BARHA Question 8: Landlords want good tenants and tenants what good landlords. How do you think landlords can best support the community and still make their investment and effort worthwhile?
Aaron Brockett: A good landlord charges a fair price for their rent, keeps their property in good condition, and is responsive to tenant needs. I think Boulder landlords can (and generally do!) stick to those basic principles and have their investment be worthwhile.
Rachel Friend: In my experience, landlords who have community ties, and better yet, neighborhood ties, are the most invested in outstanding results. The further we get from human investment, and the closer we get to strict financial investment, the more frayed our LL-T relationships and values are. I would therefore prefer to incentivize landlords who care about my street, my community, my City. That tends to hold true for me for any business; the more local the business, the more likely they are to sponsor events, be interested neighbors, and care about things like dilapidated fences and joining in on community efforts. Corporate landlords have an economy of scale that also tends to produce
“good neighbor” outcomes. So to answer the question, I’d like to incentivize landlords who have and continue to demonstrate neighborhood commitment and stewardship.
Bob Yates: Probably the number one complaint about both landlords and tenants that we hear on city council is the condition of properties on the Hill. Some landlords (undoubtedly a minority) do not make the necessary investment to maintain the properties appropriately. Conversely, many students are not respectful of their neighbors, or even of the properties they live in.
Improving conditions on the Hill will require a concerted and collaborative effort of landlords, tenants, neighbors, the University, and the city’s code enforcement personnel.
Junie Joseph: I think it’s important for landlords to try to understand the position of renters, most of whom are financially insecure. And then it’s important for landlords to not take advantage of that power imbalance, but to treat tenants fairly and compassionately. It’s also important for tenants to understand that most landlords are not evil, but are just businesspeople trying to make a living, like other businesses.
Mark Wallach: The focus of Landlord should be attentive care for their properties, communication with neighborhoods and responsiveness when issues arise. When houses become ill-maintained and disruptive party places, that is not supporting the community, and I doubt it is enhancing the value of the asset. We have thousands of rental properties in town that have zero impact on the neighborhood in which they are located because they are properly maintained, and expectations are set for the conduct of tenants. And those tenants are therefore contributors to the community, as well. These are simple and obvious principles, but when they are ignored, the reputation of all landlords is diminished.
Adam Swetlik: Unfortunately I don’t see housing as a prime place for investment. Speculative buying drives up housing prices and makes luxury units that are unaﬀordable to middle and low income people more desirable to build. Renting in Boulder is an incredibly lucrative proposition as we know since 55% of our housing units are rentals. If it were not that percentage would probably be well below 50%. I think landlords could help our community a lot by reducing rent increases so that more residents can stay here without fear of displacement. I myself wouldn’t be able to aﬀord to live here as a renter anymore. Maybe it’s time to put community ﬁrst, and proﬁt second.