Facts And Data Confirm There Is No Need For A Rental Registry!
The Facts Are Undeniable
A recent survey published by the National Association of Realtors measured rental rate increases over the past 5 years among 70 major cities and metro areas. New Orleans-metro area ranked among the best top three cities with rents rising as little as 1.86% per year or 9.33% from 2009 – 2014. New Orleans ranking of 9.33% was 5.71% below the 5-year national median rental rate increase of 15.04%. Cities that enacted a Rental Registry (RR) were among the worst performers, as predicted, with soaring rental rates.
- 50% increase — New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metro area saw rents soar 50% or 10% per year
- 22.26% increase — Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area
- 17.85% increase — Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro
- 16. 30% increase — Raleigh-Cary, NC Metro Area
- 16.28% increase — Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area
The national median rental rate increase was 15.04% over the past 5 years or 3.01% per year. New Orleans renters experienced the 3rd smallest increase in the nationwide survey.
It is obvious from the data that landlords in New Orleans & metro area were among those offering the most conservative rental increases in the nationwide survey. Moreover, it is frustrating to hear Rental Registry (RR ) proponents falsely accusing New Orleans landlords of jacking rental rates when the data clearly demonstrates they are among the fairest and most conservative in the country. We should be praising New Orleans landlords and not demonizing them. You can view the chart’s source data by clicking on the chart.
As the red bars in the chart above reflect, ever place we found a Rental Registry we found rents increasing at a much higher rate for the same period than New Orleans & metro area. We must not ignore the negative impact embodied in a government run RR program. To assume city government can tax landlords and tenants millions of dollars in unnecessary fees and that rents will not increase is ludicrous. Then there is the compliance cost of communicating and scheduling the pre-inspection of an occupied rental unit with the tenant to make certain the unit is ready for a government inspection (you don’t want to fail the inspection and be fined and labeled as a bad landlord). Provided that the RR inspector doesn’t pick the place apart, landlords or their representatives can expect to make 1 to 3 pre-inspection visit and the worst case scenario being 4 total visit:
- Make ready repairs.
- Reinspect the unit.
- Meet the RR inspector.
How much will this cost the landlord and tenant?
It will depend upon the property location. If you operate a large apartment complex with a maintenance staff on the grounds, your cost would be less than property owners with rental units in various locations who must pay representatives and repairmen to drive to the rental unit. It should be noted here that your appointment will likely be inside of a time window like 8:00 am to 11:00 am or 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and the inspector usually calls 30 minutes before arrival. The landlord or their representative must stand ready to accommodate the RR inspector on the day of the inspection. Unfortunately, doing business with city government usually takes twice as long as the private sector. So the next time you here a RR advocate say that the compliance inspection cost would only be $100 or $150 per unit, you will know for a certainty that you are listening to someone who is clueless about the rental industry and knows nothing about operating a business, as is the case with most RR advocates.
So let’s revisit the question again. How much will this cost the landlord and tenant, or ultimately the tenant to whom all cost will pass through in the form of rental increases or surcharges?
Obviously the cost will vary, but a rough estimate for “compliance inspection” expenses would range between $125 to $800 on average. Add this to the per unit inspection fee of $100 to $150 and you get a better idea of just how costly a RR law would be. That being said, if your tenants tend to be a little rough on the rental unit you could be looking at much higher “compliance cost,” perhaps 2 or 3 times higher. Even more disturbing is the catch 22 here. It will not matter to the RR inspector how the unit was damaged, only that the unit passed or failed the inspection. Therefore, when you do the pre-inspection you will need to document and photograph all damage caused by the current tenant and then make repairs at your own expense to avoid failing the inspection and being subjected to more fines and reinspections.
Now I know that some of you reading this might be tempted to say, “if a tenant damages my apartment I will make them pay for the repairs or evict them.”
Don’t kid yourself here. You will be hard pressed to evict a tenant when your apartment is not in compliance with the RR laws. The tenant will be provided a pro bono attorney, courtesy of the RR advocates, waving a failed RR inspection report in the judge’s face. You will be labeled a slumlord on the RR public database and possibly countersued for retaliation against a tenant by the pro bono attorney.
Before we move forward I want to remind our readers to read The Charts Tell The Real Story for detailed charts and information sourced from the U. S. Census Bureau’s American Home Survey. The data is overwhelmingly supportive of a healthy tenant landlord relationship in the New Orleans & metro area with tenants giving landlords a high 93.51% satisfaction rating. Reading all the articles here and support data will bring you up to speed and clearly demonstrate that RR proponents have grossly misrepresented the truth, skewed the data and are desperately trying to mislead the public and city council into passage of a costly bureaucratic nightmare and tax on tenants.
Misinformation And Exaggeration Always Ignores The Facts
There is no vaccine to immunize people against misinformation and exaggeration. Once airborne it spreads like a contagious virus with devastating effects. The virus can overpower a person almost instantly. The only known antidote is a healthy diet of truthful and factual information. But unlike the disease, the antidote requires time to effectively arrest the virus. One of America’s most renowned authors put it this way:
A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. – Mark Twain
RR advocates continue to advance their agenda by disseminating misinformation and propaganda through various media outlets. The untruthful characterizations, exaggerations and possibly flat-out lies seem to be everywhere. Landlords and tenants across the metro area need to understand that RR advocates are not a disgruntled throng of angry tenants clamoring for justice, but a coalition of sophisticated political activist groups with a clearly defined agenda of enacting socialist ideology and circumventing current laws and due process. Theirs is an agenda of unrest, agitation and relentless obfuscation that ignores facts, distorts truth and embraces fiction. Armed with a divisive agenda these advocates pander to the base nature of emotionally dependent minds not a custom to sound reasoning. RR proponents are all about creating the perception of helpless tenants victimized by bad landlords that must be stopped by the RR police program. It is a powerful illusion, a carefully contrived strategy being promulgated by malcontents void of sound reasoning.
Our opposition to a RR is primarily based on 2 main points: 1) We strongly disagree that there is a systemic problem in the New Orleans rental market that requires a multimillion-dollar RR. There is no credible data or information to indicate a systemic problem. All landlord tenant problems, disputes, etc. are provided for under existing laws. 2) The RR fee based “compliance inspection” is little more than a egregious “tax on tenants” that will drive rents higher and is a violation of our 4th amendment right of privacy. It has been ruled illegal. No renter or homeowner should ever be subjected to a mandatory compliance search of their private home.
The RR concept flows from socialist ideology where the government owns, administrates and controls business and industry. RR advocates want the government to administrate and control the private homes of New Orleans renters. They care nothing about existing rental laws or constitutional 4th amendment law. In their minds current laws are either wrong or broken and only their socialist ideology is correct. If the RR ever becomes law in New Orleans it will face constitutional challenges and eventually be overturned because RR “compliance inspections” are a violation of our 4th amendment right of privacy. RR proponents are well-organized and funded with supporter contributions and government grant money. RR proponents fought the citizens of Garland, TX. and gave them the fight of their lives. Eventually the landlords and renters prevailed.
In Garland, TX. landlords and renters won a huge victory over the RR program when a federal judge ruled that the city RR inspection was a violation of the 4th amendment and was forced to pay the plaintiffs $100,000 in legal fees:
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)
So What Is The Rental Registry Really About?
Well, for the city it’s all about the money, $10-$19 million in new revenue lifted from the citizens’ pockets and into the city’s coffers. For the RR proponents, many of which are non-profit organizations dependent on supporters contributions and government grants, it serves to validate their existence and ensure continued funding. For the landlords it’s about the burdensome fees, fines and associated compliance cost that will drive rents higher as all expenses are passed through to the tenants. For the tenants it’s about footing the entire cost of the RR program as landlords are forced to increase rents to feed the insatiable RR’s appetite for more and more of the tenant’s dollars. Tenants will be subjected to the blatant violation of an unconstitutional 4th amend search of their home. Yes, the mandatory “compliance inspection” of every square foot of your home is a violation of our right to privacy. It is illegal! The sad irony of the RR is that tenant’s will be unlawfully violated and then forced to pay the violators a fee.
There is a Marxist wedge of class envy driving the dialogue of RR proponents as incendiary charges are indiscriminately levied against rental property owners. Landlords are referred to in a general sense as slumlords, bad landlords, and negligent landlords in a shady ploy to create guilt through association. You can hear the embedded animosity ringing loudly. In their minds it’s wealth lording over the impoverished.
False allegations based on distorted data are employed to fuel the flames of misinformation. To claim that “78% of all rental units needed major repairs at some point in the previous year” seemed outlandish at face value. But when we researched the data cited in U.S. Census Bureau’s AHS report the allegations were all false (Exhibit A AHS). In fact, even the bar chart and data in this article was said to rank New Orleans among the 6 worst places for renters to live. It is a campaign of deception and it needs to stop, but it won’t. The promise of a treasure chest laden with millions of dollars in fees and fines extracted from the renters’ pockets is just to irresistible, perhaps $10-$19 million. All that is holding back a RR program is the facts and truth. Discrediting the truth and distorting the facts is part and parcel of the socialist based propaganda driving the RR agenda and its advocates. In every city where we found a RR in operation, rents were rising far above New Orleans conservative 1.86% per year (see the chart above).
The RR is bad for renters, landlords and New Orleans. The RR program will not accomplish anything that cannot otherwise be accomplished through existing laws. Louisiana’s Attorney General believes that education is the key and published a free handbook:
Every day the Attorney General’s Office receives questions and complaints involving landlord and tenant issues. Education is the best way to address these types of complaints and give you the answers you need. (James D. “Buddy” Caldwell Attorney General)
The post Katrina era brought over $24 billion in federal dollars and billions more in insurance dollars for renovations and reconstruction of our housing stock. Property owners have done an amazing job rebuilding New Orleans. Although the work is not complete, housing looks better than it ever has in my lifetime. Meanwhile many of our streets, streetlights and street signs remain in disrepair while the city council is cruising to fantasy island with the RR advocates piloting the ship. False promises like “the RR is self funding, it won’t increase rents and landlords will realize it’s a good thing” are the regular staple served up for consumption to the naive and gullible.
We urge all concerned citizens, landlords and council members to look past the smoke and mirrors of RR proponents and examine the factual data we have provide here. In doing so we believe that you will discover there is no need for an illegal RR ordinance and its costly burden on our renters. You will also learn that existing laws are in place now to address any and all conflicts that may arise in the rental industry.
You may be tempted to feel that your voice really does not matter because you are just one person, but you are mistaken. Your voice does matter and together we can stop this RR before it’s too late. Our parents and grandparents fought and died fighting against socialism. Now some want to embrace and celebrate its dogmas and failed ideology. Please don’t remain silent. Leave a comment here. Contact your council person to express your opposition. Forward this blog to others. Share us on Facebook. Click the follow button to the right and get on the email list.
We appreciate you taking the time to read our position and hope you will get involved.
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!