7 Easy Ways to Screw Your Landlord Profiling D.C.'s live-in housing inspectors

Robert Meganck

Excess Paint

Kathryn Harris looked like a solid renter. That’s what landlord Grace Newman thought, so she knocked $300 off her original asking price of $1,600 for the monthly rent and even gave Harris a break on the security deposit.

Harris, who listed her job as a substitute teacher with an income of $45,000, promptly moved in to 407 Missouri Ave. NW, a renovated row house with a small front porch. It was October 2001. She would later say about the house, “It wasn’t very spectacular. It was just a plain house…with a raised lawn.” Harris trucked in her antique Chippendale-style sofa, her claw-footed mahogany dining table, and her handmade Oriental rug. She put up her original artwork by Elizabeth Catlett, the famous D.C. sculptor and printmaker, and called the place home.

Then the problems started, beginning with the shower. Drip. Drip. Drip. “Some pipe in the shower was leaking, and she couldn’t turn off the water,” Newman says. “We’d meet there, and she would not let us in.”

Harris filed complaints with the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). The house didn’t have smoke detectors, Harris claimed, although Newman says they were installed on both floors. Nails in a wooden ledge at the entrance to the bathroom posed “a health and safety violation,” Harris typed in a document. In addition, excess paint on the first- and second-floor French doors had not been adequately removed.


In December 2001, Harris took out a restraining order against Newman, citing “bizarre behavior” on the part of her landlord. She withheld rent. After issuing a payment of $2,200—the first month’s rent and the deposit—she never paid it again.

In an attempt to collect, Newman filed a nonpayment of rent case against Harris. Harris wouldn’t pay. Newman then filed to evict her tenant. According to court documents, Harris came down Missouri Avenue on June 21, 2002, about seven months after she moved in. In a court hearing, this is how Harris described the experience: “[A]s I got closer and closer to my house, I saw something that looked like it could have been my file cabinet….But I said, ‘No, it couldn’t be my file cabinet.’ And then…I realized that it was my file cabinet….And I was perplexed. I know that they didn’t do this because we had an agreement.”

Harris claimed she had not received the eviction notice and, as a result, she came home to find her possessions—the rug, the table, the antique sofa, a gold-trimmed lamp—damaged and open to looters. She sued Newman, Newman’s brother (who didn’t own any part of the house but filed the eviction orders for his sister, who has cancer), and Newman’s daughter, whose involvement with the house entailed putting the eviction notice on the front door. (The daughter’s name was later dropped from the lawsuit.)

A judge found in favor of Harris. Six years later, Harris’ lawyers are still trying to recoup more than $100,000 from Newman, who sold the house, is unemployed, does not own any other property, and is living with her daughter in Laurel.

Newman’s attorney, Mark Chalpin, says Harris preyed on his client and worked the loopholes in the system. “They won’t take the fact that she doesn’t have any money as an answer,” Chalpin says. “She sold the house…she paid off debts. But the money’s gone.”

According to the D.C. Superior Court database, four District landlords have brought cases against Harris. The D.C. Government Credit Union is currently suing her for $4,385.22.

Harris, when contacted, declined to comment.

D.C.’s housing code is designed to protect residents. It takes up about 70 pages and covers everything from heating and lighting requirements to weatherproofing to repair and maintenance protocol. Of course, city employees aren’t the only ones in town who know the code in and out. Certain tenants have become experts as well.

Here’s our survey of some of the District’s “live-in housing inspectors”— tenants who have an uncanny knack for finding those malfunctioning windows, those rusty sinks, and that peeling paint.

Inaccessible Gutters

Douglas Lanford originally rented his single-family house in Georgetown to James Linen for $1,575 per month back in 1994. In 2002, the landlord, who had moved to a long-term care facility in Alabama because of deteriorating health, tried to raise the rent. Linen protested the increase and called the housing inspector.

According to court documents, the inspector generated several housing violation notices and directed them to Lanford in Alabama. Three items on the punchlist were for a refrigerator problem, a smoke detector problem, and a problem with standing water in the basement. According to one of Lanford’s attorneys, Linen also complained of accumulating leaves that blocked a roof gutter and a broken toilet handle that caused a flood.

“[Linen] calls the inspector to come to the house on a moment’s notice,” says Stephen Hessler, Lanford’s lawyer. “The inspectors are so mad…they don’t come out anymore.”

When a contractor working for Lanford tried to schedule repairs, Linen informed the contractor that he was boarding an airplane that afternoon and would not be back to the house for more than three weeks. No repairs could be made in his absence; Linen had installed a security system and did not want to give a repairman access to the code.

Hessler says the case is still tied up in court because Linen has filed tenant petition after petition with DCRA’s Rental Accommodations and Conversion Division (RACD)—the authority that decides if rent increases are justifiable. He has not paid Lanford any rent directly in years—it all goes into the court registry and is not subject to any increases while RACD is looking into Linen’s petitions.

“It’s probably not appropriate for me to talk about it,” Linen says of the matter. “There’s no need for me to publicize the case.”

Stubborn Windows

Ravenell Keller was renting an apartment to Gail Stone at 5912 9th St. NW when he increased her monthly rent from $550 to $650. Stone ignored the increase and continued paying $550. Two months after the increase, Keller filed for eviction and sued Stone for back rent.

Stone demanded a jury trial and maintained she didn’t owe Keller anything because housing-code violations rendered her lease void. A housing inspector arrived at the scene and reported that her apartment had rusted sinks in the bathroom and kitchen, and the refrigerator had a rusted motor. Also, the inspector found peeling paint in the kitchen under the sink. He noted that the front door wasn’t weatherproofed, and windows in the apartment didn’t “open and close with ease.”

Keller was cleared of the violations, but he never did get his rental increase. Stone maintains violations persist, including a sticking door, cracks in the walls, and a broken mailbox. She also says, “I don’t have a light on the back porch, but everybody else does.”

Pending a decision by the RACD, Stone pays rent into the court registry, and Keller can’t raise the rent. He says that all the other tenants get yearly increases, and since Stone’s been paying in the court registry for almost a decade, “she’s way behind.”

My Rug!

In spring 2002, the Consulate, a residential building on Van Ness Street, filed to evict a tenant from her apartment after she failed to pay full rent for February and March. When a water heater burst shortly after the complaint was filed, the tenant, an attorney representing herself, counterfiled a complaint, accusing her landlord of housing-code violations—“chronically malfunctioning appliances, utilities, plumbing and attachments.”

“I do not believe that I am delinquent in my rental payments, and if I were deemed to be so, I believe that I have a valid argument for set-off in counterclaim for an amount which far exceeds any rental obligation they maintain is delinquent,” she wrote in a statement to the court. She went on to charge that the broken boiler had flooded and caused more than $2,000 worth of damage to a silk and cashmere Oriental rug, furniture, books, and papers that she had had to discard. She also wrote that a “foul-smelling water” soaked the rug, and she got a nearby rug dealer to back up her claim. The dealer signed a certificate, which put the value of the rug at $1,850. “In our judgment, the rug has no resale value in its current condition,” the appraiser stated.

The tenant claimed she was due “compensatory damages for emotional disturbance, distress and upset, and punitive damages for the reckless or intentional disregard of the health and well-being of the tenant in an amount of not less than one million dollars.”

Later, she moved into a well-appointed eight-unit building right below the National Zoo on Connecticut Avenue. The owner, Greg Grinder, charged her $2,450 per month for the newly renovated apartment. She moved in in April 2004 and paid on time through June. But in July, Grinder says he didn’t get a check. When the rent for August didn’t come in, he says he started to get the hint. Grinder filed a motion to evict her, and the U.S. Marshal service finally kicked her and her things to the curb in March 2005.

Grinder is now suing his former tenant in civil court for the $25,000 she failed to pay in rent from July 2004 through March 2005, including late fees. He says he doesn’t know if anything will come of it, but feels compelled to pursue her in court on “principle,” a word he hates to use but admits fits the sentiment.

“The irony of it is,” he says, “all she had to do at the very beginning is say, ‘Can you work with me?’ I would have done it in a heartbeat. Does she have the money that I’m going after? I don’t know….But I can’t let this thing go. I just can’t.”

The latest listed phone number for the tenant has been disconnected. She could not be located for comment.

The Puny, Noisy Refrigerator

Andrew Zimmer says his tenant was doing more than residing in an upstairs apartment on A Street NE. He had, according to Zimmer, a half-dozen bulky computer-processing units stored inside the apartment for the computer-repair operation he was running there. Broken electronic equipment accumulated in the shared yard. The tenant didn’t put down sound-absorbent carpeting and was always working late at night, dropping heavy objects. The city agreed and filed a violation against him for conducting a business in a residence.

The tenant claimed violations, too. According to court documents, the tenant complained about both his refrigerator and his stove. He said his refrigerator was too small and too noisy, so Zimmer had it replaced. But when the installation guy came with the new stove, the tenant refused to allow him in because he wanted the stove installed only by a “licensed and bonded contractor.” Zimmer produced a contractor, but because that contractor was licensed in Maryland, the tenant refused to let him in. When Zimmer contacted yet another contractor, this time a D.C. licensed and bonded one, Zimmer took the liberty of telling him about his tenant. Zimmer warned the contractor of the tenant’s bizarre habits—how no one else had a key to the unit, and how the guy was always home but often failed to return phone calls and usually stood the repairmen up. The contractor turned down the job.

The Renovated “Dump”

In 2001, Gladys Swann began fixing up her mother’s vacant house. Her mother was ill but intended to move back into the house. Then Swann received an inquiry from a member of the church her sister attended.

“She asked my sister if the house was for rent.” Swann says she told the woman the house at 3801 10th St. NW wasn’t available because her mother would be back in six or eight months. But according to Swann, the eager renter said the timeframe would work for her. “She just wanted a house while she was looking for another place and said six months was sufficient,” Swann says. Swann asked her sister if the woman was trustworthy, and the sister vouched for her fellow churchgoer. Swann says she gave her new tenant a handwritten note saying she could live in the house paying $1,295 a month—the price of the mortgage—for six months. The woman and her family ended up staying for six years.

“Before the six months were up,” Swann says, “I said, ‘Listen, my mother’s getting better, I need the place,’ but she had no intention of leaving. Then she stopped paying.” When Swann filed a motion to get her house back, Swann says the tenant turned around and countersued, saying the house had a list of problems.

“She called it a dump,” Swann says. “She called [a housing] inspector, said there were mice and spiders. She said the windows didn’t work, and she couldn’t open them, and it wasn’t safe.”

Gladys Swann’s husband, Michael, helped her pay attorney and court costs. “It’s horrible, you’ve got to pay for your mortgage then another mortgage, then you’ve got to pay lawyers, which are not cheap,” he says. “You’re looking at $5,000 every time you look at a lawyer for landlord and tenant.”

Swann’s mother died during the six-year battle to get the house back.

According to Swann, she settled with the tenant and her family to get them to move. Meanwhile, says Swann, the tenant claims her grandson got lead poisoning from the paint and is suing for $5 million.

“My wife’s mother was an immigrant from the Dominican Republic,” Michael Swann says. “She scrubbed toilets to get that house….It shouldn’t be like that.”

Enter the Rat

Jeffrey Brier, of the local Martin and Jeff real-estate team, rented out one apartment in a two-unit row house near 9th and S Streets NW to David Schaefer in the spring of last year.

Brier says that Schaefer’s rent is consistently late, and some months, he has to call and harass him to even get the rent. And aside from being late, Brier says Schaefer is quite demanding. He’s always requesting that Brier send someone over to make trifling repairs. “It’s very hard to get people to come in and do little stuff—and everything he asks about is little stuff,” Brier says.

There was, both landlord and tenant acknowledge, a rat problem. Schaefer called Brier to tell him a rat had come in through a hole in the wall. When Brier went over to take a look, he saw bags of garbage accumulating in Schaefer’s kitchen. “The rats had nothing to do with the hole,” Brier says.

This spring, Brier says payments stopped coming. “In March, he promised to get me the rent by a certain date—that day came and went,” Brier says. “Then I get a notice that his February rent check had bounced. I got really furious and made a call that I shouldn’t have made.” Brier says he told Schaefer he was going to change the locks on the apartment and bar him from coming back, but claims it was only in the heat of the moment that he said it. Brier called Schaefer back to apologize, and afterward he stopped receiving rental payments altogether.

Schaefer says there’s more to the story. According to him, there was the rat, then there was an issue with his garage doors, and a key mix-up—he says he only recently got the four keys needed to open all the doors in the building. Also, the electric and gas lines weren’t separated from the other unit in the building, and he’s had to pay more than he owes in utilities.

“There’s been a [repair] list since the day I moved in, and, unfortunately, Jeff Brier doesn’t like to do anything; he just likes to collect the rent,” Schaefer says. “There was a rat that came right through my wall, [Brier’s] response was, ‘Well, there are rats all over the city.’ ”

Although Schaefer admits to paying his rent late, in his defense he says he was never more than 10 days late with it. For now, he’s paying it into the court registry. In all, he says his complaints are more than justified due to the $2,350 per month price tag on the apartment. “I’m paying a lot of money to live here, and I feel like I should have certain things,” Schaefer says.

Our Readers Say

I was thinking about renting my house out. What is the answer for landlords? Sounds like even if you follow the rules you still get screwed.
be nice no matter what. fix everything fast. screen very carefully. it only takes one bad tenant to screw up your life.
Screen, screen, screen!! Call references, check their credit history, etc. Do not be swindled into renting to someone because they seem "really nice" and responsible, professional, older, etc. I almost had a nervous breakdown with my very first tenant. She was exactly like the woman portrayed in the beginning of this article. I did do a background check and what not and there were red flags all over the place but I was inexperienced and she seemed so sincere. Oh ma lans, what a nightmare she was. You have no idea. At one point she tried to say that a mirror fell on her and she had major back problems as a result, threatening lawsuits, etc. Meanwhile, she never went to a hospital and refused to relase her medical records to my homeowners insurance inspector. This was in Montgomery County where the laws are defiitely in favor of the tenant (and I'm sure for good reason) but she finally just left after 9 mos. She tried every single trick in the book and damn, if she wasn't good. She was 40 y.o. and it turns out she had made this kind of crap her lifes work. I heard she ended up doing the very same thing to some other unsuspecting owner in my bldg. I have since had 2 very good tenants who had primo references and credit checks. I also did everything by the book. They are/were somewhat a pain in my ass with their trifling repairs and requests but they pay/paid on time every month! I refused to let the nightmare that this first tenant was define what all other tenants would be. I knew there were decent, responsible folks out there that would love to rent my place and I wasn't going to let her ruin me or my investment.
What has happened ? There was a time when the Washington City Paper had great cover stories that were written well and were interesting. The topics always seemed to be about happenings in Washington, DC that were detailed with information that we could not read in the Washington Post . I guess the times have changed, along with WCP charging folks for the reading of past published articles.

Well, I guess I can check back from time-to-time to see if anything has changed. Changes are hard to deal with -- I thought that I could count on WCP. Don't bite my head off - I just have to vent. Thanks for listening.
Landlords really must do more than credit checks. When I interviewed for a job once they conducted a behavioral event interview which put me in various situations that were likely to occur on the job. Landlords need to be able to simulate situations with tenants to get answers to their questions about tenant integrity. When a landlord has the tenant in front of them during the interview they have a perfect opportunity to see up close and personal what the person is likely to do or not do in specific situations. Trusting references sounds like it can be dangerous for landlords in DC, so perhaps landlords should learn to trust themselves by using their own measures of a tenant’s integrity, likelihood of conducting themselves in a respectful manner, etc. during their tenure as a tenant. The responsibility is and should be on the landlords. Thanks to WCP landlords have been warned. Landlords beware!
The worst tenant I had was a drunk who beat up his girlfriend, kidnapped my dog, probably killed his own dog in a drunken rage and attacked my husband and another tenant. You wouldn't believe how many women get beat up. It's happened a number of times.

So I put in the lease that if the police are called because of a disturbance that is grounds enough for eviction. And also put in the lease that the tenant agrees in advance to allow entry of maintenance and repair people without advance notice if that is necessary. Payment of rent more than 10 days late is reason for eviction.

You can't judge by your gut feeling when you see a person. Con artists are in the business of giving you that good, secure feeling.
Trust me, if you don't have to rent your house/apt out... don't! The rules do little to protect the landlord. I had "squatters"/housesitters who decided to cook drugs in my apt. The only reason they probably left was because the DEA was hot on their ass. In the mean time, I had to go to lots of expense to go thru the court system and when I got my house back - it was torn up.
I try to screen but the article and previous posters are right. There are career renters who know the rules and will do anything to screw you. Good luck!
This article is informative but it cuts both ways.
There is no justice for someone with great refererences who is considerate and pays their rent on time.
Consider the case of the live in landlord who prescribes certain rules for one tenant and not others.
Consider the case of the live in landlord that rents to the dangerous/violent on the word of her international friends thereby negating a credit/background check. This act in and of itself puts all tenants at risk
Consider the case of the live in landlord who brings dangerous animals into the home that threaten tenants.
Now consider being the person who has to deal with all of the above on a daily basis.
I moved into 958 Mt Olivet Rd., NE#3 on Friday Aproil 13, 2007
My landlord Mr. Alvin Bailey, my rent and security deposit wss $700.00
When I asked mr. Bailey for a copy of my lease,mt pro-rated rent fee, and, he informed me that he does not give back pro-rated rent, and I have not received a copy of my lease as of yet, the DC codes thats that I receive a copy of my lease within 7 days, and that I am entlled to my pro rated rent,.
lHe gas not made any repairs, as DCRA has been here to make inspections, and found a number of violations, he nor the company A & A Real Estate at 213 Kennedy St., NW has regeisted with DCRA .
I have filed a Tenant Petition with DCRA. When I moved in Mr. Bailey told me that he was a slum lod, and then he told me that he was selling the builind this I found to be true because I looked it up on the enternet.Also to my surpries I learned this this building is under rent control, since 1991.
Mr. Bailey for four (4) years moving people in and out of his property and evicting people that are too scare to go to court when he threatens to put them out.
The neihbors has tol me that for years Mr. Bailey has been doing the real estate scheme to various tenants.
I am also a retired senior citizen, I retired form DCRA in 1995
I have the same problem, even more I moved into 958 Mt Olivet Rd NE#3 on Friday April 13, 2007, the rent and security deposit nwas $700.00 per month, my rent is curently paid(july, 2007).
My problem begin when I asked the landlod,, Mr. Alvin Bailey for a copy of my lease and to have my rent pro rated.
first he stated that when I moved in that he was a Slum Lord, I said you said that to me in my face, also he say's that he does not give back pro-rated rent, I asked him to make repair, he refuesd and then threathened me,.
I called the police this is when the problems beginm, he is not registed with any licenses from DCRA. I am a retired senior citizen, I retired from DCRA
The tenant laws in DC are absolutely rediculous. They MUST be changed. I live in a condo building and a few people have purchased units with the sole intention of renting them out. While we have had a few really good, respectable tenants, we have had one tenant who is just the pits. She deals drugs from her unit, works as a prostitute (using her unit as her "office"), has been in trouble with the law, and is really bothering the people who live in this building. When the unit owner tried to evict her, he discovered that the process could take more than a year, despite the police reports and other evidence against this low life. He has spent thousands of dollars in legal bills and has admitted that he has now lost more money than he has made off the unit. If you own a property in DC, DON'T rent it out. It's just not worth it in the long-run.
As a tenant organizer and the Program Director of the Affordable Housing Preservation Program at the Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) I wanted to comment on both this article and last weeks article concerning the August Apartments, "Rent Out of Shape." LEDC is currently working at a number of buildings which are confronting the exact same issue that the tenants at the August Apartments are, so we were pleased to see the article bringing this important issue to readers who might now know what's going on in their neighborhoods.

Residents at various buildings across the city where, like the August Apartments, Tenacity has approached the tenants with a proposal to convert the building to condominium have received very poor treatment from Dreyfuss Management - the company that manages all of the buildings that Tenacity has converted to condominiums as well as some rental properties that Tenacity is proposing to convert to condo. In buildings where residents have turned down the condo conversion proposal Dreyfuss has not accepted rent checks from some tenants and the taken these residents to court for non-payment of rent, brought baseless eviction proceedings against residents and provided substandard maintenance.

At one such building, the Norwood at 1417 N St NW, tenants have been without a working elevator for 30 days. Tenant Association members feel that the management and owners are using poor building conditions and harassment as a tactic to displace residents. This is certainly a tactic that we see employed by building owners across the city who are looking to get rid of tenants without the "hassle" of going through an official condominium conversion process or invoking the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act.

Contrary to what is asserted in "7 Easy Ways to Screw Your Landlord" low-income residents cannot simply stop paying the rent even when building conditions include a non-working elevator, bedbug and mice infestation, unreliable hot water, caving in ceilings, mold or security problems - problems that all exist in various combinations at some Dreyfuss managed rental buildings. (Incidentally, these problems do not seem to exist in the condominium buildings that Dreyfuss manages.) In fact, the DC Housing Code provides little help to residents with serious code violations in their buildings since only the most persistent residents, with the support of community organizations, the Office of the Tenant Advocate, Council members and the media, can actually even obtain a code inspection to document their problems. To further complicate the issue, it takes a takes a lot of, well, tenacity, to obtain code inspection reports and re-inspections from DCRA which are critical to proving the existence of code violations and getting them abated. These are facts that owners of multi family buildings in "hot" neighborhoods like Logan Circle and Columbia Heights count on and use as a tactic to convince tenants that life will be easier if they take a few thousand dollars and leave their home so it can be converted to condos and make certain developers much richer while our city's affordable housing stock is rapidly depleted or run into the ground.

Many of the tenants that LEDC is working with have had considerable success in improving conditions at their buildings and preserving their buildings as affordable NOT by "screwing their landlords" or "putting the DC Housing Code to work for [them]" but by forming tenant associations, working in coalitions, negotiating with building owners and most importantly purchasing their buildings as cooperatives. None of these solutions are "easy" but we all know these are not easy times for low and moderate income renters in DC.
Farah misses the point. Landlords are not the bad guys and tenants the good guys, or the other way around. Both parties need protections. Each party needs the other to perform. There has to be a level playing field. In order for low to moderate priced housing to have any chance of surviving in many DC neighborhoods, a landlord has to know that the rent can be collected and that it can get the space back ASAP if there's a bad renter. The current rules do not encourage investment in rental property, they encourage small to medium sized landlords to invest in MD and VA where the rules are far more balanced. The TOPA law discourages development, the rent control rules, housing code and court system in DC don't help either. It is a mess! The facts are that all it takes is a written complaint to your landlord about one cracked bathroom tile to stop any rent increase for 6 months, a tenant that pays rent can basically never be asked to leave an apartment in DC, a slow or no pay tenant can at any time pay up and avoid eviction no matter how ugly the payment history has been, eviction takes months and costs a fortune, the rent control laws are almost impossible for a non-lawyer to understand, if the landlord ever wants to sell then the TOPA law gives the tenant rights of refusal (you can read that as the right to ask for CASH to go away), etc., etc. -- so, ask yourself whether you'd invest in a duplex in DC or get that house and rent out the English basement with those reailites. I know I would not.
This is all very interesting but sounds a bit slanted...the tenant's in fact had "housing code violations" and the law properly protects tenant's from rent increases while "make-a-buck" owners repeatedly let properties rust. Sounds like DCRA is the culprit along with the owners for not enforcing violations against "make-a-buck" landlords and then the upstanding landlords get screwed.

IF DCRA played their assigned part--these problems may not exist.
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Does that mean you don't have to pay rent because you don't have a lease and if the place is so bad why not look for a better place. Should the owner take a loss because you are a senior citizen. Or are you like all the other dispicable Tenants wanting to take advantage of a system designed to give you unbelievable liberties.
I think it works both ways. In my more than 15 years of being a tenant. I have seen the landlord screw the tenant more times than it being the other way around. In fact, having just recently moved in to an apartment I am going through a similar experience with my landlord. He will collect rent but doesn't like to do repairs. It has gotten to the point that I had to call the city in. Don't get me wrong, I don't condone trying to beat the system or getting over on anyone. However, when the landlord is so lazy that he refuses to make repairs and keep up the property like he is suppossed to under the law. Then I find it hard to feel sorry for him/her when they get slapped in the face by the hands of justice.....
our landlord claims we are not to open are front door for air circulation, due to the fact the front porch is for the upstairs tenant.we have no problem not using the front porch/door for coming and going but can he stop us from opening it for air circulation? next.... their was a stray cat that came around that was wounded being an animal lover i began to feed the cat outside (never allow it in the house)and doctor its wounds. everyone else has cats in the house without an issue,anyways he stats we are not to feed it or pet it. is this allowed? please help with any information!!! chadtrent31@yahoo.com
I have been a tenant and a landlord today I have the lucky objective view of being a landlord and a tenant at the same time! Yes I rent a home in my town and have my rental properties under management in another city I moved from. The first thing I must say is there is good reason for landlord and tenants to both have rights. Imagine living in a place where there is no protection of private property. Generally speaking areas like this are 3rd world for that very reason because property rights do not exist and no on in there right mind would invest one dollar in an area that cannot protect property rights. That said now that you understand why Landlords need protection just the way you do when you walk down the street your wallet needs protection from a person that might mug you. On the other hand a tenant needs his rights protected in order for a civilization to be safe. Imagine buildings 3 stories and higher that were not safe and could collapse at any moment. Even most sane landlords would agree that this is too much risk and not worth the profits.
The rent caps that exist in areas and the over exuberance of building codes and regulations may make the cities safe from landlords but what does it do the the city? Too much regulation will ultimately cause a flight of money to areas less regulated. Rent caps over time cause an unnatural pressure on the market place since 2 things happen. 1st the values of property sky rocket. Few honest builders and less development happens because rent control = lower profits means less available housing which is exactly opposite of the objective the rent control was suppose to accomplish in the first place. Rent control actually caused higher rents everywhere else since there are few units built for fear of those units once built would come under rent control or high regulation. You can strip wealth away from those that build it but let me ask you this If I mug you on the street would you keep traveling down that street with cash in your pocket? Or would you avoid that street altogether and maybe invest elsewhere? Its a simple equation. The rent place is just another market that when regulated it just adds expense and governing expense gets tacked on to the end user product which is your apt you rent! I think we know some regulation is necessary but if you over regulate you basically make the product more expensive for most that is except for a few folks that got lucky that rented a rent control apt 10 years . lol As a person on both sides of the fence I understand as a tenant I do small repairs on my own and guess what my landlord doesn't raise my rent. If you decide to have an adversarial relationship with someone you do business with plan not to do business with them for long. I mean really do u bitch about the grocery owner getting rich on buying loaf of bread at the store? Well if you want the product buy it no one has a gun to your head forcing you to live in that apt. If I want to move I move if I don't like the place I don't run to government like a cry baby that there is a window with a small crack or there is a bat or mouse in my basement. I get rat poison or a shovel and wack the mouse. If the place is really bad I move. If you cant afford the rent then your in the wrong apt or have the wrong income for that apt its that simple. If you think government has the responsibility to babysit everything you or your landlord do in life your wrong. Now if your unit is trash and not habitable then call the building inspector and get it taken care of but more important move out! into a unit that is not unsafe or unhealthy. Remember if the product sucks then buy a better product. On the other hand if you are too broke to afford a good product/apt then increase your income instead of ripping off a hard working property owner by staying for free until they kick you out. To me your a thief when you decide not to pay. If you don't practice the buyer beware thought in your mind your bound to have problems in your life whether you are a renter and rent a bad apt or are a landlord and you dont screen a tenant properly. Sometimes I have felt there is no longer enough choice in the market place. The regulation has made my life bland and boring who will make a law that stops me from dying of boredom in such a pasteurized society. LOL
i have an issue with my slumlord in alpine california and no one can help me but when it comes to collect the rent we should have it i told him he should be a politition but he didnt get what i ment by that if theres some one out there that can help me and my family please feel free .
I have had it and I am going to sell my rentals. Fortunately they are 3 separate houses on a lot. This will be great for an extended Mexican family (and my good luck is I live in California so no trouble finding one) I have treated my tenants with respect, charged them a more than fair rent,have been understanding with late rent, even helping some out (like running them to the car rental agency when one of their cars was broke, and to the junk yard). I believe I will be better off cashing the money and using it right now for my enjoyment. And most landlords would be wise to do the same. Tenants have so many rights, yet landlords so few. Well this will eventually create a rental shortage, and guess what, I don't give a damn.
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