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.
You don’t hear me weigh in often on Religion, Politics or the Economy, as I like to pick battles I can win.
I also truly respect everyone’s position and I will simply say this…
Religion: I’m a Christian, but I don’t believe the child born in Bangladesh will not inherit the Kingdom- we are ALL children of a Merciful God.
Politics: After watching the final debate, I too remember when Sarah Palin was the craziest person in politics.
Economy: My reflections this morning are on the economy- and housing -yes, there is a crisis in America and today, I’m going there.
Yesterday at 7 30 A.M., I found myself seated at a packed Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle at the invitation of my long time friend, attorney, John Rizzardi. I admit, I was intrigued and intimidated by the topic,
Bellweather Housing, Creating Affordable Quality Housing with key note speaker, author Matthew Desmond who wrote EVICTED Poverty and Profit in the American City. Intrigued and Intimidated… I am a second generation life-long Landlord. I know the bad wrap we as Landlords receive, and as the title aptly suggests- we are just looking for profit in the American City.
I listened intently as this Harvard Sociologist shared an insightful look into poverty in America. He took the captive audience to the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee and his book shares the story of eight families on the edge. One of them, Arleen, a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Arleen’s son a fourteen year old, who the author depicts as a normal teen getting into trouble caused multiple evictions for the family. His antics from throwing a snow ball at an oncoming car to kicking a teacher in the shin got them displaced. Arlene’s sister died unexpectedly and she used rent money to pay for funeral services. The landlord’s response- Love Don’t Pay the Bills.
As I listened to the plight and hardship, and don’t get me wrong- it is REAL, I couldn’t help but think of my experiences from a landlord’s perspective. I have had to do my share of evictions over the years. Some of you may remember the Menopausebarbee Post, Somebody Help Me Out Here, about the tenant who had a pee fetish. After hiding a hidden camera in the hallway, I caught this guy with his pants down literally soiling the common stairwell every morning. Busted- he claimed he liked the smell of his pee. As a landlord, you play many roles. The FIXER. Residents clog toilets, break windows, ruin appliances and often destroy your property. The Psychologist, I’m so sorry, Mr. Pee Pee, but you and your fetish gotta move. The Lender- Oh, you had an emergency. Your car broke down and you can’t pay rent til next month? I’m sure my mortgage and utility company will understand- really??? Pest Control, Drug Counselor, Abandoned Cars Towed, Roof leaks, Hoarders, Plumbing backups, Noise Complaints, Taxes and Insurance hikes, Maintenance, Clean up- trust me.. these are daily issues I address.
Imagine if you as a employee expected your paycheck and your employer said, “Sorry, had an emergency, and had to use your salary to cover it.” It’s no different for us as landlords.
Two weeks ago, after an eviction on a Seattle Housing resident, the below is what I walked into. The Section 8 inspector at the annual inspection told my maintenance foreman he should be ashamed at having the resident live this way and that she could be his mother. When I successfully succeeded in getting her moved after a four month battle, threats, loss of rents and now massive rehab, I wrote back to the inspector and shared the move out condition. She did not take kindly to my response that she could be her mother and what was she going to do to prevent this for the next landlord.
Years ago, I was in court and the judge asked me who initiated the eviction. I was in my early twenties, and I could tell the power in the black robe viewed me as an arrogant kid who had no experience in compassion or understood the responsibility that I had inherited. I answered, the tenant initiated the eviction. The judge looked at me incredulously. I responded, by not paying the rent. I’m sorry, but love truly doesn’t pay the bills. Landlords are often mistaken as having an unlimited bank roll to cover the fallout. Yes, we need to create much more low income quality housing. I walk the streets and see and serve the need. My family has housed many of the same residents for over 50 years. It is an honor and privilege to provide shelter. But we also need programs to get people back to work, education on birth control- especially for our youth, and adhering to the responsibilities of being a quality resident and neighbor.