A Looming Financial Nightmare
New Orleans landlords and landlords throughout Jefferson and Kenner need to wake up and recognize the costly reality of the Rental Registry (RR) ordinance making its way through the corridors and council offices of New Orleans City Hall. The RR has been called “burdensome, costly, counterproductive, unfair, draconian, excessive, unnecessary, Un-American, and illegal.” Only a few cities have foolishly succumbed to RR proponents’ misleading propaganda and implemented the costly legislation which has proven to be disastrous for both landlords and tenants. Meanwhile, city bureaucrats gleefully rake in millions in new revenue lifted from the pockets of landlords and tenants. It’s an open-ended cash cow for bureaucrats and another burdensome tax on landlords and renters forced to pony up the cash.
As predicted, the RR cash cows are coming under legal scrutiny as property owners file suit against city governments. Landlords have won legal decisions on 4th. amendment grounds as courts are declaring the RR laws unconstitutional. Garland, TX, Elizabethville, PA, Hempstead, NY, Marietta, GA and Yuma, AZ courts have ruled against the RR laws. In Garland, TX. landlords and renters won a huge victory:
A group of landlords and renters sued the city. A federal district court ruled that the rental inspections were a violation of the 4th Amendment in 2005. The city kept appealing over the awarding of attorney’s fees to the plaintiffs. Finally, in 2008, the city was required to pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees of close to $100,000. (If it didn’t appeal, damages would have been 1/7th of that.) (source)
Some city governments have been able to keep their RR program afloat for now in spite of it being unconstitutional. Here is just one example of what awaits New Orleans landlords and renters if they fail to speak-up and oppose this costly and possibly illegal law.
JACKSON, MI: When property owner Mary Ann Eyde received a RR inspection bill for her 216 apartments it totaled $37,000. Eyde’s previous RR inspection bill was $3,000, but now the reinspection bill skyrocketed to $37,000. Now she would be forced to pass yet another rental increase along to her tenants. Well, enough with this!
Eyde filed the original class action lawsuit after rental inspection fees billed to Westbay Club Apartments in June totaled more than $37,000. The complex at 1500 W. North St. was billed $175 per unit to inspect each of its 216 apartments.
The complex was billed less than $3,000 for similar inspections performed by city employees in July 2009, according to invoices filed with the courts. (source)
New Orleans landlords and tenants need to join together to defeat this RR beast that will only drive rents through the roof.
Unwarranted Government Intrusion
The RR is an unwelcome governmental intrusion into our private homes under the guise of health and safety inspections. What it really amounts to is a huge rental increase for tenants as landlords are forced to raise rents to pay the ever-increasing and outrageous fees, fines and other associated expenses.
Although there is no factual data to justify this multimillion dollar governmental money grab, what is more disturbing is the illegality of such a program. The RR is an abuse of government power and is a violation of our 4th amendment right of privacy.
The RR inspector must inspect ever square foot of your home’s interior for compliance. This means they must look inside your cabinets and closets for signs of mold, rodents or leaks. They must take pictures to document their report. If, in the course of their inspection they notice what they believe to be illegal or criminal activity they could be required to report such information to the authorities. Such things as a weapon for home protection, medication you are taking or a strange smell in the air, lack of cleanliness believed to be endangering your children or any behavior they consider to be suspicious activity could trigger either a formal or anonymous tip to the authorities. When child services, immigration, drug enforcement, ATF, police or homeland security comes knocking (busting the door down) you most likely won’t even know what happened. If you think this can’t happen to you because you are a law-abiding citizen, you are sadly mistaken.
Imagine your private home under surveillance because a RR inspector anonymously reported you to the authorities, suspecting you might be guilty of illegal or criminal activity. Then imagine undercover detectives posing as RR inspectors searching your home for illegal activity.
Perhaps you are thinking, I’m not breaking any laws and have nothing to hide from the authorities, and while this may be true, the authorities must respond to the formal or anonymous allegation made against you even if it turns out to be a false report. Government authorities inspecting the interior of your home for compliance has always been illegal until a few city governments realized the potential to make millions of dollars by trampling on our 4th amendment right of privacy. Now they want to make a law that forces us to let strangers search our entire home and bill us for the search. No American should be subjected to this socialist ideology. This is insanity on steroids.
Is The Rental Registry Rooted In Socialism?
The RR concept flows from socialist ideology where the government owns, administrates and controls business and industry. The RR seeks to administrate and control the private homes of New Orleans renters. This intrusion into our private lives is based upon the groundless assumption that renters lack sufficient competency to manager their own personal and private living situation and desperately need government intervention to take control. This is the same old tired song with a new beat, but the same message.
RR proponents have demonized landlords, promoted a few isolated horror stories, employed skewed data and hope that everyone will sing along and dance to the music as their constitutional right of privacy is trampled underfoot. The unfortunate renter is little more than a pawn in this huge tax on tenants. The RR fees and fines will tax landlords, raise the tenant’s rent, violate our 4th amendment right of privacy and enrich the coffers of city government.
Listen friends, our founding father’s were seasoned statesman and well aware of governmental intrusion into the private lives of its citizens. This is why they drafted the 4th amendment, so that all Americans would have a right of privacy in their homes. They knew good and well all the ramifications of unwarranted government intrusion into their homes and private lives. This is why they created laws prohibiting any government official from entering your home without a magistrate issuing a sworn warrant based on probable cause that you were breaking the law. New laws that force you to unlock your door and allow a home invasion of your personal residents is illegal and circumvents your 4th amendment right to privacy. Our homes are private and must remain private.
The Rental Registry Argument
RR advocates have argued that existing laws “don’t work” and “are broken;” that renters can’t get needed repairs. They claim renters have no options available through current laws to force landlords to make repairs. Consequently, they allege renters must live in horrible, unsafe and unsanitary living conditions. However, these claims are absolutely false.
Current laws and codes can adequately resolve any and every breach of contract between the tenant and landlord. Moreover, the process and all information is well documented in 2 recent articles, The Condition Of Rental Housing New Orleans and Rental Registry Ordinances both posted on February 28, 2015. We hope you will take time to read all the articles on this blog. Each article is well documented and supported by Exhibit A AHS.
According to the research data, when renters were asked to reflect upon their rental experience and share if they were satisfied with their landlord’s repair performance they gave their landlords an overwhelming 93.51% satisfaction rating. When asked about various repairs that might be needed, 92.7% of renters in the measured categories reported no repairs were needed. In other words there is no systemic problem or major breakdown in the rental industry as alleged by RR advocates. Moreover, there are no problems that require a $10 to $19 million rental registry tax. Factually speaking, on average 9.3 people out of 10 do not need the government RR to enact laws that violate our 4th amendment right of privacy and force their way in our homes under the guise of safety and health concerns—there is no need!
Socialist Government Administration And Control Is UN-American
The problems with a Socialist Rental Registry are as follows:
- It appeals to emotionalism, void of reason.
- A RR cannot be intelligently justified.
- The factual research does not support the need for government intrusion.
- A RR violates our 4th amendment right of privacy.
- It will drive up rents by imposing outrageous fees, fines and associated expenses on landlords and tenants.
- Landlords and renters will suffer unfair financial despair just as property owner Mary Ann Eyde discovered when her Rental Registry inspection bill for 216 apartments totaled $37,000 (see example above).
RR advocates claim they are only trying to correct the “bad landlords that don’t play by the rules.” If this were remotely true, common sense tells you to go after the law breakers and not wast time trying to tax the 93.51% of renters and landlords that are satisfied, play by the rules and are not part of the problem.
Of the 6.49% of renters that were dissatisfied, using 2014 eviction numbers we can estimate that about 5.2% or 4,516 were evictions, mostly for nonpayment of rent. This leaves about 1.29% that possibly had a tenant landlord dispute. We can safely conclude that 98.21 renters out of 100 were satisfied and only 1.29 renters (less than 2 renters out of 100) had a dispute with their landlord. To learn more about this read The Tenant Landlord Relationship.
The facts are very clear. We really don’t need a $10 to $19 million Socialist Rental Registry. Our current laws regularly resolve these issues and are more than sufficient to address any and every breach of the tenant landlord relationship.
We appreciate you taking the time to read our position and hope you will get involved.
Your voice matters!
Your help is needed now to stop government intrusion. The Rental Registry is a bad idea and without your help it could become a $10 to $19 million tax on tenants and landlords.
Contacts for New Orleans City Council members and staff. Your voice matters!