Letters To New Orleans City Council Members

The following letters express our opinion concerning the proposed Rental Registry.

Urgent Appeal To Vote Against The Rental Registry 

February 20, 2017

New Orleans City Council
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112

Dear Council Member:

The upcoming vote on the Rental Registry (RR) aka “Healthy Homes Ordinance” is imminent. We have provided both accurate and ample documentation that demonstrates RR advocates disseminated false and misleading data to the Council, media, and public that hoodwinked nearly everyone. Erroneous claims of 78% of rental units needing major repairs, renters without working toilets, rat infestations and other false data was propagated as evidence of landlord neglect. This farce continues as advocates once again sourced the U.S. Census Burea’s data to published another false report claiming “12,725 units had uncovered electrical outlets and children under seven living in or regularly visiting the home.” The U. S. Census Bureau’s AHS questionnaire actually asked respondents, “How many of the electrical outlets in your home have child tamper-resistant outlet covers? Would you say all, some or none?” (page 253, AHS) This type of unconscionable dishonesty comprises the foundation upon which the RR rest.

We have attached the correct research data from the U. S. Census Bureau AHS with explanatory notes that unequivocally demonstrate that 93.51% of renters are very pleased with their landlord’s repairs and rental homes. Nothing in the AHS data warrants implementing a costly multi-million dollar RR.

Again, we respectfully ask you reexamine the facts and vote against this legally deficient RR. The document is deeply flawed and wrought with many unforeseen problems, and no number of amendments could possibly transform what is obviously bad legislation. It is legally deficient, duplicates existing codes, conflicts with State laws, taxes tenants, and will destroy rental affordability.

Surprisingly, The Solution To Code Violations Already Exist, But Is Being Ignored.

We have repeatedly stated to all Councilmembers that existing codes are sufficient to address any complaints of a code violation. The fact that code inspectors have not investigated interior housing code complaints for years is not sufficient grounds to implement a RR. However, adding a few specific clarity clauses to the Code of Ordinances will rectify this omission.

We ask that you carefully review the attached resolution and the two forms of the amended ordinance. The Council’s adoption of the Resolution and either form of the Ordinance will provide the necessary changes to the code of ordinances. And before someone says there are no funds available, the 2017 budget, page 492, indicates $14.6 million is budgeted for code enforcement. Certainly, no additional funding is needed to respond to a citizen’s complaint of a code violation inside their rental home.

On behalf of the 93.51% or 49,000 plus renters that told the U. S. Census Bureau they were satisfied with their landlord’s repairs, we implore you to honor their opinion and vote against this tax on tenants now masquerading as the Healthy Homes Ordinance.

God’s Best,

Bob Chopin

Attachments: Letter and ordinances.    Charts and research packet.

Regarding The Proposed Rental Registry

Please Vote No

February 2, 2017

New Orleans City Council
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112

Dear Councilman Gray:

We appreciate you taking the time to read this letter through.

We have judiciously reviewed the proposed Rental Registry from a legal, efficacious and business perspective. It is clearly legally deficient, duplicates existing codes, conflicts with State laws, and will negatively impact rental affordability in the New Orleans housing market.

We appeal to your legal acumen and sensibilities in asking you to help defeat this Rental Registry proposal now renamed the Healthy Homes Ordinance, which it is not. The document is deeply flawed and wrought with many unforeseen problems, and no number of amendments could possibly transform what is obviously bad, bad legislation.

It is completely wrong to enact laws that are based on misinformation, ignore existing laws, and for a certainty will be reversed by the courts. There is nothing to be gained from such an endeavor except the lasting stigma of having supported this legally deficient legislation. Our detailed analysis from the AHS demonstrates there is absolutely no need for additional laws and that many council members were mislead by false data. The rental market is very healthy and New Orleans landlords enjoy a 93.5% satisfaction rating from their tenants according to the AHS.

As difficult as it may seem to vote against Ms. Cantrell’s and Mr. William’s proposal, it is the right thing to do. Applying existing codes to address the small percentage of problems a few renters have expressed, will effectively resolve these issues. As a wise man once told me, “you can never go wrong doing the right thing.”

I hope to hear from you soon and hope you will join us in defeating this unenforceable legislation.

God’s Best,

Bob Chopin

Open Letter To The New Orleans City Council


Proposed Rental Registry

Dear Council Members:

Robert Heinlein wrote:

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

We are deeply troubled by certain proponents advocating the implementation of a Rental Registry and the false narrative driving this misguided effort. It is completely illogical to define all landlords by the actions or omissions of a few and is wrong to cite a limited number of problems as proof of a systemic breakdown in the rental industry. It is equally disturbing that many proponents and some council members have willfully ignored the legitimate facts and opted to publicize a false narrative that is deceptive in principle. Prudence, not passion, must direct government actions and illuminate our decisions. Proponents may be passionate and sincere, but they are sincerely and factually wrong. A Rental Registry will destroy affordable housing and drive rents through the roof. Some financially at risk renters may be pushed into homelessness due to soaring rents caused by the Rental Registry’s fees, taxes and associated compliance expenses.

Many RR proponents fundamentally possess little knowledge and no experience about the rental industry and its complex nature. We have witnessed their quick-tempered theatrics and disparaging denigrations of landlords calling them slumlords and other characterizations not suitable for print or reiteration. This deep-rooted animosity toward landlords has fueled a false narrative that grossly disregards the factual data. This was highlighted on May 11, 2016 when Councilperson Cantrell requested a list of the alleged property locations (possibly 2,000) that were being reported as examples of landlord neglect and was told that the data was sourced from the American Home Survey (AHS) and the property could not be identified (video time stamp around 40.00). Moreover, the data is incorrectly sourced from the extremely comprehensive AHS of 2011 and those who sourced the data twisted the facts to support a false narrative that appears to be more deliberate rather than from incompetence.

We have carefully researched and documented the alleged rationale for this program and discovered that the information and reports presented are grossly inaccurate either by design or ineptitude (go to: www.neworleanscitynews.wordpress.com for a complete detailed explanation of the facts.)

Proponents and some council members have referenced the false narrative and misinformation as being sound reasonable evidence of systemic building code deficiencies when in fact the sourced information actually contradicts the false narrative it is alleged to demonstrate.

It is quite disturbing to see false and inaccurate conclusions being publicized by elected officials as the foundation upon which to erect a massive, burdensome and costly bureaucratic tax on renters. The program is wasteful and fails to focus on a specific complaint or deficiency, but rather focus on warrantless inspections of all rental units that are occupied by satisfied renters. Renters by and enlarge have neither requested nor desire government officials to manage their personal living arrangements and homes. It is an unconscionable condescending government that arbitrarily determines all renters somehow want and need costly government protection involving forced and illegal searches of their homes by unwelcomed strangers. These unwarranted searches are a clear violation of our 4th Amendment Right of privacy. Moreover, these mandatory home searches for violations of city ordinances are unconstitutional and lack “probable cause.” You cannot strip our citizens of their Constitutional Rights by enacting city ordinances that seek to nullify our Constitutional Right of privacy. Your sworn oath of office states that you will “uphold” our Constitution, not seek to manipulate or undermine it.

We know the Rental Registry push was conceived in anger, ignorance and contempt by a small group of renters and several 501(c)(3)’s seeking self-validation, without which funding and grant money dries up. Rental Registry proponents are exploiting a few problems affecting a small percentage of renters to fabricate a nonexistent crisis that reeks of demagoguery and is not supported by factual data.

We have repeatedly cited existing code enforcement laws that provided for inspections of any rental unit or private residence believed to be in violation of the building code laws. It is a complaint-based program where inspectors are dispatched to investigate a reported problem(s). It effectively, efficiently and economically addresses the reported problem(s) and provides an effective and expeditious resolution.

The term “registration” is code for taxation, even if it begins as a voluntary program. A home-by-home inspection based program like a Rental Registry requires massive regulatory oversight, burdensome charges, fees (taxes), compliance expense and a host of other related expenses for the 68,000 plus rental units and renters that are content to manage than own personal homes. Such a program will virtually eliminate affordable housing by requiring huge rental increase to cover its endless cost to renters and property owners. To think otherwise is to be deluded with reckless passion and unbridled contempt for sound judgment which in this matter appears to be ubiquitous.

More recently we have reviewed the Mayor’s “Request For Proposal” (RFP) seeking bids from 3rd party contractors (possibly a cronyistic 501(c)(3)) to “set fees” for a non-existent program lacking specificity and scope. It is a sham and absolute arrogant outrage to issue an RFP for an undefined illegal Rental Registry. 

Although the facts and truth remain suppressed by certain proponents in favor of a false and dishonest narrative, at some point the truth will surface—it always does. Those who participated in this rouse and have treated the truth with contempt will face serious public scrutiny, political headwinds and the legal ramifications associated with this unwarranted, ill-conceived and illegal home invasion program. Therefore, we urge you to reconsider your intentions and end this agenda to tax our renters out of their homes and destroy affordable housing.

We, the undersigned are opposed to any legislation aimed at creating a Rental Registry.

Bob Chopin, OM, Uptown Realty Management
Christian Hooper, Partner, Audubon Properties
Chris Riggs, Assistant Vice President, NAI Latter & Blum Property Management
Joan von Kurnatowski Feibelman, Partner, URM, LLC
Mike Mansell, Manager, Cypress Trace Apartments
Andre Hooper, Partner, ACH Ventures
Harold J. LeBlanc III, President, Crescent Building and Construction
G. Pratt Provosty, Founder/Partner, PPQ Development, LLC
N. G. Shephard, Sr., Owner, Shephard Builders
James Day, Owner, Mortgagepreps, LLC; Realestatepreps, LLC
Raymond Harris, Owner, Melting Point Rentals
Michael Laughlin, Owner, Southerndeals.com
Desmond Tillery, Partner, Tillery Real Estate, LLC
H. Langford, Realtor, Latter & Blum
Stephen Ehlinger, Relator, Developer & Landlord, Latter & Blum
Neal Morris, Principal, Redmellon Restoration & Development

We need your name here.




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