In response to the April 16 editorial in Banker & Tradesman, the Small Property Owners Association agrees that all stakeholders should cooperate in resolving the housing issue. Evictions are already a last resort for many rental property owners. Even before COVID-19, the long duration of eviction proceedings imposed considerable trauma and expense on owners seeking to regain possession of their properties – when they had no other choice. 

During the pandemic, we encouraged owners to make flexible payment arrangements with their tenants to help both parties. In some cases, this worked. But in other cases, tenants decided not to pay rent, while refusing to talk to their housing providers.  

Likewise, in their Jan. 8 column, WinnCompanies reported that many tenants refused to work with them to resolve their debts, despite the company’s repeated efforts – thereby prompting continued eviction proceedings for those who didn’t cooperate. Although we commend Winn for helping many more tenants avoid eviction, many small owners don’t have the flexibility to offer the extensive supports of larger businesses like Winn.   

While we appreciated the government’s efforts to provide aid, the delayed implementation and progression of the RAFT program made it more difficult for housing providers to keep their heads above water. Why were legislators quick to protect tenants from eviction, without throwing a lifeline to property owners in a timely fashion? Many housing providers struggled to house their tenants without support – and they were never made whole. Moreover, funding for RAFT is expected to dwindle.  

Therefore, making Chapter 257 permanent will not serve as the “drawbridge” to a more humane housing system, per the editorial. Why revive a temporary pandemic measure when that emergency is over? 

Instead of extending outdated policies, we should increase housing production and create needs-based rental aid programs, where property owners receive the funds directly. This will streamline the process without burdening tenants as the intermediaries – provided that the programs are efficient and well-funded. For a more fair and humane housing system, we must respect the rights and the dignity of rental property owners, in order to protect housing providers and tenants alike.  

— Amir Shahsavari, vice president, Small Property Owners Association

Letter to the Editor: Reviving Chapter 257 Will Imperil Small Landlords

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 1 min