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It is not rent control we worry about any more—it's the last place on earth where a symbol of freedom still reigns, with the Rent Control Act being used for a human guinea pig.
Why is it a crime to buy a home and be proud to own a piece of America in the United States of America? The home owners are treated worse than criminalsLicavoli and some others were before Judge Picard just ahead of us-
-Judge Picard gave them all consideration, including cutting their bond from $5,000 to $3,000 and joked and kibitzed with them, while he refused to allow us to get our attorney or let us out on bond and he ordered Mr. Victor to be fingerprinted in spite of the fact that the United States marshal admitted to him that Mr. Victor was not guilty.
Is there any good reason why the American home owners should subsidize the American tenant?
Is it to be soon-America, for, by, and of the tenants only?
My statement is not only the complaint, but it is also the example. It is only the thrifty lover of America who will deprive his family of many of the things they need, to buy a shelter for his and someone else's family. These thrifty people's hearts are completely carved out by rent control.
Here are two additional short examples: 1. I witnessed in Federal Judge Levin's court, a case of a family by the name of Santo. OPA posed unknown people as the tenants of Santo, so Judge Levin gave Santo 3 weeks to liquidate the rest of their property to pay off OPA, which will come to a total of about $6,000 obtained by OPA from the Santo family.
2. The following is copied from the Detroit Times, Saturady, May 26, 1951:
“GOUGE STRIPS LANDLORD OF HOME, AUTO "Val C. Bush returned home last night from Chicago an ex-property owner and a pedestrian after completing arrangements to satisfy a $2,483 treble-damage judgment for charging more than OPA ceiling rents.
“Bush jailed for contempt after he failed to pay the penalty, was freed after he turned over the deed to his house at 50 Collingwood, the title to his car, and a life-insurance policy to a Federal judge to pay the claim.
"The overceiling rents were charged by Bush in a building he formerly owned in Chicago, the court record showed.
“An attorney for the tenants said he expected to realize about $4,000 from the sale of Bush's property.
"The Collingwood house is a 10-room building now used as a rooming house. Bush said he paid $16,500 for it, but it is mortgaged.
“The arrangements completed, Bush boarded å bus for Detroit to look for a place to live."
The full explanation of the above news items is as follows:
Mr. Bush's trouble started in Chicago. On May 4, he was arrested in Detroit, held overnight in Wayne County jail, and was taken to Chicago the next day, where he was held incommunicado. During that time, everything of value was stolen, including keepsakes of his dead wife, who grieved herself to death over this thing called OPA, or rent control. On the 25th of May, he was let out of jail, and was given a choice of paying $5,700, or sign over everything he owned in this world, and he was warned not to hold out anything or they would jail him for life.
On his return home, he found his car taken by the OPA, and with Detroit street railways on strike, Mr. Bush lost his job because his transportation (the car) was confiscated. The OPA is collecting the rent, but Mr. Bush must pay the bills and give free janitor service, or get out. OPA doubled the rents.
There are thousands of such cases as these, or even worse, all over America. Can't you hear millions of voices calling to you, and begging for the return of American freedom for American property owners?
OKLAHOMA APARTMENT OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC.,
Oklahoma City, Okla., May 26, 1951. In re residential rent control section, H. R. 3871. Hon. BRENT SPENCE, Chairman, House Banking and Currency Committee,
The House Office Puilding, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. SPENCE: We respectfully invite your attention to the following recommendations relative to this proposed legislation, and in this connection
request that this letter be made a part of the record of your hearings and be included in the official transcript thereof. Section 451
Although there may be a shortage of rental housing in isolated cases, which we believe in the main is around reactivated Army camps, we can see no justification for general application of rent controls at this time. In fact, we are convinced that these individual problems can, and will be, worked out quicker and more equitably without controls, or the threat of controls in any area. An increase of building in critical areas, which the building industry is anxious to provide, and a decrease in noncritical areas should solve this problem. The following factual data bears out our conclusions in this respect.
(1) In a study of the 1950 census, John and Richard Usher, of Chicago, Ill., developed the following information relative to housing, which we believe is pertinent to the consideration of this bill, since it is predicated on national averages.
A. Between 1940 and 1950 the number of dwellings increased over the Nation by 23.6 percent.
B. The population during same period only increased 14.5 per ent.
C. The increase in number of dwellings exceeded by 2,000,000 the increase in number of families.
D. The number of dwellings occupied by owners increased by 8,200,000.
F. The number of vacant dwellings rose from 2,500,000 in 1940 to 3,400,000 in 1950 (an increase of 36 percent).
G. The number of dwellings occupied by only one person increased 45 percent, reaching in 1950 the total of 3,900,000.
H. From the above analysis it is seen that rent controls have reduced the number of rental units instead of making more housing available. (2) Insofar as our local situation is concerned, we enclose a copy of the results of our real estate board survey of occupancy, on April 3, 1951, which reflects vacancies as high as 12.83 percent in some classes of apartments and an over-all vacancy of 3.82 percent in dwelling property. Since more than 60 percent of the dwelling property in our city is occupied by the owner this survey reflects an 8 to 10 percent vacancy in strictly rental property (see BLS survey, July 1950—3.9 percent).
Rents were decontrolled in our city by action of the city council, effective November 23, 1949. In February 1950 our organization conducted, by mail, a city-wide survey which disclosed an average increase in rental rates of 10.45 percent. Although we have not conducted such a survey since February 1950, our general knowledge of rental conditions, and the average vacancies convince us that the increase over the ceiling rate would be less at this time than it was when the survey was conducted.
In that connection, we find in our everyday rental experience that the trend in rental rates has been gradually downward for the past several months due to this excessive vacancy.
One of the contributing factors to this oversupply of housing in our city is the fact that over 7,000 family units, mostly single dwellings, were constructed here during the year 1950, and occupied by the purchaser. This figure was supplied by the Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co., who made the contracts for electric service in that number of dwelling units for the first time, during the year 1950. Actual count of ads for all types of dwelling units for rent in our local paper, the Daily Oklahoman, for Sunday, May 6, showed 527 of such ads. In June 1949, just prior to decontrol of rents here, there appeared 174 such ads in the same paper.
We believe the above information adequately demonstrates the fact that there is more than ample housing here, and in most localities at the present time.
In the interest of equity, we offer the following critical analysis of the proposed rent control legislation for your consideration if it is determined by your committee and the Congress that we must have further rent controls. Section 452-A
A determination for need of rent controls based upon an adequate and impartial survey of residential property by the city council, or other local governing body, should be required before control, or recontrol, is imposed upon any area.
Further, it is strongly recommended in the interest of justice and equity that the local option provision for decontrol, as provided in the Housing and Rent Act of 1947, as amended, be retained.
Section 452-A, paragraph 2
To be consistent with the date of most controls on wages and prices, and in all fairness to the property owner who must employ people and purchase supplies, furnishings, and make improvements based upon wages and prices of that date, we feel that January 25, 1951, should be the farthest roll-back date to be considered under this act. Even that date will not provide protection for advanced prices on many items since January of this year. Section 455-A
All protestants should by all means have the right of appeal to the State or Federal district courts from any ruling, or order, of the President under this title. Gross injustices have been prevalent under the old order where the property owners have been denied the same access to the courts that has been provided for the tenants through rent control officials. Section 457-A
Penalties for violation of price regulations should be applied equally to landlord and tenant, where it is determined by the President, or the court, that such violations are willful. A number of cases have come to our attention under the old order where hard-pressed and generally aged owners of small rental properties have been induced to accept small excess payments, then the tenant has capitalized upon this by bringing suit and recovering these heavy penalties. Section 457-B
Unlawful eviction is not defined. We strongly urge that provisions of State laws on evictions prevail. In any instance, lawful eviction should be defined in the act and not be left to the determination of bureau heads. Eviction has been far overstressed since it is the prime purpose of every owner of rental property to retain his tenants rather than evict them and our State laws in this respect have served adequately and justly through the years.
In the event of the sale of residential property, the new owner should have the right of occupancy of at least his choice of one rental unit within 60 days from date of sale and notice to occupant. Section 457-A, paragraph B
There is no reason, or justification, for applying criminal penalties for violation of the rent-control provisions of this act. Multiplied thousands of aged and poorly informed owners of small rental properties have been severely persecuted even under civil penalties, as now provided under the Housing and Rent Act of 1947, as amended, and there is no justice in subjecting them to the severe criminal penalties provided for in this section.
Our folks out here, who own these small rental properties are no exception to the general rule over the country. They have in the past, and are now, willing to accept their full share of the load in connection with the defense requirements of our country, but we feel that rent control, or threats of rent control in any form, hinders rather than helps in this respect. Many concessions and adjustments are made in a normal market to meet individual situations, but fear of permanent applications of these concessions prevents this normal procedure when threats are constantly held over the head of the industry.
Rent controls have resulted in dissension and strife between owner and tenant, have forced neglect and deterioration of property, thereby depriving tenants of the opportunity to secure the type of living accommodations they are willing and able to pay for, have resulted in a reduction in building of rental properties which in turn froze existing quarters to tenants beyond their needs and deprived returning veterans of the opportunity to rent, forcing them to buy at exorbitant prices. Why continue this abortion of justice? Let's do away with rent controls and try the true American way again. Most sincerely yours,
GEORGE L. Noah, President.
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1946, 1949
0.72 2.12 7.26 6. 92 1.60 1.20 0.70 0.71 2. 102. 48 2.88 3.17 2.63 0.51 1.85
8. 41 15. 78 16.83 4.90 2.10 2. 20 4.40 8.00 9.25 12.05 11. 49 8. 77
. 93 4. 48 .2 2.64
furnished. Garage apart.
2. 16 6. 59 13. 26 14. 71 5.88 2.27 2. 26 3. 37 4.05 4.87 5.90 5.13 4.79
.57 2. 53
1 No surveys were made in 1943, 1914, 1945, 1947, 1948, and 1950.
EXPLANATION.--This survey covers a total of 67,425 living units, of which 2,618 were vacant as of Apr. 3, 1951. The figures include all living units under construction. Many of these units shown as vacant were sold and are as yet unoscupied. The Oklahoma City Real Estate Board does not claim this to be the total number of living units in Oklahoma City, but we feel that the percentage of occupancy figured from the total units counted would be the same is all living units had been counted.-Robert J. Dwyer, president.
STATEMENT OF HARRY J. BROOMHALL, REPRESENTING THE PROPERTY OWNERS
ASSOCIATION OF FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ohio My name is Harry J. Broomhall, residence address 38 South Champion Avenue, Columbus 5, Ohio. I speak for the Property Owners Association of Franklin County, Ohio, with a membership of about 600, and, as we are interested in local governmental affairs and property owners usually follow our lead, we believe our association fairly reflects the sentiments of property owners in Franklin County and the city of Columbus, a population of over 500,000. Further, I am a director of Property Owners Association of America, Inc., and as such I have been interested in the national as well as the local aspects of rent control. Too, Mrs. Broomhall and I personally own and operate 58 apartment units in Columbus and that, of course, enables us to speak of rent control from the owner's viewpoint.
THE COLUMBUS SITUATION
Our association made a house-to-house canvass of the vacancy situation in Columbus, and upon completion of the canvass, in order to get a properly compiled and professionally supervised report, we submitted our work sheets to Roy Wenzlick & Co., real-estate statisticians of national repute, with offices in St. Louis, and they completed the report. A copy of this survey report is attached as exhibit A.
The vacancy ratio when the survey was made was more than 5 percent. Recent checks and inquiries by our members as to vacancies, and turn-over in our own properties, convinces i's that there are more now, and because of the very extensive building boom in Columbus for the past 5 vears the demand has now been met. Because a substantial percentage of the new homes are built for sale, and are being sold on very easy payment terms, the demand for rental properties can well be met from properties vacated by the purchases of new homes. Of course, there is, and perhaps alwavs will be, the cry that there are no two- and three-bedroom homes for rent at from $40 to $50 per month. These are the perennial bargain hunters who are already housed, but who would accept cheap rent in order to have more for other comforts and luxuries like radio, television, deep freezers, etc. Anybody with ordinary horse sense knows you can't supply and maintain in decent state of repair any five to seven room, modern home todav for $50 or less. There are plenty of houses and apartments at from $60 up to $150 for what would be deemed luxury homes in Columbus.
Our report was filed with our mayor, city clerk, and each member of our city council.
We learned through the newspapers that rent control “might” come up at the regular weekly meeting of the council, November 27, 1950. To be sure of the opportunity to be heard, several of our members, including myself, were on hand at that meeting. Because of our presence, as we thought, the resolution to extend rent control was not introduced, but was carried over to a special meeting, November 29, 1950. During the recess of the November 27 meeting I spoke to the president of council, Mr. Henry A. Koontz, and asked for a hearing in behalf of the Property Owners Association. He replied almost in an undertone “they don't want a hearing." I said "who do you mean,” and he said “the members of the council.”
Anyhow, we were there Wednesday night, November 29, and at that meeting the resolution to extend rent control until June 30, 1951, was introduced and passed by a vote of 5 to 2. The mayor and all seven members of the city council represent themselves to be Republicans. At the conclusion of the balloting the writer asked permission to make a few remarks and, while not being granted the courtesy, the Chair did not interrupt for a few moments, during which we expressed our astonishment and amazement at the action of the 100-percent Republican administration so soon after the November election, in which rentcontrol exponents Lucas and Meyer were defeated, and this being one of the first and most repugnant of the Fair Deal measures, that they would go so far without at least hearing from taxpaying property owners, especially in view of the Los Angeles case which we understood to have been thrown out by the Supreme Court entirely because adequate public hearings were not held; and after, by their own admissions, having held two star-chamber conferences with the local area rent director. And so the deed was done, the die was cast, and without a hearing of either landlords or tenants, Columbus was, for the time being, stuck with rent control. Now it must be evident that our councilmen felt that their political fortunes dictated the course taken. Columbus does have an ample supply of housing, as evidenced by our survey, but until we can repair our political fences