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Friday, September 17, 2021

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News + PoliticsIt's not hard to be an ethical landlord

It’s not hard to be an ethical landlord

An open letter from a property owner to the SF supervisors

Renters demand eviction protections
Renters demand eviction protections

Editors note: Landlord Spike Kahn send this letter to Sup. Malia Cohen, Sup. Scott Wiener, and Sup. Jane Kim, the members of the Land Use and Transportation Committee, which will vote on a tenant protection bill Monday/14.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2015 — I have owned rent control properties in Districts 8, 5, and 10 since the early 1990s.  I currently live in the Mission. I fully support the proposed tenant protections in the comprehensive anti-eviction plan that will come before the supervisors’ Land Use and Transportation Committee on Monday, 9/14.

There is a housing crisis in this city, with unethical owners pushing out long term tenants, purely for greed and extraordinary profit. We don’t live in a time where landlords are plagued by low rent and can’t make ends meet.

I have a tenant who has lived in one of my units since 1965. This is his home. His rent is, of course, below market. But the other units have turned over since I’ve owned the building, and they are renting at market rate, which more than compensates me for his lower rental amount. He’s over 85 yrs old, and if I raised his rent, he would have nowhere else to go. He’s outlived his friends and has no family.  I suppose the City could pay for him to live at Laguna Honda. I moved into the building when I bought the property in 1994. I could have evicted him with an OMI eviction. But that would have been purely to push him out, as there was another vacancy in the building. 

It’s not hard to be an ethical landlord.

If the current rents can’t cover the mortgage of an exorbitant sales price, then landlords shouldn’t buy the building. Housing prices are too damned high. Pushing people out of their homes is wrong.

I fully support the most important protection: mandating that rents of units where tenants had been evicted by owner move-ins and are being placed back on the market, have to be rented at the original rental amount. That is the only thing that will stop unlawful OMI evictions.

You may have heard from other landlords protesting these proposed tenant protections. Good government protects the underdog from abusive practices. Unscrupulous landlords who make up reasons to get rid of tenants just so they can jack up the rents have to be stopped.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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227 COMMENTS

  1. methinks someone has a sociopathic misogyny problem.

    landlord and tenant made a deal that likely covered landlord’s costs and gave landlord some extra profit. now landlord wants more money despite having done nothing to earn it besides sitting on land. tenant likely had more to do with neighborhood’s higher value than landlord. landlord needs to quit being a greedy asshole and shut the fuck up.

  2. Let me rephrase so the message stay here. I look out for myself and that is my right. But you Sir have no right on telling me what I should do with myself. It looks like you already have plenty to worry about with the way you go around putting down the middle classes. Oh for the records I’ve been in the US for 40 great years and I’m as american as apple pie.

  3. Rent control benefits only the SPECIAL protected rent control class. EVERYONE else suffers. It’s unbelievably segregated and unfair

  4. You are right I look out for myself. And who are you to tell what I shall do with my life. I say go fuck your ugly self

  5. The predatory sociopaths are the rent controled tenants who RAPE the landlords of their property for cheap…..

  6. Good, you can keep someone else from having a home in SF, by sqauting there for cheap, for decades. Great job looking out for #1 ….. YOURSELF

  7. They want more money to flip burgers…. Every one has a right to make more money, just like they have a right to more sex. You do what you want, but you are not the boss of other people! Who are you to decide what is too much of ANYTHING for others.? You think you are Jim Jones or the head cult leader Pope ?

  8. There are more landlords than Spike doing the right thing. I too am a landlord. I bought the property at the prevailing price that takes into account into all laws and regulations. I can’t turn the place into a factory, a noisy nightclub, and many other things. Similarly, I can’t legally nor ethically evict the tenant. That is fine with me. I am still making money off of the place, without any hard work of my own. I simply was lucky in making a good investment.

    Landlords are not entitled to make as much money as possible by screwing over their tenants.

  9. What if the 85 year old was his only tenant paying below market rent and he couldn’t “afford” to rent it to him at that rate? This landlord appears to be very good shaming people and also crafting how his situation works well for him. What if it wasn’t working well? it’s easy to “do the right thign” when there is minimal financial pressure. He doesn’t know the situation of ALL landlords.

  10. THANK YOU! Thx for appreciating that good tenants make the city a place that’s so great people want to move here

  11. We would love to hear more of your views on nonconsensual takings. We’ll wait until you’re done explaining them to the Mexicans and the Ohlone.

  12. You take what you want from someone without any concern for their consent. Just like doing ” Ho” without caring about them. Landlords are already denigrated with a zeal in this fetid town, that would make a rapist proud.

  13. We know where Spike is coming from and we know where some of the other commenters are on this subject but I find your constant ribbing of people’s eithics and morals a bit tiresome. Especially from someone hiding behind a black profile pic and has their profile set on private.

    You want a real conversation about any subject, dont hide for all we know you’re just one of those asshat landlords that are flipping buildings and are booting long term tenants for profit. Effectively the anti-Spike Kahn. If you are, say it.

    Grow up, show yourself and join the conversation, until then you are just a blank profile internet troll that doesnt deserve anything beyond this post.

  14. maybe a landlord class is a great idea, as i wonder are all these ‘onerous’ regulations really misguided, unfair and destructive to small-time landlords, or are the regulations just unfortunately confusing and bureaucratic?

    at the city hall ‘eviction protection 2.0’ hearing 9/10/15 there were many chinese landlords opposing 2.0 that i assume had legitimate anecdotes about terrible tenants but most needed a translator to speak and understand what was going on, so they missed 95% of what was being said. they were told ‘2.0’ wouldn’t be worse for them, and that they already could use existing laws to deal with their bad tenants but how will they go about it?

    my nice korean grocer down the street speaks english fairly well and even he can’t figure out legal stuff he needs to do to deal with his problematic landlord. maybe this it the fault of the city laws not being easier to navigate.

  15. Nah man, you’re just some sad dude sitting in the Marina in his tight-whities, mashing at a keyboard with grease-stained fingers, worrying about the market and liberty and… ugh. Never mind. I just threw up a little in my mouth thinking about the shit you say.

  16. What an mazing article. Like your tenant Ive lived in my place for many years. I live with that feeling of loosing my apt at anytime. Thanks for being human. God bless!

  17. I’d say ‘lucky’ as opposed to ‘successful’.

    I prefer the term *scrupulous*.

    I can take the hit financially (at least until I can’t). But no one has explained how I take the hit emotionally, or with my faith in political solutions intact? I feel forever bent, and you all seem so la-de-dah disconnected.

  18. SPUR has gotten on the RC bandwagon. They say its the best-and cheapest, from a policy perspective – way of keeping “affordable” housing. Thus we are likely to see increasing methods to shoe-horn in tenants into tenancies that are BMR.

    In one sense, how do you make room for the bus-boys, janitors, Uber-drivers? Thus the Kulaks are such an expendable commodity – well simply crush them and take what we need. And, oh yes, the line cooks and strippers …

  19. And some, with cheap housing, don’t have to work even though they could pay more. better themselves or their families, or could become perhaps self-sufficient someday.

    The problem here, is that this need has become a political football, and renters are manipulated by pols – each competing to offer ‘more’.

    I wish I had an answer. Aside from “stop digging”.

  20. She also appears to not have any ‘problem’ tenants – the kind that might cause a “nuisance’ which has just been made impossible to cause to cure.

    She reminds me of myself … right before RC landed … and then the problems began.

  21. An amendment was added by Weiner to limit the OMI penalty to 5 yrs out. He convinced Kim that to go out longer would just make Ellis the go-to maneuver; she accepted.

    I agree with him, but feel the 3 yr rule is right. Weiner is obviously playing both sides of the street (“Oh Executioner, just take the pinkie now – leave me the other four”)

    Not understanding how they circumvent Costa, but, whatever. Anything to make the LL suffer.

  22. I haven’t seen (m)any props in SF where the rents covered the price. Well, large ones maybe; but certainly not small prop. Not in the last 30+ yrs anyway.

    Sure, some would pencil out if you factored in /hoped for vacancies. But otherwise, SF props, small props, have come with a premium for forever.

    No, I’ll take that back. I remember a 4U on N Bernal in ’96 for … $250 or 400?? something. It seemed to pencil out if you could OMI. Otherwise, Spike, you’re is a tale of two cities.

    BTW, people keep units vacant for many reasons; one because of all the hassles (like the new-to-be-minted ‘Nuisance Law’) they’re forced to endure. As someone who has forgone a fortune in the last decade-plus (for peace-of-mind), I’d like to be-of-service to those wanting housing; but I can’t justify the possibility of giving a unit away forever – for whatever price in rent (100% MR, 20% MR). Might be a different story if I didn’t live there; then it would just be an investment. As an owner-occupier, I’m directly affected by the mental illness (psycho- or sociopathology) of my neighbors without the corresponding rights arms-lenght neighbors typically have. But that wasn’t the deal when *I* signed up.

    Enjoy your riches; and may the wind of your tenants be always at your back.

  23. I’m glad you’re a decent and humane landlord, and the more of you the better, but appealing to the noblesse oblige of the rentier class is a pretty poor strategy to achieve social justice.

  24. Unfortunately, preserving existing below-market rents for people who have been in SF a long time already will not save the character of the city. It’s the right thing to do for other reasons, but discussing this as the solution to SF’s tech-gentrification is ridiculous. What SF needs to preserve its character is a constant influx of young marginal creative artistic types – the kind of people who share rent on a warehouse, live on the cheap, and do amazing art projects instead of working for the Man. Those people have been priced out of the market. They’ve gone to the East Bay and thy aren’t coming back. SF may have the history but the next wave of art culture will not come from SF.

  25. They’re legally allowed to pay into the city’s affordable housing fund in lieu of actually building BMR units. That isn’t “weaseling out” (As FLOlmstead so moronically put it) of anything.

  26. Not that I really want to jump into this lovely, productive argument that y’all are having… But there have absolutely been developers that have gotten out of BMR housing requirements by paying back money to the city.

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/S-F-developer-cuts-deal-for-break-on-5835933.php

    I do not believe this is the only instance where this has happened. I can remember seeing it happen with other developments as well… I just don’t really feel like spending a half hour on Google to find more.

  27. Oh you’re cute. My current roomate had a stint over in vegas for construction work, and that, THAT is why they’re fussing over new tennants. There’s literally swaths of buildings going up, and rent and costs are low there, even when you take into consideration the cost of ac and water. In the bay it’s not like that: people are getting pushed out of the city by landlords’ greed and coming up north and east for housing.

    Up north we never had rent control, so it’s getting even worse! Our rent jumped by 100$ a month this year, and they’ve done squat to maintain the building. For a new person moving in it’s even more, from 1700 for a studio to nearly three grand for a three bedroom. The only way we’ve survived it is having someone “rent” our couch, and even then we can’t afford basic doctors’ fees or medicine. Because guess what, the local low-cost clinics and the irs doesn’t factor rent costs into net income… I guess they just. Expect landlords to at least be semi-decent people once in awhile, silly them.

  28. Awwwwww, that really hurts. I see you’re still lashing out and resorting to personal attacks when you can’t back up yet another baseless claim. How typical.

  29. Pot to kettle, dude. You’ve been a disgusting troll for a loooooong time. just sittin’ there in your Marina apartment, being a dick, chuckling to yourself and thinking you’re clever.

    Thing is, you’re not clever. You’re just kind of lame, and sad.

  30. The problem with your argument is that we have just spent the last 5 years hearing this from investors, landlords and builders who wish to develop every square inch of SF to “increase supply and lower rent costs.”

    We have way more supply than we did 5 years ago. Rent is more expensive now than it ever has been.

    Your math is shitty.

  31. Spike! Thank YOU! You’ve put a much-needed voice into the discourse, and I really hope that others join you. Reasonable people know that you can’t explain every last detail of your dealings in a relatively brief statement, and it’s intellectually dishonest for people to try to parse your words in a way that would undermine your entire sentiment.

    Keep up the good work!

  32. You’re right, it is just a sad justification for greed. I just like to mess around with certain people on this forum who are reliably ridiculous.

  33. As a tenant, I wonder if there is such thing as natural turnover anymore in this city. Everyone I know, like me, is trapped and can’t move to another part of the city without paying at least twice what we pay now for a smaller unit. I know that at 2K my 2 br is way below market. But to those I know who live in other cities this is still very expensive. 2K now would get me a small one bedroom…maybe. Probably a studio.

    It used to be that if you made more you could afford to upgrade to a larger unit. Now you will pay more for a LOT less. It’s scary being a tenant paying rent for a unit that is way below market value. I survived an OMI last year, but don’t think I’d survive an Ellis Act eviction. I’d have to move to another city.

    The rents have gutted this city and San Francisco has lost a lot of it’s character to people who only live here because that’s where the high paying jobs are.

  34. I think the only problem with this argument is when rent increases are limited to below inflationary amounts landlords who were making money or breaking even before can start losing money over time if they don’t get turnover.

  35. “Landlords don’t set rents; tenants do”

    Really? Ok, next time I’m in the market and I see a place advertised for a certain price I’ll offer them what I think is fair. When they laugh in my face I’ll say “but wcw said that *I* set the rent!” I’ll let you know how that pans out. (I’m sure you already know)

    You are completely ignoring that the landlord-tenant relationship has an inherent power dynamic. Tenants have to follow a landlord’s rules or risk eviction. If we want to paint the walls or have family visit for an extended amount of time we have to ask. Tell me, do you have the do that in your home?

    Landlords, realtors, and market pressures set the price. Those factors are beyond most tenant’s realm of power or influence. If a person happens to be a renter in the position to influence the price then it’s probably not the renter demographic being disproportionately affected by eviction.

  36. “Why does she get more credit than a landlord who only charges low rents rather than market rents?” (whiny statement alert)

    Because landlords in SF don’t do that. If that was happening on an appreciable scale then middle class people wouldn’t be moving out of SF in droves.

    Also, Spike is just getting the credit she deserves for being an ethical landlord who has the guts to speak out against the unethical ones.

  37. Spike, THANK YOU for speaking out. I wish all landlords understood this! Tenants are human beings first and an income stream LAST. Don’t get in the business of property management if you can’t understand how evicting people for profit, especially the elderly and the disabled on fixed incomes is egregious no matter how you look at it.

  38. Stats as of now – 166 comments total.

    46 of them are yours.
    17 of them are mine.

    No contest – you are a blowhard and you dominate every thread.

  39. This may be the most commentary I’ve ever seen on a 48Hills post and its great to see so many people recognizing that one doesn’t have to be a predatory sociopath to be a successful landlord. If you’d like to support more landlords who subscribe to this concept, pay a visit to http://www.facebook.com/SPORCpac.

  40. I don’t support prop 13. I’m stating that it is the law, so landlord’s property taxes aren’t going up and expenses are rising only with inflation, not as high as rents, so stop whining if your profits are not uber high, they still are high enough. Bottom line, don’t buy if you have to evict someone to break even. If you feel you aren’t making enough with rents, sell and invest somewhere else. I’ve beer able to make a small profit by keeping to the principal of not evicting someone from their homes to maximize profits. Thats the bottom line.

  41. A 6.14 notice is issued to each subsequent sub-tenant to ensure that they do not enjoy the rights of the original tenant if and when that original tenant moves out.

    Even so, it’s a hassle for the owner.

  42. So you support Prop 13 as well? At least that is consistent.

    When you get a vacancy, do you charge much less than the market rent? I’m guessing not.

    Muttering pro-tenant platitudes might make you feel good but, in reality, you seek to maximize your rents.

  43. For many tenants, rent control is just about getting something for nothing. It is essentially a selfish position to take.

    Many controlled tenants make good money. I know one guy who makes 150K a year and pays $600 a month in rent for his flat. He bought a ski house in Tahoe with the money he saved in rent. That is not what rent control was designed to achieve but it is the reality.

    The main beneficiaries of rent control are middle-aged white professionals

  44. The point with rent control is not that the rent do not cover the costs, but rather that subsequent allowable rent increases are so low that, unless you get turnover, the investment becomes increasing less viable.

    And at some point, it makes economic sense to close the business down and put the building to some other use

  45. You post here constantly. That is dominating the discussion as well.

    I only ever was involved in one Ellis eviction.

  46. I am a landlord too and have owned a few buildings. Like you I have had turnover and I only have one long-term tenant at this point

    But that said, I understand why some landlords become frustrated with regulations and low returns, and I do not criticize them for going the Ellis/TIC route.

    If the city pushes the cost of tenant subsidies onto just one small group of people – landlords – then the city can reasonably expect less people to want to be landlords, and therefore less rentals available.

    Price controls suppress supply.

  47. Actually it is the over-regulation that causes bad behavior. Landlords decide to evict because of rent control. Tenants decide to dig in and never move, because of rent control.

    Outside of rent control, landlords and tenants actually get along well, because their interests are aligned

  48. Says the landlord who has had a lot of turnover, and so is speaking from a position of luck and privilege that many rental owners do not have.

  49. An incentive would be giving a property owner a discount on his property tax if he rents it out. Not charging him extra property tax if he doesn’t.

    A carrot is OK – a stick is not.

  50. It is not at all clear to me that the city can legally tax or fine property owners who choose to not rent out a home.

  51. Sure, with seven buildings, so maybe 20 units, you will get turnover. The more units, the easier it is to deal with rent control, which is ironic because rent control originally only targeted large landlords.

    The buildings that get targeted for evictions are not ones like yours where you get natural turnover. They are the buildings where, unluckily for the owner, all the tenants stay, and the building ceases to be viable. Then, if the building sells with those low rents, the buyer has little choice but to empty the place, because his costs are so much higher.

    Most landlords get some turnover, but some do not, and you should understand that their owners need a different solution than the one that just happened to work out for you.

  52. Maybe Vegas has a tenant-friendly situation precisely because they do not over-regulate housing. Had you thought of that?

  53. Tim was also VERY CLEAR that those who dominate the comments here should start their own blogs and clearly he was talking about you.

    You are despicable. You constantly berate those who have been evicted, calling them “losers” and saying that SF is only for winners. You boast of using Ellis. You often choose to focus upon insignificant details in posts here to thwart good discourse.

    Don’t lecture me about civility.

  54. I’m curious about Kim’s push to allow tenants to add roommates. If a tenant can add roommates, then those new people become tenants as well. So, even when the original tenant moves out, the roommates remain and the rent cannot reset to market rate. Of course, roommates will keep being added as individuals move out so, in essence, the rent will never increase. Is that how it will work?

  55. If you want to operate a business (and renting-out units is a business), then you should expect government regulation. And if there is a ‘crisis’ you should expect government action that may impact your business practices.

  56. As a property manager who has worked in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, I commend Spike for her ethical position. I really do. However, rent control isn’t a positive for residents as it is portrayed. It causes an artificial decrease in housing supply. It causes an adversarial relationship between landlord and tenants. It results in the deterioration of housing. But worst of all, when someone loses their rent controlled housing after enjoying below market rents for many years, it results in a catastrophic price shock often forcing a person (or worse yet, a family) out of their neighborhood or city.

    And to the local politicians who understand the basics of supply and demand while pandering to and exacerbating the fear of middle and low income residents I am appalled. To be against increasing housing supply at a time when there is a housing crisis should be a crime. Those politicians should be labeled as against affordable housing. Because they are. All new developments require affordable housing. Even worse, new developments slated for parcels that don’t currently have any housing built on them have faced opposition. Think about it. They are against building homes on land that could benefit those in need. Forget about the developer who might make a substantial sum, and instead think about the families who will benefit. Stop the madness.
    And politicians, why not also practice the same ethical behavior of Spike. You are educated enough to know that you are praying on the fear of those who don’t understand the game.

  57. first comment “tired old shill” wasn’t all together inaccurate but *Stops to give Laffer a hand job* speaks volumes about your age and maturity. Back on topic. A landlord who blames the current price of rentals on tenants is his justification for being greedy.

  58. So you put a price out there and get a lot of responses. then you don’t rent to anyone at that asking price and then raise the asking price? Your decision to increase the asking price when you know you can shop around and find a higher paying tenant is your decision and the decision was made purely on the grounds of making more money when you know the first asking price pays the bills plus some. I’m not a landlord I’m a tenant and your post made me angry. I feel bad for all those people who took the time to respond to your posting for a rental maybe evan come look at the place and you have no intention to rent to them because someone else may come along who will pay more. seriously? ..I.

  59. No need, but if you pull a dump truck of money up to anyone’s door who will do it, and make it legal, someone will.

    Virtue is commendable, but regulation works.

  60. Of course landlords compete for tenants in Las Vegas – there is a huge surplus of housing there! You can’t make a point about regulation in San Francisco by comparing to a completely different situation.

  61. ok, what I’m saying is you don’t have to flip units to make a decent profit. we don’t have to evict long term tenants. we don’t have to be greedy. in fact, all of my units, save that one 85 yr old, have changed hands at least once, since i bought them. i’ve bought bldgs in 1991, 1994, 1998, 2001, 2010, 2013, 2015 and have tenants who moved in and out over the years, the last new tenant was a few years ago. so my original break-even purchase with existing rents paying enough to cover mortgage, taxes and insurance and repair costs, has now gone into profit making. I don’t charge top of the market, which allows me a selection of tenants applying, to pick the one with the best credit and who seems will be a good, responsible tenant. it’d be nice if the personal attacks and assumptions were set aside, and the debate begin on whether it’s ethical to buy a building, and evict an existing tenant, just to make money. i am stating that if one doesn’t break even at the time of purchase, with existing rents, then don’t buy it. if a long term tenant is paying below market rate rents, that is not reason enough to try and evict her/him. that although there are profits to be made by flipping, it’s not ethical. period.

  62. why have small mom and pop landlords gotten out of the business? Look at the ever increasing regulations that make it too burdensome/risky for small mom and pops to run rental properties.

  63. i’m not getting current market rates on all the units, as i have long term tenants whose rent is below market today. but, again, i’ve never bought anything i couldn’t afford given the level of the current rents at the time. sounds like you won’t take my word for it, but i have not harassed my tenants nor used other unethical methods to get that turnover; i have 1 bdrm units, and eventually, couples have kids, or move out, or graduate, etc. and ultimately, prices go up, but thanks to Prop 13, my property taxes don’t, tenants pay utilities, and my mortgages are fixed, or are low enough that i can bank some cash, should the interest rates go up. i have been incredibly lucky. i started buying property before this city became so divided between rich and poor, when middle class folks could buy a place to live, maybe a duplex, and rent out one of the units.

  64. one of my tenants, who ran for supervisor in district 5, ran a campaign which was against rent control. but he paid below market rate (he lived there even before i bought the building, so had low rent.) i asked him if he was going to pay me market rate rent, since he’s against rent control. he never did. (he also lost the dist 5 race.)

  65. i began purchasing property in the 1990s, but just recently bought a $1million multi unit property in SF 2 years ago, and am in negotiations to purchase 2 more currently. again, if the current rents cover my expenses, i’ll buy. if not, i won’t. same as 20+ years ago.
    i like providing a service (housing) and like interacting with my tenants, and like fixing stuff. so this is a good job for me. if it’s not for you, don’t do it.

  66. Tenants view the building as their home. Landlords view the building as a source of income. Homes trump greed, in my book.

  67. the turnover is what made me filthy rich. but the original rents allowed me to buy the building at an affordable mortgage. i have never bought a building that existing rents wouldn’t cover expenses. why would i? i’m a business person, and that’s not logical.

  68. Sure, all true. Which explains why individual virtue, however commendable, is no solution. Absent regulation, excess profits accrue to misbehavior, crowding out good actors.

    The rent ordinance, of course, makes it exceptionally difficult to evict a long-term, 85-year-old tenant.

  69. No arguments from me on any of those scores, though I would add, if we want to fine tune the already stretched analogy of food vs housing, that housing specifically in SF is somewhat analogous to a given food item.

    In any case, landlords *do* in effect retail properties to renters, and their costs are dictated by the price they pay for the property. Telling landlords to not ‘over-pay’ for property might be good advice to individual landlords to the extent that it allows them to keep their conscious clean, but it is no solution at to our housing market. In fact, it has the obvious flaw of encouraging landlords with a speck of conscience to leave the business and it to those without such qualms.

  70. Still nothing. Who are these developers that have “weaseled out” of building BMR units (or paid into the city’s affordable housing fund in lieu of building BMR units, as they are allowed to do?)?

  71. I am in a similar situation – I live in my small building and have 1 unit of very long term low-rent tenants (that are essentially charity), and 1 unit that is close to market rate. I have no intention to evict anybody and never would. That said, when my tenants do leave on their own accord, I’m pretty sure I will NOT rent those units again. I would rather leave them vacant or sell them than deal with all the tenant/landlord nonsense in this city. And people wonder why there is a shortage of rentals.

  72. Someone on a message board said something, so that justifies wild theories? Really?

    When you talk about vacancy blight, it sure sounds as if you’re largely talking about retail, not residential. Honestly, you sound like someone who hasn’t owned property before, but should really sit down and ask questions of one. It doesn’t work the way you think it does.

  73. Why trigger off? Vacancies create negative externalities, and it is well within the city’s mandate to penalize property owners with excessive vacancies, whatever the market conditions.

  74. Which part of ‘sympathize with the plight of 40,000 households trying to find a place’ praises and helps powerful people?

  75. Right, so there goes that myth. The banks and insurers do not allow it either.

    I think there’s some basic confusion about how warehousing goes down.

  76. I successfully negotiated down my rent in 2008. That was not conceptual for me, I assure you.

    And no, landlords still do not, in fact, enjoy unchecked power in setting rents. You can try to rent a 2br for $15k/month on Craigslist – no doubt someone has – but you won’t find a taker.

  77. You mean we can’t ONLY build our way out of this crisis.

    There are many things we can do and we should be doing all of them. One of those things is stronger eviction laws like this one. Another is building more.

    Why not both?

  78. Laffer is a charlatan and a witch doctor, sufficiently reviled that even the W. Bush administration had no use for his ideas.

    What does a toady selling snake oil to the deluded have to do with the simple fact that only tenants can jack up rents?

  79. That would be dishonest.

    The point is more that Gary keeps a database of everything that Sam writes.

    Which behavior do you think is weirder?

  80. It’s not healthy to have a segregated city of subsidized losers …. Why should only some get cheap housing and not everyone equally ? It’s corrupt and unfair.

  81. Some cities, including the one I live in have different zoning rules for different houses on some blocks. You have blocks with low income Section 8 housing on the same street with million dollar mansions. You have state and city built low cost houses where people with limited means can become owners. In changing times you need dynamic rules to accommodate many different types of people. It’s not healthy to have a city where only the very rich can live.

  82. Evicting a tenant s is NEVER unethical. Just like saying no to someone who wants to have sex with you is not unethical ether…… CONSENT MATTERS !

  83. wooohoooooo! 10% affordable to regular working people!? And that’s being optimistic, because developers are remarkably adept at weaseling their way out of actually building those units.

    Shit! You sold me! BUILD BABY BUILD! LET THE #LUXURY TRICKLE ALL OVER MEEEEEEEE!

  84. A handful of banks or oil companies can collude to fix prices

    But how do thousands of property owners who never talk toe ach other do that?

  85. Two sets of segregated rules for the same city ? No rent control after 1979 for any buildings…. This segregated 2 class set up must be SMASHED !

  86. People spend their whole lives studying and debating issues surrounding price controls. Why do you think the Justice Department spends billions of dollars to break up monopolies and prevent price collusion?
    Unfortunately when you are talking about densely populated urban areas the old rules of property ownership, self reliance and individualism have to be modified. Even Thomas Jefferson said that urbanization would decay the American ideal. Sometimes you need rules to protect people from exploitation and abuse.
    Using a property for commercial purposes is different from living in a house . The rules are going to be different.

  87. That is both false and missing my point. The investment units are almost certainly not significantly more affordable than new construction.

    It’s not that I’m opposed to forcing banks to rent out investment units. I think that cities have an obligation to ensure that valuable city infrastructure, which is tied up by the very fact that property exists in city limits, is put to productive use.

    But by building 5,000 newly rental units, at least some percent would be affordable, even if the number were as low as 10%, still 500 new BMR units would be created. Where as forcing banks to put investment units back on the market puts between 16-74 units on the market, all of them most likely unaffordable.

    Yet some how we can’t ‘build our way out of the crisis’ (500 new affordable units out of 5000 total new units yearly) but need to ‘do all we can’ (0 affordable units and a tiny faction of total units being put on the market.). That’s the logic that’s not especially clear.

  88. Those 5000 condos would come with at least several hundred subsidized units, per local mandates, so we very well might.

    They also wouldn’t be $1M for long.

  89. The returns on some low-rent SF properties approximates that of muni bonds, except with tax and work and more risk

    For someone who bought long ago, like spike, that won’t matter so much, although then there is still a huge opportunity cost.

    For someone who bought recently with a 4% mortgage and 1.2% prop taxes, it is non-viable.

    Why would tenant advocates want returns so low if they wish to see a continual stream of investors willing to maintain rental properties?

  90. As a landlord, whenever I have a vacancy and seek a new tenant, the process is instructive.

    I start out with an initial asking rent. If I get no applicants, or a few low-quality applicants, I lower the asking

    If I am swamped, I raise the asking.

    So it really is the tenants who set the rent. I merely respond to them. The customer is always right

  91. A landlord isn’t a grocer; though both housing and food are necessities, rarely is a given food item a necessity. When all foods are too dear, people riot.

    The rent ordinance reduces the value of controlled residential property. A buyer who doesn’t want to deal with the attendant risks can buy municipal bonds.

  92. Spike has low costs and high rents.

    Landlord who have low rents surely deserve more credit.

    Landlords with high costs and low rents are benefiting tenants the most. Spike is the exact opposite of that. But because she mouths a few pro-tenant comments, she gets the love.

    Weird.

  93. The request is to address points made here, and not just attack the person making those points.

    Why are you always so quick to be uncivil? Why do you care so little that Tim has specifically asked to hold off personal comments?

  94. I don’t even know any tenant activists who are arguing for what you are suggesting.

    Where is your evidence that this is a widespread problem? Or even a problem at all?

  95. Maybe “Spike” would like to work at McDonalds for $1.65 an hour too. She can, it’s her business. But nothing is “unethical” about wanting $15.00 an hour to work there. Nothing is unethical about renting to those who pay more EVER ! Someone is going to live there , what makes YOU so special you get to live there at a cheaper price than anyone else ? Rent control is just price fixing to keep other renters at a disadvantage !

  96. How gracious! And they say the internet is so impersonal.

    Forty thousand units turn over in San Francisco each year. Is it really the hallmark of a syphilitic mind to sympathize with the plight of 40,000 households trying to find a place in this market?

  97. Oh brother – tenants are sexual predictors or something. Many rent controlled units are rented month-to-month, not on a lease.

  98. Ethical tenants do not stay in someones property when the lease is up and they are asked to move out. It’s a two way street. When only one person wants to have sex it’s called RAPE. Consent of both/all parties matters in human interactions. Lets face it, they only want to stay because they conspired with other voters to enact price fixing (rent control) for their personal benefit.

  99. So you want to set up a huge bureaucracy? Just so the odd property owner here and there can’t leave his place vacant for when his in-laws visit?

  100. ” They have no power whatever actually to set price directly: consumers pumping gas, or choosing not to, set price.”

    I know that in some conceptual cloud of economic theory that is true. But that isn’t what happens now.

  101. And her sister (if she has one) would have had to have been over age 62 (or disabled or sick) in order to be able to RMI a protected tenant

  102. Gary, I think Rich’s point is that both vratrm and I made substantive points. Better to address those points then merely throw out a cheap insult.

  103. Right, she could have moved her sister in for three years on a sweetheart deal. Legal, but underhanded. But not herself.

    Refiners try hard to undersupply the market and maximize crack spreads. They have no power whatever actually to set price directly: consumers pumping gas, or choosing not to, set price.

  104. You are the one claiming that Spike could have done a RMI.

    Which relative of hers could she have used? Moreover, since the tenant was over 62 at the time, Spike would have needed a relative over 62.

  105. Olmstead insults anyone who holds a different political opinion to himself. He gives progressives a bad name with his intolerance

  106. Aw, thanks for the kind words.

    People who can’t find places to live will to pay more. Abundance is the best rent control. When apartments are abundant, nobody has to bid up rent to land a place. When they are scarce..

  107. He is changes his identity quite frequently: Sam, Bobfuss, BillT, Siddle, MadHatters, Bobby500, MisterEllis, HotToddy, RichLL and a few others are all the same troll who dominates every comment section.

  108. The city is very limited as to what taxes and fees it can charge. It cannot apply a city income tax, it cannot exceed a small margin on sales tax, it cannot raise property tax beyond Prop 13, it cannot levy a capital gains tax or an inheritance tax, and so on.

    Nor can it apply fees that are not allowed by the state.

    Again, a tax on vacancies would be very hard to apply or enforce because the city has no way of knowing whether a unit is really vacant or not.

    Hence the suggestion that a tax discount for proof of rental is a better way to go

  109. Come on – landlords have their relatives move in to do OMIs quite often.

    And landlords don’t set rents like oil companies don’t set the gasoline prices.

  110. You are awfully eager to add meaning to her words.

    Why does she get more credit than a landlord who only charges low rents rather than market rents?

  111. You’re awfully eager to try to paint this person, who took a proactive step to assert that not everyone is a greedy prick, is in fact exactly the opposite.

    Or maybe you’re just awful?

  112. She also sought credit for not OMI evicting a tenant who was over 62 years old at the time, and therefore legally protected from OMI evictions anyway.

  113. Ms. Kahn is not wrong to support tenant protections or ethical behavior. She is, however, wrong to assert she could have evicted a tenant with an owner move-in when she had a comparable, vacant unit in the same building.

    Ms. Kahn is not wrong to say housing costs are too high. She is, however, wrong to imply landlords jack up rents. Landlords don’t set rents; tenants do.

  114. “All of her units” means all the units she owns unless she qualifies that by adding “in one of my buildings” and she does not.

    And “market rent” means market rent and not “market rent minus $1,000” or “market rent from three years ago”.

    The meanings I gave reflect the actual words she used. The meanings you are inferring are based on further unstated and unsubstantiated assumptions.

    The only thing she claims that is creditable is that she did not do an OMI on an 85 year old guy. And owners cannot OMI if the tenant is more than age 62 anyway, so that rings a little hollow.

    If she was that noble, she would have re-rented her vacant units at well below market rent. She did not.

  115. SF used to have a lot of amateur small-time landlords. But the regulations have become so onerous that they tend to quit, being replaced by more professional but also more ruthless owners.

    What we have is a downward spiral. Landlords who don’t get turnover and are stuck with low rents become demotivated and see no reason to invest time, energy and money in a property that barely ticks over.

    Landlords who get turnover make bank and are happy to invest in and upgrade their buildings to attract a better class of client.

    I was in Vegas a few weeks ago and landlords there compete to win tenants, offering a free month’s rent if they switch from one building to another.

    Tenants are best served when their interests are aligned with landlords. Tenants should not want landlording to be a marginal enterprise or a job where luck plays such a big part. And in return they should expect to be treated like customers rather than undesirables.

  116. For one of her buildings, not all of them.

    And the fact that the other units have turned over semi-recently doesn’t mean her 1-bedrooms are going for a ridiculous $3.5k. If they turned over even three years ago they’d be more in the $2.5 range.

    Given the sentiment of the letter, and the proactive nature of her actions, it’d a pretty ridiculous smear you’ve attempted to say Spike is being a hypocrite. Shame.

  117. Check the tag on an extinguisher, its annually, not monthly. NO fire equipment required to be inspected monthly.

    Also, Bob, stop being obtuse here.

    You and I both know there are many, MANY landlords that skirt the rules in many ways to save money. Whether its letting the common areas go to hell, not getting fire equipment serviced regularly or not remodeling a unit or doing regular repairs.

    I think there should be a mandatory class or workshop that if you want to own property here in SF you must take it to own. That will give the landlord the most basic understanding of our laws.

  118. There are many like you. My experience with landlords like you is that most of your tenants appreciate your efforts and help out too.
    I’ve saved my landlord tens of thousands of dollars over the years and I was always happy to do so.

  119. Well we bought a building 4 years ago with over 70% below market rate and the turnover has increased since, the building now has only 4 units BMR. Im not saying its typical or not, just what we are experiencing.

    We also remodel older units, use mid-priced cabinets, appliances and upgrades. We have our fire escapes, extinguishers and sprinklers checked annually as well as maintain the common areas. Those are all things that most landlords do not do, so again, we are atypical but its all common sense things that increase a building’s worth.

  120. Property taxes have to be allocated indiscriminately. They cannot be varied according to the property owner’s behavior. The only thing I think we could do now is offer a discount if the unit is rented out.

    You’d have to invent a new type of tax to implement your idea, and that would require a voter initiative and a 2/3 voter majority.

  121. At 85% to 95% market rents of course you don’t need to push for tenants to move out. They already did you a favor and moved out!

    Are you seriously suggesting that those numbers are typical for controlled buildings?

  122. You never know until you try. And taxing an empty unit in a time of crisis isn’t forcing anyone to do anything other than to pay the fee. They are free to keep it vacant – at a price.

  123. Read Spike’s own words:

    “I have a tenant who has lived in one of my units since 1965. This is his home. His rent is, of course, below market. But the other units have turned over since I’ve owned the building, and they are renting at market rate”

    She has the one low-rent tenant and “the other units . . are renting at market rent”

  124. A tax on non-primary residences isn’t really “forcing” a landlord to rent, though; it’s just providing incentives to do so.

    I could see having such a tax indexed to the local vacancy rate. Problem is, it would be extremely difficult to enforce.

  125. Just because she only cited the one most extreme example of the guy living there since 1965 doesn’t mean all the other units are at market rate, dummy.

  126. Whats unusual about 90% market rate? Im a property manager and we have one building that is exactly 95% market rate. We have only one long term BMR tenant and we are OK with that.

    We have another building that’s roughly 85% market rate. Again, we don’t need to push out older legacy tenants and we dont want too.

  127. True. Perhaps Spike means that the 3-year scope of that restriction be lifted and the unit be permanently brought under vacancy control. If that is what she means then I am fairly sure that would be illegal under the state’s Costa-Hawkins Act, which outlaws vacancy control.

    Spike follows with the statement that “this is the only thing that will stop unlawful OMI evictions.” That is also a false statement. An unlawful OMI eviction is one where the owner evicts and then does not move in. There are already remedies against that.

    Seems to me that she wants to get rid of all OMI evictions. But that provision is in there to ensure that rent control is constitutional. A city cannot ultimately tell an owner that he or she cannot live in that building if he or she chooses to.

  128. I’m sure it’s not terribly hard to be an ethical landlord when you were fortunate and smart enough to buy 20 years ago and hold on to your properties. You’d had the advantage most have not, that of massive appreciation with the same old tax basis and what sounds like is turnover and thus increased income that yields a good return on your investment without the necessity to force turnover. Flipping this argument – Is it not hard to be an ethical tenant and give up your rent controlled apartment or offer to pay more for it when it’s clearly within your means? If landlords are expected to contribute to the housing market purely on a ethical basis then tenants should be asked the same.

  129. In order to get a tax deduction for a vacant rental unit, the owner has to be actively marketing it. If the owner ceases to try and let the place, then the IRS will not allow a tax write-off.

    So whatever the reason for an owner choosing to not re-rent a unit, it is not because of a tax advantage.

  130. We know they exist because when all the foreclosures were happening, Tim wrote about the effect that was having on tenants. It was an issue.

    Now, technically you can argue that a foreclosure isn’t a bankruptcy, but I doubt that the subtlety of that distinction mattered to those who lost their building or their homes.

    Nobody is asking you to give a damn about a landlord’s ROI. But what you should give a damn about is when ROI’s are so low that the landlord goes out of business and all the tenants have to move out.

    I doubt that many of the buildings that are Ellis’ed and/or converted to TIC’s and condos were high ROI rental buildings.

    So yes, ROI’s should be decent so that there is always a supply of investors willing to maintain buildings as rentals rather then change their use.

  131. An owner who takes a unit off the rental market is simply choosing to not rent it out. That doesn’t mean it is vacant or not put to another use.

    As a practical matter, I do not think a municipality can legally force an owner to rent out a home if he/she does not want to. In fact, the Ellis Act came about because one CA city tried to do something like that.

  132. So, you’re confirming you have no evidence of SF landlords filing for bankruptcy, yet you’re still certain they exist.

    And your ideology– masking the profit motive– puts ROI in first place above all other factors.

    Please, go back to Socket Site where the landlords congregate to gloat about their bank accounts and lifestyle in the South of France and leave the rest of us in peace.

    We are so damned tired of landlord complaints here!

  133. Spike is a “she”? OK, then I think the problem I have with her account is that she says she is getting market rents on al her units except one. Sounds like she has three buildings so let’s call that ten units. 90% of her units are at market rent.

    This is remarkably unusual. If the turnover she got was even a couple of years ago, her rents would already be well below market. So it follows that she has just had a huge amount of turnover (by whatever means) and is now in a position that is probably better than 99% of SF landlords, especially since she has owned these units for a long time and has a low cost and prop 13 basis.

    So, it’s easy for her to come over all pious and preachy abut other landlords. But what about the owner with fewer units, higher costs and no turnover. How does that play into this?

    Sorry but there is something sanctimonious about this lady.

  134. Here’s the relevant quote from her:

    “I started this whole empire of little apartments that I fixed up, and then rented out. After 20 years as a union rep I retired, but I’m too young to retire. And so I keep busy.” -Spike

  135. Nice straw man. Where’s the term “class traitor” in any of the posts here? In fact since Spike is a former labor organizer, I’d argue that it’s hard to be a class traitor unless she got an inheritance to buy her first 3 buildings 10 years after graduating. Anyway, sounds as if she’s got an interesting little real estate empire here in SF.

    http://www.emergingartsnetworks.com/innovation-and-art-studios-with-pacific-felt-factorys-spike-kahn/

    Even she admits in this article that she was lucky with her timing of jumping into the SF real estate market. How are people in their late 30s (or younger) going to duplicate what she did to become a landlord here in SF?

  136. “mandating that rents of units where tenants had been evicted by owner move-ins and are being placed back on the market, have to be rented at the original rental amount.”

    This is already the law. Units subject to OMI evictions can only be re-rented (within three years) at the same rate, plus any allowed increases…

  137. Why assume? Because there is a greedy landlord who posts on this site who boasts about taking his rentals off the market. And he also boast that many like him do the same thing.

    I think during a ‘housing crisis’ it is OK to do. When the vacancy rate hits 3% or 4%, then it would trigger off.

  138. Good luck with the anti-eviction plan! I hope it works, but I’ve seen noble efforts crushed by moneyed interests too many times to be optimistic.

  139. I too am a long time San Francisco landlord, proud to be one, and you are dead right. It is not at all difficult to be a long term, in-it-for-long-term investor and decent human being. The laws are there to protect people’s homes, and I very strongly support them. I wouldn’t dream of mistreating tenants, and I’m glad you are speaking out. I too support the legislation.

    Most of the current troubles are due to the fact that so many mom and pop type landlords have gotten out of the business, and have been replaced with faceless corporate investors who hire management companies to act as hit men, to treat tenants so poorly, they keep the turnover high and the rents higher. I wish we could figure out a way to attract more landlords like us to the business. It’s a 20-30 year commitment, and the fair return you get on your money may not be as high as the Ellis Act draculas that run around kicking out old people. But at least we can sleep at night.

  140. Penalizing a landlord for a vacancy is like kicking someone when they’re down.

    Let me guess, you think it’s for the tax write offs? Why make the assumption that every one owns their building free and clear? Why assume because you see a vacancy for long periods, it means there’s a greedy landlord involved?

  141. Bingo.

    Spike sounds fine, but if his word are being used to delegitimize others who haven’t had his luck, that’s problematic.

    He’s not as impressive to me as landlords I know who opt to keep rent control type policies, all on their own, and act ethically. They’re the ones who might operate on a loss one year if the property needs a major repair, or who will get behind on a mortgage if a tenant is late. They don’t want to deal with a vacancy, or evictions, but they also don’t want their hands tied if they get into a situation.

    One stumbling block to these discussions is wrapping our heads around the concept of everyday people who also own property, and struggle.

  142. Which argument? There were two.

    The first argument was that rent control creates winners and losers, with a much greater dispersion of outcomes then non-controlled jurisdictions. I doubt that anyone credibly denies that.

    The second was that unlucky landlords can have very low relative ROI’s. This is also undoubtedly true. In fact it is inevitable if there is no turnover.

    I have no idea how many SF landlords have filed for bankruptcy and neither do you. There would have certainly been some in 2007-2010 because there was a high number of foreclosures and we know that many of them had tenants in them.

    There would be a lot more but for two factors. First, the Ellis Act which allows for an orderly closure of a failing rental business without bankruptcy.

    And second, because the serendipity of escalating RE prices in recent years allows for an exit strategy via a sale. But even in that case, the new owner will instantly have a lower ROI then the seller, because of Prop 13 and a higher mortgage. So the problem is not solved, merely kicked down the street.

  143. I would challenge the author of this spurious theoretical argument to produce a statistic about bankrupt SF landlords who have lost all in the risky SF rental business. Abstract theories about possible, potential risk are for ideologues only. Please get real.

  144. Spike Kahn is a personal friend. I’d like the landlord trolls who use the 48 Hills comments section to spew nastiness to tell us why Spike is wrong. Is she a “class traitor” because she isn’t an arrogant bully? Does a more modest return on her investment and life savings make her a fool? I’d also like to call on all ethical landlords to write letters to the land use committee and copy all the supervisors.

  145. Yes, it’s all about getting turnover. In theory that will happen – the average rental period is about 5 to 7 years. But averages only matter if you have a large number of units. The smaller the number of units you have, the more that one or two tenants who stay forever will hurt you.

    A big part of the problem with rent control is the way it creates winner and losers, among both landlords and tenants, without any regard to financial need. It’s essentially a crap shoot.

    Spike got his turnover so he’s been all precious and pious, but he’d be singing a very different tune if he’d gotten zero turnover.

    Sure, an owner can always sell his building. But the only buyers will be guys who will empty the building one way or another. The small time “nice” LL is being driven out by much more aggressive investors. And it is rent control that directly causes that trend

  146. I am not taken in by Spike at all. He has been very fortunate because, in his own words “But the other units have turned over since I’ve owned the building, and they are renting at market rate”

    So, sure, he lets one old guy stay on – a guy so old that he won’t be around much longer anyway, so Spike can afford to be generous.

    But to be getting current market rents on all but one of his units makes him very unusual and lucky. He is not entitled to speak for the many other landlords who are stuck with mostly rent control royalty.

    It’s easy to be “ethical” when you get the level of luck that Spike has. Or, of course, he may have employed some less than ethical methods to get that turnover and those market rents, and this is just his way of expressing his shame.

    Not buying it even if Tim is.

  147. I’m not sure I would recommend Barcelona’s “solution” for San Francisco. My point is that we only focus upon development and there are other options.

    And I would go beyond banks. A blight and/or ‘crisis’ tax, fees or penalties for any property owner who has vacant residential or business units for a specified amount of time.

    Barcelona is also enforcing laws regarding illegal tourist rental. That isn’t happening in San Francisco.

  148. It’s not especially clear why, say doubling our targeted number of residential units built from 5,000 to 10,000 would be of no help ‘building our way out of the housing crisis’ — but forcing banks to either rent out or sell 74 (actually only 12 so far with the possibility of another 62 under investigation) properties would.

    This keeping in mind that Barcelona is a city twice the size of San Francisco with probably a larger supply of antique, historical buildings which banks would be more reluctant to put on the general market.

  149. I think pretty much all of us can applaud a landlord who doesn’t use all available legal methods to extract every last dollar from his properties. And it’s worth pointing out that in general we expect better behaviour than the bare minimum of being legal from business proprieters. (or at least should)

    But there is a fatal flaw in this argument:

    “If the current rents can’t cover the mortgage of an exorbitant sales
    price, then landlords shouldn’t buy the building. Housing prices are too
    damned high. Pushing people out of their homes is wrong.”

    That is not realistic for rent controlled buildings. It’s analogous to telling a grocer: if they can’t buy food wholesale that’s cheap enough so that it can be sold affordably with the usual grocer mark-up, then they shouldn’t retail that item. The logic might be that if all grocers acted ethically in that manner that would force food producers to lower their prices to something that’s affordable. But that’s obviously a silly notion. The only possible way that could be done is by creating a cartel of grocers (or in our case landlords) which firstly would be illegal. But more importantly would result in shortages shortages — a phenomena well documented in the economic literature.

    Rent controlled buildings are always going to sell with the understanding that some percentage of the units will become available for market rate rent every year. And thus new landlords will have to eat that difference early on and hope that he doesn’t become unlucky, with a building full tenants who will out live him while living in their current apartments.

  150. What we’re seeing today is unprecedented.

    Yet the boosters assert that it was clear to any clairvoyant that “we” should have built out housing over the past decades, irrespective of the scarcity of capital for such projects over that interval, to accommodate the new residents that their clairvoyance predicted.

  151. My landlord is a saint and I know that there are many like him. Regarding being a ethical landlord, it can be ‘forced’:

    “Barcelona city council has acted on its promise to fine banks with empty houses on their books, charging several banks €60,000 in total over 12 homes that have been empty for more than two years.

    “Public authorities have an obligation to use all possible resources to confront the housing emergency,” Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, said as she announced fines on BBVA, Banco Sabadell and Sareb. City officials are investigating another 62 properties to decide whether more fines are appropriate.””

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/10/barcelona-fines-banks-60000-for-empty-homes?CMP=share_btn_fb

    So are we in a housing crisis, a crisis that is often cited for variances, or are we not? Because if we are, we need to start dealing with the issue and stop using it as an excuse to break the rules.

    We can’t build our way out of this crisis. We should be doing more.

  152. I’ve had some great landlords, but this is the first time I see a landlord make this kind of public statement. Thank you.

  153. A lot of Landlords (maybe most?) in this city want to act ethically, and do.

    This though: “We don’t live in a time where landlords are plagued by low rent and can’t make ends meet.” is a bit short sighted. The market isn’t always healthy. What we’re seeing today is unprecedented.

  154. This is a level of ethics that we don’t find often in today’s society. I don’t know this landlord, but I’ve met others like this one. They are truly blessed.

  155. Spike, I’m not sure if you’re going to be following this thread, but if you are, I want you to know that you have won my respect. If you ever happen to need anything that Therapy sells, mention your name when paying and I’ll be happy to extend our 30% employee discount to you; the world needs more people like you. Moderator: if you feel this communique is out of line feel free to delete it.

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