Free Rent for All

When Big Brother is Your Landlord

Cabrini–Green Homes

“If you think living in your parents’ house is hard—wait until you live in government housing!”

If the #CancelRent & #RentStrike efforts are successful, then what? The protests & disruptions look exciting and definitely generate media attention when there are 24 hours of air to fill. But, it’s dangerous. The cancel rent and rent strike movement could mean the collapse of privately owned rental properties around the country. Privately owned rental properties pay an enormous amount of property taxes which support essential services in communities throughout the county. Owners drive local economies by providing work for contractors and other service providers and by purchasing supplies from vendors. If the ultimate goal is to run all landlords out of business, what will housing look like for you once the private housing provider is gone?

What are you fighting for? What result are you looking for when you win?

We don’t believe that more public housing is the answer. Throughout the country, we see many public housing failures. For example, recently in South Bend, Indiana, the government-backed housing project has had to recently shut down because of neglect and dangerous living conditions. Really? As a result, 100 people are displaced during the pandemic. Most are elderly and some have lived there for 30 years. What about the 250 being forced to move in Gary, Indiana from 2 public housing units that are being torn down because according to an official, “the eyesore buildings have been targeted for demolition and are considered unsafe.” This, in a city where there is also a shortage of housing units for people to be relocated to. In another example, residents in New York City’s public housing, the nation’s largest public housing authority, are living in unsafe conditions that have resulted in lawsuits and public revelations of lead paint hazards. Many progressives through their Housing Guarantee want more of this same government, or free “social housing”, as they call it. Who holds the government responsible for forcing those without a choice to live in undignified, unsafe housing? No one. If a landlord breaks a rule, they can be put out of business.

In reality, we need more affordable housing in the marketplace so that there are options when one housing provider fails. With the government being the primary and only landlord, there will be no other options. This is the future if the socialists have their way with their Homes Guarantee. Government run projects have never worked in many American cities, and there are no compelling reasons to think they will this time around given the budget limitations most cities are facing due to COVID. We need to encourage more small-medium size entrepreneurs to continue investing privately in housing. We know that they are more likely to work with renters who may run into personal and financial challenges. Many times, they can identify personally with their renters and manage their properties with a heart. And we know from the examples across the country that the government is failing many of their tenants. Plus, private property owners are forced to abide by laws and ordinances to maintain properties to a certain standard or face the consequences. Government makes the rules and clearly there are no consequences when they are the ones providing the unsafe housing.

The progressive organizations and socialists want to disincentivize real estate ownership by private, non- government entities when most people enter the middle class and start building family and generational wealth through homeownership. There’s a choice. When people look at their future and financially providing for their children and families, they know that government housing is a temporary stopping place. It’s not a long-term plan for climbing out of poverty or entering into financial independence.

So, if you want to #CancelRent and live under the thumb of the faceless government bureaucracy, know what you are asking for. Ask yourself if you are okay with the strict rules that comes with “free” housing. Imagine that you, as a “comrade” on the front line of this fight are faced with a choice of renting from a private housing provider, a citizen just like you, or the government. Know that there is always a price for free government housing, Here’s a short list of what to expect with it:

  1. That no matter what you’ve been told, HUD requires that tenant and criminal histories be reviewed ( 24 CFR: 960.203). The “renters cannot be involved in criminal activity or past poor performance in meeting financial obligations, especially rent”.
  2. There are stringent government rules & regulations that you will be required to follow. Many are “one strike & you’re out” rules, and then the government will be required to evict you in order to remove you from the property in the best interest of the other renters.
  3. Their management style is “my way or the highway”, and similar to the military, there is no room for negotiation like there is with a private housing provider and fellow taxpayer. You’ll experience a certain loss of your freedom.
  4. You cannot get a break on your housing-related costs if you have an unexpected emergency expense – a job loss, a car repair or an illness, etc. like you can with a private housing provider who is typically understanding and lenient. If there is an amount due, and it is not paid on the due date, you will be gone. The government doesn’t play around, as you know from dealing with their agencies like the IRS.

So, while it may be exciting to think you are fighting for something, you must realize what it is that you think you are winning. Having the government for a landlord is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Ask the tenants in the buildings that are being forcibly displaced – by their government landlord. And remember, nothing is free.

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