Lettert to the Editor: Resident Want Burbank Tenants Union to Sit Down and Meet


Letter to the Editor:

Housing Providers & Tenants asked by the city council to sit down and talk.

Led by a request from council member Zizette Mullins, an ad hoc committee consisting of council members Takahashi and Perez was formed to help facilitate a discussion between the Burbank Tenants Union and housing providers.

After nearly 3 hours of public comment, the majority of it coming from concerned mom-and-pop housing providers fearful that any further restrictions would force them into insolvency, council member Mullins requested that both sides sit down to discuss their differences.

Within a matter of days, I reached out to the council members, saying that individuals from the housing providers have committed to being there. Myself and many others spoke in person at that council meeting, having read the BTU’s list of demands and potential action of the council, in opposition to further restrictions.

Now, all we do is wait to hear back if the BTU will do the same. We are hopeful that given an opportunity to hear from them directly, and they from us, meaningful progress can be made in understanding each other’s prospects and concerns.

David Donahue
Burbank Resident and Business Owner

    BurCal Apartments8715


    1. As a resident and property owner in Burbank, I am perplexed by the city’s push to further escalate taxpayer costs and bureaucracy by adding additional layers of tenant protections. While the well-being of renters is important, the state of California has already recently implemented substantial tenant protections. Should we not wait to see the long-term effects of these state-level decisions before making more changes at the city level? If at all? Local programs cost big money to administer. Just check the City’s annual budget and massive 10.25% sales tax as proof of this. Yes, any local rent control program will be funded by local taxes and that means everyone pays more for stuff.

      Moreover, there is substantial housing construction in the area that will naturally increase inventory over time and will alleviate some of the issues renters face. My conversations with fellow property owners reveal that some tenants have yet to pay their back rent that was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. If this is the case, what is the urgency in adding more protections now? Property owners are still suffering from the shutdown.

      It is worth considering that not every property owner is a large corporation. Many have invested their life savings into rental properties. With the current economic climate, including recent low interest rates that have inflated property prices and the looming threat of adjustable-rate mortgages, the risk for small property owners is significant. Sometimes doing nothing is the right thing to do, especially when the repercussions of hastily made decisions are not yet fully understood.

      Once must also consider that to live in a wealthy area with excellent services and low crime means paying more than a crappy area with high crime and poor services. You get what you pay for and you cannot have it all…low prices and excellent lifestyle. It just is not realistic to imagine that.

      The price of properties goes up over time. With interest rates sky-high right now, we can expect rents to go up along with that. When property taxes are raised and we now have ten special property tax assessments (yes someone voted for that…was that you?) then rents go up to pay for those taxes. If you live in a three-bedroom apartment in a building where that cost $1 million per unit to construct, you can expect that more than $1,000 per month of your rent goes to pay the government in the form of property taxes.

      Would love to hear others’ thoughts on this. I say give it a rest and see how the state’s new tenant protections shake out in the near future.

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