“Can We All Get Along?” Rodney King’s famous quote was in response to the L.A. Riots in 1992, spurred by his brutal attack, and it has resonated now for decades. It was a cry for peace during a period of tumultuous civil unrest. Cynics could argue that not much has changed. But it changed me.
Growing up in the ‘60’s I learned to flash the “V” peace sign as a child and that’s stayed with me as an instinct, along with so many songs like John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance”” or “Get Together” by the Youngbloods. As a teen I grew my hair down to my shoulders – and my parents were not amused…. Then, I remember hearing The Rolling Stones turn one of my mom’s most disappointing phrases into a rock classic: “You can’t always get what you want.”
Today (as an old guy), I work with a lot of small Rental Property Owners. They provide housing for a lot of Renters. A lot of my job is addressing the many frustrations of managing a lot of rental properties. I use the Stone’s lyric a lot of times in my conversations with Owners. Especially when I hear questions like:
- Can I get that much for my vacant unit?
- Can I refuse to rent to them?
- Can I add this clause into the lease?
- Can I make sure that there are no dogs or cats allowed?
- Can I raise the rent by that much?
- Can I tell them they can’t “do that” on my property?
- Can I charge the tenants for that?
- Can I tell them “I don’t care”?
- Can I give them a termination notice?
- Can they be evicted for that?
- Or, Can I be sued for that?
It all reminds me of a lesson I learned when I took Psych-101 in college, (back in the ‘70’s, so it may be as dated as I am). It goes like this: “Wherever there is dependency there is hostility.” Rental Property Providers need Tenants. Tenants need Rental Property Providers. It’s simple arithmetic (no college degree needed). These groups are mutually dependent on one another. And as their Property Manager, my job is to work with them all. So, as I work with thoseTenants, I also hear about those issues which they have; with words they use, that are meant to bring awareness to their challenges.
- Some tenants are Protected classes, Rent-burdened, Disproportionately impacted,
- They face Rent spikes, Housing discrimination, Houselessness,
- They expect Individualized Assessments, Reasonable Accommodations, Companion animals,
- They fear for Safety, Retaliation, Habitability,
- They need Rental assistance, Eviction protection, Relocation compensation.
Everybody I work with either wants to have or is able to provide a roof over-head. Everyone wants to have the rent paid. Even thought both sides have vastly differing starting points, in the end what I hear on my job is that both groups want basically the same thing: Safe, Affordable, Stable, Fair housing. Shouldn’t we all be working together to bring about those results? Maybe that’s idealistic and maybe it’s just me day-tripping down memory lane… But it would be worth it if we could all “smile on our brothers, everybody get together, try to love one another, right now .” (That’s the Youngbloods tune).
And here is the whole verse to that Rolling Stones song (if you want to sing along):
“No, you can’t always get what you want.
You can’t always get what you want.
You can’t always get what you want.
But if you try sometime… you’ll find,
You get what you need!”
My goal is to keep on trying… as in “All we are saying, Is give peace a chance…” (That’s from John Lennon).
That’s me on March 29, 2023. in the back, behind Governor Tina Kotek as she signs legislation addressing the statewide “housing crisis declaration” she issued on her first day in office. Ron Garcia represented property owners in the negotiations of HB 2001 as one of the Landlord Stake-Holder Representatives, and seen here posing at the bill’s passage.