The local landlord is a go-to bad guy in the pantheon of Bullywood villains. Trotted out to help a young Vito Corleone emerge a don in “The Godfather,” a landlord is pressured not to evict, but instead even to lower the rent, for a tenant who squanders a below-market lease by keeping a dog against the rules.
Landlords are worse than mobsters in Lala Land but not here in New Hampshire, a state in desperate need of more workers who’ll need somewhere to live. Enter the local landlord stage right, our state’s best hosts.
Owning rental property is a cornerstone of middle-class investment in the Granite State. Many families have parlayed a couple grand squirreled away in a property early in a marriage into a college education for a child or a retirement home. Now, with real estate prices up, expenses rising, higher taxes, and ever more government regulation “empowering” sometimes surlier and more litigious tenants, why not cash out? It’s not an easy way to turn a buck, and it’s getting harder.
Institutional investors see an opportunity and are loading up on rental properties. Fueled by global markets flush with cash, a large company might come to control thousands of rentals. The headaches of day-to-day operations offloaded to a property management company, this owner won’t be coming around to see how you’re doing.
To a corporation controlling thousands of rental units, regulation, inflation, taxes, lawsuits, are just expenses to be passed along to the tenant or government agency paying the rent. More regulation will surely help speed their growth and the flight of small-time landlords, and that’s what the Democrats’ legislative agenda in Concord hopes to deliver.
One bill requires landlords to provide 90 days notice of an eviction instead of 30. That’s 60 more days on top of the minimum of 90 days that anyone can realistically expect to execute an eviction in New Hampshire.
Another bill gives renters more time to “deal” with proposed rent increases. Rep. Casey Conley, the Dover Democrat sponsoring it, says 30 days isn’t enough time to find a new home in the state’s tight housing market. Forty-five days is? They will have a couple more weeks to find their lower-cost Shangri-La elsewhere.
There is even a bill to prohibit landlords from refusing to accept Section 8 renters and all the federal regulatory entanglements that come with that. One Nashua landlord found this out the hard way, compelled to pay a woman $35,000 for not allowing her “emotional support” pooch.
As young Vito said, “Of course, the dog stays. Right?”