Before I argued with a shit ton of landlords and wannabe landlords: I think we should strengthen tenant’s rights and enforce our existing tenant protection laws better, and increase our housing benefits.
After spending too much time arguing with landlords and wannabe landlords: Fuck it. It should be illegal to own homes you don’t live in. If you won’t sell to the people renting from you, people should forcibly take your property. All landlords are parasites.
“iF yOu DoN’t LiKe ReNtInG jUsT bUy A hOuSe”
Houses in my city go for, like, $500k. I can’t. Housing prices in the US have skyrocketed while wages have stagnated. That is in fact the problem–most people cannot afford to buy a house, and many people pay more than half their income in rent. Ever saved up for a down payment on a house while doing that?
“mOvE iF yOu DoN’t LiKe YoUr LaNdLoRd”
Moving is expensive and stressful. There’s no guarantee of finding another place within reasonable distance of where we work, where we buy groceries, etc.
“bUt If LaNdLoRdS dOn’T rEnT oUt HoUsInG wHeRe WiLl PeOpLe LiVe?!”
If landlords/property companies all were forced to sell every place they owned except housing they specifically lived in, the market would have such a glut of housing that prices would nosedive in nearly every city in the US, possibly to the point where normal, average working people could buy one. Houses and apartments do not blink out of existence because a landlord stops renting them out. Why do I see this dumbass line of logic so fucking often.
People literally cannot wrap their minds around the fact that landlords (and I include property companies–the kind that own multiple apartment complexes–as landlords) don’t create or do anything of value. “But when I need the water heater fixed, the landlord fixes it.” Except for some mom'n'pop landlord operations that insist on DIY'ing everything, your landlord is not the one who is fixing it. The person who physically comes to your unit and fixes it is the person who fixes it, and your landlord is just an expensive gatekeeper who decides for you whether you actually need your water heater fixed. If you owned the place you could have insurance against that kind of thing, you could put money in a co-op that pays for that kind of thing (like condo associations do), or you could just pay out of pocket for it if you have the money. If you did take on the risk of repairing it yourself, the only person who would suffer is you. But you wouldn’t be at the mercy of some dipshit who tries desperately not to get your water heater fixed (even though that’s illegal), or who hires the cheapest person they could find (who might suck ass and make it worse), or insists on doing it themselves (whether they know what they’re doing or not).
HUMANS REQUIRE SHELTER TO SURVIVE. The modern standard for housing includes things like locking doors, ceilings and windows that don’t leak, walls that aren’t covered in mold, and working electricity, plumbing, and hot water at a bare minimum. On top of that, we need shelter that’s near enough to our place of employment and places to buy food, etc.
Landlords do not provide housing. They hold it ransom for as much money as they think they can get, because they know we need housing to survive. They buy up as much housing as they can (reducing the supply of available houses for sale) and then rent them out at a profit (which means more than they’re paying on the mortgage, if they have one). They are hoarding housing, creating a false scarcity, and then profiting off of it.
Landlords are parasites.