Feeling the Pinch – Responding to a Slant Piece

Feeling the Pinch – Responding to a Slant Piece

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As an apartment owner/operator, I couldn’t help but cringe as I read Jeff Collins’ recent “Feeling the Pinch…” article. In what appears to be an attempt at explaining the rising costs of rent in Orange County, the article instead vilifies landlords and depicts a public forced to compromise quality for cost and safety for savings when choosing a place to live. Apartments, both conventional and low income/tax credit, still remain the number one source of affordable housing for renters today. And contrary to the tone of the article, not all landlords are slumlords (certainly not the landlord charging $1,324 per month for a studio apartment.)

While Mr. Collins took to interview several renters who outlined very important and very realistic concerns faced by renters not just in Orange County, but across the United States, he failed to gain the insights of a rental property owner. He did not go to the Apartment Association and did not check his research.  In doing so, he chose to rely solely on statistics contributed to multifamily industry research houses by institutional quality (large complexes) apartment operators. As a result, his piece amounted to nothing more than a slant-piece against landlords.  And in his eagerness to point out the rising rents, he failed to identify some of the significant cost increases impacting landlords today: insurance costs, utility costs and labor costs, which in turn drive vendor costs and overall operating expenses that these rising rents help to off-set if not cover.

The true irony of the otherwise one-sided slant piece against rental housing owners is that one of his case studies happens to be a Santa Ana resident currently paying $1,185 per month for a one bedroom apartment. Rent has increased just $120 total over the 4.5 years he has resided in his one bedroom apartment, representing what’s not even a 3% annual increase in rent and is most certainly not to par with market. Renting is still more affordable than owning in Orange County. And if you think the OC is bad, just take a look at the rental market in the San Francisco bay area.

Check out the original article here.

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