Letters to the Editor …

Supervisors Extend L.A. County Moratorium!

 

Below are some letters sent to the L.A. County Supervisors opposing the extension of the moratorium.

 

To the Board of Supervisors:

- Advertisers -

From:  Nicholas Gessler, Ph.D – 

As a Ph.D. in Anthropology, a Social Science, I can’t believe you are taking this set of recommendations seriously.  Where is the input from other social scientists?  Where is the input from the medical profession?  And what about us, the mom-and-pop housing providers in this city?  You portray landlords as evil oppressors and tenants as innocents oppressed.  You talk about “evidence-based” policies, but where is the evidence?  

I have worked closely with my tenants and neither they nor I benefited from your assumed assistance.   We are a country of individuals who can work things out without state or county interference.  We mom-and-pop rental property owners provide most of the affordable housing.  It is clear that you are trying to take over rental housing in this city and county.  You already have policies in place to drive mom-and-pop landlords out of the market in order for you to control all housing.  Your policies have enabled tenants to continue to rent for a fraction of the market rate while conducting businesses out of their homes, working on cars, storing exorbitant amounts of equipment and creating trashy messes while hiding their cash income from tax authorities.  They are parasites on honest and hard-working tenants and landlords.

Your departments are two years behind in their obligations to keep their records up to date.  Moreover, I thought “USURY” was illegal in this country.  Businesses and credit card companies are prohibited from charging usurious rates, however, LAHCID can charge 100% of monies owed if not paid on time.  Where is the fairness in that?

With regards to COVID, we are now learning that the fear tactics in over-reporting COVID deaths have been significant.  UCLA, CDC, WHO and leading professionals like Dr. Fauci have said that Omicron is now endemic.  He and Pfizer say that Omicron is headed in the direction of joining the other viruses with an Omicron vaccine to be added to our annual flu shot.  Everyone has had the opportunity to be vaccinated.  Those who are vaccinated have a miniscule chance of dying from Omicron.   When the sick-time allotment for COVID illness is two weeks, what justification is there for extending the emergency order for months and years?  Tenant self-certification is disgusting.  Where is the fact-based evidence that should be required to receive benefits from contracting COVID?  Omicron is now compared to a mild flu for vaccinated folks.  Be professionals.  Think.  Vote “no”.   

To L.A. County Supervisors:

From:  Stephen Fleschler

I am appalled at the taking of property (or labor) without compensation.  No other industry or service has moratoriums lasting years.  Imagine retailers giving away their products or businesses and professionals from attorneys, doctors, accountants, plumbers, electricians (you get the idea) giving away their services.  Rental housing is both a product and a service.  Why should the burden of providing it for free without regard to the tenant situation be executed by our government officials and the courts?   

My own experience indicates that even low-income tenants who have had continuing Covid (in nursing homes) cannot get Rent Relief funds (turned down due to the tenant unable to sign a new rental agreement).  No, I’m not evicting this 12-year tenant as her son lives in the unit but he can’t receive any rental relief either (also low-income employee).   STOP THIS COMMUNIST TAKEOVER OF RENTAL HOUSING.    

To L.A. County Board of Supervisors:

From:  Zubair Ahmad, Easy Rental Management, LLC.

I have read and oppose the 3- Phase Eviction Moratorium Plan for several reasons:

  1. You seem to think that housing providers should bear the burden for the societal problem of affordability and housing. What have you, as an individual L.A. County employee, contributed to mitigate the problem? Why don’t you lead by example? I suggest, the County CEO, all Supervisors, DCBA employees, LACDA, and general counsel should return their paychecks for the last 20 months back to the county so the county can hand it out to the people who are in real need.  Or how about you stop taking a paycheck for the full term of this 3-phase moratorium that you are proposing. Can you live without a paycheck for a month or four years? 
  2. Because that is what you expect from the housing providers. You expect us to provide all our services to the tenant without direct and timely compensation. Which, in fact, is the very definition of enslavement! Why don’t you lead by example!
  3. Landlords are a for-profit business. They may volunteer but should not be forced to provide FREE:
    • Use of their asset which is their rental property;
    • Services such as maintaining the habitability of the property,
    • Utilities such as trash, sewage, water,
    • Upkeep such as landscaping, pool, maintenance

You are essentially asking us to be slaves to our tenants and the county. Providing FREE services without direct and timely compensation is servitude. The county is taking our property ownership right without fair compensation. This compensation must be paid before the ownership rights are taken, not after.

4. The county has made the argument that the landlord may take the tenant to Small Claims court for the unpaid rent and pass-through costs after the moratorium ends. Has the County conducted any study to find out what the recovery rate for that unpaid rent is? It is logical to assume that if the tenant is not paying their rent when it’s due what would motivate them to pay it back in the future when they have an obligation to pay their other rent to a new housing provider at that time? The recovery rate for unpaid and past-due rent is close to zero. And … if the landlord is fortunate enough to get the rent back through collections, the landlord will typically have to pay 30% of the rent to the collection agency. How is that fair?  

5. There are many essential expenses for a household – why are you only picking on housing? Why is there an eviction moratorium, and a rent increase freeze for housing providers but there is no moratorium for:

  • Employees leaving their job to seek higher wages.  Why are you not forcing them to stay at their current job and continue to be paid the same wage they were earning in 2019?
  • Fuel price hikes -that’s a 37% increase (average price for a gallon of gas was $3.42 in January 2020 and is now $4.67). Fuel is a major expense of a housing provider. Why are you not freezing fuel prices?
  • Building materials price hike – the average price of plywood is up 90% since 2019. Wood is essential to all repairs and is a major expense of a housing provider. Why are you not freezing building material prices? Source: https://www.floordaily.net/flooring-news/lumber-prices-skyrocketing
  • Food price hike and shortage -according to USDA, food-at-home prices have increased 3.1%. How are housing providers supposed to feed their families? Why are you not freezing food prices?

6. I have property in the unincorporated part of Whittier. The current monthly rent is $2,550. There has been a rent freeze for the past two years and you are planning to extend it. Has the county performed any study on the fact that housing providers may not be able to pay their workers or bills for the property? Rent of $2,550 translates into $85/day after paying for the mortgage, property tax, and insurance and only $19.54/day is remaining to pay for landscaping, property management, repairs & maintenance, and utilities – leaving me with a LOSS of $18.34/day.  See details below – is that fair?

7. Self-certified income level that meets the 80% AIM and financial hardship. This is a joke, right? I have seen tenants that self-certify that their income has been impacted by Covid-19 who go on lavish vacations, buy new cars, wear new clothes. News flash! Tenants are lying on their self-certifications because there are no consequences to lying.  What are you doing for housing providers who fall into this category of income level that meets 80% AIM and financial hardship? Are they able to self-certify and get a property tax holiday for all future years until they recoup their losses? If the tenant is impacted, they should be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt through documentation or be subject to an eviction. Why are the tenant’s personal finances my problem? Why are housing providers the only ones required to accept this self-certification? Why can’t I walk into a grocery store and walk out with a cart full of groceries without paying and then self-certify that my income level meets the 80% AIM and I have financial hardship? 

8. Shelter is equally essential to food and safety. Responsible tenants understand this. That is why they pay their rent and bills on time. So, why are you giving a free pass to irresponsible tenants?   Giving away my money to these irresponsible tenants is going to have the following long-term impact:

  • The tenants who are responsible and paying on time will feel like fools. They will begin to mimic the behavior of irresponsible tenants because you are letting them get away with bad behavior – breaking the covenants of their agreement.  So, you are essentially turning the good people into bad.
  • One day the gravy train is going to end. And where will these irresponsible tenants be then – on the street! And, because you have now modified their behavior to seek a handout every time they have a problem. That is exactly what they will do. They will be begging on the street. Will you come to their rescue then? Because as you may have noticed, we already have a homeless problem which you have failed to cure.
  • There will always be a new problem. So, will there be a new moratorium every time there is an earthquake, a windstorm or a mudslide? Where will it end? You are making the tenants dependent on hand-outs and on the government to save them. Can you commit to saving them every time?

9. You have taken an unfair/unjust advantage of homeowners. You have forced us to be on a 

rent registry so you can control our assets in the near and long-term. We cannot even exit the rental industry if wanted to. Your rent control (RSO, MRSO) laws are discriminatory, bias, and segregate people. These laws will destroy the rental market in the long run:

  • Homeowners will lose their home because they cannot pay their mortgage without the rent. And they cannot continue to lose money on a monthly basis because of your rent freezes and caps.
  • Single-family homes with tenants will have lower market value and few buyers because most people buy a home to live in, not to rent. And no one wants to take on someone else’s headache.  
  • As soon as the unit is vacated by a tenant, homeowners will seek to sell the unit rather than rent it again.
  • There will be a large exodus of small landlords from the market because:
  1. Most small owners are not equipped and do not have the resources to meet all your documentation requirements and keep-up with the ever-changing laws, increasing fees, and outrageous penalties.
  2. You have set the bar for rental property owners so high that an owner would have to be a full-time lawyer or have a legal team now to be successful. Or they would have to pay thousands of dollars a year to a lawyer to assure they are meeting all your requirements to maintain the tenancy or even have the opportunity to evict them. There is no reward to managing the rentals. There are no profit margins. There is no help – (resignations caused us to lose our employees). There is no support: the city, county, state, and the courts are all biased and favor the tenant. Everyone thinks the housing provider is the bad guy.  
  3. Most small landlords are in the 40+ age group. And the rental property is a major part of their retirement plan. This was supposed to be a passive income business. But due to the new laws, regulation, fees, and penalties, it is no longer a passive income business. Instead, it is a burden on property owners, their families, and their inheritors. Why would anyone pass on their wealth this way again?  
  4. Small rental property owners will be replaced by large corporations like Black Rock. Why would a homeowner continue to struggle with tenants, ever-changing laws, regulations, exorbitant fees, and excessive penalties? Small housing providers would rather just sell their property to whomever will pay the most and not ever have to deal with this issue again.

10. Why do I have to pay a tenant a large compensation to vacate my property? Do you think small owners mint money? I have given you an example of how much we make. Most of the time, small landlords lose money on rentals. So how do you expect us to pay tens of thousands of dollars to have the tenant return control of the property to us? How is that fair? A tenant has an agreement. The agreement has a term. When the term ends the owner should be able to request the tenant to seek other accommodations without any additional costs. Why is this not reasonable?

11. Why do I need to have the same family dynamics as the tenant to move my family into  

my own property? This is discrimination. What if I don’t have an older person in the family or a disabled one; what if I don’t have young children? Every family is different. Why are you  

discriminating against my family?

12. Owner harassment of tenant – this is so biased. What about the tenant’s harassment of the owner?

 I have to wear a bodycam when I go into tenants’ homes because you have no idea  

 what kind of abuse employees and I have to deal with on a daily basis at the hands of the 

 tenant. If you are going to make a rule it should apply to both parties.

Should you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding any of the content listed above, please feel free to contact me directly.   Cheers, Zubair Ahmad, Easy Rental Management, LLC.

Read more articles from the March edition of the AOA Magazine