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Wu calls for end of BPDA, 10% cap on rent increases in larger buildings, BPS improvements
By adamg on Wed, 01/25/2023 - 9:55pm
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Is going nowhere. Mark my words
So, now rents increase 10% a
So, now rents increase 10% a year. I get it.
Not sure you do get it
The proposal calls for rent increases in larger buildings to be tied to the consumer price index but only up to a cap of 10%, not that landlords can automatically raise their rent 10% every year. Given what has been going on in Boston rental prices the last few years, that would be save a lot of tenants a lot of money.
More likely it will result in a whole lot of lease non-renewals and a much higher rent (plus moving expenses and broker fees, of course) at the new apartment.
What will Wu call the new planning agency?
because planning is necessary.
Unless it's a transition to ad-hoc repairs, improvements, and construction. Reactive gatekeeping of the Zoning Board
Rent control proposal looks good, but I hope there's not a bottleneck on evictions like the old Rent Equity Board was. That added weeks to the eviction process.
There are tenants who refuse to pay rent, burden the neighbors with chaos, and wreck the apartment.
Destructive tenants have
Destructive tenants have always been an outlier though. And with rent control and harder eviction procedures you create a less transient renting environment so people stay in units long term and become invested in their neighborhoods rather than it just being a place to sleep between shifts.
If you have the time to build relationships with your neighbors you as a community can find ways of making the destructive tenant want to leave without the courts.
of course they are an outlier
but even at a fraction of 1% they add up to hundreds of situations in a year. Sit in the Boston Housing Court for a day.
Owner-occupied were exempt from the REB's procedures, but there are hundreds of small property owners, often immigrants, who have the extra three-decker or two. Most people know some tenant horror stories. Small property owners are often leveraged and the loss of rents can cause a cascading effect of foreclosures etc.
I can't think of a way that you could find a way, "as a community," to get an intransigent and possibly criminal tenant out without vigilante action, which is illegal. They're not going to be morally persuaded.
The Boston Housing Court is "the community," and they will encourage the property owner and the tenant to sign an "agreement for judgment," which will waive back rent and give the tenant a month or two to leave. A Rent Equity procedure just delays the Housing Court process.
I was talking about vigilante
I was talking about vigilante action; it’s worked for millennia and even the most stubborn neighbor can be moved if there’s enough pressure.
Boohoo, won’t someone think
Boohoo, won’t someone think of the poor slumlords. If landlording is too tough there are plenty of real jobs one can do instead of just being a parasite who lucked into more housing than they need.
Tired of hearing about "small" property owners
There are good landlords and bad ones, some own lots of property, some just one or two houses. The most poorly maintained properties in Allston-Brighton are investor owned, 4 units and under, and have really fueled the decline in the number of families in the neighborhood.
Small landlords aren't helping
Any landlord holding onto an "extra triple decker or two" should be strongly persuaded (by law and city policy) to sell to people who will actually live there. The more city properties are owner occupied, the better.
I don't feel bad for anyone who has mortgages on multiple properties and can't afford them.
"Small property owners are often leveraged and the loss of rents can cause a cascading effect of foreclosures etc.". Good, why did they buy or try to keep something that they weren't able to afford the risk of?
Some math for you
You bought a triple decker with 20% down and plan to rent out two of the three units. You plan to live in the third unit and manage the property yourself to keep expenses down. The triple decker cost $1.2M and you put a large chunk of your savings down to hit 20% ($240,000). Your mortgage is $5500 with taxes and insurance. The two units bring in $4000 combined. Now, assume those two tenants don’t pay rent for a year before being evicted. You still have to pay property taxes and the full mortgage so now you’re on the hook for the $66,000 a year instead of $18,000 or a ~$50,000 difference.
Do you have $50k you want to just give away because some sleazy tenants won’t pay their mortgage for whatever piss poor reasons they come up with? Do you have $50k a year extra in your budget? Most people don’t especially considering they just put down $240k as a down payment. Only option is bankruptcy because a couple of tenants decided they’re not going to pay rent as they agreed to.
Investment carries risk.
Investment carries risk. Some people gamble on stocks, some gamble on real estate. If you don't like risk, don't play the investment property game. Nobody is guaranteed returns.
Which is why evictions exist, except when the city tells you you can’t because blah blah. They’re passing the buck along and screwing owners to protect bad tenants.
We don't have a planning agency.
As a PR move, the BRA, an organization funded by and serving the interests of real estate developers, changed its name to one that includes the word "planning." That does not, of course, make the BPDA a planning agency any more than the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is democratic.
Boston needs a planning agency. Getting rid of the BPDA is a step on the path to getting us one.
Never worked because it wasn’t true rent control, we’ll surely get it right this time!
We are going to get rid of
We are going to get rid of MDC!
We are going to create DCR!
This is the equivlant of changing the color of your walls from eggshell to off white
Doesn't the master plan call
Doesn't the master plan call for purple?
I'm finding all of the mayor's proposals, even for rent control, pretty reasonable. Rent control not applying to new builds takes care of the biggest common complaint: that it de-incentivizes development.
She's really going to do it?
A year had gone by, and it sure seemed like the BPDA was going to get another fresh coat of paint instead of being abolished. But the whole thing is wildly complex, and the problem her predecessor faced at the same point in his term (other than simply learning about a power center and choosing to keep the power for himself and his office) is the sheer number and reach of the authority's tentacles. It's everywhere in this city. She's going to need an awful lot of her HLS buddies to figure out how to untangle it. I don't spend a lot of time reading Wu comments on here so I don't know how off base this might be to say, but if she really does away with it and keeps municipal government from turning to utter chaos, man, she might actually be the real deal.
Isn't rent control illegal at
Isn't rent control illegal at the state level?
Yes, it is
So anything Wu proposes like that would have to be approved by the state legislature and the governor.
Yes, from a ballot question
When this came up previously it was pointed out that the only municipalities in the state that voted against the ban on rent control were the only ones that had it (Boston, Cambridge & Brookline if my memory serves me). So it was really an imposition on residents in those places by people who were not affected by it anyway.
What I am not 100 percent on
What I am not 100 percent on is if this is even legal. It was a ballot question. Does the legislature have the legal authority to overturn a ballot question via a home rule petition?
Remember when pot was legalized?
It was a ballot question that became law when the vote was certified. Then, in a holiday legislative session with a small handful of politicians in attendance, but enough for a quorum under the between session rules, they passed a bill changing several significant features of the law that had passed.
So yeah, I'm pretty sure they can change that now.
The ballot question also
The ballot question also created the state income tax deduction for rent. So renters in other cities had a $150/year motivation to vote yes.
The renter deduction was part of Prop. 2 1/2, as part of an effort to get renters to vote for something that otherwise they might not have had any reason to do so, not the effort to end rent control.
Simply not true
" the only municipalities in the state that voted against the ban on rent control were the only ones that had it (Boston, Cambridge & Brookline if my memory serves me). "
Nope. Rent control only passed 51-49% statewide. Plenty of communities that did not use it voted in favor of retaining rent control. The spin on this issue has gotten out of hand.
It only passed because there were fewer renters statewide then, the state was much whiter in 1994 (and that matters a lot) and there was a landlord lobby. There was no organization with comparable funds or power lobbying in favor.
Lol just like our liquor
Lol just like our liquor licenses, then :)
For people who are as virulently smug that they don't live in the city, people in [insert random bumfuck western town here] sure want to tell us how to run it.
Will be interesting to see if it gets implemented. One side affect is that it will pressure these companies to increase the rent by 10% irrespective of market conditions since they won't be able to "catch up" later on. It could lead to people in these buildings seeing a guaranteed rent increase of 10%/year.
It will also be interesting to see what rules get applied to vacant units. Presumably they can't raise the rent in an occupied unit and then offer to rent it to others at a lower rate.
It's a cap, not a maximum allowable increase
The proposal would tie rent increases in larger building to the inflation rate - but no more than 10% a year. We haven't seen 10% inflation in a long time, so the rent increases under the proposal would be a lot less than that most years.
6% flat increase plus CPI for a max total of 10%. So if inflation was 0%, a landlord can still raise rent by 6%.
Everyone is ready to pay moving expenses and broker fees ever year because those leases ain't getting reviewed. Or, if there's a "just cause" AKA private property confiscation component involved, a 100% rent hike across the board before it goes into effect.
I'm a fan of the mayor but I
I'm a fan of the mayor but I started thinking about what she was able to accomplish in the first year and was it a lot or a little? She had to deal with so much crap; loser protestors outside her home, orange line shut down, a million covid related things. So whatever the answer to my question is, hopefully this year is more productive. I'm glad we have a mayor who doesn't lick the boots of the police and cares about the environment and public transportation.
Grandiose. I don't think the
Grandiose. I don't think the mayor of London has pulled off anything like this. Does he even have a favorite color?
I need a right-wing code-book
To figure out what exactly you're sarcastically objecting to in your comments. I'm sure it's hilarious, though.
Again, the BRA/BPDA is completely controlled by the mayor.
It has a lot of power and has often been used to over-rule the City Council. This gives the mayor's office an inordinate amount of power. Everyone talks about getting rid of it when they campaign, only to just rename it if they win.
Bring back families who owner occupy multifamilies
I feel like rents got out of control after all the investors bought the majority of the multifamilies. I wish her plan included incentives to own and live in multifamilies and rent them out to help cover the cost to live there.
What kind? Tax abatement for twenty years? Something along those lines? C’mon. Rents got “out of control” when this town started to
Be desirable not only to locals but to people from everywhere due to job opportunities that hadn’t existed beforehand. Housing supply didn’t keep pace with that job creation. Here we are. It wasn’t that long ago when people bitched about college students not staying here after they graduated from out great local institutions. Now they are and people hate that too. Kill the economy and then you’ll lessen demand.
Did she at all mention
The condition of our city streets and possible fixes to those at least every 5 years?
I think we all need to do
I think we all need to do some math. The average rent is over $2000/mo in Boston. This means landlords can increase it annually by at least $120-$200 in the first year. Not exactly chump change and certainly enough that Rent Control isn't really helpful for those that need it most.