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landlord helpThe political energy is still pulsing from Tuesday’s mid-term elections. While pundits are struggling to sort out the mixed bag of results, voters are just glad that all those annoying robo-calls and ads have stopped. Finally!

But will any of these newly-elected candidates represent landlords’ interests?
It is clear from the ground level that landlords could use an ally or two. Without them, landlords may continue to serve as the scapegoat for everything from dysfunctional neighborhood social dynamics to flaws in far-reaching government regulatory programs. The term “absentee landlord” is tossed about in local politics every time a candidate wants to conjure the image of blighted neighborhoods, students who party, even budget shortfalls for fire protection districts, resulting in calls for more rent control, fees, and fines.

But being landlord-friendly is hard to sell. Take for instance a man dubbed the  “Landlord Candidate”, Bob Weber, who ran for city council last year in his home town of College Park, Maryland. Mr. Weber is a landlord, and the son of a landlord. His opponents dropped the L-word during the campaign.  Weber defended against claims levied at landlords:  they are responsible for disruptions in neighborhoods because they, alone, draw partying students into places where they don’t belong.  Shut down all the rentals, every one of them owned by an “absentee landlord”, and the problems will go away.  Weber pointed out that a decade of  rent control and heavy-handed regulations isn’t working.

Weber’s student renters liked him. He was nice to them, offered them safe housing and provided solid property management service. Unfortunately, most of them did not vote, or could not vote, because of some problem with their registration, no time,… whatever. Weber lost his bid.

Ironically, a number of graduate students won seats on that council. They attributed their win to their “high energy” and “new blood”, but there is very little being reported about long-term planning goals to deal with housing issues.

Landlords don’t need much, just some political allies that can do a couple simple things:

Eliminate the double standards that exist in so many towns, cities and states between owner-occupied properties and rental properties when it comes to living standards – enforcing codes, energy upgrades, and noise or criminal violations, for instance. Why must a landlord pay to have a property inspected for hazards every time a tenant moves out, when the owner-occupied property next door has never been inspected?

Even the playing field in the court system. Keep if fair to enforce legal rights like evictions and security deposit deductions by keeping judges accountable, allowing landlords and property managers to represent themselves, and capping filing fees.

Force the local, state and federal governments to do their own dirty work when it comes to enforcing their regulations. Whether it’s immigration or environmental hazards, noise or a bedbug pandemic – landlords shouldn’t be bearing so many of these burdens.

And please, let’s get rid of the word “absentee.” Just because a landlord does not live in the same neighborhood as their rental property does not make them a slumlord.

What do you think?

See EPA Slaps Another Landlord With $80,000 Fine.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your rental housing investment, including rental forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.

  • [email protected]

    We don’t need “representation”. We don’t need anyone to speak for us as we can speak for ourselves. We don’t need an agent to vote our interests as we do so daily with our free speech and with our economic vote (our dollars). This speech is far more powerful than some distant politician in a capital building.

    They can pass illegal laws and people like us will stand against them in defiance. We will violated them and litigate them out of existence.

    Our vote on juries and grand juries will aid and assist others who are wronged by righting the law for them too.

    Our contacts are well-written with intelligence and foresights. Our staff is trained to know how to enforce them properly. Our administration is paid to act with due diligence and oversight and is held to these commercial standards by us. Our shareholders have confidence in us as business people. Our tenants are well served and happy.

    Represent someone else you dinosaur politicians of a bygone age. We speak for ourselves. We represent our own interests and views. We vote for our own. You Demicans and Republicrats represent the era of tax and spend on both sides of your narrow (minded) isles. Bugger off!

  • Mona

    “Why must a landlord pay to have a property inspected for hazards every time a tenant moves out, when the owner-occupied property next door has never been inspected?”

    ~~ I’d say its because its being offered to the “public”. Noone requires me to follow the same hygiene standards (gloves, etc) when cooking for my family at home (private) as if I were preparing meals in a restaurant (public)… the same logic should follow for rentals.

    “Force the local, state and federal governments to do their own dirty work when it comes to enforcing their regulations. Whether it’s immigration or environmental hazards, noise or a bedbug pandemic – landlords shouldn’t be bearing so many of these burdens”

    ~~~ I agree with this… a landlord cannot control a tenants behavior and should not be held liable for it… “personal responsibility”

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