Letter to the Editor

Rent control but worse

 TO THE EDITOR,

As someone who has rented for all my life, I understand the feelings behind those in or supporting a city ordinance calling for just cause evictions but I have to agree with attorney Jeff Turk who stated in the March 16 East Boston Times that the idea sounds a lot like rent control but worse. Turk is correct in what he stated at a recent City Council hearing on this issue when he told councilors that, “It’s not rent control, it’s property control.

There is a reason why the coalition has had to fight for their idea in the past over the past two years. If adopted, it would prohibit small homeowners from “evicting  ‘ their tenants if they have more than four rental units. The Coalition says these so-called evictions cause displacement in hot real estate markets like East Boston.

Think about the whole concept. If you own less than four rental units, you are exempt from this ordinance. If you rent subsidized units, you are exempt. If you have four units but live in one, you are exempt.

Most housing stock being rented in East Boston are officially three unit buildings no matter how many mailboxes in the doorway. This ordinance is really that beneficial to most folks who might find themselves displaced and unable to stay in the community they call home.

There are two kinds of renters. Those who have yearly leases and those who are tenants at will. When a renter’s lease is up, both sides sit down to sign a new lease. If the rent gets increased, the renter has two options, pay more rent or leave but neither of theses options is an eviction. If one is a tenant at will, the rent is only guaranteed month to month. If the owner wants you to leave, that’s the law but you have not been evicted.

Eviction is a lawful term. It is negative. Leased renters don’t get evicted and tenant at will folks don’t get evicted to. Both just have to leave the premises.  If small landlords can not end a lease when it expires why have leases at all? If small landlords have tenants at will, those tenants knew what they were walking into when they moved into the apartment.

Everything is going up including rents. East Boston is prime real estate and sadly it could very well mean displacement of longtime residents. We need some answers for this situation but I don’t know what it is. It isn’t this ordinance.

Homeowners aren’t the enemy for the most part but there is no level of government that has a right to nationalize our  private housing. Not unless they wish to abolish property taxes and water bills.

sincerely,

SAL GIARRATANI

East Boston

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