L.A. Creates New Law, Bans Tenant Harrassment

11 Replies

https://www.latimes.com/califo...

Here are some interesting activities that will be banned, along with my comments:

Deceiving residents about whether they are required to move out (what is "deceit"? If I tell a tenant they have to move out because there are too many noise violations, is that "deceitful" because I didn't instruct them on all their options? Are we getting to the point where I have to give them legal advice? Do I have to tell them they can legally stop paying rent and I can't evict them because of the moratorium?)

Trying to coerce a tenant to leave by offering them payment (say good-bye to "cash for keys")

Revealing the immigration status of a tenant to others or threatening to do so
(If I cross the border to any advanced country in the world, including Mexico, I can be arrested and deported because it's a crime. Now it's illegal to report a crime?)

Failing to follow standards to protect renters from asbestos, dust, lead paint and other health hazards (dust? So if my neighbor is working on his house or the city is working on the streets, it's my responsibility to tent the house? What's next? Holding the umbrella for them as they walk to their car in the rain?)

Refusing to acknowledge or accept lawful payments of rent
(real example: tenant cuts off communication and doesn't pay rent for five months so Landlord starts eviction process. Tenant shows up with full payment to catch up. This law would force the Landlord to accept it which removes the justification for eviction and it can all start over again.)

These cities/states continue to create more regulations to protect bad renters. I can't recall a single law created to punish tenants that fail to pay rent, shut off communication, sneak in three dogs or six family members, physically destroy a property, etc. Government is almost always on the side of the bad guy.

    wow..  every landlord in the land has used those techniques at some point..  

    If you watch the Seattle news you will see landlords being interviewed who are saying they will just sell now rather than be landlords and I know this is happening in PDX.. so there you go sky high prices for owner occ no inventory who needs the pain sell and reduce the housing inventory for tenants.. they will all end up in corporate tenancy as ONLY the big boys will suss this stuff out and continue on Mom and POP  who needs it..  cash in take your huge gain move on. 

    The no cash for keys one surprised me.  I’m not a big fan of the practice but if it is cheaper than riding things out it is a good business decision.  Everyone wins at least to a point the tenant is rewarded for being a scumbag and walks away from the ordeal unscathed with money in their pockets.  The landlord gets hit in the pocketbook but at least the problem is behind them and they can focus on the future.  It would be interesting to see the challenge on revealing immigration status on tenants but I’m assuming the intent is so landlords can’t threaten to call ice if tenants don’t comply.  Last I checked though it is not illegal to report a crime and this violates whistleblower statutes.  

    Originally posted by @Adam Martin :

    The no cash for keys one surprised me.  I’m not a big fan of the practice but if it is cheaper than riding things out it is a good business decision.  Everyone wins at least to a point the tenant is rewarded for being a scumbag and walks away from the ordeal unscathed with money in their pockets.  The landlord gets hit in the pocketbook but at least the problem is behind them and they can focus on the future.  It would be interesting to see the challenge on revealing immigration status on tenants but I’m assuming the intent is so landlords can’t threaten to call ice if tenants don’t comply.  Last I checked though it is not illegal to report a crime and this violates whistleblower statutes.  

    Cash for keys is absolute extortion. A tenant violates a contract and the government refuses to help the Landlord, so he's forced to pay the tenant just to get rid of them. Ridiculous.

    If a Landlord knowingly rents to an illegal immigrant, then it would be unethical (in my opinion) to later use that information to threaten the renter. If I discover a renter is an illegal immigrant, I should have the right to report them. I probably wouldn't, but there should be nothing wrong with reporting a criminal.

     

    @Stephen Bradford

    These ideas are just too absurd. Rental is a contract like every other business activity. If a party don’t agree with the terms, find a rental somewhere else. If one signs, then abide whatever terms it set out.

    Case in point. If a landlord must accept partial payment or non payment for up to six month, then the only right thing to do is to allow them to collect 25% interest daily compounded like credit card companies do and put the late payment record and debt balance on tenant credit reports. Let’s see how that will turn out.

    Yup, that would eliminate rental houses for sure Stephen. Get all those people who can’t afford to buy houses back in to government owned apartments. The drug dealing, meth making tenant  with a pet horse that plays his music at full blast 24 hours a day and hasn’t paid in 6 months. That his neighbors problem.  Make the good tenants suffer along with the bad. 

    You forgot to say late fees limited to $1 or we’ll have to have that lawsuit later how a $100 late fee on $2,000 rent is insane even though the government, the mortgage companies snd even the utility companies charge a higher percentage rate. You also forgot you have to sell the house to the tenant for “whatever they can afford” since they obviously wouldn’t be able to buy the house for what it’s worth or they already would have, and “that’s only fair.”

    But I especially love number 9  literally violating the bill of rights by taking 100’s of billions, maybe trillions from landlords without compensation. 

    Ps. I assume you were joking but I just wanted to make it obvious for everyone else. 

    @Account Closed

    I do appreciate different points of view, but I would like to know if you are really serious about the comments that you made. The laws should be balanced for both landlord and tenant to protect and benefit both sides.

    It might be tempting to think that if you take away the rights of landlords in many of the ways that you have suggested that nothing else will change, but I read comments on BiggerPockets, and other articles all the time about landlords selling out, and it reducing the number of rentals available. And California is a prime example of this. Every time they try to FIX something, the cities make it worse for tenants in the long run.

    I do own sfh in Arizona, IF I had any in CA, I would sell them and run as fast as I could.

    Originally posted by @Stephen Bradford:

    Well some of these are good ideas. Especially the one about not being able to refuse payment. So many people end up evicted because they try to pay rent and it’s refused. 
    That should be illegal nationwide. And cash for keys is a basically a bribe. So that’s good. 

    Honestly things have gotten so out of hand we need a federal landlord tenant law to supersede all the state and local laws which are all different and confusing. There needs to be one nationwide standard that includes:

    1. A limit on late fees. No more daily late fees that push people so far into debt they can’t get out 

    2. Just cause evictions or non renewal. Only for criminal activity, danger to others, flat out refusing to pay and not making an effort to pay, massive property damage, casualty loss 

    3. Payment cannot be refused. And renters should be given up to six months to make payments to get caught up when behind. But they must be making some kind of payment. And no amount can be refused. And no refusing to accept aid from any source. 

    4. No Pets rules banned. 
    5. Single family homes should be available for purchase by the renters in them if they want to. 
    6. indigent legal aid for both parties when requested. If either party gets a lawyer, the court should appoint one for the other party. 
    7. eviction filings are immediately expunged when dismissed or the tenant wins. If the renter loses, they’re sealed after one year 

    8. Financial history protections. The only criteria for tenant screening should be income and criminal history: only violent and sex crimes should be grounds for denial. 
    9. homes that are currently rented by someone can no longer be sold to people who intend to live there. Only to another investor, and that investor must honor existing leases and be bound by the just cause rule. 
    if people all start selling to big companies, then there need to even stricter regulations on them including all of the above. I know there’s more but this is a basic idea to start. 

    Every time I wonder how our local/state/federal government could get so screwed up, I read one of these posts and realize that the person who wrote it has a vote that is equal to mine. 😢 These suggestions would be a massive detriment to renters and decimate the rental market. 

    You make suggestions as if the rental market is sealed in a bubble and landlords can't react. Have you ever wondered why rent is so high and there are so few rental units in certain areas? It's because of feel good bulls**t similar to that you wrote. Idiot politicians enact stupid laws to placate the stupid voters and landlords respond be getting out of the market or raising rents. Renters end up losing, but most are too stupid to understand they shot themselves in the foot.

    For every one of the things you wrote, as a landlord I'd just raise the rent, raise my minimum rental qualifications, or sell the unit. If it is a city law, I'll buy a rental in another city. If it is a state law, I'll buy a rental in another state. If it is a federal law, I'll invest in another area outside rentals. I don't need to deploy my capital in rental units. I can invest in numerous other areas. Who ends up losing? Renters as there are fewer rental units and those that are available are more costly and have higher qualification requirements. 

    So go out to the streets and start yelling that you're sticking it to the landlords! Then you can complain that your landlord just raised your rent and you can't find any other place to live because there are no rental units available. But it's not your fault, it's the fault of the evil landlords...

    @Account Closed People respond to incentives.  That is as true for landlords as it is for tenants.  No one likes being told what they can or cannot do with their personal property. Given the sever shortage of housing in almost all of our cities but specifically the PNW, I argue the policy focus should be on creating new housing.  Nothing you have listed would facilitate the creation of new housing.  As numerous others have stated it only reduces the housing supply further hurting those most vulnerable in our society.

    It's time our "leaders" started making the tough decisions that will lead to additional supply of housing (reducing burdensome regulations on building, as well as these unfair laws against landlords).  Unfortunately, until this happens our housing supply will continue to diminish in exactly the places it's needed most.  The irony is (in my experience) that small landlords provide some of the best (clean, safe & functional) market rate or slightly below in the vast majority of cities.  These types of policies are eroding the supply of those units. Just because people like to hate on landlords doesn't mean society will be better off without them and the service they provide.

    John