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Re: Larry the Landlord

Posted by Larry the Landlord on February 29, 2000 at 02:51:44:

In Reply to: Larry the Landlord posted by Renee on February 27, 2000 at 10:34:27:

Hi Renee,

First off I would agree that right now there is a housing shortage, it is a very different market right now. I have been living here for thirty years, through the recession of the seventies, the crazy boom and then crash of the eighties and now this ever increasing market of the nineties and year 2000. But there hasn't always been a shortage, in fact at points during the seventies and eighties landlords would pay the brokers fee to try to entice good tenants, and would often have empty apartments for months at a time, often being forced to negotiate the rent of apartments. So I strongly disagree with you that there has always been a housing shortage. Now, as far as turning property into coops during the seventies this was because landlords panicked and were afraid that the rental market was never going to come back so they sold out to coops, they did not benefit from this in the long run, actually, and if you were lucky enough, and if you managed to purchase during this time these coops were very afford able. For instance you could buy a 2 bedroom apartment for 30,000 to 50,000. Hubba, hubba. Don't we wish. During the early nineties you could still buy studios in and around NYU for about the same price, but they were tiny. They now go for over 150,000. So yes there is currently a shortage of afford able housing. But if I may say, I own one small building, one only, I am not a multiple building owner. I have one tenant paying 260.00 for a one bedroom, (in the East Village) another paying 400.00, for a one bedroom, another paying 425.00 for a 2 bedroom, and another paying 450.00 for a studio. When I first bought the building after mortgage I was making less the $10,000 a year on the property, clear. This is considered very good amongst owners, in this market today most building break even after mortgage, insurance, water and sewer, fuel costs, etc. My point being that when a building has below market rents and very small profit margins landlords are forced to maximize a buildings income potential. Now, the way a landlord does this is similar to how all pit bulls have a bad reputation. I personally call all pit bulls by their proper names American Terriers, Staffordshire terriers, etc. and have never been bitten and in fact find that most dogs with decent owners have very lovable pets. As all my landlord friends are very nice, very fair people. I know none, in fact, that do what you claim most of them do. Landlords that do do these illegal activities do exist I have no doubt but I can virtually guarantee that you can not possible make such comments from experience that "almost all" do. In fact I believe that such an accusation would be absurdly impossible to prove, do you have some kind of study that you have done or have in your possession to back such a comment up? Or is it just an accusation.

It is these below market apartments that cause a landlord to try and maximize a buildings potential. As far as afford able housing if you mean it is a landlord's responsibility to forever provide a low paying apartment even when it becomes vacant is socialist in its manner, by asking the landlord to subsidize tenants with absolutely no compensation. This is why increases have been allowed, because it is one of the very few situations in this capitalist society were a provider of services is asked to participate with the government to subsidize their clients, it has for these very reasons been recognized by the system and therefore increases allowed. So speaking only for myself, I always refurbish apartments legally and legitimately. The apartments I have redone are always beautiful, it only benefits me for increasing the capital and eventual sale value of the building. Most Landlords understand this and invest for these reasons. My neighborhood is becoming very gentrified, and very attractive, this doesn't happen by landlords sitting on their hands. Nor am I going to refurbish an apartment and then rent it without taking my legally allowable increases. Yes that might even mean displacing someone who can't afford the apartment at it's new price, but I wish I could replace my Honda Civic with a Landrover.

And briefly, as far as trying to "out" a tenant for "harboring a dog" or other silly reasons, take a look at this site and read some of the posts. Tenants here are often angry that a landlord doesn't try to evict noisy tenants, dirty tenants, tenants with loud dogs, etc. I had a tenant who told me I was responsible for the illegal behavior and noise of a small grocery next door. He would often chew me out for doing nothing to remedy street noise. Landlords are simply doomed if they do and doomed if they don't. But anyone who has ever been in housing court knows full well that Housing court judges do not evict tenants on frivolous accusations. We landlords know this and have no desire to face any housing court judge, depending on the judge we are treated as second class citizens, it's a terrible experience.

As far as having access to your private information, such as your tax returns I ask you what is new? Every tenant in this city trying to get an apartment must bear their souls to apply for an apartment, credit records, color of mom's hair etc. This is because a landlord can loose a building because he/she can't pay the mortgage because of nonpayment from a tenant. Renting as a landlord is very scary. Taking on a wacko can cause stress and unhappiness in our lives and the other tenants. And the power to protect my privacy is one of the reasons I decided to own in the first place. It is a right that is afforded an owner when he allows you to enter and live on his/her premises.

But why should a landlord have access to the records of someone who has been in an apartment for some time. Let me give you the case of my 260.00 a month apartment. One of the occupants is a software designer and writer, the other is a registered nurse,and they pay 260.00 per month. I personally don't think it is fair that I should have to subsidize people who are making more money a year then I am. Do you? Well if we are going to be asked to subsidize people then we should get to know whether they warrant it.

More then anything TV has to do with the gentrification and popularity of living in New York, therefore a housing shortage. New york is quickly losing its reputation as a dangerous city. Shows like Felicity, Seinfield, Friends, You've Got Mail, I could go on and on, have created a massive influx of young people who have a lot of money from parents who are booming in this bear market. Now there are those who resent these types, but there are those that would resent you with your computer. It is the newcomers who don't have a prayer in this current market. But it's just a matter of time before the market drops and this market lets up.

In closing I do not live to make money either Renee, but as you chose your occupation so I chose mine. Your connotation is that all landlords should simply concede to the concepts of trying to even make money, open up our arms to all people and subsidize them. I am sorry that you are rent poor, but my 260.00 a month tenants ARE NOT, and my 1750.00 a month tenant IS NOT. You could always move, or is it your landlords obligation to make you NOT rent poor, or perhaps get you a better job? The urban centers of the world have always contracted and expanded with hopes and dashed dreams of it occupants. It is the nature of cities, don't blame it on landlords, that's what a Marxist would do. And you don't want to be a Marxist, their always victims. :-)
Larry the Landlord lover of everyone.

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