Shock and Anger Over the L.A. City Waste Haulers’ 6.15% Increase

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Albert Mass

I was shocked and angered that the City of Los Angeles’ City Council has allowed the City’s waste haulers to increase trash removal fees by 6.15% effective in January while rent increases are frozen, late fees and interest are banned, and evictions are prohibited.  Because I am unable to increase rent at my building (let alone collect it from tenants now living for free under the disguise of a COVID impact) during this global pandemic, the City should require its monopolistic waste haulers to freeze prices.  This is especially so, and the City should take responsibility, because is was the City that established its anti-competitive monopoly arrangement known as “RecycLA” that set and imposes upon me and thousands of other property owners ever-increasing waste hauling fees.  It was the City that has negotiated the waste hauling rates and that has chosen my waste hauler, not me.

All this started back in 2017 when property owners were shocked and dismayed by the huge fee increases rolled out along with horrible service levels so that the City could extort a $25 million to $35 million franchise fee from property owners based upon a “10% take” of the waste haulers’ gross receipts.  Gone were 100’s of waste haulers competing for our business leaving us with just 7 each granted exclusive rights to service designated territories within the City.  For the City, there’s no skin of its back – the more property owners pay, the more the City earns.  But there is no doubt about it.  A 10% franchise fee is no more than a tax on property owners.

How Has COVID‑19 Affected Renters and Homeowners?

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Report Prepared by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the California Legislature’s Nonpartisan Fiscal and Policy Advisor

Summary.  In this report, we look at how coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) has affected renters and homeowners and how state and federal policies have helped to stabilize household finances for both groups. We find that the unprecedented actions of the state and federal governments to boost incomes and provide rental and mortgage relief have helped many households who otherwise would have faced an eviction or foreclosure avoid these destabilizing events.

Despite these actions, many households continue to struggle financially because of COVID‑19. Low‑wage workers were in a precarious financial position before the pandemic and tend to work in industries that were most affected by the pandemic. These workers are likely to rent, rather than own, their home. As a result, there has been significant interest in how the pandemic has affected renters, especially how much rental debt has accumulated in California due to COVID‑19. To help answer this question, we collaborated with researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia to update their recent national assessment of rental debt to reflect economic conditions and policies more accurately in California. In this report, we present the findings of our collaboration.

Loss of Privacy

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by Elaine Simpson

Privacy, in its simplest definition, is the state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by others. Information privacy is the right to have some control over how your personal information is collected and used. Human beings value their privacy.  Expanding digital resources and advanced electronic technology are being used to create “zero- touch” rental environments.   Does this threaten the privacy of our residents?

Technology has its advantages, but it also has a lot of social and ethical implications that cause concern and privacy is one of them.  Electronic surveillance, availability of personal information through internet technology and workplace/home environment monitoring are just a few areas that add to the concern.

Why Do We So Readily ‘Kid Glove’ Those Who Don’t Pay Their Rent?

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By Walter Block, Professor of Economics, Loyola University New Orleans

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, operating under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has effectively ended all evictions from residential rental units until the end of 2020.

It is interesting to note how very different the law treats food and clothing, on the one hand, from shelter, on the other. If someone breaks into a Walmart, grabs a cake and some shoes, and tries to leave without paying, the repercussions are clear: that person is a shoplifter, and will be treated harshly not only by the forces of law and order, but will also lose out in the court of public opinion (I abstract here from when the person is a looter; then all bets are off, amazingly).

Transferring Generational Family Wealth: Leveraging Delaware Statutory Trusts (DSTs)

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By Jason Salmon, Senior Vice President, Kay Properties & Investments, LLC

Real estate has long been a popular asset used to build generational family wealth. One of the key tax advantages to passing real estate property to heirs is that those recipients benefit from a “step-up in basis.” That step-up is much like hitting the reset button on a property’s current market value.  This step-up in value alone can represent a huge windfall for anyone who inherits a property that has seen even modest appreciation.

Consider a matriarch who bought an apartment building in the 1980s for $1.0 million. Thanks to careful maintenance and upkeep, along with a good location, that property is now worth $10 million. If the owner were to sell the property, he or she would face a hefty tax liability on the capital gain upon sale. Instead, the owner decides to put that property in his or her will to be inherited equally by his or her grandchildren. The grandchildren also inherit that step-up to the current appraised value at the time of the owner’s death, allowing them to avoid paying tax on capital gain should the property then be sold.

Landlord / Tenant Law “Q&A” With Kimball, Tirey & St. John

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By Ted Kimball, Esq., Partner, Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

·      Question?  In our lease agreements we require our tenants to pay their rent on the first of the month.  If the first falls on a holiday, such as Labor Day, do you have to give the tenant’s until midnight on the second to pay the rent or can you still enforce the late fee as of midnight on the first?

Answer.  Rent is not delinquent unless one business day has expired from the date the rent is due.  S,o if the first is a weekend or holiday, the rent is not late until after one business day has expired.

Insane Tenants and the Crazy Landlords That Deal With Them

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What you are about to read is crazy – it is absolute insanity.  What follows is a real exchange that occurred between one crazy tenant and a frustrated landlord who, at times, has clearly crossed the line.  The exchange among tenant and landlord was sourced from the professional property management firm that used to have this landlord as their client and today is “happy to say that client is a former client these days.”  Yes, you got it, the crazy landlord was release by the property management firm on his or her own recognizance.  The names have been changed and the personnel information removed to “protect the innocent” if there is any innocence in this mess.

You will laugh your “bottom” off when you read this exchange, or perhaps you will cry.  You just cannot make stuff like this up.  It is a rare “gem” for sure.  Take my advice, do not try this at home folks.

Ask Kari

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By Kari Negri, Chief Executive Officer, SKY Properties, Inc.

  • Question: Hi Kari, can you give me some tips to help keep building expenses down?

This is such an important question.  I can talk for two hours addressing this question alone.  Let me give you 7 quick tips to keep in mind though:

Tip 1:  Respond quickly to resident’s maintenance requests.  The number one reason a tenant moves is due to lack of maintenance and having to turn over a unit interrupts your cash flow.  Not only that, but in today’s technological ecology, the miffed resident not only tells their friends, but they tell the world about the experience via the Internet.  Stopping a vacancy before it happens is a great way to cut your expenses.

Dear Maintenance Men

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By Jerry L’Ecuyer & Frank Alvarez

Dear Maintenance Men:
I am installing safety grab bars in all of my showers & bathtubs and I need some guidance on the installation procedure.    What do I need to know to install these bars correctly? David

Dear David:
The use of handrails and safety bars help provide stability and extra support required by the elderly and people with limited mobility.  Approved ADA grab bars are available in a wide variety of configurations, colors and finishes.  The most common is the stainless steel or chrome finish.   The grab-bars must be able to support a dead weight pull of 250 pounds.  The preferred method is to bolt directly into the wall studs.  This is not always practical, as the stud might not line up where they are needed.  Grab-bars can be mounted vertically or at an angle to match wall stud spacing.  If finding studs becomes a problem, alternate installation methods are available.  If your walls are in good condition, you may use large toggle bolts or if you have access to the backside of the shower or bath walls, insert a backer plate or add a new stud for an anchor point.  Safety grab bars can be located at any local hardware store.  It is advisable that you check ADA requirements with local, state and federal agencies for regulations governing height, distance & angle of the bars.  

Essential Workers: Landlords Are Heroes Too!

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By Irma Vargas, RST & Associates

It’s Christmas morning and my phone rings,  I pick up the phone and it’s a tenant telling me: “I went to use my stove and it does not work.  Can you have it fixed today?”

This is just one of the many calls that landlords receive almost daily, and due to COVID-19, since March 2020, the number of these calls have only increased.  Here are just a few samples (Note: any expletives were removed so not to offend anyone reading this article):