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Guest Opinion | Todd Hayes: Landlords Have Rights Too. Where Does the Taking of Rights Stop?

Published on Monday, May 16, 2022 | 11:01 am

Now that rent control has made it onto the ballot, I have a couple questions? Why aren’t gas stations being forced to lower prices? Gas is crazy high. Why aren’t grocery stores having to keep costs in check? Those prices are skyrocketing. I could go on, but you get the point.

Placing the burden of lowering rents on the shoulders of mom and pop landlords — who are having just as difficult a time with inflation as anyone — is a veiled taking of private property rights and a violation of the fifth amendment of the US Constitution. Oh, wait, violating
rights seems to be okay these days.

I’ve lived in Pasadena for more than 50 years. During that time, I was both a renter and a landlord. Toward the end of my dad’s life, I was able to move him into a duplex I owned so I could better care for him. If this ordinance had been in place, that might not have been possible. Sorry mom and dad, you’re on your own.

I understand renters are angry and hurting. But, blaming and burdening our struggling mom and pop landlords is not the solution.

Pasadena is not doing enough to create much needed affordable housing, but that is no reason to take rights away from individuals who have worked hard to achieve what the City cannot. There are approximately 3,000 mom and pop landlords in the City of Pasadena that are struggling with a worsening economy just like everyone else — these individuals did not sign up to do the job that our elected officials willingly agreed to do, yet sadly, are not.

When money is taken from mom and pop landlords, they have less money to make needed repairs and the quality of rental properties goes down.

That’s a fact. But wait, according to the proposed rental ordinance, mom and pop landlords also get penalized for not making the repairs they can no longer afford to make. How’s that going to work out?

Pasadena currently has the high number of rental properties it does because it abides by reasonable State rental laws. Make the rules unreasonable, and people will stop building rental units in Pasadena. How are fewer rental units in Pasadena going to make prices go down?

It isn’t.

Simple economics says the answer is to build more affordable units. To disincentivize future rental units will stop new construction. That’s what rent control does. What may help in the present will definitely hurt down the road. It will take a bad situation and make it worse.

Just like we cannot force gas stations to subsidize high gas prices, nor ask grocery stores to artificially keep prices low, we should not force mom and pop landlords to provide subsidized housing. It’s not fair, and it is not the answer. We live in a country that does not
take from private individuals without just cause – there’s that 5th Amendment again. But this ordinance does just that.

If we want a more affordable city, the City needs to require more affordable units in all new construction – it also needs to fast-track the building of affordable units on church property, explore creative reuse of existing buildings, make it easier to build affordable units in the City, and any number of things it’s not doing enough of right now.

Kicking the can down the road by kicking mom and pop landlords and their families is a lose-lose solution. In the long run, it will degrade our precious existing housing stock and hinder the building of new units.

Todd Hayes
Pasadena resident and Realtor

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6 thoughts on “Guest Opinion | Todd Hayes: Landlords Have Rights Too. Where Does the Taking of Rights Stop?

  • Well said Todd. I totally agree with you. The renters have choices to move to a more affordable cities but the mom and pop landlords that many of them are making their livings from these apartments, have to stay. If they sell where could they go?

  • You’re using logic, facts, and simple math. Those things are a big no no today.

  • Mr Haynes
    You mention “Mom and Pops” landlords at least three times in your article and the unjust burden rent control will place on them. One big problem with your argument; they are exempted in the current rent control measure on the ballot . The problem with our housing is that after the 2008 crash and the evictions began the majority of those homes that were once owned by individuals were now gobbled up not by “Mom and Pops” but by hedge funds and large developers. The ever increasing drive for an obscenity of profits has drive rents soaring at the very same time that wages have stagnated for the average worker. Housing is a necessity and price controls for necessities have been used in the past to assist those at the bottom rung of our economy. However, those days are long gone. If you plan to write another op ed I suggest that you get your facts straight and not create a straw man argument that crumbles at first glance

  • I don’t own residential rentals, but I know wrong from right. AMEN to Todd Hayes opinion piece.