Archive for Monday, April 2, 2007

Rental issue

April 2, 2007


To the editor:

This recent proposal by the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods for rental registration brings back memories of the days when Nancy Hambleton was on the commission and she and other commissioners and property rental owners met at my home one afternoon. By the way, Mrs. Hambleton, the parking now is no different than then: the same street, the same amount of spaces. You were aghast that you couldn't park and had to walk a bit.

Anyhow, the trades industry at that time was slow in business in Lawrence, so the plumbers and electrical workers, looking for jobs, I suspect, had something to do with code enforcement. This time the neighborhood groups, not acting like real neighbors, but political groups have come forward again to revive a well over 30-year-old conversation about landlords.

The fact is, Mayor Amyx, you have ordinances now in place to address the problems. You do not address the problems.

True, the rental property "business" as some call it is probably the biggest private employer in Lawrence. What would happen if the owners of these properties decided to purchase their appliances at Nebraska Furniture Mart, their paint elsewhere, and hire contractors from out of town? By the way, our hiring of electricians, plumbers, glaziers, painters are all paid more than the living wage of $9.73. Try 50 bucks an hour or more for some tradespeople.

The next group that puts forth a proposal may be the rental owners to NOT SHOP LAWRENCE.

David Holroyd,



cowboy 11 years ago

Quite a nasty little threat isn't it ! Make me provide a safe residence and retaliate by using out of town services on my slum. The landlords , slimelords , will not want this put in for the obvious reasons , they will have to reinvest in thier cash cows.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

Slum lords buy junk level appliances from big name chain stores who take dollars out of state with very few exceptions. Hopefully they would buy from a local company such as Stoneback's Appliance a company who takes care of it's customers.

So do many of the same type of builders who build new slums that screw over innocent new buyers. It is my guess buyers of new homes have a 50-50 chance of being ripped off. Not good for the market in general.

If rental property owners who present problems for neighbors and tenants would be more about integrity this registration process would not be a topic of conversation. Neighbors tire of a once single family dwelling becoming an 8 car parking lot sometimes accompanied by a lot of racket. Quiet and good property value is their desire.

There are some damn good landlords who unfortunately become victims of dispicable property managers and slum lords.

cowboy 11 years ago

Entrepreneurship does not include renting a structure that is falling down , flooded , filed with electrical hazards , mold , does not meet minimum fire safety requirements , is not repaired annually , has no money invested over decades. Unfortunately that is the state of about 30-50% of the older rental properties in central lawrence.

There are many very good property owners but just as many slimelords. What will it take , the fire deaths of a whole family to bring some action. All the while they are charging high rents to begin with so the notion that rents would increase is rather lame. These landlords are reinvesting zero into these hazardous properties.

Most of the good properties are reinvesting 8-12% of income back into the properties in maintennce and upgrades. They are usually fully occupied and well run small businesses.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

Landlords would continue to buy appliances and supplies and hire contractors based on the same formula they currently use-- whatever is cheapest and/or most convenient. Holroyd might very well go out way of his way just be the exception that proves the rule, however.

cowboy 11 years ago

Seems to me that the only ones getting fired up on this are the ones who have not adequately maintained properties over the past decades. This is a safety and an ethical issue and while the "fix" does not have to occur overnight it should be implemented with a 12-18 month compliance requirement.This would give the owners some time to do these repairs cost efficiently and or obtain some financing to accomplish it.Additionally the compliance should be restricted to systems being in good repair , not subjected to meeting current new construction codes. Pogo may be correct in that many would meet the bulldozer , not a bad thing to happen to many of these crumbling shacks.

desktop 11 years ago

Implementing an across the board inspection of all rental properties in Lawrence will be the issue requiring more inspectors. It seems redundant to inspect recently constructed rental units, as they were built to current codes and inspected throughout the construction process.

How is it possible for a company to only charge the wage they pay their employees? That is a comment at it's most rediculous. Surely the cost of doing business, the cost of payroll taxes, unemployment taxes, other employee benefits, equipment and it's upkeep, trucks with their upkeep and gasoline and the unmentionable company profit that allows those resourceful business owners to remain in business must be added to the cost of the employee. And be sure when you hire that out of town tradesman that you check to make sure that they are licensed in the city of Lawrence and also ask them what they are going to add to the bill for traveling out of their main area.

If you want to only pay for labor, then do so by hiring a highschooler with no training, no tools, no references, no knowledge and you take the risk of them injuring themselves on your project. Maybe after you pay a few claims for permanent damage when that labor only person gets hurt and hires an expensive lawyer, that rate the professionals charge won't seem so high to you.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

I don't know if the 'typical' rental investor follows the spirit of what we normally call an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is about making something from nothing. Most rental investors are lured by the call of "easy money". Just buy it, rent it, and watch the money flow. The idea is that you CAN be neglectful and make a profit. That's why so many people get into it: the cash flow of a second job without having to do any real work.

This is why we have so many slummy rentals in town, and also why its so unfair to call all of them slumlords. Some of them are true entrepreneurs in that it is there PROFESSION to invest in and rent out properties.

There needs to be a way to distinguish the difference between the lazy/absent landlords and the true professional investors.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

"I suspect the premise that Holroyd put forth"

Why do you refer to yourself in the third person?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

"It is interesting bozo that you and others have such a fascination with Holroyd."

Don't flatter yourself. You wrote a LTE, and this is the comment section.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

Who's picking on you?-- I'm merely commenting.

Read my comment from above again--

"Landlords would continue to buy appliances and supplies and hire contractors based on the same formula they currently use-- whatever is cheapest and/or most convenient. Holroyd might very well go out way of his way just be the exception that proves the rule, however."

Many landlords almost certainly go now to Nebraska Furniture Mart, or wherever, to buy appliances and supplies. Many of them likely also buy their cars from out-of-town car dealers. They do so because they find the best deals available that way. Most are not going to be petty for petty's sake as Holroyd apparently is. No matter what regulations are in place, they aren't going to go out of their way to purchaces goods and services outside of Lawrence any more than they already to.

Maybe the city should buy cars from local dealers, but shouldn't local dealers be competitive in price if they expect to make the sale? After all, it's not like they are actually going to make these vehicles. They're only going to transfer them from the same factory that any other dealer will get them from.

imastinker 11 years ago

Wouldn't it be easier to give tenants more rights to break a lease if a dangerous situation is found?

This will give landlords incentive to keep things safe, and tenants the opportunity to get out of a bad situation. This will also cost taxpayers much less money.

Jackson 11 years ago

  1. ALL rental housing should undergo annual inspection by professional inspectors.

  2. Rental property owners should pay the FULL cost of inspection.

  3. No exceptions.

daddax98 11 years ago

  1. And the cost of the yearly inspections will be passed on to the renter

cowboy 11 years ago

sounds like the typical slum lord , use the cheapest contractor , don't develop any relationships , revolving door contractors. So you have owned these properties for some time , have no regular plumber you trust , that about says it all pogo.

cowboy 11 years ago

when are you leaving , are you gone yet ?

jonas 11 years ago

"Posted by right_thinker (anonymous) on April 2, 2007 at 7:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Rental owners are entrepenuers; the entrepenuerial spirit is not welcome not liked by Socialists."

Is that what we're calling them now? Entreprenuers? Interesting. . . . .

(there is the extra "r", by the way. i'm not normally a grammarian, but "entrepeneurs sounds rather phallic, don't you think?"

budwhysir 11 years ago

first of all, there is no such thing as a living wage. A wage of living will defy all aspects of wages.

And why not buy appliances out of town? Wouldnt that be part of what we call free enterprise??

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

"Posted by imastinker (anonymous) on April 2, 2007 at 11:38 a.m. (Suggest removal) Wouldn't it be easier to give tenants more rights to break a lease if a dangerous situation is found?"

Good idea!

valgrlku 11 years ago

Many years ago, during a discussion about stark rental rate increases, a cable repairmain, originally from California, commented that any rental rate increase there was required to be used toward maintenance, improvements, and upkeep of rental structures. It sounded like a good policy to me. Is it too much to ask that a rental structure be safe, clean, and well-maintained?

Although some landlords/owners do put some capital back into the buildings, in my experience, none have - unless the renters were then punitively punished by stark rental increases for maintenance, etc. to "defray" costs. We were recently hit with over a 20% increase in rent, after "improvements" were done to the building. What a joke - new paint? a clean hallway? mulch in the yard? This is called MAINTENANCE, not improvements. We still have the same 30+ year old oven, crappy carpeting, and an electrical system that is not up to code.

I often wonder what type of ethics (if there are any present) permit these owners to increase rents, year after year, on the same potentially unsafe and neglected properties. If properties were regularly inspected (and not by inspectors hired by the property owners), I would feel much better about paying a bit more in rent. However, to pay more rent year after year with no real improvements, is just wrong.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

It has been my experience that busness people go with the lowest price. So if the nebraska nasty or pennys has the lowest then that is who people will by from. A landlord should take care of his property, and tenants should be respectful of the fact that they are not the owner but we all know this does not always happen. In the end it is a never ending cycle.

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