Dear State Reps. Manny Sanchez, Bobby Sanchez, Peter Tercyak, Gary Turco, and State Senator Rick Lopes:
I am writing this open letter to share my personal experience as a tenant and to express my strong opposition to the proposed policies aimed at regulating landlords in the state. As a working-class single mother with two children, I understand the importance of having affordable and safe housing for my family. However, I believe that these policies will do more harm than good.
Let me begin by addressing the proposed cap of 3% on rent increases. As a tenant, I appreciate the need for protection from exorbitant rent hikes. However, I also know that landlords have to pay for maintenance, repairs, and property taxes. Last year, when my landlord was unable to cover these expenses due to the cap on rent increases, she had to delay fixing a leaky roof, which led to water damage in my apartment. I had to spend several days in a hotel while the repairs were being done, which was a financial burden for me. A cap on rent increases could limit landlords' ability to cover these costs and result in neglect of properties and lower living standards for tenants.
Secondly, I have experienced firsthand the need for landlords to have the ability to evict tenants without being burdened by the need to provide a reason for the eviction. A few years ago, my neighbor was causing a disturbance late at night, which was affecting my children's sleep. My landlord was hesitant to evict the tenant as she had not violated any lease terms. It was only when the neighbor caused property damage that my landlord was able to evict her. If landlords are not given the flexibility to evict problematic tenants without cause, it could lead to a deterioration of living conditions for other tenants.
Thirdly, I do not believe that singling out big landlords for transparency is necessary. It could lead to discrimination and unfairly negative perceptions of certain landlords. In my experience, my landlord is a small business owner who takes pride in maintaining her properties and treating her tenants with respect. She has even waived my late fee when I was going through a difficult financial situation. It is important to ensure that all landlords comply with regulations and treat their tenants fairly, but this should not be achieved at the expense of some landlords.
Finally, I understand the importance of maintaining healthy and safe living conditions. However, increasing the legal amount a city can charge landlords for health code violations is unfair and counterproductive. If the costs of health code violations are too high, landlords may be forced to pass on these costs to tenants in the form of higher rents or reduced services. This could result in tenants being priced out of their homes, which is not in anyone's best interest.
In conclusion, I urge you to reconsider these proposed policies and instead work with landlords and tenants to find solutions that are fair and beneficial to all parties. As someone who has been a tenant for many years, I know that it is possible to have a good relationship with landlords and to live in comfortable and affordable homes. Let us work towards this goal, rather than creating unnecessary conflict and division.
A Working-Class Single Mother with Two Children