I had an opportunity to speak last week with a city council proposed commission that is investigating the need to to establish a Renters Commission in order to put protections in place for residents in San Antonio. At this hearing, other property managers, Realtors, the president of the local board of Realtors, landlords and attorneys that represent landlords all spoke. It was a full house with comments limited to 2 minutes for each speaker. Public comments went on for over an hour. Out of all the speakers, only 1 was a tenant and one other was a proponent of the possible commission.
The concern on behalf of those involved in managing and owning properties is that this commission was proposed to be made up solely of the tenants and initial reports were that this may be modeled after commission established in Seattle. Here are some of the Seattle Renters Commission Policies that were implemented there:
-No evictions can be filed in winter months (November through March) to help prevent homelessness.
-Rent Control so that you cannot arbitrarily raise rents
-You cannot consider an eviction that is older than 3 years
-You have to accept the first app in that meets the minimum standards. You could not compare multiple applications to get the best applicant possible.
Because of our organizations like the National Association of Property Managers and the Texas Association of Realtors, we are able to mobilize to make our voices heard. Besides just taking care of the maintenance issues, finding tenants, collecting the rent and the other day to day responsibilities, it is also my job to make sure your voice is heard as a landlord.
From the lone tenant and other proponent, it became clear what people often think about landlords. That we have a lot of power and money and don't care about anyone else. All property managers believe all parties should be treated fairly. Happy tenants pay rent ontime and take care of the property. Happy landlords make sure properties are well taken care of and are nice for the tenant. We work to create a win-win situation. In further discussion, it became clear that if a commission was formed, all we want is a seat at the table so your voice can be heard.
In the end, no commission was formed although the city council will continue with additional due diligence. We will stay in front of this subject and look forward to updating you in the future!