Vice Article Hit Piece

44 Replies

Wow. I'm a pretty "progressive" person and I'm appalled at this story. I wouldn't be surprised if it hatched from the twitter thing going on a few weeks ago. They have cherry-picked certain things. Most landlords are people just like anyone else. In fact, I would say more landlords get in trouble in this business trying to be decent people than not. The writer of this story apparently intends to provide all of the housing in the US himself.

I know who some of the people "quoted" in that story are (I recognize the locations/bylines/etc). Just a sorry story all the way around. 

Hey guys - I'm aware of the article. 

The article's thesis is about the imbalance of power between landlords and tenants. This is an interesting concept and I think there's an interesting discussion in the second half of the article.

Just a bit of a shame about the title and first half of the article... I wonder why they don't seem to match the thesis? They seem instead to try to bash BiggerPockets and landlords in general. A shame for an otherwise interesting article.

Folks, this is the internet. Some of the posts called out in the article and on twitter in recent weeks ARE embarrassing, do not reflect the values of BiggerPockets, and are ideal fodder to stir up clickbait headlines for a certain type of media outlet, even if some of those posts were made in jest. Public comments like some of these risk being called out. We should all know better.

That said, forum posts are user-generated content and ascribing the views of a forum post to the community at large or to BiggerPockets as a company would be equivalent to digging through facebook for certain types of posts and saying that this user-generated content represents the views of facebook. The article is carefully constructed NOT to directly extend the views of the posters to BiggerPockets. However, unfortunately, due to the article's construction, I worry that many people will be left with the wrong impression about us.

The vast majority of our platform is positive, as is the vast majority of media coverage for BiggerPockets, and rightfully so. It takes real work, skipping over hundreds or thousands of quality forum posts and discussions from intelligent and ethical people to cherrypick the tiny fraction of posts that can potentially support portrayal of the community in a negative light. 

But, this is 2019. A certain segment of the population is looking for an excuse to portray real estate investors in a certain light. If this is a surprise to you, you haven't been paying attention and it's time to start watching your words. 

Watch what you post, let's keep the forums clean, productive, positive, and informative, and let's keep helping millions of people achieve financial freedom in part through real estate. Or, in other words, let's keep doing what we're doing, which is why we are so "wildly popular" in the first place!

What this guy doesn't realize is that we try very hard to work with tenants and often loose money by being too soft.

We are often put in a bad situation when the tenant stops paying the rent and we are forced to have to find a tenant who will pay their bills.

This ultimately has to be treated like a business and not a charity.

I'm way prouder than I should be that they highlighted one of my comments. Guess that means I'm doing it right, if I'm pissing off writers like this. Wish I could post a laugh emoji here.

Originally posted by @Andrew B. :

I'm way prouder than I should be that they highlighted one of my comments. Guess that means I'm doing it right, if I'm pissing off writers like this. Wish I could post a laugh emoji here.

If you're on a PC, right click in the box - you'll see "emoji" as a choice. If you don't have pop ups blocked click it, you will get some options. Note that they don't all translate over properly to phone or app views.


Originally posted by @Mike Franco :

Vice is another trash outlet that accepts random articles from outside contributors.

Unfortunately, this is the new "journalism" - few standards, virtually no review whatsoever, low paid hacks masquerading as reporters. The sad point is that as @Scott Trench mentioned, there are important conversations that need to be had regarding housing in the United States, including affordable housing and landlord/tenant relations. Articles like this are not the way to get to those conversations as they only serve to reinforce stereotypes and entrench each 'side' to their own point of view. 

This isn't news, it's an opinion piece by someone who has probably never been a home-owner, let alone a landlord. Vice basically just accepts articles from anyone, as long as they are attention grabbing headlines. @Scott Trench are you going to reach out to Vice about you (or someone else representing BP) writing a counter-argument piece?

My opinion is that No part of the article was informative or factual . Just a One sided opinion that was blatantly biased against property owners . Where was the part about the baby mammas on welfare with 7 kids  who never worked a day in their life ? Am I suppose to now feel sorry for the disadvantaged disenfranchised adult who won’t get his fat a$$ off the couch ?how bout the scum sucking leech who pays his rent whenever he feels like it ? I’ll be sure to remember these folks this weekend when I am rehabbing one of my units that a dirtbag tenant trashed before he left me without paying rent  of coarse .these poor souls will be in mind as I work my usual 60 hour work week ,NOT

I am one of the people quoted in the article. Bummed that one of those was written late at night and has some typos in it. I can say they never made a single attempt to get a hold of me. Whoever wrote this is a straight bum and he/she can screen shot that.

I take pride in being a good landlord but no, I'm not going to respond to requests to come over and change a light bulb for my tenants. 

What a bunch of garbage. It’s not like we’ve got discussions where landlords are hoping for a recession.

Oh wait, never mind.


I didn’t think the story was appalling. It could have been worse. The twitter responses / comments were worse (in terms of polarity).

I didn’t think there was anything false in the story and my feelings were not hurt that they didn’t represent the landlords’ side. It’s a business. In N.C., courts are landlord friendly. It’s why I buy rentals here. Facts. All facts.

I’m pretty liberal politically but we all have to play by the rules or it does not work. I don’t pay my mortgage, I get foreclosed on. You don’t pay rent, you get evicted. Pretty black and white to me.

It’s business. I am happy to point people in the direction of assistance programs if they have a crisis but I will also send the notice to quit on day 5.

I really don't find anything in the article particularly appalling. The local newspaper by me took (large) landlords to task on specific, bad conditions. They won several awards and I enjoyed the articles for the most part. 

If there is real concern over an unfair power dynamic, then it should be illustrated in specific cases, i.e. Kushner properties were taken to task for forcing out rent controlled tenants. But to just generally say it must be so without more is limp at best. To cite message boards is lame.

I also take issue with the proposal that the tenant is the customer. I find that to vastly undermine the special position a person holds when they become a tenant. Any business can ask a customer to leave and generally treat them as they wish- this is not so between a landlord and a tenant and to propose otherwise is both ill-informed and insulting. There is a separate set of laws and even courts established to govern the very special relationship between a tenant and a landlord. We, unlike the author of the article, recognize this and it is why we are not "friends" with our tenants. We have certain duties and responsibilities we must fulfil as landlords as do our tenants, and it is not a "business relationship"

Any and every person who enters into a contractual relationship must always assert their rights. The author recognizes this when they counsel and offer legal advice to the tenant at the end of the article. Taking issue with a landlord advising another to assert his rights is hypocritical. Equity aids the vigilant, not those that slumber on their rights.

To assume that we are all jockeying to move the tenant out and move in someone at a higher rent, that we take things personally, that we want to do the least possible really does a disservice to those who are struggling under slumlords and professional tenants.

It is offensive to read an article written by someone who has no clue. Fortunately it is in a rag which fewer forks might actually find worthy.

On the other hand the "Dear Landlord" song by Bob Dylan gives a far more objective view. I have been trying to decipher if he is about to skip out or, maybe it is just bluster. Here is a link to the lyrics:

and on youtube there is a Joan Baez version which is really pretty cool.

I find the article funny. It reads as if it were written by someone with the cognitive ability of a 5th grader. Absolutely no attempt to understand what a landlord does or what it takes to be a landlord, just "they bad, me good". 

His "astute" observations: Your landlord is not your friend. No ****! It's a business relationship. Does this guy think the waitress serving him lunch is his friend? The guy at the gas station is his friend? His boss is his friend? 

His "basic necessities" comment is great. Other than basic things like hot/cold running water, working toilet, HVAC in some areas, and be pest free, what else should a landlord provide? Weekly pizza? 

And the clueless lawyer (Susan Etta Keller) that he quoted saying the landlord has no reason to please or appease the tenant, but the tenant has every reason to please or appease the landlord. Wow! The fact that someone this stupid could pass the Bar just shows that it doesn't take intelligence to be a lawyer. Landlords have every reason to appease tenants or the tenants leave and vacancies cost us money. It's a give and take relationship and if she had a clue she would realize this. 

My renter screwed me out of 15k + 10k in damages , not including the hours I put in to work on the repairs I didn't contract out. Where is my puff piece as the kind but stupid landlord always taken advantage of. 

I think, at long last, it's time for me to start saying significantly less in jest. It was fun while it lasted.

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

I think, at long last, it's time for me to start saying significantly less in jest. It was fun while it lasted.

No way Jim! I think we can curb other stuff and post sensibly; but no way should that make us cut back on humor and especially sarcasm. Jim, we live for your posts!