Landlord’s perspective on housing market


Victor Gallegos’s recent letter (“Venting on housing,” June 21) further accented the landlords’ notorious “quick to collect (rent), but never repair” image.

A landlord’s responsibility is to keep units in habitable condition within a reasonable amount of time as stated in the state housing law. However, I find the statement that landlords have no right to increase rent every year and need to show proof of the need for that increase to be one-sided. As a landlord and former tenant I think a mutually agreed proof will be difficult to establish. Have tenants ever asked the gas station owner to show you proof of the reasoning for behind an increased petroleum price?

If not then consider this: what evidence would a landlord have to prove the time spent, emotional drain and legal-fee bleeding process of evicting even one bad tenant? Landlords consider themselves lucky when this process takes six months. 

All the while the tenant can stay for free, and trash the unit! An eviction can easily suck up all the rental income collected from other units and the landlord is left without money for repairs or large maintenance projects. 

It is also difficult to prove the financial burden of a yearly inflation-indexed relocation fee and the new rent-stabilization fee that every landlord faces since the rent-control law was passed, fees that landlord is not supposed to pass down to tenants? Plus, can a renter agree on what is a justified rate of monetary compensation to the landlord for providing housing service and taking financial risk? 

Many elements of this “proof” are either unquantifiable, arbitrary, unpredictable or inestimable. Responsible landlords can only protect themselves financially by raising the rent legally and yearly to cover both foreseeable and unforeseeable expenses. 

While I hope Gallegos can find a legal or financial solution to his plight, however it does not justify requiring landlords to provide proof for raising rent.


Julian Tsang