Sorry I’ve been away … very busy with the fundraiser. I wish you very best of luck in your activities, busy getting out the vote for November.
Nonetheless, I can’t turn away from our own, homegrown banality-of-evil political scene here. The legislature and the Governor have let the eviction moratorium run out. It’s just unconscionable, barbaric, and immoral, in the middle of a pandemic, to come anywhere close to chucking people out on the streets.
Baker has made a $171 million proposal, much of which seems to involve hiring retired judges to process eviction cases. Are you kidding me?
Advocates have pointed to a report by the Massachusetts Area Planning Council that found more than 100,000 renters and homeowners will have trouble paying their housing bills as the pandemic drags on.
Baker’s proposal is “woefully insufficient to address the scale of the crisis facing Massachusetts renters,” Carlene Pavlos, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, said in a statement.
There have been demonstrations at the Governor’s house. I’m very sympathetic to security concerns, especially given that an apparently disturbed person just recently broke into his house, and the threats against Gov. Whitmer in Michigan. But Governor … what do people have to do to get your attention? The demonstrators don’t want to be there either! No one should have to go to your home.
This is a public policy scandal: Not a “scandal” like something merely illegal, just something that’s so odious to even be considered normal or OK — a shame, an affront to humanity and decency.
I think it’s worth at least asking about how to handle tenants of owner-occupied properties like mine. Unless an eviction moratorium also includes protections for mortgage holders like us, then I think it’s fair to ask why my wife and I should be asked to provide free housing during the pandemic.
I think we need to address how we manage the impact of this pandemic, and I think we have to resist the temptation to embrace quick answers that shift the burden from one innocent victim to another.
My wife and I make a payment each month to whomever currently holds the mortgage that we took out in 2012 (I’ve long since lost track of who know owns it, never mind who services it). We’ve never been late on, never mind missed, a payment.
A “simple” eviction moratorium that doesn’t provide relief for small landlords like my wife and I is not a viable long-term answer.
Evictions are one of the last surviving practices of feudalism. Maybe it’s time that we found a better way of collecting debt.
Anyone who invests in real estate, like anyone who invests in the stock market, has to accept the risk that go with the profit.
Don’t worry, I’m sure the $4.5 trillion Wall Street bailout will trickle-down any day now…
But seriously, the minute we gave Wall Street everything it wanted, interest in helping those in need waned considerably. That’s really saying something, considering the real human need right now.
You seem to be conflating state and federal responses.
I’m suggesting that providing greater direct financial stimulus to people would have given them greater ability to pay rent. Instead we used most of the stimulus to prop up the stock market. Now states are left to deal with the social consequences, with far fewer resources available to them.
There really isn’t any other way to describe this other than as “a lie.”
Gov’t gave individuals a huge amount of direct financial stimulus, to the extent that people’s disposable income rose, rather dramatically, on account of the extraordinary unemployment benefits available through the end of August. Did people use this money to pay rent? They did not. Why? Because property owners can’t do a damned thing about it.
I have a stack of files from small-time landlords (triple-decker type properties) who havent been paid rent since March. A surprising number of these have social media clippings– “My tenant hasn’t paid rent in months but just posted these photos of the waterfront Cape rental that they were able to “luck” into for the whole season.
Larger landlords can survive on capital reserves and the ability to negotiate with mortgagees. Smaller landlords, who depend on the rental income to, you know, live… they have been royally screwed.
My wife and I are very fortunate that our tenants have, so far, continued to pay their rent on time. Perhaps it makes a difference that ours is an owner-occupied two-family.
Charley on the MTA says
I’m sympathetic to that, and for sure there are folks who depend on the rent income. It’s a failure from the federal government as well, since they literally print money.
But first don’t kick people out.
When you say “But first don’t kick people out”, do you include the “folks who depend on the rent income”?
I applaud the sentiment of “don’t kick people out”. The rub is that for those “folks who depend on the rent income”, then not kicking out the people who don’t pay means that the property cannot be rented to people who DO pay. The result is that the folks who depend on the rent income themselves join those at risk of being kicked out.
This is an example where even though it may sound good, the unintended consequence of a moratorium on evictions without an equally strong moratorium on foreclosures (and something about credit reports and history) is to screw working-class people and protect the wealthy.
If we aren’t going to kick people out, then we MUST stop the collection efforts from the mortgage holders.
People who depend on rental income to pay a mortgage are by definition people who borrowed money for their investment.
A stronger case could be made that we must protect the value of investments for people who spent their own money.
A person who can buy an income property without taking a mortgage are, by definition, people who do not need protection.
I see. So in your view, a “stronger case” can be made for wealthy investors (often overseas) who pay cash for rental properties.
Right. Got it. It’s good to see your tireless efforts to help working-class men and women. Not.
All other things (like wealth) being equal a person who borrows to invest money is not more entitled to protection than a person who invests their own money.
Wave your hands as rapidly as you like, it doesn’t change the outcome. In this case, you are assuming away the issue.
People who can pay cash for a property — whether or not it’s a rental property — have more wealth than people who must take out a mortgage for that same property.
You are arguing that wealthy people are more entitled to protection than people without wealth.
And people who take out loans to invest have more money that people who use their money for shelter. You want it both ways.
I want men and women outside the top 1% to be protected from the consequences of this pandemic.
In my view, there is a difference between a tenant renting a property from “ABC Reality” (with $200M of rental assets in 5 cities) and a tenant renting a property from J. Arthur Random (who happens to live in the upstairs unit of the same three-decker).
Most of the renters — and landlords — in Massachusetts fall into the latter category.
As CMD has explained elsewhere in this thread, the approach you advocate ultimately screws both those renters and the local landlords they rent from.
My philosophy is when in doubt leave the banks and big corporate landlords holding the bag.
It really is worse than that. Mortgage collection efforts– that is, foreclosure– were stayed by the same order that stopped evictions. Foreclosure of mortgages with federal guarantees, I think, remain stayed. Regardless of the moratorium orders, what I see is that mortgage holders are holding off for the moment anyway, voluntarily.
But. The payments continue to accrue. Eventually, the covid crisis will pass, and then people will get a notice that they have to catch all these payments up, immediately. Then you get a wave of foreclosures, right at a time when these property owners are strapped for cash.
Result: the less scrupulous tenants receive a windfall in the form of 8 months plus of free housing. Middle-class property owners are wrecked, and wealthy property owners (i.e, with cash or credit sufficient to withstand the covid crisis) get richer by scooping up properties cheap.
What is surprising to me is that self-described “progressives” here seem to view that as the preferred outcome.
This is a kind of fantasy world. It’s like saying that “less scrupulous landlords” who borrowed lots of money shouldn’t benefit when there are more scrupulous people who only bought (and only profit from) what they could afford with their own money.
CMD is NOT the participant who is conjuring a fantasy world.
I was quite happy to receive enhanced unemployment and for the 1st time in a while WAS able to pay my rent without stress.
I don’t think CMD is arguing against that enhanced unemployment. You paid your rent. Fortunately, my own tenants have continued to pay theirs.
CMD is pointing out that a great many renters made a different decision about what to do with their enhanced unemployment.
I was not. And dramatic increase in income wasn’t really from the symbolic but useless $1,200 stimulus checks, but rather from the significant increase in unemployment benefits, coupled with the loosening of unemployment qualification requirements.
Govt had to make an emergency decision to handle a crisis, and sometimes those decisions have unintended consequences that are less than ideal. In 2008, the TARP program prevented a financial crisis from becoming a protracted, deflation-fueled depression and systemic economic collapse, and is still resented by the “progressives” today, even on this thread.
This time, the result was this, which, as before, is still preferable to what would have been the case had there been no government response.
I never said that I support a freeze in evictions. I know small landlords who are struggling more than their tenants. They deserve financial assistance and legal protection.
You’ve made incorrect assumptions about me and about many experiencing financial trouble. Not everyone is lying, thieving and taking advantage of the system. And not everyone has seen their income increase “dramatically.” There is genuine need out there, need that is barely touched by a $1,200 stimulus check.
There you go again, doing the same thing (demanding that public officials act in the public interest) and expecting different results (hoping they’ll act in the public interest). You really are Charlie Brown expecting Lucy to act any differently.
Like I said a hundred times here, until you change the rules of the game (democratic reform measures) you are going to get the same results over and over again.