Advocates Rebrand Rental Registry Under Alias Name And Compare It To Getting A Brake Tag
Proponents of the New Orleans Rental Registry (RR) continue to mislead the public in a desperate attempt to create a RR under an alias or assumed name. The latest scheme is to rebrand the RR ordinance as the “Healthy Homes Ordinance” in an effort to hoodwink the public with yet another false narrative.
You can slap on a new label and change the beat, but they’re still singing the same old song. Skirting the facts and misleading the public may fool some folks, but the scheme to illegally violate a renter’s Constitutional Rights, tax renters through a RR and demonize landlords is the obvious ploy. It is, what it is—an illegal multimillion-dollar tax scheme that will destroy affordable housing and drive rents through the roof.
How Did We Get So Confused?
- FALSE DATA: Initially, Council Members were given false and misleading data by the RR advocates that was blatantly wrong. Since then, we have exposed this falsehood in our detailed reports located here.
- THE SCHEME REVEALED: RR advocates have taken a small percentage of complaints, a handful of angry renters, mixed in false data, several 501(c)(3) groups, misinformed the media, added a little hocus pocus and there it is—a manufactured non-existent crisis. This is an unconscionable disservice that exploits all renters and landlords.
- SATISFIED RENTERS: Roughly 93.5% of all New Orleans renters are very satisfied with their landlord’s maintenance and repairs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau AHS report. There is no systemic crisis as alleged by RR advocates.
- SOARING RENTS: Creating a duplicate bureaucracy to register and inspect possibly 70 to 80 thousand rental units that have not reported a problem or requested the City to inspect their homes has an estimated associated cost of $10 million. Unfortunately, this cost is passed along to all renters through increased rents. We must remember that roughly 93.5 % of renters have no need or desire to have government inspectors in their homes, nor do they desire to pay increased rents to fund the City’s tax scheme.
- UNKNOWLEDGEABLE ADVOCATES: The RR advocates that conceived the massive tax on tenants have little or no knowledge about the rental industry and the obscene cost that will be laid on the backs of hard working renters. In stark contrast to the truth, one RR advocate compared the RR inspection process to a 5-minute, $10 brake tag inspection. This mindset demonstrates a lack of understanding, and such analogies are an embarrassment and distraction to constructive dialogue. The U.S. Supreme Court and other lower Courts have ruled these warrantless home invasions are a violation of the 4th Amendment, illegal and unenforceable.
- CURRENT LAWS EXIST: New Orleans Code enforcement is the legal government agency authorized and responsible for investigating all complaints of housing deficiencies. Chapter 26–Article IV–Division 3–Sections 26 151–155 explains the process New Orleans Code Enforcement officials must follow when a resident reports a code violation. The process is a legal, “compliant driven” inspection. It is absolutely ludicrous to send inspectors to illegally search roughly 70 thousand homes where neither the renter or landlord has requested assistance. The focus must be on a case-by-case compliant driven basis. The cost will be nominal in contrast to the multimillion-dollar RR.
- HUGE OR SMALL PROBLEMS: One would suppose that Council Members are inundated with numerous complaints from individual renters about the substandard condition of their rental unit and landlord neglect. Well, none of the Council Members that we spoke with could produce a list of complaints, so I asked, “How many complaints have you actually received from renters having trouble getting repairs from their landlord?” One Council Member said, “maybe 1 in 4 years,” another said, “over the years, a few,” and still another didn’t know of any complaints. This is not to say there are zero problems. That would only be true in a perfect world. There are building code problems that need to be addressed, and they are the responsibility of New Orleans Code Enforcement.
- THE REAL PROBLEM: The real problem lies with New Orleans Code Enforcement ignoring their responsibility to inspect the interior of a residential building when a complaint is reported. Consequently, renters have become frustrated.
- THE SOLUTION: Currently, code inspectors, depending on the urgency of the report, can respond to a complaint within 24 to 48 hours. They are not overworked. Much of the Katrina build out has slowed to a snail’s pace. Once cited, landlords would be given a reasonable amount of time to correct the deficiency or face a fine. Surprisingly, this process is already in place.
- TENANT/LANDLORD HANDBOOK: State laws also govern the Tenant/Landlord relationship. Click here.
SUMMARY: In response to RR proponents campaign of misinformation and skewed data, we provided accurate U.S. Census Bureau data from the AHS, both 2011 and 2015 reports, to the Council Members. We are pleased that at least 3 of the Council Members (Gray, Head, Guidry) have begun reviewing the data and questioning the RR in the light of accurate data and from a more informed perspective. Some members commented on the 4th Amendment infringement of a citizen’s right to privacy. Others were actually surprised by the positive U.S. Census Bureau data and relieved to see the rental market was not in the horrible condition being portrayed by the RR advocates and the false data.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. There are 10 other detailed blogs on this site explaining everything you need to know about the proposed RR. I urge you to take some time to read each of them over the next few days and develop a working knowledge of all the facts. Please contact the New Orleans City Council members and staff. Your voice matters!