On March 24th, 2020, state and local officials made emergency declarations because of a deadly virus that has now claimed the lives of over 816,000 Americans (Coronavirus COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) (arcgis.com). At that time, there were many unknowns. Overnight, millions of people were out of work, while others were dying of a mysterious virus. 

We gave them what we thought would be three weeks which they turned into nearly 100 weeks and caused the ruin of many housing providers.

As I write this, 81% of the California population received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine (Tracking California COVID-19 vaccine distribution – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com). With safety protocols and excellent vaccination rates, what is the city and county thinking? Even Governor Gavin Newsom has declared an end to the state emergency orders. 

The State is Open

California is open for business. As noted by a long-time AOA member, 50,000 people attended the playoffs at Dodger Stadium.  Chase Stadium, (home to the Warriors) is also at full capacity. More significantly, schools and businesses are open.  Even more significant than that,, lower-income tenants have had their rent paid by multiple government programs. The narrative that tenants need more protection is simply misleading and false. 

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Contending for Property Rights

As housing providers, many of you are currently being held hostage by local city or county landlord/tenant policies. There are also, however, even more of you reading that have not been impacted at all. We must continue to contend for those housing providers until all property rights are restored. The 100 weeks the politicians have taken from us today will seem like an inch compared to the mile that they will attempt to take in the future, so we must contend until the end of the emergency orders. 

Here’s a partial list of a few of the specific actions taken in this all-out assault on housing providers – (this list may vary based on your local restrictions):

    1. Freezing rent increases for two years while simultaneously increasing local fees and taxes
    2. Freezing evictions for nonpayment of rent
    3. Restricting evictions for other breaches of contract
    4. Free labor from “wealthy” housing providers (forced to make repairs regardless if the tenant will ever pay the rent they owe)
    5. Forcing continued payment of utilities for non-paying tenants
    6. Hindering the contractual performance of rental agreements made between owners and tenants
    7. Removing the unlawful detainer status and switching he collection of back rent to small claims court for the “protected time period”
    8. Legalizing unauthorized people to occupy units without allowing proper screening, consent, signing a rental agreement or initiating a ren increase
    9. Criminalizing the rejection of applicants based on their COVID-related rental payment history
    10. Complicating the eviction process to the point that it is nearly impossible to comply with all the rules and regulations without an attorney

Day 698

At the release of this article on February 1st, 2022, it is day 698 since politicians from various cities and counties have seized additional property rights of housing providers under the guise of public safety. There is a great need to continue to contend for these property rights, advocating for an immediate end to the local restrictions place on housing providers., 

 

“Killing the Golden Goose”

Mom-and-pop housing providers provide the largest amount of “affordable housing” by far. These unlawful, draconian edicts are destroying the very type of housing for which the tenant rights groups and City Council members are fighting. As another one of our members wrote, “They have killed the golden goose.”’  (A previous letter to the editor that was written by a member who is getting out of the industry because she’s been utterly destroyed by the emergency order – please read her letter in this issue titled “How Housing Has Been and is Being Destroyed).

 

Final Notes

Here is the definition of socialism according to the “Live Science” website: Socialism – a government in which the means of planning, producing and distributing goods is controlled by a central government that theoretically seeks a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor. 

Political Philosophies 

Below are political philosophies based on the parable of two cows – (https://yoest.com/2009/09/14/two_cows_facism_socialism_comm/) – explained in rental housing provider terms:

People-driven Economy (A.K.A Capitalism)You have two apartment buildings.  You take care of your tenants while building equity, generating a positive cash flow and creating jobs in the local community.  You become financially independent earlier than your peers and end up leaving a beautiful legacy behind for your loved ones.

Socialism (Centrally planned by a few elites) – You have two apartment buildings.  You are forced to sell both at a discount to a local or state entity that will use it for “Affordable Housing” to “even the playing field” for everyone.  A very small group of politicians control all housing and benefit exceedingly by giving favors to other wealthy, powerful people.

Communism – You have two apartment buildings.  The government takes them both and sends you off to a reeducation camp.  A very small group of politicians control all housing and benefit exceedingly by giving favors to other wealthy, powerful people. 

Fascism – You retain ownership of your two apartment buildings. However, you are relegated to the role of property manager, taking orders from state and local officials to direct the use of your property in accordance with national objectives. They dictate how much you charge for rent, how you maintain the building, and force you to discriminate against those marginalized in the fascist power structure. 

Progressivism You have two apartment buildings.  In order to end homelessness and take care of those below median levels, state and local city councils tax and regulate you to the point that you have to sell.  Your buildings end up being purchased by local governmental agencies that will provide “fair and affordable housing” for everyone.

NationalismYou have two apartment buildings.  Your two apartment buildings are taken over at little to no compensation.  Big government becomes the slumlord.

Please remember the number of days that we all have been held hostage to “emergency orders”. Please continue to write to your local politicians who are actively fighting against you, as a housing provider.  Do not be fooled by their words; their actions speak much louder.  

Please hold those politicians accountable through actively voting for the candidates in your political party that will honor and protect property rights. 

 

Never Give In

Our City Council members want you to give up. They hope that you become hopeless and stop writing to them and stop attending city council meetings. We may feel frustrated, but I am reminded of the famous encouragement given by Winston Churchill, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

Jeff Faller - AOA President
Jeff Faller- AOA President

Jeff Faller is President of AOA.  As the son of AOA’s founder, Jeff carries on the commitment to help protect the rights of apartment owners throughout California and to assist you in becoming as successful as possible in all that you do.

 

Read more articles from the February edition of the AOA Magazine