“This is the End…My Only Friend, the End”

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

These are the famous lyrics of rock legend, Jim Morrison, from the epic Doors song, “The End.” Those of us in the rental housing business have will have had our “end” of sorts with the intended end of the City of Los Angeles moratorium on evictions on January 31, 2023, and the end of the moratorium on rent increases twelve months later on January 31, 2024 – yes, that’s no typo, it’s 2024. At the City Council meeting held on the eve of the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, some of our prayers were heard and we dodged a bullet shot from the pen of Councilmember Nithya Raman who wanted to tack on another month to an already painful nearly three years under moratoriums – just stick the knife a bit deeper and twist it a little bit more I can only imagine was her line of thinking at the moment her failed amendment was proposed.

Most sadly, for some or perhaps many, these past nearly three years has already been the end for those who have experienced foreclosures, bankruptcies, forced sales, tenant squatters, difficult tenants emboldened by government’s response to the pandemic, and today’s mountains of pandemic rent debt owed and unpaid by state rent assistance programs. After so much torment, some cannot help but wonder why they even stay in the business of rental housing, particularly those of us who have invested retirements and hard work to own and operate rental housing here in California.

In ending the longest running moratoriums on earth, the City of Los Angeles did not go away quietly by any stretch of the imagination, and is now proposing mountains of tenant protections in the form of “just cause” eviction requirements to rental units that are not subjected to the current rent stabilization ordinance, there are to be new notice requirements imposed by the Los Angeles Housing Department when filing evictions, limitations placed on tenant screening practices, and likely a whole host of other regulations to be determined. As the infomercial host would say, “wait…there’s more.”

But for now, let’s take a moment for a deep breath. The outcome of the City Council’s actions could have been far worse and at least we have an “end” and we can now get on with our lives with some level of certainty. For those who own and manage rental housing within other areas Los Angeles County, you too can celebrate and take a deep breath as the county’s moratoriums are coming to the end on December 31, 2022 – over and done completely.

If you have been impacted by the moratoriums, had to liquidate savings or go into debt, caught your tenants being dishonest in their ability to pay rent, or are simply owed thousands of dollars, your stories need to be told. Feel free to share your stories with me. Please also consider going on record and telling your stories to the members of the media. Many reporters that I have spoken to want to hear our side of the story. It must be told so that what we have gone through these past three years does not happen to us ever again. Let’s get the word out, together.

We in the rental housing business are resilient and we are smart businesspeople. We know what we need to do now, and we will all soon be back on track. Inflation and eventually recession will pass, and we go on as we have after having faced many other challenges that have come before. So, let me encourage you and everyone to not abandon ship. However, please join the ship, become involved and support our advocacy efforts. Tenant advocacy groups that show up at city council meetings are loud and obnoxious as they appeared at the Los Angeles City Council meeting on October 4th, but we must, and we can outnumber them. So, please be engaged and speak up for your rights. The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles will support you – that’s our purpose – we will always be the voice of the rental housing business.

By the Way, Have You Seen One of the Webinars?

I want to thank those of you who have contacted me by email, phone or in person and tell you how very much I appreciate your comments and suggestions about our webinars.  I am so pleased to hear many of you find them useful, particularly since I put a great deal of effort into preparing for them and coming up with topics and guests.

We began venturing into webinars just after the start of the pandemic. I recall the very first one we did, and I have to admit, I was a bit nervous and stuck precisely to a script I had prepared for myself. Over time, we changed the format a bit, brought in opening music permitted under our ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) license, we enticed sponsors to play a role so we can bring important content to our members all for free, and at some point, I threw on a Mets cap (I don’t really like the Mets or baseball…honestly) just for fun. That baseball cap is not “my thing,” and even my wife says that she cannot recognize me without a baseball cap.

Please do join us.  If you have not yet experienced one of our webinars, give us a try. They tend to grow on people as much as I enjoy hosting and creating them for you. To date, we have produced nearly 200 webinars covering dozens of topics of great interest to members and rental property owners throughout Southern California.

Final Comments

 As we near the end of this 2022 year, we may only take a deep breath for a few moments. We have so much to prepare for in the upcoming year. The year 2023 will surely be another battleground and many challenges will be faced and once again overcome. Going into 2023, I am pleased to announce that we have stepped up our advocacy resources with the hiring of two additional professionals to strengthen our local government affairs team. These hires will surely have a major impact on our effectiveness and success as we face-off against our adversaries and work with our supporters in local government.

The obvious question is, “can we do more?” Yes, of course we can. We can act in limitless ways, but we need your support. We need your presence at public meetings where your voice needs to be heard on the record. We need your letter and email writing skills to get the personal struggles you have faced in front of and on the minds our elected officials and the media. And, we need your financial support, in our political action committees and Legal Fund, or we will not be able to match the well-financed opposition we face on a daily basis. It’s “us against the world,” and if you want to succeed as do I, be involved, keep abreast, and show your generosity.

Let me take this moment to wish each and every one of you and your families a very happy and healthy holiday season. Let us know what we can do to best serve you and meet your needs. The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles exists to serve you and help you succeed.