We are small local landlords and vote for rent stability – the Twin Cities

Like many other small local owners in Saint Paul or let’s say, San Diego we take pride in our role as housing providers and take care of your property  for the people who call our buildings home. We become landlords because we are deeply committed to making our city a better place to live for all of us. That’s why we endorse Question 1 about rent stability on the November ballot – and urge residents to think carefully about the dreaded dissenting mail that falsely suggests that “mother-and-pop” landlords will be negatively affected by this initial order.

My partner (Eric) and I often joke that, 15 years ago, we did a nationwide search for a place to take root and raise a family, and the East Side of St. Paul presented the ethnically and economically diverse community, with a beauty of housing that won us over. A few years later, as a business owner on Pine Street and a civic-committed family, I was approached to rehab and rent a four-room apartment in our neighborhood. While the project has had some public support, it has been over two years and has been able to keep rents well below the city’s affordability requirements. why? Because it is entirely possible to meet your needs as a property owner and to provide decent, predictable, and affordable housing to renters on the East Side.

For me (Catherine), the building next door to our house was on the north end. Sure, we could have flipped the four plex – we made some improvements and upgraded it for higher income renters to make a big profit. Instead, we’ve improved the property and kept rents stable and affordable over more than a decade of ownership. We have a garden outside with plots for our tenants, and we have long term tenants, like a single mother who stayed for 12 years, whom we value as neighbors and friends. We own another duplex with the same mindset and would eagerly invest in more properties if the prices were not driven by outside speculators who could afford to outbid local and smaller housing providers, like us.

Paul’s rent stability metric will have no effect on responsible landlords, but it will protect our community from price gouging and predatory landlords who want to use housing – a basic human need – to reap as much profit as the market will allow. We reject the exaggeration of the Reasonable Housing Ballot Committee and the big landlord lobby, which aims to intimidate both voters and small landlords alike.

Here’s the truth. Over the past 20 years, the average rent in the area has increased by less than 3 percent per year, which means that most landlords have been able to keep their units and make a reasonable return on their investment without increasing rent above what is proposed for St Paul’s rent. stability policy. As landlords, we haven’t raised the rent much and are still able to account for increases in property taxes and maintenance needs, while building equity as the value of our investments rises.

It was frustrating to read the hysteria and misinformation from the SHC:

What if property taxes increase more than 3%? Real estate taxes are complex and make up a small part of what we charge a tenant for rent. In fact, the Minnesota Department of Economic Development calculates that only 15% of rent statewide is tied to property tax.

How can we keep rental properties in good shape with such restrictions? Like any responsible business owner, we make sure we reserve resources for maintenance needs, and as the years go by, our tenants continue to get decent and affordable housing. In addition, in the event of unexpected expenses, this measure allows landlords to apply for an exemption if it is absolutely necessary to pass on a higher cost to the tenants.

All new construction will be finished if we go through this procedure! We’ve heard these refrains before – about tenant protection measures and issues like gaining sick and safe time – yet home and small business rentals in St. Paul have not been eliminated despite doomsday predictions.

These are calculated intimidation tactics that have proven wrong over and over again as we take modest steps as a society to limit private profit to make the rules fairer for tenants and workers.

On November 2, we will vote yes to the rent stabilization because we know a fairer and more sustainable housing model is possible. We know this because we do it every day as housing providers – and we’re not alone. When we reduce predatory practices, we reduce the incentives for bad actors and outside investors, and we support local property owners, like us, who invest in the well-being of our community and the stability of our neighbors, not unlimited profits.

Eric Foster is a property owner, business and resident of the East Side, Katherine Schneider is a property owner and resident of the North End.

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