Dan: Below is what I sent to our Governor, per your suggestion. Lawrence Rubenstein
The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor of California
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Governor Newsom:
Clearly, the Coronavirus pandemic is a serious situation. Sadly, our man-made response to it may well make it even worse.
I own properties in the state of California. The State (Governor), City Councils, Mayors, and Supervisors in the entire state have removed all incentives for the marketplace to work in any rational manner. I have lived through many real estate down-cycles (yes, real estate does suffer down-cycles), and as tough as it is on everyone, (tenants and property owners), the marketplace finds a solution.
Tenants generally find a way to pay rent, or find alternative accommodations. They move in with a friend or relative, find a less expensive unit, or perhaps even move out of state – (not a bad idea the way things are going in California). In doing so, I can find a tenant that can fill the unit and pay rent to support the building.
Instead, since March, I have numerous residents who simply choose not to pay. I still, however, continue to pay for the utilities the residents continue using, along with maintenance – (City Inspectors would be all over me if I tried putting that off), City fees – (the late penalties are exorbitant), trash – (the Health Department would be all over me), property taxes – (the County would foreclose on my buildings), insurance (can you imagine letting that lapse in this litigious state), and, of course, the mortgage – (say goodbye to the building).
Please, let the market work. Although it’s not perfect, (some tenants might have trouble relocating), most people will find alternative housing. The current situation is unworkable.
Moreover, why am I, the property owner responsible for the residents’ rent? Is Ralph’s supermarket responsible for the city’s residents’ food? Is Target responsible for their clothing or over the counter medications? Is an auto dealer responsible for residents’ transportation?
I cannot imagine that you have no understanding that running an apartment building is a business, just like any other. It seems the Governor’s office now has a little bit of power and opportunity, (authoritarian power), to impose laws at the expense of building owners. If only you could control food distribution, cars, cell phones or whatever and make everything free of charge. Oh my.
Please, stop your giveaways. Let the marketplace work. It is not perfect, but it is not too bad either. Giveaways have been tried in China by Mao, in Venezuela, in Cuba, and they do not work. Surely you know that.
Please allow tenants to pay their rent starting immediately. This current situation is unsustainable.
I can only hope for a reading of this email, a reply to it, and consideration of its point.
Many thanks, Lawrence Rubinstein
You, Too, Can Help!
Let’s make sure that the Governor considers the points Larry is making. Please tear out this letter and mail it to the Governor at the above address. Let’s flood him with requests to stop forcing housing providers to give free rent to our tenants. Yes, it should be called FREE RENT because that is exactly what COVID-19 rental housing laws are designed to provide!
Also, PLEASE send a copy to the Mayor and even some other politicians. PLEASE, do it now and I thank you! 06