Market Forces

Many cities have rent control laws that prohibit landlords from raising rent on their property. So they are finding ways around it. Landlords do all that they can to catch tenants breaking the terms of their lease so they can remodel the rental property in order to avoid the property being regulated by rent control laws. One way that they are doing this is through the use of surveillance technology.

The tenant is violating the terms of the lease by subletting, throwing wild parties, or otherwise endangering the property and the landlord has a significant financial incentive to catch them. When they get caught, they are evicted. This somehow makes the landlord into the bad guy, because making a profit is no longer seen as the proper goal of owning a business.

The left is using government to force business owners to accept fixed pricing while at the same time costs such as property taxes, insurance, and other costs eat into and eventually eliminate profits. So the market is doing what the market does- it’s finding solutions.

Price controls never work.

A Couple from the NY Post

This woman is “raising free range kids,” meaning that she allows them to do anything they want: Shave their heads, eat nothing but ice cream, or simply refuse to go to school. Literally no rules. That isn’t raising kids, that isn’t being a parent. This woman is a “stay at home” mom- meaning that she has no job. The father of her children is her “domestic partner” and earns a living “reselling” (Meaning on Ebay). On other words, they are collecting welfare, which is why they aren’t married. (Single moms get more money).

What this is, is breeding children so that you can collect more welfare money. Hey, I am OK with raising kids like this, as long as you AND your kids are not eligible to vote or to collect any public money in the form of handouts. Why? Because being a part of a society means having to contribute to that society, not be a free range leech.



The second article is the New York law that is coming. It prohibits landlords from performing a criminal background check on prospective tenants. This increases potential liability and risk for landlords, which increases costs. Those increased costs will be passed on to everyone. Congratulations, you get a criminal for a next door neighbor, AND your rent is going up. Again.

Orlando Area Voters Approve Rent Control

Voters in Orange County, Florida, the county where Orlando is located, approved a rent control ordinance during the November 8 election. The full text of the ordinance can be found here, but the relevant part of it reads:

(a) No landlord shall demand, charge, or accept from a tenant a rent increase for a residential rental unit more than once in a 12month period.

(b) No landlord shall demand, charge, or accept from a tenant a rent increase that is in excess of the existing rent multiplied by the Consumer Price Index for any residential rental unit except as otherwise allowed under section 25-388 of this ordinance.

This ordinance’s limitations on rent increases shall apply regardless of change of occupancy in a residential rental unit except as otherwise allowed under section 25-388 of this ordinance.

For now, the law can’t go into effect because there is pending litigation. If the court allows this law to go forward, there are some real issues here.

Warehousing

The leftists in NY state are blaming landlords for refusing to rent out apartments under the terms of rent control, and when they do rent them out, they fail to pay to maintain and renovate them. Landlords claim that the 2019 rent restrictions make it more cost-effective to keep an apartment vacant by keeping rents too low to cover the cost of repairs.

When a government enacts any sort of price control, they are setting the price at which a given product or service must be sold. If that price isn’t high enough to entice those who provide the product or service to sell, then there won’t be any available at that price. That’s why price controls don’t work.

That is true for anything that can be bought or sold- whether it’s widgets, oil, generators, or even housing. That’s what rent is- a person who can afford to purchase residential property buys that property, then rents it out at a profit to someone who can’t afford to purchase that property for whatever reason.

If a local government then sets the rent that may be charged for a residential property and that price is not sufficient to cover the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and administering the property, then there is no point in renting it out. This article paints landlords to look like they are hoarding because they are refusing to rent out apartments at the same rates that they were rented out for 20 years ago. It also attempts to blame landlords for not maintaining the apartments at these absurdly low rates.

Normally I wouldn’t care what happens in New York. They made the mess, they can deal with it. The problem here is that the idea is gaining traction in Central Florida. The Orlando area has managed to put rent control on the ballot. While I am not in the area affected by this measure, there are indications that it may catch on.

Orange County Rent Controls

In Florida, enacting rent control isn’t easy. Landlords in Florida can’t raise rent during the term of the lease. My tenants sign a lease for a year, and the rent is laid out in the lease. That is the amount they pay for that year. When the lease is up, we can negotiate for another year, but that deal is separate from the year before.

To restrict the new lease, Florida statute 125.0103 is pretty explicit. There are a number of steps that have to be followed.

  1. The city has to declare a housing emergency. Such governing body makes and recites in such measure its findings establishing the existence in fact of a housing emergency so grave as to constitute a serious menace to the general public and that such controls are necessary and proper to eliminate such grave housing emergency.
  2. The city puts rent control on the ballot.
  3. The measure must be approved by a majority of the voters in that city.
  4. The rent control doesn’t apply to seasonal rentals or to “luxury rentals.” A luxury rental is defined as a rental that would have cost more than $250 in 1977. There is nothing in there about adjusting that amount for inflation, but even if a court does so, according to the US inflation calculator, that would today be a rent of $1,222. There are virtually no rentals for that amount.
  5. The rent control is only in effect for one year.
  6. To go for another year, the entire process has to be repeated.

Even so, Orange County decided to go for it back in April. In August, the county moved to include it in the next election. Yesterday, a judge approved the measure to be on the ballot in November. The judge ruled that the landlords who sued could not prove that they would suffer harm merely because the measure is on the ballot because the measure may not pass.

I imagine that it will pass. There are a lot more grifters than there are landlords, especially in blue Orange county. I couldn’t find the wording of the proposed rent control ordnance. I imagine that there will be court cases to decide the amounts, which rentals it will apply to, and more. This case will be an important one to watch, as it will have a HUGE effect on not just the Florida rental market, but the Florida residential real estate market as a whole.

Orlando Rent Control

Rent control will be on the Orange County, Florida ballot in November. You can always count on Democrats to put “get out the leftie vote” items on the ballot. Things like legalizing weed, rent control, free shit.

The bill would restrict rent increases to the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is less. While I don’t own any property in Orange county, this sort of socialist insanity is dangerous. Let me use my own rental as an example:

So I own a home that I rent out for $1850. That would cap any rent increase at $92.50 per month, or $1100 a year. As I posted last month, my property taxes are up 10%, my landscaping costs are up 15%, insurance costs up 21%, and interest (in dollars) on the mortgage is up 18% year over year. No one caps my expenses.

If this were to come to pass, I would have to be creative in making up the shortfall. Say, increase the rent by the maximum amount, then start adding fees like washer and dryer rental, landscaping fees, parking permit fees, etc. The lease would plainly say that they are not part of the rent, but are still required. I don’t know, I would have to see the final law and talk to my lawyer.

This won’t end well for landlords OR tenants. Socialist price controls never do.

Refuse to Do Business

Yesterday, I wrote that small businesses should refuse to do business with people who live in California, because they are exporting their police to enforce California law on other states. Now here comes New York, going after large businesses.

They are investigating whether Tyson foods violated New York anti gouging laws by charging higher prices for meat during the COVID lockdowns. Tyson is refusing to comply with the subpoena, claiming that they cannot be investigated in New York for the price of meat charged by them in Arkansas.

This has a logical outcome. If the state of New York wants to mess around and force companies to sell food at a loss, then companies will simply stop selling there. No matter how large the market, if profits aren’t there, then there is no reason to sell there. It’s like the old SNL skit.

The original skit ended with “People ask us how we can make money, when all we do is make change. The answer to that is simple: volume.” For some reason SNL removed that line from the bit. Maybe because people today wouldn’t get it.

New York doesn’t get it. No matter how many people who live there, if there is no profit, companies won’t do business there. That is the essence of the national split we see today. The cities can’t impose their will upon the rural areas without limit. There will be push back, and there lies the source of our national split.

We as a nation are headed for divorce. The people in the middle of the country will only be pushed so far. The cities will have to play nice, or they will found out just what cold, dark, and hungry are.

Price Controls Coming?

Biden is going after oil company profits, blaming them for the rising fuel prices that have been caused by his policies. Russians, Republicans, oil companies, it is everyone else’s fault that his socialist policies are failing. Isn’t that always the case when communism and socialism fail? They didn’t do it right? Or something?

At any rate, he has demanded that they slash profits and make more fuel. This is impossible, of course. US refineries are already at 96% of capacity, and it would take years to build new refinery capacity, even if the Democrats would grant the permits. In fact, oil companies will likely not build another refinery in the US, ever. Since the west has stopped buying Russian fuel, the refineries that are remaining just can’t keep up.

Instead, the left will continue to blame oil company profits. Look for price controls to come next. Perhaps a Biden EO nationalizing the oil industry. Or a 100% tax on oil company profits, or perhaps they will come up with something else that is even less likely to work, but more likely to screw things up more. Why?

That’s what socialists/communists do.

Smarter Than You

A Massachusetts service station owner says that oil companies are making too much profit from gasoline sales, so is now refusing to sell it any longer. He has decided that it is better for people not to be able to buy gasoline at any price, than to sell it for the market rate, because profits are evil.

This is the typical liberal mentality: “You are too stupid to make the decision as to whether or not gasoline is too expensive, so I will make that decision for you. Go buy an electric car, or something.”

Party of Science

This is why science can’t be trusted. Orange County, Florida’s commission hired a consulting firm to study whether or not putting rent controls in place would be productive. The consulting firm noted that rent controls wouldn’t work, mainly because the supply of rental housing is being overwhelmed by demand. They went on to say that capping rents would further reduce supply. In other words, basic economic theory.

The county government is not happy that the facts didn’t fit their version of reality and are demanding a refund.

“If (commissioners) saw that a consultant who was supposed to do fact-finding on rent stabilization was so biased as to say you’re getting outside attention, then we really should get a refund on this report,” (County Commissioner) Bonilla said. “Unfortunately, it looks like they were not ready to do the job they were hired to do, and they were too biased to provide a report that we deserved.”

Says the commissioner who is pushing for rent control