This article was posted on Monday, Sep 01, 2014

Dear Alison:

Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all your help and advice over the years. Working from home, it is so nice to have a knowledgeable person like you for support. You are the best!  [Alison is AOA’s Branch Manager in Alameda.]           Valerie L. 

Dear AOA:

As owners and managers of residential income property in Los Angeles, we have suffered an array of attacks on our private property rights, indignities at the hands of bureaucrats, and outright confiscations of wealth at the hands of the city and court system.

  • Each year, evictions seem to take longer, are more costly, and tenants have ever greater resources and rights to cause costly delays.
  • Our properties are forcibly and unconstitutionally inspected often resulting in demands for arbitrary upgrades with no consideration of cost.
  • We are limited to rent increases at the “inflation rate” of three percent, while we watch our utility bills and construction costs rise by double digits.
  • When we are unable to maintain ageing buildings with limited rents to the five star standards of the city, we are treated like criminals and our rents are confiscated into REAP.
  • We are subject to often specious lawsuits for mold, discrimination or work related injury, all of which we must pay to insure against and to litigate.
  • We are subject to fees for “rent stabilization” and “code enforcement”, and charged fines that would make the mafia blush if we do not pay on time.
  • We are required to pay exorbitant “relocation fees” to tenants when we are no longer able to afford the cost of maintaining an older building, or simply because we would like our property back after a reasonable notice period.

In our society, when workers have a grievance, the result is commonly a strike. Fast food workers, hotel staff, auto workers all do it. Even government bureaucrats shamelessly demanding a larger share of our tax revenue in the face of an economic depression do it.

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And yet, there has never been a strike by one of the most necessary yet maligned segment of our society: the provider of residential housing, a basic human necessity.

As we struggle to make ends meet in the face of rising taxes, junk fees, inflated material costs and legal costs, we are treated like criminals for our efforts. And to date, we have absorbed the abuse without much of a fight.

I hereby call on all landlords to rise up and push back.  Each one of us must leave one unit, a “protest unit”, vacant. If each of us participated in this strike, we would create an enormous housing shortage and perhaps gain the leverage we need to reassert our God given rights to own and manage our properties without unconstitutional interference, tyranny and oppression.

We can gripe about our oppression and continue to suck it up and struggle to make ends meet, or we can take an active stance to roll back the abuse. The choice is yours. Miriam J

AOA: Miriam, I could not agree with you more! Owners in San Francisco are doing just what you suggest only leaving more than just one unit vacant. Some even do it in L.A. The big problem is that most owners do not feel they can afford the loss of rent which prevents your great idea from ever happening.

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