03 Aug August 2020
“As we move forward, your support and involvement are needed more than ever…”
Greetings to this the August edition of the Official California Apartment Journal. I would like to take this time to thank those of you who joined us on our first two virtual membership meetings and encourage those who have not to consider joining those informative meetings. We will continue to hold those virtual membership meetings until such time as it is safe to meet in person. We have also put in place a series of other virtual educational sessions to keep you informed during these times.
As I look back over my more than 45 years in the apartment industry, we have weathered several storms over those years that have changed the way we maintain and operate our investment properties. I am always reminded of the fact that it is always in our best interest to look at the glass as half full as opposed to half empty. This outlook is so important as we craft our positions on how we approach adverse issues. It is important that we look at the big picture and try not to focus on individual events that adversely affect us. We have several major wins over the years along with suffering some defeats.
We must take into consideration changes in public policy that have a germane effect on the outcome of issues we are working on. There is seldom any day when there are not articles or press releases demanding more and more tenant protections, and other requests for legislation which places additional burdens on us while adding additional costs. There does not seem to be the political will to look at the real issue, which is a lack of affordable housing for both rental and purchase. Until we can address the root cause, we will continue to be under siege. As we move forward, your support and involvement are needed more than ever as we craft a different message which must resonate with elected officials, tenants, and the tenants’ advocates. Our industry is one of the most regulated industries there is and there are those pushing for more.
In the past we have brought to the attention of those attacking our industry information about our cost of mortgages, and other operating costs, and it is apparent that they do not care about our costs.
For some reason there seems to be a belief that we own our rental properties free and clear and the rent we collect is just money we put in our pockets. Housing is the key driver of the economy and has always led us out of economic down turns in the market. We employ painters, gardeners, electricians, plumbers, and a host of others that provide services for the health and safety of our residents, not to mention the suppliers of the goods we use.
It is impossible to believe that there are those who believe that we could continue to provide services to our residents without rental income. It is hard to understand the demand for rent forgiveness when we have not heard any lenders offering mortgage forgiveness, or utility companies offering forgiveness for our utility bills and related operational costs. The answers to the crises are for the government to provide rental vouchers, as some cities have just started doing, to those tenants who qualify after losing their source of income as a result of COVID-19. Housing vouchers will allow tenants to stay in their homes without fear of evictions and a larger homeless crisis will be averted. Elected officials who make these laws should be reminded that there was already a housing crisis before COVID-19, and this has just made it worse.
The largest number of rental properties are owned by small owners and who is looking out for them? Many of those small owners need their rent payment to cover their basic needs such as food. We must let our voices and concerns be heard as we are the only ones providing housing. We need your membership and your financial support as we continue to work on issues that affect us. You will find information in this edition regarding some of the successful legislation on the state level from our lobbyist Ron Kingston of California Strategic Advisors as well as those he is advocating for us. Stay well and well informed.