AOA Million Dollar Trade Show and Landlording Conference a Huge Success!
And AOA Files Grand Jury Complaint Against Los Angeles Rent Control Board

Trade Show a Huge Success!
Our 30th Anniversary “Million Dollar Trade Show” last month was a huge success! You should have been there! Our members were more educated, motivated and stimulated by some very knowledgeable speakers who helped give them that one idea that would help them make and keep more money than ever! Some even walked away with valuable prizes given away at every seminar! WOW! Where else could you possibly spend a more profitable day? There was no place in the world like the Los Angeles Convention Center on Wednesday, October 17th! Thousands of our members really know how to take advantage each year of this incredible source of information and…it was all free! It’s just one of the many services we provide our members in addition to the lowest membership dues and credit check fees as well as the best service in town!

Many thanks go to our dynamic speakers – Jeff Taylor “Mr. Landlord”, Eviction Attorney Dennis Block, Foreclosure Specialist Bruce Norris of the Norris Group, Attorney Stephen Duringer, Tax Lien Specialist Wayne Gray, Attorney Dale Alberstone, Asset Protection Expert Bud Lethbridge, and Tax Attorney Phil Panitz!
They provided the most powerful and contemporary information on wealth-building and apartment landlording that you’ll ever be able to find.

Our thanks also go to our large variety of exhibitors and their commitment to our members in offering the best possible professional assortment of services. Be sure to see highlights of the show and photos included in this issue and on our web site at aoausa.com!

And…a very special thanks goes to you, our members, who truly are the essence of our trade show success! Your generosity to our Union Rescue Mission’s “Christmas in October” program was greatly appreciated. Thank you! And your thirst for knowledge in your pursuit of excellence is a driving force in the betterment of our industry! A thousand thanks….and we’ll see you at our next trade show at the Long Beach Convention Center on April 25, 2013.

It pays and saves you big just to be an AOA member. BUT…it pays and saves even more for those owners who turn up every year to discover new ideas at the Big Show!
Be sure to mark your calendar for “AOA Show Time” at the Long Beach Convention Center on April 25, 2013.

AOA Files Grand Jury Complaint
Against Los Angeles Rent Control Board!

Recently, members of the Berkeley Grand Jury, (who serve as “watchdogs” to the city, county and district operations), addressed civil complaints filed by citizens regarding the public offenses, high registration fees and other injustices of the Berkeley Rent Control Board.

After reviewing the complaints, the Grand Jury submitted their 2011-2012 final report to the Superior Court. This report contains a detailed account of its activities, together with suggestions and recommendations representing the investigations by the entire Grand Jury.

Stating that “lack of accountability” was a common theme among elected or appointed boards with no oversight other than voters, here is what 2011-2012 Alameda County Grand Jury Final Report reported on the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board (BRSB).

AOA filed a Grand Jury complaint and request to investigate the very biased laws of the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Board, the REAP program, Code Enforcement and the Housing Department. We recommend you do the same!

The Grand Jury reported that the Rent Stabilization Board is elected by Berkeley residents and is generally pro-tenant with little accountability to the landlords who fund the operations of the board. Thus, the board has little to no incentive to control costs. In an era where most governmental entities must control costs, BRSB has been exempt from these pressures because it has a dedicated source of funds and is a self-sustaining bureaucracy. Berkeley voters are the only ones who can change the direction of the BRSB and so far they have not shown any inclination to do that.

While the BRSB does provide rent control that voters appear to want, the board is not providing strong enough oversight, not holding the agency accountable–not scrutinizing personnel hiring, not questioning compensation, not balancing both landlord and tenant interests, and are not trying to constrain increases in registration fees. For example, the executive director makes an exorbitant salary that comprises nearly 5% of the entire budget of the agency. The Grand Jury finds this unacceptable and concludes the board needs to reprioritize services and to reduce costs not only in its administration but in services to the citizens of Berkeley.

The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board’s independence from the city of Berkeley
contributes to its excesses. Too often, it operates without traditional administrative controls that could be provided by the city of Berkeley.

RECOMMENDATIONS (by the Grand Jury)

• The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board must reduce the high rental unit registration fees.
• The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board must allow landlords to pass through a larger proportion of the registration fee to tenants.
• The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board must ask the city of Berkeley Human Resources Department for a thorough position-control audit to evaluate the number of staff, the classifications and workload.
• The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board must ask the city Human Resources department to provide more comprehensive salary comparisons regularly and use them in setting salaries and benefits, including those of the executive director and the board members.
• The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board must conduct annual performance reviews of the executive director to provide more effective oversight.

AOA Files Grand Jury Complaint for Los Angeles!
Berkeley is not the only city where housing providers are being raped. On September 26, 2012, we filed a Grand Jury complaint requesting an investigation of the very biased laws of the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Board, the REAP program, Code Enforcement and the Housing Department.

We stated: “For the past 30 years, the L.A. Rent Stabilization Board (LARSB) has created more and more unfair “laws” regarding code enforcement, their REAP program, citing of landlords, absorbitant relocation and SCEP fees and fines. Attached is a specific list of items that have been enacted by the LARSB and our L.A. City Council that are considered unconstitutional, biased against landlords and in need of modifications that do not violate the rights of housing providers.”

Here is what we’ve asked the Los Angeles County Grand Jury to address:

1 –Rent Escrow Assistance Program (REAP) Rent Discounts
When a building is taken away from its rightful owner by the city and placed in REAP, renters are given a 50% discount in rent if they agree to pay it directly to the Housing Department who keeps it. This encourages that tenant to do what they can to keep the building in REAP by tampering with smoke detectors and cause other damages to the property so that it becomes very difficult for landlord to get his building out of REAP.
Also, by not receiving full rent, it cripples the landlord financially from making the necessary repairs as well as making mortgage payments. Taking a building from an owner and lowering rent payments is not only unconstitutional, but also completely negates a legal, written contract binding the landlord and the tenant. The landlord is not given a trial as his property rights are flagrantly violated.

Currently, the L.A. Housing Department has confiscated over 1,700 apartment buildings by denying the owners any income from said buildings.

2 – All REAP hearings are held in a make-believe court with a city employee who wears a judge’s robe.
It is a denial of due process of law for an employee of the L.A. Housing Department to put on a robe, pretend to be a judge and place a property in REAP. This process, as it is now, is a civil rights violation that must be put to an end immediately.

3 – Los Angeles Rent Control Systematic Code Enforcement Inspectors do not cite destructive tenants.
When a tenant causes damage to their unit or the apartment building- even when there is proof that the tenant has created that damage, the housing inspectors still unjustly cite the owners for that damage and force the owners to make the repairs. The owner is not even allowed to evict the destructive tenant.

4 – The Los Angeles City Rent Control Board Forces Property Owners to Pay Exorbitant Tenant Relocation Fees
The L.A. City Rent Stabilization Ordinance requires a landlord, whose building is under L.A. City rent control, to pay a renter up to $18,300.00 to move out of their building. This amount is unjust, unreasonable and exorbitant.

5 – Late Rent Registration Fees
Currently, if a landlord pays their rent registration fees late, Los Angeles Housing Department’s (LAHD) Rent Stabilization Board charges a late fee fine of 150%! The courts have found that any rental payment late fee passed on to tenants above 4 to 6% of their monthly rental amount to be unreasonable and unallowable. Imposing and collecting a 150% late fee for a late payment from property owners for late payment is criminal.

The Grand Jury encourages any person to report violations by filing a complaint against a department, section, agency or official in their County with the assurance that their anonymity will be protected. And… if your building is under the jurisdiction of any rent control ordinance– YOU are being violated and should also immediately file a complaint in your County.

If you have been targeted and violated by any of the L.A. Housing Departments or have had the city take your building through the REAP program, please immediately file your own complaint detailing your specific incidence. Use the Citizen’s Complaint form that can be filled out online at: http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/jury/pdf/investigation.pdf or the form provided on the next page.

Let’s see if we can get the Grand Jury to take a look at the civil rights violations and injustices of the Los Angeles City Rent Control Board that our City Council members should have addressed long, long ago.

We’ll be filing papers in all other rent-controlled cities with flagrant violations, so please send your specific complaint to dan@aoausa.com or snail mail them to the AOA office nearest you.

AOA wishes to thank Bill Hooey for all the investigation and suggestions that helped make this filing possible.

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