Sunday, May 08, 2011

44 Comments:

Blogger TMink said...

I wonder if the property owners will be listened to? What will it take before they are listened to?

Trey

2:13 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

Many are going Section 8 too.

3:43 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger Larry J said...

Being San Francisco, I wonder how long it'll be before the city government either forces them to enter into rental agreements or finds a way to confiscate the properties.

3:54 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger JohnMcG said...

Yes, who can forget the passage of *Atlas Shrugged* where Galt, having inherited an apartment building, decides not to rent it out due to unfavorable landlord-tenant laws.

This is my problem with "going Galt." Someone who owns an apartment building is not remotely comparable with a brilliant engineer who designed an incredibly efficient engine.

More than likely, they came to own that building not through their own talent and efforts, but through inheritiance or some form of regulatory capture. Yet they claim the mantle of a brilliant engineer. No sale.

4:05 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger Larry J said...

More than likely, they came to own that building not through their own talent and efforts, but through inheritiance or some form of regulatory capture.

That's an assertion that's more based on economic envy than on the facts. It's like the claim that most rich people inherited their money than earned it themselves. That was pretty handily debunked in "The Millionare Next Door."

4:47 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

"More than likely, they came to own that building not through their own talent and efforts, but through inheritiance or some form of regulatory capture."

You know this?

Or you just want to believe this.

I mean, is this statement grounded in anything other than your fantasy? Where is the data? And if there is no data, why would you have such a negative fantasy?

Or are you just some progressive who lies to protect the narrative?

Really, I would like to know.

Trey

6:07 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger Stormbringer said...

The apartment complex where I live has changed hands several times. The latest change happened after we moved in. Before, there were standards (including having a job and an income level). The new owners took over, and it's becoming like the other "projects" in the town. Section 8, drug dealers, low lifes, service standards to tenants have dropped... it changed rapidly in a year's time.

Perhaps tenants should go Galt for certain landlords.

6:31 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"That's an assertion that's more based on economic envy than on the facts."

----

Or maybe it's based on something other than economic envy.

If you think that most every person who generates good money has a spouse, and that spouse lives the same lifestyle and usually gets the money (especially if it's a woman), you can see just from that mechanism alone that lots of people didn't earn it. And that doesn't even take all of the other mechanisms like inheritance into consideration.

So if you think about transfers like I'm talking about above - and if you FRIGGIN' KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED IN SOCIETY (LOL) - then you see that most landlords and landladies probably did not earn the money themselves. That's my take on it - having once worked in an industry where we only catered to "rich people".

But I'm sure the drumbeat of "envy" will continue here for anyone who dares see reality, and I'm sure that anyone who says this will be relegated to Potted Plant in the Corner Status.

6:52 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

Women who get money off men as their main means of support do not want to see what I am saying above. They will ignore it.

Men in general ignore what I am saying for God knows what reason.

I just don't get it, but that's how people tick. Truth ain't big on the list.

6:54 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

I have also noticed that people who are so gung ho about evangelizing that rich people are pretty much only rich because they are go-getters etc. are people who have little money themselves. Really. But they know it FOR SURE.

I have experienced people who clearly have significantly less money than me telling me how it is. I find that bizarre. At least wait until you've got money yourself to start spouting off.

And this is really a tense topic here. Helen absolutely ignores the topic or anyone who brings it up (I won't go further on my opinion about that), but her loyal minions keep up the economic envy argument. And the world keeps turning.

7:06 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger Larry J said...

Nice set of strawmen you've erected there. Be careful about stacking so many in one location. You're creating a fire hazard.

No one is evanvalizing the rich. Most of the people with 7 figure net worths have worked hard for many, many years to get there, just as my wife and I did together. Just because you can point to some women who've gotten rich through their husbands, I can point to women who've gotten ahead by working with their husbands in a partnership.

My wife and I started with nothing. We were in the bottom 5-10% of income according to IRS figures. Today, we're in the top 5%. We've both worked every year of our marriage (28 of them) to get to where we are today. That's far more common that you seem to think. So pardon me if I'm unwilling to join your "He man women haters club."

8:19 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger JohnMcG said...

I am confident in asserting that the landlords and landladies in question in the article came by their position by a means less impressive than engine discovery that made the fictional John Galt famous.

I'm sure many of them worked hard, though I am unconvinced that they work harder than many of the tenants on the other side of these disputes.

In short, they can "go Galt" if they want; they can keep their apartments. I'm confident the rest of us who aren't so impressed with ourselves will find a way to house ourselves.

--

P.S.: I am open to the possibility that landlord-tenant laws in SF are truly an abomination in favor of the tenants to the point that it doesn't make sense to rent apartments, and if so, that should be changed, and I would support efforts to do so.

But I deeply resent the notion that landlords as a class are the people doing brilliant important work and that there decision to opt out of the rental market represents some courageous principled stand for the value of work.

9:40 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

one of my clients makes $150.000. (can) at a job where she works 75-80 hours a week. she came from brazil as a teen-ager to get away from her drunk uncle. her husband is a bus driver. most of my clients are professional people and the women are all in marriages (some strained) that they work very hard to maintain. the client in question worked and studied to get her bs and mba and then progressive accountancy degrees to allow her voted to the board af one of the larges candy manufacturers in the world. she impresses me at every turn in that she finds a way to make things work, including seeing me once a week. there is an expression in my field, "you are either building things or breaking things". once you figure out which a client is doing, then you can ask why they do those things, and do they find the experience pleasurable?

there is one thing my client continually breaks and that`s the crux of our work together. once she stops doing that, my work there will be finished.

and my view of rent-controls is that they are part of government`s way of finding housing for the poor. the problem is that many who don`t own things have less than optimum regard for what the have. this isn`t so much a political problem as a psychological one.

some will balk at such suggestions thinking that i`m saying that they all need a shrink (no offence) but the fact remains that borderlines, delusionals, psychotics, etc. don`t work from excel generally and don`t mow the grass or fix broken windows on a regular basis.

so, the government tries to give the underclass some tenure and protect them from slum landlords (the type my wife deals with most month-ends) and, quite possibly the legislation has gone too far to the left...like other law we are familiar with.

10:12 PM, May 08, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

Larry J sez: "So pardon me if I'm unwilling to join your 'He man women haters club.'"

--

A real man ignores reality so as not to embarrass the little lady.

I'll get with the program.

5:01 AM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"I am confident in asserting that the landlords and landladies in question in the article came by their position by a means less impressive than engine discovery that made the fictional John Galt famous."

---

I agree, but no one is going to "go Galt" here because you can't pick up your real estate and take it with you to Australia.

The city could implement a tax on empty apartment buildings - and raise it until you comply - or it could simply take over the real estate (with compensation) for the "public good".

On a general note, I don't understand the strong desire among many on this board to just worship "the rich" without distinguishing between who earned it and who didn't. The fictional John Galt in Ayn Rand's book was worthy of admiration because he created something of value with his mind. Parasites among the rich in the real world are worthy of a kick in the butt. And there are plenty of them. Why is that so hard to understand?

5:07 AM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

Frankly, I admire the cleaning lady at Motel 6 more than I admire Mrs. Walton or Mrs. Kroc or Mrs. Kluge. The cleaning lady is providing value to society, no matter how little.

By the way, the last-named rich woman above (a former exotic dancer) got around a billion in a divorce and squandered it all - she is bankrupt.

Couldn't that money have been put to a better use? I mean really.

5:14 AM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

The problem with "the problem" of rich people is that, whether gained through inheritance or grand genius, it was indeed gained by somebody and is theirs to give to their heirs or spend as they wish. It is not yours or mine to even really comment on. Unless, like M. Moore, you think wealth is a national asset and not really the owners property?

As for going Galt, good on them. I wish more property owners would fight by... not fighting and merely pulling out. At some point, the government would have to either take by force and redistribute (which is what they are attempting to do with the lesser force of tenant favoring laws) or relent. Right now I think the feds would monkey around with any interference, but when a right admin and congress shall be had, they will eventually quash states which steal property outright. I just wish that I had a career, wealth, or other somethings with which to Galt with.

10:27 AM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"It is not yours or mine to even really comment on."

--

What a bizarre statement.

10:59 AM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"I wish more property owners would fight by... not fighting and merely pulling out."

----

Aside from what I wrote above, owning a huge apartment building and not renting to anyone would be downright stupid. Just sell it and let someone else deal with it.

Or shouldn't we comment on this topic either.

11:02 AM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

i think what doom was saying is that it`s none of your business.

if i was an apartment owner and the government was trying to re-distribute my wealth, i would be extremely upset...but that`s what governments do. i don`t see us as having moved one inch from medieval times and feudal tyranny. governments do what they want.

one minute you are in compliance, the next minute you are not. and a hundred accountants and lawyers will give you different answers, suggestions and strategies, that only a judge can decide on.

and a different judge will give you a different answer the next time. if you still have money and your health left to fight....

11:15 AM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

So.... Sell it to someone else who wouldn't be able to rent apartments for a profit?

11:16 AM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"So.... Sell it to someone else who wouldn't be able to rent apartments for a profit?"

---

What's the alternative? Keep a huge apartment building that is generating no revenue at all (because you're not renting it out), but you are paying a good chunk of money to keep it? You still have to maintain it, pay taxes on it, maybe keep basic utilities on, keep up to code and all the rest.

Why?

Just cut your losses.

11:21 AM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

I mean ... not that it's any of my business or anything.

11:23 AM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

I deal with this all of the time. Every month I have to deliver foreclosure notices to rental properties. It is not fun.

These people, who paid their rent on time, are not responsible. The owner took their money and did not pay his loan. That sucks.

Some are able to continue paying rent to the foreclosing authority; others are thrown out on the street. What are they going to do? Having spent several thousands on a place to live with nothing to show for it.

12:14 PM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger BarryD said...

Wow! Given the high rents in SF, it's amazing that the liability of renting out these units is still greater than the potential payoff.

Another issue: this favors "big business" landlords. A corporation with tens of thousands of apartment units spread across several cities can spread their risk and still make a profit. It's the small property owner who cannot afford the risk, since there's no way to spread it across large numbers of units.

So this ends up hurting "the little guy" and, by limiting supply, it boosts rents that only "big business" ends up able to collect. "Progressive" policies at work.

12:19 PM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

gawain, there is a functioning element in society that suggests that, if you`ve not got good marks, got the right job and stayed the course...like every other normal person, you are somehow "less" and become pawns in situations like the aforementioned. deprived, not so much of divine right, but of a physical or financial right to basic needs.

welfare systems try to balance this out to a degree, and in so doing, create another level of chaos in that the money provided in no way meets even basic food, fuel and shelter needs...which for the truly disenfrancised, means criminality.

i don`t know what the american states or even places such as australia provide, but in canada unless you are in care of a child even with a permenant disability through the province here in ontario you will only get just over $1000 a month in which to feed yourself, find safe housing and so on. rent alone will take a good $700 of that...if you want a door that locks.


and basic welfare is substantially less than that.

needless to say, there are a lot of people on the street here.

12:32 PM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

I am re-reading the Naked Capitalist. I recommend it. And not because ANYONE is going to like what they read.

1:33 PM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

I'm thinking confiscation would be a blessing in that morass.

Did i red a while back that NYC is causing the same problem?

1:54 PM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

Have to laugh--"Section 8" had a very different meaning when I was in the Navy long ago.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_8_(military)

1:58 PM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

Yes, well, it's difficult to deliver a foreclosure notice to a renter. These people did nothing wrong, paid their rent on time, and suddenly they're forced to move. Because the owner took their money and did not pay the note with it.

Ownership is not for everyone. Being a landlord is hard; taxes, maintenance, mortgages must be paid. To take some poor renter's money and not use it to pay off your debt is criminal.

A couple of months ago, I had to deliver a foreclosure notice to this house. The occupant thought he had a lease-to-own deal. He may have, but the landlord doesn't own the property anymore. And this guy doesn't have a lease-to-own deal with the foreclosing authority.

All of that money, and suddenly he has nothing to show for it. The foreclosure is final, through no fault of his. Now, he has to find a new place to live. That requires even more money. He did take the cash-for-keys payment--$1500--but that's nothing compared to what he had put into the house he thought he was buying. It only pays his moving expenses.

That sucks.

3:30 PM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

gawain, this is where i have problems with "law". the type that would allow rent-to-own schemes to function, knowing that percentages of people, usuallly non-equitied types, will get clipped. so much for justice for all. there are also operations that are pseudo-legal that offer quick loans against cars, which quite quickly get re-possessed. same idea.

so much for the credibility of "authority".

5:18 PM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger Eric said...

I went Galt as a landlord in Berkeley many years ago.

11:09 PM, May 09, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

@JG,

Think what you want about stupid. But then again, as you said about us people who are poorer than you, until we have we shouldn't comment, as I understood it, neither then should you.

As for why they would choose to not rent AND not sell... It is capital. It is their capital. And if they cannot make reasonable gains in a reasonable manner, what they do with it, again, is their choice. Why hold onto such capital? In hopes that enough Galt-going will force a fair market return on their capital. It is a very shrewd, if risky, business decision. Further, the fewer rentals on the market, alone, will drive up comparables on rent, lending to higher future rents across the board. (Oh, but that is sooooo capitalist, innit.) Apparently even some of us poor sods have more of an idea of how businesses might be run other than simply money in and money out than you richer guys.

No decent money will be had without risk, in any case. Further, who knows what kind of tax write-offs they might be getting because of even other government interference. A net business loss, because of socialism here, often yields enough to make any loss of income a risk worth taking for the short, medium, and even long term of personal finance. It might even make a loss a net gain, such as farmers being paid NOT TO PLANT CROPS...

Yeah, we need more "thinkers" like you in order to suck us further into the idiocy of spending our way out of debt, forcing people to use their capital for the "common good", and other such rot.

12:34 AM, May 10, 2011  
Blogger vaincre said...

Economic ignorance is why we are where we are today, with a $103trillion+ entitlement bomb descending in slow motion upon our economy, and taxing/regulating the very people who create jobs and innovation.

2:31 AM, May 10, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"Yeah, we need more "thinkers" like you in order to suck us further into the idiocy of spending our way out of debt, forcing people to use their capital for the "common good", and other such rot."

------

Doom,

I didn't suggest any of that. That's not even how I think.

My first reaction - if the rules that were imposed got stricter and stricter - would be to sell the property and possibly take my lumps.

Your "answer" to me - painting me as an evil communist or something - is just plain weird. You are attributing lots of things to me that are not only not true, they have no foundation in anything I've said.

2:46 AM, May 10, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

I (cynically) said that the city could ultimately just take the property for the "common good".

It could (as long as there is compensation).

It doesn't mean I'm advocating it; I am showing why you may not "win" by refusing to rent out. If I tell you what may happen if you stick your hand in the lion's cage at the zoo, it doesn't mean I am advocating that the lion bite your hand off.

2:53 AM, May 10, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

@JG,

Okies. I guess I misread you. And then I capitalized on it. What you wrote just came across as if you were trying to say your way was the right way and that people shouldn't be able to choose I guess. And some other things about the rich, the poor, and the middle and what they should or should not be talking about. Maybe I did miss the points?

As far as the lion and the hand, some people make big money by putting more than just their hand in. I guess that is what I am saying. Though one thing we can definitely agree on, only do or do not, dabbling can be more dangerous than either.

No blood no foul? *grins*

4:01 AM, May 10, 2011  
Blogger golddigger said...

Forget Galt. Too passive. What this situation calls for is going *Roark*.

8:15 AM, May 10, 2011  
Blogger Greg said...

You all should be aware, the next step here is arson.

NYC lost entire neighborhoods of rental properties this way in the 60's and 70's- burning down their property to collect on the insurance and then walking away was the only way for property owners to not be *completely* ruined.

5:22 PM, May 10, 2011  
Blogger JohnMcG said...

NYC lost entire neighborhoods of rental properties this way in the 60's and 70's- burning down their property to collect on the insurance and then walking away was the only way for property owners to not be *completely* ruined.

NYC also "lost" two towers in lower Manhattan about 10 years ago -- flying planes into buildings was the only way for those opposed to US policies to have their voices heard.

--

The arsons were committed by people with moral agency who are responsible for their actions. And I find this, "who know what desperate people might do?" threats absolutely disgraceful.

5:57 PM, May 10, 2011  
Blogger Greg said...

You have real problems, and they don't end at being overly literal at what 'going Galt' means.

If you impose a regime where you force property owners into a no-win situation by externalizing costs and risks onto them, forcing them to subsidize your utopian dreams (in this case, cheap housing for all, no matter what)... there's a good chance they might choose not to play. Or that they might end the game permanently and leave. Explaining reality isn't a threat, unless your delusions find reality threatening.

7:05 AM, May 11, 2011  
Blogger JohnMcG said...

To be clear, I am not asserting a moral equivalency between the 9/11 attacks and frustrated property owners torching their properties.

I am advising that seasoning your grievances with a reminder that similar situations in the past have resulted in arson is not likely to make me more sympathetic to your cause.

9:54 AM, May 11, 2011  
Blogger Greg said...

Cause? What do you think my cause is? (Because I haven't mentioned one, so it's all projection.)

11:17 AM, May 11, 2011  
Blogger Comment Monster said...

When it first came out, 10 years or so ago, I read Thomas Sowell's "Basic Economics." Awesome book. Liked it a lot.

I'm re-reading it now. Oh. My. God.

Everyone posting to this thread should read this. Whatever side you're on, this book will change you.

10:22 PM, May 14, 2011  

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