Should Governments Meddle with the Rental Market?

FIRECracker
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One of the most common arguments against renting over owning is the “renoviction” problem. Basically, this happens when a landlord uses the excuse of a “renovation” to kick out their existing tenants so they can raise rent above guidelines.

This isn’t so much of a problem in small towns and suburbs but tends to happen in big cities where jobs are plentiful and, as a result, stiff competition and low vacancy drives everyone into a hunger games style fight for rentals.   

Oddly enough, we’ve never run into this problem in the 9 years that we lived in Toronto, the fourth most populous city in North America. Maybe it’s luck, maybe it’s picking the right landlord and type of rental, but instead of renting a shiny new condo 5 mins walk from work, we chose to rent the top half an older townhouse from the 1960s, within a 25 min subway ride away. The landlord, a white-haired man in his 60s and self-proclaimed “not a dollar and cents kind of guy”, had bought the house decades ago and was less interested in maximizing profits, and more interested in minimizing landlord headaches. He was willing to rent to us below market value for almost a decade as long as we took good care of the place and didn’t bother him too much. In fact, we got along so swimmingly that he offered to give a $50/month discount to any trustworthy friends or family we refer to him when we left.

Our $850/month rental from 2006-2015.

But what if you can’t negotiate a sweet deal with your landlord like we did? Will you have to constantly worry about being kicked out of your home because of a greedy landlord?

Well, turns out there is hope. I came across this article recently:

Is a small B.C. city’s ‘renoviction’ bylaw coming to Toronto?

As it turns out, Toronto is considering copying New Westminster, BC (or “New West” as the cool kids like to call it), to create a new bylaw that prevents renovictions by:

  1. Holding landlords responsible for alternate accommodations if tenants need to leave a unit so it can be renovated.
  2. Allowing tenants to move back into their unit or another one at the same rent.

After implementing this law, the number of renovictions in New West dropped from 333 down to 0! And it has stayed that way since 2019.

And then everyone lived happily ever after, and no one got sued or threatened afterwards.

HA! I wish.

Immediately after this by law was put in place 2 years ago, a developer launched a lawsuit challenging it. In fact, it even went all the way up to the B.C Court of Appeal, but eventually lost when the judge ruled the city was within its rights to enact the bylaw based on the province’s community charter.

Take that, Real Estate Mafia! This got the attention of other cities and they’re trying to enact the same law.

Could this type of law work in your city? Well, here’s the thing about rent controls. As with any government intervention in the free market, there are always pros and cons:

Pro: Keeps Rent Affordable

San Francisco, New York, L.A, almost all of the expensive cities in the U.S have some type of rent control. Politically, this is a popular choice since, idealistically, most people think this will help those who are struggling be able to afford to continue living in an expensive city rather than be forced out onto the streets.

And they’re right, in a way. Rent control is inarguably helpful…for existing tenants.

But what about new tenants?

Con: Reduces Housing Stock

The first major paper on rent control, written in 1946 by economists, Milton Friedman and George Stigler, argue that rent control only helps existing tenants. It actually hurts new tenants by making it more difficult for them to find housing. This is because developers are no longer incentivized to build for-purpose rental units, so with no new buildings going up, and existing tenants refusing to move out because of their sweet rental deals, we end up with even more scarcity in rental stock. 

Pro: Attracts More People to the City

Without rent control, lower income people will have no choice but to leave the city, making it more difficult for employers to hire workers. With affordable housing, more of those workers will be incentivized to stay and get to work easier without having to commute long distances. New potential employees will also not be scared off of moving to the city for a job.

Con: Disincentivizes landlords from maintaining property

One of the things a landlord can do is stop maintaining their property in a passive-aggressive move in order to save money and force their tenants out. There are laws requiring landlords to maintain safe living environment, but as we all know, those laws are not always adhered to. Also, they can let the building fall into neglect and disarray, thus reducing the appeal of the neighbourhood and increasing crime.

So, even though there are good intentions behind the New West bylaw, only time will tell whether this will reduce renovictions in other cities or just reduce housing stock.

In the Meantime…

If you’re renting, don’t live in B.C, and are worried about renovictions, here’s a few tips I picked up from renting in crowded, expensive Toronto:

Pick For-Purpose Apartments

Pick “for-purpose” rental apartments over shiny new condos. They might be older and not as easy on the eyes, but definitely easier on your wallet. Plus, they also help shorten your time to FI. In Toronto, you’ll want to pick units that were created or first rented before November 15, 2018. Those units cannot raise rent per year above provincial guidelines, which in Ontario in 2020 was 2.2%.

Find Older Landlords

Besides apartments, you can also rent places from older landlords (reverse-agism for the win!) who don’t need the money. These landlords aren’t real estate investors, they’re simply renting out a second property or part of their duplex to help offset the cost of their mortgage (which is generally low because they bought the place decades ago). They also don’t want much hassle and would rather charge below market rent to trustworthy tenants to avoid dealing with renter headaches. Our current rental was an Airbnb that turned into a long term rental and the landlord gave us a deal because he trusts us. Here’s how you can negotiate a lower rent like we did.

Know Your Tenant Rights

Read up on your local laws and know your rights. A lot of tenants get taken advantage of because they don’t know the law is on their side. They willing go along with whatever the landlord says just because they’re the landlord (eg. In Toronto, if you find out your landlord lied about renting their unit “to family” only to see them list it for a higher rent, or if the family member doesn’t live there for a full year, you can sue them for as much as $50,000! And you have an entire year after moving out to do this.)

If all else fails, you can always move to New West!

What do you think? Are you for or against rent control? Let’s hear it in the comments below!


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47 thoughts on “Should Governments Meddle with the Rental Market?”

  1. I don’t think that government should interfere with the rental market. Having been a landlord for over 20 years, I don’t need the government to tell me if something is jacked up in my units. If a tenant needs a repair completed or something is wrong, guess what? I fix it. There is always this far-left approach that says, landlords, need to be slapped down and put in their place because after all, we are all greedy capitalists.

    Ok, I am sounding a bit extreme here, but you get the point. But, here is the other thing, as humans we have brains, we can think, we can act on our thoughts, we are not mindless trolls and if you don’t like where you live, then guess what? Move!

    If the rent is too high where you live, but you want to continue to live in a high cost of living location then either make more money or once again… Move!

    When it comes to rentals, we have gotten so off base. Of course, the government is concerned with providing safe housing for people, and if a landlord is bad, then turn that person in, but we also have an obligation as non-mindless trolls with working brains to move on to greener pastures if a place is not up to our standards instead of whining for the government to bail us out or punish the landlord for not doing his/her job.

    That’s my thoughts in a nutshell.

    1. Yup, there are two sides to every story. I’ve heard from landlords who’ve had trouble evicting troubleshoot tenants too. Basically, don’t be dicks to each other and maybe then we don’t need government intervention. Thanks for your perspective.

  2. Never heard of this but I assume in some places the laws allow for it. In Texas, one of the most landlord friendly States, a landlord can do this but after the eviction, they MUST wait a minimum of 6 months before they can rent the unit again. I’m sure there are loopholes but it makes more sense to keep a paying tenant so seems weird someone would evict, dump a bunch of money to renovate, to then roll the dice again on a tenant. Greed and stupidity I guess go in hand and hand.

    1. Hm. That is weird. If they’re trying to get more money, but then can’t get rental income for 6 months, it makes no sense. Unless they really didn’t like the renters for some reason.

  3. I’m against rent control. This type of policy encourages landlords to be slumlords by severely limiting their revenue. Taxes, insurance and repair costs go up every year. If rent doesn’t adjust upwards accordingly, there is no room to properly take care of properties. The cost of living goes up every year, property values appreciate, everyday expenses go up. This is normal. I love reading your articles but am disappointed by the blatant disgust you have for landlords in general. As a real estate investor I take pride in caring for my properties and residents and maintaining clean and safe bbuildings. Also, huge generalization about renting from “older” landlords.

    1. I agree, I think that governments forget that this is our business and as a business, we have a right to make a profit. What does the market dictate? You charge what you can get with the market, why shouldn’t you?

    2. I don’t have blatant disgust for all landlords. Just the greedy ones. I get along great with my landlords, otherwise they wouldn’t give me a deal or offer to give my friends/family a deal.

  4. As a tenant in the San Francisco Bay Area who is a current beneficiary of rent control, I am actually against meddling in the rental market. As you outlined, I moved in 13 years ago.

    I’m 51 years old with a high 6 figure net worth, but not a high income. I’d be living payday to payday if I had to pay the market rent. New tenants my my no-frills nearly 100 year old building are typically young working professionals. The reality is they are subsidizing me, which really isn’t fair to them.

    One thing you didn’t mention is that rent control is kind of like the worst of being a homeowner and a renter because you’re stuck if you can’t afford to move to a new place with market rents. As a result, I get to deal with homeless people and drug addiction right outside my doorstep and I’ve not nowhere to go except out of the metro area completely (and believe me, I’m making plans to leave–for lots of reasons).

    The real problem with expensive metro areas is THEY DO NOT BUILD ANYWHERE CLOSE TO ENOUGH HOUSING IN THE FIRST PLACE! This is due to overly strict zoning laws. These laws do, indeed, create a “hunger games” situation all the the name of “the environment”, “neighborhood character”, etc. A lot of the same people who think the minimum wage should be jacked up and immigrants welcomed with open arms are the same people who think “we need more housing, just not in my neighborhood”. Lots of blatant hypocrisy there.

    So, governments make all these remedies to help renters in the short run, but do nothing to solve the underlying problem of lack of housing supply. It’s so stupid, at some point I have to wonder if the ‘hunger games’ scenario that’s been created in so many 1st World metro areas (London, Hong Kong, SF Bay Area, New York, Vancouver, Toronto, etc.) isn’t deliberate. If that makes me a conspiracy kook, so be it.

    1. “As a tenant in the San Francisco Bay Area who is a current beneficiary of rent control, I am actually against meddling in the rental market.”

      Interesting. Do you think that the lack of housing supply could also be due to speculators though? I mean if you have one person buying up 10 properties and trying to flip them or people using them as piggy banks, then no matter how many buildings you build, it’ll never be enough.

  5. Here’s a tidbit of good news for tenants. The pandemic has escalated the evacuation of class B and C office buildings as people have the technology to WFH and are now accustomed to doing so, and management discovers that WFH can work well.
    So, those buildings are empty and developers are swooping in to convert them to living units. We are going to see thousands of apartments coming online in urban areas over the next 3 years. This will help fill the gap for middle class rentals and preserve some nice buildings from demolition.

    1. I’ve noticed vacancy rates improving too during the pandemic. Definitely easier to find rentals this year and last year than in 2019. Let’s see what happens in the next 3 years. Should be interesting.

  6. There are already sooooooooo many laws that favour tenants in Ontario. There are already rules in place for renovations of rental units. There are times that as a landlord you ask people to leave due to renting to family, renovating, or moving in yourself. That’s because we OWN the property. I know you make generalizations on landlords as being greedy, corrupt, unfair people. I suppose we could also generalize renters as lazy, filthy, whiny scammers? If more legislation is introduced, more landlords will cash out of real estate after making insane amounts of money with these crazy housing prices which means less rentals available.

    1. There are bad landlords, just as there are bad tenants. Interesting that you think I associate all landlords with greed given that I specifically gave examples of landlords that I get along with and aren’t all about maximizing profits. And in terms of legislation, I also argued pros and cons not just pros. Did someone call you greedy? Is that why you have such a strong reaction?

      1. No not been called greedy. Not that I know of🧐. I actually didn’t think my reaction was strong 🤷🏻‍♀️. Just calling attention to the tone of your writing….that landlords are bad. Just hope you can gain perspective and more balance from those who are landlords who read and participate on your blog. As to your comment on landlords maximizing profits, does maximizing profits make one greedy?

  7. When I used to live in a pretty standardized apartment multifamily complex, I had no fears of ever getting kicked out. The leases were standardized and negotiated the same across the board yearly.

    Because I live in a pretty privately owned place I do have fears come lease renewal time that they’re going to kick me out but it hasn’t happened yet and I hope it doesn’t happen going forward.

    When you’re a good tenant who doesn’t bother the landlord that much, good things does come out of it.

    1. “When you’re a good tenant who doesn’t bother the landlord that much, good things does come out of it.”

      Yup. I agree with this.

      I’m curious, why did you switch from the standardized apartment to the privately owned place?

  8. As landlords we certainly prefer getting a bit less money to having to look for new tenants, especially since we are going to eventually move back to our place once this pandemic is over.

    We’re also renting a place from someone who doesn’t seem super worried about optimizing income. On the other hand it’s not exactly cheap. But maybe that’s NZ.

    Rent control doesn’t mean that rent can’t go up, but it does constrain it to cost-of-living increases (as in Quebec).

    1. Ahh NZ. One of these days I’m going to come visit. C’mon vaccines and borders opening! Hopefully they’ll create a vaccine passport soon.

  9. The questions was should governments meddle with the rental market. Well, so long as they meddle with the housing market in general, they kind of have to also meddle with the rental one.

    At least in Canada, government policies have pushed RE prices so high that it is nay impossible to buy. Much of the housing stock goes to investors who can secure the money. But because prices are so high the rent needs to be high.

    Canadian government decisions lead to:

    1) Lenders don’t shoulder much risk so they keep lending. (CMHC baby!)

    2) Everyone takes on huge debts and have a stake in keeping the party going.

    3) Housing is declared a human right. This make me think that future governments will do whatever it takes so that no home owner will lose their home. Ever. Grants, tax deductions, CMHC buying and restructuring mortgages. This implicit guarantee pushes owners to take the risk.

    So, in this environment, being prudent and renting is virtually impossible unless there is some government guarantee that the renter will also not lose their home. (I know, they don’t own it, but you know what I mean).

    Whether it is public housing, rent control, AirBNB rules, anti-renoviction… Governments are trying to do what they can.

    Of course, it all have shit unintended consequences, just like intervening in the RE had in the first place.

    Let lenders actually take the risk of lending;
    Let borrowers actually have the risk of defaulting;
    And you will have a functioning market with sane house prices and sane rental prices.

    1. It’s a similar story in California and the U.S. The housing market is meddled with, which also affects the rental market. The details are different, but same general story.

    2. Yup, agree that CMHC is definitely a huge part of the problem. Though that could change with the mortgage stress test on June 1. We’ll see.

      1. Same push-and-pull…

        Get the stress test higher, but I’m sure they will find other ways to keep “affordability”.
        I lost all trust and interest in those clowns who try to govern this country.

        They will keep the party going. Something will come up, some new credit or refind or whatever. And if not, a few photos of single moms vacating their home shared on Twitter, then the NDP will come up with a new rule, the Libs will follow suit and it’s all good.

        And there is always the saver of last resort. The courts will declare foreclosure and eviction a violation of human right and that’s it. It sounds outrageous now, but I’m sure it’s not too far away.

    3. I could not agree more with your comment, NewB investor. The opportunities for owning in Canada for the middle class has changed a lot in the past 30 years, made worse by the cheap credit (artificially maintained). And why is owning so rewarded (think tax incentives for owners) and viewed as the only best option in our North American culture? In European countries, renting for life is an option that is not equated in the culture as losing in life. There are pros and cons to both owning and renting, and one ultimately makes the best decision based on their situation and values. In my opinion, government is already meddling with housing as you explained so well, and therefore we call it rent control or a balanced policy that seeks to protect long term tenants who choose to keep their living space (and the incentives to maintain and build purpose rentals) is not such a mind bending aberration and is becoming more necessary. In the larger canadian cities, it is becoming harder now to recruit workers for businesses like restaurants, hospitals, schools, retail, etc. due to cost of living. Younger generations and middle classes are now struggling to access housing and options are needed. There is a sound way for government to intervene with legislation, to incentivise behaviors to maintain a balance and make life affordable. In turns, this benefits everyone, and leads to safer, healthier communities. Thank you for this article firecracker.

  10. I used to be a landlord…, key word “used to be”

    Personally, this is a two-sided coin even though the laws in Ontario are heavily skewed towards renters. For the investor, this can be an extremely rewarding venture so long as they avoid the blindspots and pitfalls of land-lording but the same can also be said of the opposite and this experience can be as equally devastating, significantly destructive and financially costly if you are NOT thoroughly careful in your delivery. As an entry-level landlord myself who primarily got into this space to build wealth through real-estate, I MUST be extra diligent in our approach and processes to ensure we also do not attract “seasoned” renters who knows how to work the system. IMHO, this really boils down to having too many “inexperienced” individuals (from both ends of the court) not entirely compliant with the said laws, circumventing them as they see fit, muddying the water further which prompts more unnecessary interference and/or regulations. I have had renters who I had to properly re-educate simply because they purposely neglected their rights and responsibilities. Conversely, I have had circle of friends and family members who refer to themselves as “landlords” but yet they have absolutely NO clue what the laws are, how the MATH even works or how to run their affairs as a “business”.

    From my perspective, and strictly speaking as an “investor” in Ontario, the regulations governing increases in rental rates simply fails to keep up with demands and/or barely sufficient to cover rates of inflation. And for this reason, I would NOT want a tenant to stay long term and would prefer my rental to go back into vacancy every few years or so to optimize top value and keep pace with the market. If the market dictated rental rates to plummet 30%-40% as a result of C19 per se, landlords are EXPECTED to reduce their rates and pass down these benefits seeing it is now clearly a “renter’s market”. However, when it is becoming a “seller’s market”, the same rulings should be warranted but that’s easier said than done unfortunately. This is a relevant differentiator especially if you well known to be a good “quality” landlord owning a well maintained unit. I am simply NOT prepared to de-value (or undersell) myself or my income property.

    This is truly one of the main reasons why I became an EX-landlord. Not only there were way too may restrictions for me to navigate (and try mitigating in my favour) PLUS it is an “actively-managed” investment and most importantly, the MATH didn’t make sense seeing I had to leverage the property, create debt, just so that I can attain a respectable ROE figures (as validate by your CASE STUDY). Hence, I sold the damn thing and placed its entire proceed into REITs and problem solved. Not only I avoided the headaches that comes with being a landlord, there is NO debt to be manufactured, and I get to stay at home, lay on the couch while making 4%-5% dividend yield TAX FREE monthly on a single click of mouse! In a nutshell, that is about as “passive” of an income as you can possibly get out of an investment!

    ImmigrantOnFire

    1. Wow, very thorough response. That’s why we like REITs too, because it’s passive. Like you said, landlording is an “actively-managed” investment and I prefer to spend my retirement chilling on a beach not fixing toilets and fighting with tenants.

    2. Totally with you on this. I got into a rental via a relationship split. During that time I rented the unit with an aim of security, at under market value and during the course of time rental rates on new property builds got capped with me being on a single income. My tenants are coming up ten years and my costs outpace the increases allowed especially as I maintain the house at a high level even replacing items before they break so I avoid that middle of the night call from my tenants. Bottom line, the small, honest landlord has very little motivation or enthusiasm to provide more affordable rentals due to their hands being tied so often and always holding your breathe that you have no major building or tenant issues. Allowing more governmental interference will only expedite the exodus of landlords who are supplementing their living via a rental. Good luck to the masses who will have to turn to the greedy corporate landlords or the many multi unit “unavailable landlords”. In two years I’m cashing out all that equity and work before the province of Ontario causes my rental to turn into a negative cash flow venture. The irony is that I have amazing tenants and if the environment was more conducive to a small, less trouble free guaranteed cash flow I would purchase a second property. Current conditions I’d rather go to the casino and roll the dice. Reality is that I will likely return 10-15% like my other investments and lose less sleep. I will though miss my positive tenant/landlord interactions and pride of rental ownership. Sticker shock… new rental in my subdivision $2200 plus utilities. My rental … under $1200 plus utilities. Whose loss? I need to get to $1500 to generate enough supplemental income and cover costs, never mind coming up with cash for a new roof in three years. Too bad there is no happy medium.

  11. I am always amazed how on how non business people and government have so many great ideas on what a business owner should do without ever having run a business themselves. If the government wants to regulate a business then essentially they are assigning themselves as a partner that is making decisions affecting the operations. And a partner should participate by providing funds to help operate the business. So if you want to regulate renovictions, rent control or evictions then you should fund the business to ensure that it can pay their bills and provide the necessary services to the customers.

    1. So, do you think the government should provide tax subsides to help the developer cover their costs if they enact rent control laws?

  12. Why are their so rarely any replies to the comments on these posts? It would be more valuable to me to see a point/counter point from the author to see if there is any new perspective attained.

    1. Maybe those comments aren’t worth replying to. I think they need to put more effort in what they put in their comments and then maybe, just maybe, they will earn a reply.

      1. All of the comments are well thought out and intelligent. People like Dave don’t have any good rebuttals, so instead, hurl insults.

    2. Why did you not initiate a discussion with any of the commenters?

      On some posts there is more discussion than on others. This time it appears many readers are of similar opinion and are sharing their experience or thoughts.

      Some other times there are more lively debates.

      C’est la vie..

    3. As much as I would love to answer every comment, Dave, now with family obligations, a continuously flow of e-mails, tech issues, book-related tasks, I simply don’t have the bandwidth anymore (It was much easier in the beginning when the blog was just starting out).

      Feel free to engage with readers in the comments though. They have way better insights than I do anyway 🙂

      1. Thank you for your comments, I noticed you replied to several of the comments and I appreciate your perspective. The housing market in my community is so hot right now it is difficult to find a place to live, even in our economically stagnant community. I wonder what will happen when the eviction moratorium is lifted.

  13. We are working class people who have sacrificed so we were able to buy some rentals to help us pay for our retirement. Our original plan was to buy 10 single family homes. Once we had paid off the mortgages we figured that just over half of the rent would be going to taxes, insurance, and maintenance. That would allow us to buy health insurance at $2000 per month and live on about $2000 per month. However our plans have now changed. We are selling off our properties because we know friends who have not been paid any rent for over 9 months due to COVID eviction moratorium so they are not able to meet their mortgages. We will be selling most of our rental homes on the retail market to potential home owners. This will not help the rental market shortage. However, frankly I don’t care. If the government wants to force us out of business by making it too risky for ordinary people to be landlords, then let the government become a landlord and provide housing.

    1. Thanks for your perspective on this and sorry it didn’t work out. It’s interesting you mention the pain of evicting a bad tenant, because you’re right it goes both ways. Always good to see things from the landlord’s perspective as well. Will write a post about that in the future where I interview a landlord about the eviction process.

  14. They want people to comment for traffic and hit counts. Your comments are less about intellectual exploration to them as much as you’re just paying their ad revenue

  15. Now, now folks…, no need for insults.

    We don’t always have to align in our concepts. I still very much value their views but also do recognize from time-to-time, we may agree to disagree on certain subjects. This does NOT mean I do not respect them. After all, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for these two being generous and graciously accommodative in terms of affording us with their knowledge, experience, guidance and mentorship.

    And for that alone my dear friends, I am forever grateful for their time, availability, dedication and commitment to this platform, their blog as well as for their effort in disclosing their “secret sauce” in QLAM book.

    Keep being AWESOME!!!

    ImmigrantOnFIRE

  16. As we get wealthier in dollars value, some of us notice others are less fortunate than us.

    Sadly, many of us will not satisfy with our accumulation and continue with the nickel and dime competitions.

    The majority of wealth accumulations strategies are resulted from the winnings over the people who are weaker and less intelligent than us.

    In well managed countries, the governments are nothing more than the arbitrators who jobs are to ensure the weak and dumb have the opportunities that genetically they were wired as slaves to be.

    Many of you in this forum need government regulations in some aspects of your lives and the rental market is just one aspect.

    1. Some regulations are absolutely necessary, otherwise we’ll all live in utter chaos. I guess maybe there needs to be some adjustment to the regulations as we go, since there’s always pros and cons whenever rent control is brought in. Maybe the key is to use more of an agile model rather than waterfall model (sorry software metaphor 🙂 couldn’t resist), where we can make changes as we go, rather than just put in rent controls without re-evaluating which parts work and which don’t and need to be refined.

      1. To FireCracker…

        the world is taking steps into the AI simulation and you still consider the “waterfall model”…

        “Agile” girl…”Agile” girl…

        Make sure you have a solid feedback loop, sprint forward like it is your last moment of life…

        If you are still alive…you have a solid feedback loop…

        If you are hurt…improve the feedback loop…

        Sprint forward again…

        Iteration…and iteration!

        —————————–

        To ARB…

        I think you don’t like this statement “…weak and dumb have the opportunities that genetically they were wired as slaves to be…”

        I majored in Electrical Engineering and minored in Psychology…

        I don’t have the skill to turn you into a Psychologist…

        I am not “Jesus” that can walk on water, thus, I cannot brain wash you…

        I can only tell you the truth…

        Good luck bud!

    2. “In well managed countries, the governments are nothing more than the arbitrators who jobs are to ensure the weak and dumb have the opportunities that genetically they were wired as slaves to be.”

      Oh, please, expand on this comment a little more. I would love to watch you bring it to it’s inevitable conclusion.

      Sincerely,
      ARB—Angry Retail Banker

  17. Honestly, you shouldn’t be able to buy single family homes without living in it for a certain portion of the year. I wonder how much of our housing stock (single family homes, specifically) is rented out rather than owned by those living there. Landlords collectively buying up these homes that families would have otherwise bought themselves, thus driving up the values of other homes for sale so the families can’t afford to buy at all, and then renting out those same homes to families for inflated rents, no potential for equity, and the ability to kick out those families at any time (subject to lease terms and regulations, yes I know). Screw it, let’s end the practice of renting out single family homes. There’s no reason I can think of that this ever should have been allowed.

    I also feel that the whole issue of disincentives to landlords to maintain the properties can be easily fixed. They already have to do so by law, so just enforce it and enforce it brutally. If a landlord doesn’t maintain a property to an acceptable standard as per inspection, have the state hire contractors to make the necessary repairs, Bill the landlord, and then fine the landlord triple the bill on top of that. They’ll maintain their properties then.

    There’s other things I’d do as well, such as taxing residential real estate holders a large percentage of the value of each unit that goes empty for a certain amount of time. But I feel that you can do a lot of things to protect people from the worst effects of the housing market without hoping the “free market” (according to faux-libertarians) just magically fixes everything by expecting landlords to act in the best interests of the people at large.

    None of this is to impugn individual landlords, by the way. Systemic problems just need systemic solutions, and when bad actors break the law or do bad things that causes widespread hardship for scores of innocent people and we’re trying to figure out a way to ensure they act ethically and in good faith, I believe “make them” is a perfectly valid approach.

    Sincerely,
    ARB—Angry Retail Banker

    1. “None of this is to impugn individual landlords, by the way. Systemic problems just need systemic solutions, and when bad actors break the law or do bad things that causes widespread hardship for scores of innocent people and we’re trying to figure out a way to ensure they act ethically and in good faith, I believe “make them” is a perfectly valid approach.”

      You said it better than me 🙂

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