Small Landlord Letter
Lenore Monello Schloming M.`A.
Skip Schloming Ph.D.
Defending the rights & interests of small landlords,
all small property owners & small business owners everywhere
On this page
The battle ahead: RENT CONTROL 2024
Contact your lawmakers
Who We Are
From Small Landlord Letter, March 14, 2023
The battle ahead:
To defeat rent control – in 2024!
[Take action! See CONTACT info below for lawmakers]
The Boston Council approved a rent control home-rule petition, 11-2 vote
The petition is now at the State Legislature for debate and a vote. Likely, it will be rejected. But tenants will be flooding state legislators with messages. We must, too. Go to "Contact Lawmakers" below or at webpage.
BUT the tenant activist goal is a ballot question in the November 2024 presidential election, to legalize rent control in Massachusetts. The 1994 statewide referendum ending rent control could be overturned!
High-interest election We cannot underestimate how critical a rent control ballot question will be on the Massachusetts 2024 November ballot. 2024 will be a high-interest election and a major battle between presidential candidates. The national debate is (and will continue to be) between socialism and capitalism, between even more government control versus a free market and free speech.
Socialism takes money/property from some people and gives it to other people – to get their vote. Capitalism means everyone keeps their money/property, everyone does as best they can to solve life’s challenges, and in a free marketplace of ideas, we will see what works and what does not work.
The same issues with rent control In our Massachusetts struggle with rent control and landlord-tenant law generally, the debate is also socialism versus capitalism. Legal services lawyers (who draft all landlord-tenant laws, no input from landlords) and tenant activists are all socialists. They want “socially-owned” housing. They do not believe in private ownership of property. They take the landlord’s money/property and give it to his/her tenants – turning the landlord-tenant relationship into vicious hatred, but it keeps politicians in power. For Democratic Socialists of America, rent control is their top priority. President Biden has already mentioned “nationwide” rent control. We must face this battle head-on – and win it!
Intense tenant organizing A 2024 ballot question to restore rent control in Massachusetts will get national attention. Tenant activists will be organizing intensely, not just in Massachusetts but across the country. We can expect a “March on Massachusetts” by them or something similar. We need to do the same with landlords, especially small landlords, and all residential owners across the country, who stand to be harmed by rent control if it gains a strong footing anywhere. The future of Massachusetts and the nation will depend on who wins.
Our strategy now
Lost narrative Last week, a large landlord called me (Skip) very concerned about the likely 2024 ballot question to resurrect rent control. “We have lost the narrative that won in 1994,” he said, “the narrative of small landlords under rent control in Cambridge.” What was the Cambridge experience? Grievously harmed small landlords and rich, well-placed tenants living in rent-controlled apartments – outrageous stories that spread across the state.
Mass emails and more We plan to use mass email marketing software and to grow our list of email addresses all across the state, for all residential owners, for all real estate groups, for all the construction industry people who will lose work, for banks who cannot lend, and more. As we are doing now, we will urge all recipients to forward our emails and website address to their friends and neighbors, to spread the word far and wide, across Massachusetts and, ultimately, across the country. Other options are also possible. It is a big goal using less expensive methods, but we need donations to do it right.
Chinese immigrants A few days ago, I met with four Chinese small landlords who are part of a 400-strong chat group that is very concerned about rent control. The Chinese are among the latest immigrants to flee communist totalitarianism and poorly functioning countries. America is their American Dream. But rent control will destroy small landlords and destroy an important ladder of opportunity for all recent immigrants, to save up and eventually own rental property. They are committed activists in our fight.
The story we must tell Consider this beautifully stated summary of rent control by John Natale. He and David Sullivan were the first and long-serving co-chairs of the Small Property Owners Association (SPOA):
“Milton Friedman once famously said: “Except for bombing, nothing destroys a city faster than rent control.”
“Not only does rent control miss the target – the beneficiaries are not the needy, the elderly, etc., as theoretically intended. The population who live in rent-controlled apartments are mostly the opposite, middle- to upper-income tenants. I know that to be a fact because rent-control owners – like me – chose them! We preferred tenants who would at least pay the rent. There is no means test. People like these – David Ives, president of Channel 2; Ruth Abrams, a justice on the MA Superior Judicial Court – lived in rent-controlled apartments. Ken Reeves, former Cambridge mayor and Harvard Law School graduate, had two rent-controlled units. All subsidized by their owners.
“Owners naturally put VERY little money into maintenance because recouping is such a costly war. Every expense is opposed. Tenants get free legal representation. Eviction is difficult-to-impossible and a very long process. Even rent escrowing during an eviction is not permitted. Thus, an owner engaged in an eviction dispute with a tenant is very likely to get no money even if the court awards possession to the owner, because the tenant, if he loses in court, usually disappears! – having paid no rent for many, many months.
“Rent control is hell for owners. Rent control made me who I am politically, deeply distrustful of Government and an instinctive Conservative.” – John Natale
Not a political issue Regardless of how you vote or stand on any other issue, on rent control you need to vote NO. It’s not partisan. SPOA’s long-serving leaders John Natale and David Sullivan were Italian and Irish – and classical liberal Democrats. So was Barbara Pilgrim, an African-American.
IMPORTANT VIDEO Watch Doug Quattrochi, founder & CEO of MassLandlords.net, as he explains the Boston proposal, which is far worse than Mayor Wu had promised. It will lead to full-fledged rent control, with a rent board, miniscule rent increases, and no evictions. Click or copy & paste: https://masslandlords.net/business-updates/2023-02-17-boston-rent-control-presented-to-council
Go to "Contact Lawmakers" page for all contact information
Who We Are
Small Landlord Letter is an email publication of Skip Schloming and Lenore Monello Schloming, 50 years as small landlords, 23 years as executive director and president of the Cambridge-based Small Property Owners Association.
The Small Landlord Letter is published regularly by email and is free to subscribers. To subscribe, send an email with your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Subscribe" in the subject.
We plan to incorporate soon as the Small Landlord Institute, as a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization, to advocate for and conduct research on small landlords and their critical role in providing the vast bulk of housing for America's moderate- and low-income renter households as well as for many middle-income tenants. Small landlords and their tenants are a major sector in every city and town in America. They and their tenants are proportionately more often minorities and recent immigrants. Yet the landlords are utterly excluded from all policymaking that affects them.
Small landlords are defined as families who own one or more rental units on a part-time or full-time basis, do their own management and repairs without hired employees, and sometimes have full-time jobs with benefits -- all factors that allow them to keep their rents lower. Small landlords also keep rents below market value for reliable, long-term tenants.
Unfortunately, every law and regulation on behalf of "tenant rights" and "tenant protections" tends to push rents UP and push housing conditions DOWN. The laws also often force small landlords out of the rental housing market, usually replaced by distant corporate owners. The Small Landlord Letter aims to explore the impacts of various landlord-tenant regulation and alert subscribers to pending legislation.
For 23 years, Lenore Monello Schloming, M.A., and Skip Schloming, Ph.D., were president and executive director, respectively, of the Small Property Owners Association (SPOA). During our tenure, we published over 200 monthly newsletters on nearly every aspect of landlord-tenant law and regulation in Massachusetts. We resigned from SPOA in October 2021. We are also sociologists and met as graduate students in sociology at Brandeis University. We wrote linked doctoral dissertations, now presented in a website (see below). We homesteaded in rural Maine and homeschooled our three sons. We returned to Cambridge to manage rental housing in the family and soon became activists in SPOA. We continue our advocacy through the Small Landlord Letter and, eventually, the Small Landlord Institute.
Our Other Writings:
Wild to Civilized, human movement patterns from small nomadic packs in the prehistoric African wilderness to today’s global industrial civilization, based on our doctoral dissertations in sociology (www.wildtocivilized.com).
That Emperor’s Fool, a musical for all ages, a fantasy satire based on the Emperor’s New Clothes, ready for premiere production (www.thatemperorsfool.com).
In progress: Rents in America: The failure of rental housing policy in Massachusetts and nationwide, based on experience in Boston, Cambridge, and Massachusetts, and on nationwide laws usually drafted by free lawyers for tenants, the socialist legal-services lawyers in every U.S. state and territory, funded by tax dollars.
See our Bios on the Bios & Contact page.
Oppose tenant right to purchase (“right of first refusal”)
A “tenant right to purchase,” also called “tenant right of first refusal,”gives a tenant or group of tenants the ability to purchase the property they live in before the owner can sell it to a willing private buyer who the owner has already found, a buyer who has signed a Purchase & Sale (P&S) agreement and made a deposit. The result is delays of six months and longer... Read more...
Rent control: All about power, not housing
What ARE the rents?
Rent control rejected 5 times in Massachusetts
Miscellaneous Shorts Comments short & longer on various topics
Why we never got the science about Covid
Covid funds for rental assistance go to nonprofits, not small landlords