Meet Mom-And-Pop Oakland Landlords

By DANIEL BORNSTEIN, ESQ.

Renter advocates and certain media outlets often mischaracterize rental owners. Having worked with Bay Area landlords for over two decades, Bornstein Law can attest to the morality of most of the rental property owners we have had the privilege of serving. They oftentimes represent the best in our community and in cities like Oakland, provide the biggest segment of safe, clean and affordable housing. 
 
In fact, most Oakland rental owners are mom-and-pops with less than five units. When you get to know these people on an individual level, it can be an eye-opener to proponents of rent control.
 
Contrary to popularized accounts, most rental property owners are not greedy individuals who simply want to cash rent checks and evict low-rent tenants. They also manage properties and are good neighbors and stewards of our community.
 
Owners like Vuong and Truc would take exception to the often-spread stereotype of the gluttonous landlord. Through hard work, Vuong realized the American dream after arriving in the United States as a foreign exchange student looking to escape war and strife and her life has since been dedicated to balance, stability and service within her community. With ten rental properties, she and her husband treasure the opportunity to provide housing with a personal touch. She incurs many rising expenses, and likens rent control measures to the Communism and classism she fled from decades ago.
 
Another landlord, Arcola, agrees that city officials forget that rental property owners are running a business and have to pay to maintain rentals, which requires a steady stream of income. “The housing market is not a nonprofit”, she notes. 
 
Her roots in rental properties are generations deep. Arcola’s grandparents built apartments in the 1960s and have remained in the family ever since. She is inspired by her grandparent’s desire to help African Americans find comfortable housing in an era where they were red-lined and refused credit. 
 
Helping people find a decent place to live is a purpose Arcola has continued, but her family’s legacy and rental business is threatened by renter-proposed initiatives.
 
Vuong and Arcola are but two of many poignant profiles of local housing providers featured by the East Bay Rental Housing Association. You can view all of their stories here.
 
These rental property owners will tell you they treasure the diversity of Oakland. In that spirit, rent control advocates should also get a glimpse into the character of landlords, most of whom are responsible, mom and pop businesses that are adding value to their tenants and to their communities.
 
Bornstein Law is proud to represent small-scale, everyday rental property owners that need income, yet still adhere to their obligations as a housing provider. We believe that the core problem is a shortage of units in the Bay Area and responsible landlords should not be penalized for the gaffe by subsidizing a renter’s needs through governmental fiat.
 
No matter what your stance, however, it is good to get a 360 view and shape of the debate by understanding the viewpoints of both renters and rental property owners to make the most informed opinion without being indoctrinated by the media’s vilification of landlords. 

 

 

As the founding attorney of Bornstein Law, Broker of Record for Bay Property Group and expert witness, Daniel Bornstein is a foremost and well-respected expert in landlord-tenant disputes and other property management issues with over 23 years of experience in handling real estate and civil litigation related disputes in and throughout the Bay Area. More than a litigator, Daniel manages rental properties, assists in completing real estate transactions and is well known for his educational seminars. He is always eager to answer questions and engage with Bay Area landlords, property owners and real estate professionals. Email him today.

 

 

 

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