Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
I am a second generation landlord. It’s the only job I have known and I take pride in property ownership and the responsibility that comes with providing quality housing for residents. My family has residents that have resided in our buildings in excess of 5 decades!
My parents, a young black couple, started investing in the Central District in the 1950’s and I have watched the area morph from undesirable to a flat bed of progressive growth. I recall my father having my siblings and I put pickets on banks so that we could stop redlining and get funding for section 8 rentals on Cherry, MLK Way, Alder street and throughout the ‘hood.” During the rough times, such as when Boeing hung signs saying the last person to leave Seattle turn out the lights, to the stock market crashes, we landlords have had to survive. We have fought the gang crisis, crack addictions, and starred down loaded guns after calls from domestic abuse in rentals. We have found ways to pay our escalating property taxes, utility bills, rental housing registration fees, and I even recall periods getting loans when rates were over 20%. We have had to purchase high ticket maintenance items such a new roofs, replace siding, carpet, paint, re-do electrical, plumbing, landscape and refurbish parking lots. We had to keep the momentum without receiving concessions. We had to offer “specials” and discounts and sit out vacant units, worse yet, non paying residents, still with an obligation to cover our mortgages and operating costs. We have had to borrow money to make ends meet to cover emergency plumbing disasters, and winter storms, where trees have landed on roofs. We pay for extermination when residents have brought in roaches or bed bugs. We pick up trash and litter and haul couches and furnishing left outside. We pay exorbitant legal fees to go to eviction court after residents refuse to pay. This process can take months and often time the judgements are granted to no avail. We paint over graffiti and try to preserve a neighborhood that you would want to call home.
I personally, as I’m sure many a landlord can attest have had tenant negligent fires which forced insurance rates to escalate, and the claims were not enough to restore the damage. We’ve had units destroyed due to hoarding and poor housekeeping.
I truly object to the classification that Landlords are greedy. We have a job that doesn’t stop at 5 pm when the hot water tank overflows. We have a job that often goes 24-7, with interruptions on holidays or Seahawk games, we are on call for lock outs with lost keys, and loud music being played by neighbors. We have to deal with nervous break downs and tenants such as the one I previously blogged about who had a pee pee fetish and continued to urinate in the common halls until a hidden security camera caught him with his pants down literally. So I ask our city council, what concessions does a Landlord receive? Who is gonna pay for this?
If I can’t pay my mortgage, can I get some help here? 3 months would really help!