apply to existing multi-family properties, I assume the result will be forthcoming in the future.
While seemingly harmless to most of us, even though it only adds to the cost of new real estate developments much needed to address the housing shortage in our state, it got me thinking “what the heck think these politicians with stuff like that”. Of course, I understand. Let’s encourage electric vehicles to preserve the environment when today’s electricity is mainly produced by highly polluting coal and natural gas power plants. Okay, that’s the same natural gas, by the way, that cities like Los Angeles and Pasadena and others want to ban and remove from our kitchen appliances, water heaters and space heaters just to be replaced by electric appliances powered by electricity produced with coal and natural gas – “Houston”, do we have a problem here? !
Anyway, I digress for a moment. Don’t get me started on phasing out natural gas ovens so we can dine on substandard cuisine – this could well be the end of Micheline Star restaurants here in California. Am I too lost by a barbecue in my garden? And the cost of the conversion? Anyway… back to Senate Bill 1482.
Thinking about Senate Bill 1482, I realized that these elected officials we “hire” don’t understand the realities that exist outside of the Capitol building in Sacramento. It’s almost as if the sky is a different color where they live. So let’s talk about the real world we live in and the concept of requiring the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in multi-family properties. The issues surrounding the concept of mandatory electric vehicle charging stations apply to other crazy proposals through Sacramento that thankfully have come and gone, and which, unfortunately for us, in some cases have stuck.
I don’t know about you, but in the “real” world, most of us live outside the state capitol, most multifamily property parking lots are open and unprotected. As a result, EV charging stations are just another thing that can be damaged by a car or human being, spray painted with graffiti, possibly burgled (stolen electricity) and run over to cause damage or even a fire. As a result, these electric vehicle charging stations mandated to protect our environment will become just another headache for housing providers and a “thing” that rental property owners will have to pay to maintain, get inspected annually, repair and replace. Another big nightmare if you ask me. And, Sacramento wonders why rental housing costs continue to rise?
The idea of forcing owners to provide equipment that has nothing to do with livability is just plain out of place… as usual from our “friends” up there in Sacramento and our friends local jurisdictions like Los Angeles, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica, among most others. It’s almost like asking landlords to provide a gas pump on their property – why not!
“Moratorium” – Will tyranny ever end? !!
The endlessly ongoing City of Los Angeles moratoriums are evictions and rent increases have now been around for over two years. Over two years!!! We’re well past the point where a person can say with a straight face that they continue to be negatively affected by the coronavirus, and we’re now at the point where we can say, “who hasn’t had COVID so far? stadium ?” Yet the saga at City Hall continues and also for all of Los Angeles County thanks to the Board of Supervisors which extended its COVID protections until June 30, 2023, and who knows how long after that it will extend them. It’s a crazy, mixed world we live in today, folks. Really! Everything is so unbalanced and favors the tenants of our properties who are missing the one thing we had, a deed of trust. How is all this fair? !
Our efforts in this area, to push back against these draconian regulations, continue. We have tried our best to convince the “politicos” of the Los Angeles City Council and the County Board of Supervisors to end the “moratorium”, but to no avail so far. As a result, we resorted to much harsher methods than relaxation. Today we have lawsuits pending against the city of Los Angeles and the county of Los Angeles for violation of the constitution, which we believe are these punitive moratoriums. Unfortunately, we cannot control the hearing schedule and the pace of the court system, but I can assure you that once we win, we will seek compensatory damages from the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Angeles and any other local jurisdiction that has imposed one of these draconian orders. And we will and must prevail here.
Advocacy matters – Help us!
I hear members all the time suggesting that we, meaning me and the limited staff we have, make phone calls, create lawn signs, leave door hangers, etc., etc. We always appreciate your suggestions. We do not claim to be experts, nor claim to have a “quick fix” to overcome all policy or regulatory issues. However, much of what I expect to hear from some of our members is about initiating some type of grassroots advocacy. This, I believe, is a pretty good and very valid suggestion (if that’s what some of you had suggested). Unfortunately, ‘this’ has been a great source of frustration for me because I have struggled to engage landowners in the constant struggle that we have undertaken. More often than not, our “red alerts” and calls to action go unnoticed and we, as an apartment association, are left alone at public meetings or to comment to the press. Elected officials want to hear from voters, not an apartment association. Therefore, please help us. Leave your story of how you were personally wronged.
Litigation in progress – Please help us!
I often hear from members who want us to take legal action for a multitude of “wrongdoings” perpetrated against them and the rest of us, and we have 5 such legal actions underway today and may – be others to follow. However, and here is my biggest bone of contention, when it comes to helping our efforts by giving us a story to tell about how one or more members were injured, I most often get ‘crickets’ , and even worse, when it comes to helping with litigation costs now over $350,000 last year, I get no response. Not even a one dollar offer let alone $100.
So that puts us in a tough spot because we find ourselves with limited resources in our fight against a wealthy, bloated government entity that can afford to spend millions of dollars on litigation as if that sum were just a simple rounding error. Nevertheless, we will continue to fight these battles until we finally win. I can also assure you that other organizations across the United States are fighting court battles over these same issues, and with the current composition of the United States Supreme Court, we hope that one or more of these cases will get finally a favorable decision.
Commenting on accommodation is key
Almost daily, I talk to landlords who have lost $100,000 in rent due to government action and the “moratorium”. It’s just not fair. We rental property owners are not huge faceless corporations, and it is we who are suffering here when in most cases I have encountered tenants who are just “playing” with the system while we are taken advantage of. Isn’t it ironic (I’m being facetious here…) that when the state of California announced the rental assistance program, “Housing is Key”, that even more tenants stopped renting. pay their rent? Much like unemployment fraud, I can guarantee that a large portion of the rent relief funds went to those who weren’t eligible or didn’t deserve it, and therefore some who were eligible or were left out could have been helped.
shot themselves in the foot!
Not long ago, I was contacted by Mayor Garcetti’s office seeking our help with housing law enforcement interns. The City of Los Angeles had hoped that after about two years of difficult rent collection, despite moratoriums on evictions and rent increases, and proposals to eliminate our screening procedures, we would be able to help Subsidize housing costs for law enforcement trainees and new sworn in officers. officers. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate our male and female first responders who put their lives on the line every day to protect those of us in the community.
After hearing the pitch and how much I was going to have to ask our members to lower their rents, I asked the person in the mayor’s office to let the mayor know that the bylaws imposed on landlords by the City are a huge impediment to participation in this proposed rent reduction program (and in general, the acceptance of vouchers). I expressed with great certainty that landlords would like to accept help with the rent reduction program, but there is too much risk involved today with the City’s moratoriums on evictions and rent increases. , tenant anti-harassment orders, overzealous inspectors, proposed removal of tenant screening, and much more.
Our members had also been asked to assume the risk associated with housing thousands of Afghan refugees, and many had signed up until the county extended its eviction moratorium through June 30, 2023 – so interest has decreases.
It is ironic that the government treats people in the housing sector as outcasts, but when they need us, they cry out for our help. What they are doing is bankrupting us. Sorry to be so completely honest about the current regulatory situation, but the saying “shooting yourself in the foot” comes to mind here in regards to the City of Los Angeles (and government in general).
Next month’s rant! Do you speak then…