Paragon88

Some tenants pay rent, some don't?

6 posts in this topic

I recently found out that several people my husband and I know in our complex have not been paying rent.  They were surprised when they found out that we actually pay our rent each month (the rents are exorbitantly high here)  and said something to the effect of because of the economy and lack of jobs that most people are not really expected to pay rent.  It so happens that we are African-American (black) and these 2 couples/families are Caucasian (white) and the office rental staff management is all Caucasian (white)... I of course did not want to bring race into this, but I cannot help but feel as if there is some kind of discrimination possibly going on.  

 

Several months back, we had a financial issue, and we were late with our rent, and the eviction process was started immediately, with legal papers on our door etc.  We were able to avert the eviction by paying (3 weeks late) along with a large late fee.   

 

Meanwhile these other people we know say they haven't paid rent since after the first month's move in, and the office has never said anything to them.

 

Would this be considered a Fair Housing issue or is this simply "none of my business" and I should just mind my own business?  It surprises me because we work extremely hard (my husband often works 12 hours shifts and I am also working while also taking care of the kids) and after paying our rent every month ($3000) we barely have anything left and are barely getting by.   

 

These people we know also drive really nice cars and otherwise appear to be wealthy (new clothes, shopping, gorgeous furniture etc).   

 

I really don't want to say anything as I dont want to be "that person" who is complaining about discrimination or playing the race card but I just wanted to get some feed back to find out if there is something I'm missing here or if this is just none of my business or if there is some larger issue going on here and what we can possibly do about it.   I also don't think they are lying about it because I know that both the husbands were laid off from their jobs (the two couples do not know each other)

 

 

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I don't believe so as it was told to me in confidentiality by the wife (of one couple) when the topic of the rent came up and how high it was and the difficulty we were having.  She couldn't believe that we (or anyone for that matter) were actually paying it   (i.e. "in this economy" as she put it (her husband was laid off shortly after they moved in and apparently they simply stopped paying it and no one has said anything to them)

 

The possibility that this is going on disheartens me as there has never been a month where my husband and I haven't paid and it doesn't leave us with enough for even the necessities.    Looking at the massive rent increases it makes me seriously start to wonder how many people are actually paying these amounts.  (3000/mo for our unit and even in the worst areas, it is not much less)

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OK, you have one person who says they aren't paying rent.

 

And, from, that you jump to the landlord is racist because he's allowing white folks to live rent free and not folks of an ethnic minority?

 

Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds.

 

Especially since any landlord with half a brain would be evicting for non-payment.

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The gist of your post seems to be that you are paying your rent but, at some point in the past, you didn't pay your rent and the landlord started eviction proceedings, which you stopped by paying what you owed.  Nothing wrong there.

 

Now, one or more of your fellow tenants have told you that they aren't paying rent and further claim "that most people are not really expected to pay rent."  In your initial post, you refer to "several people," but your follow up post only mentions one person, so it's not clear whether you have information about "several people" or just one.

 

Apparently, you haven't discussed the situation with your landlord (or, if you did, you didn't bother to share anything about that discussion with us).

 

Coincidentally, these other tenants happen to be white (as are the folks in the rental office) and you're black.

 

For reasons which aren't apparent from your follow up post, you assume that everything your fellow tenant(s) told you is 100% true, and that leads you to assume or speculate that the landlord's commencement of eviction proceedings against you and willingness to allow other tenants to live rent free is racially motivated.

 

For starters, this reminds me of an Eddie Murphy skit on Saturday Night Live sometime in the 1980s.  The reason it sounds ridiculous is that people who own rental property are not generally in the business of allowing tenants to live rent free.  How is the landlord going to pay the mortgage on the property or property taxes, etc. if most of the tenants aren't paying rent?  I've owned rental property in the past, and I can assure you that the only things that matter to a landlord are whether a tenant pays or doesn't pay and whether or not the tenant bothers other tenants.  The amount of pigmentation in a tenant's skin is of no relevance to anything.

 

If it concerns you that Tenant X is getting a free ride, whereas you were subjected to eviction proceedings, you're free to contact the landlord to discuss it.  However, I strongly suggest you not approach the issue as "he's white and I'm black, so you're a racist."  Maybe it's as simple as Tenant X going to the landlord and asking for an accommodation, which you didn't do or some other completely innocent factor.

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If in fact the landlord is allowing all white tenants not to pay rent but requiring all tenants who are black to pay rent that would be illegal discrimination under both federal and California law. But I have trouble believing that is what is occurring. Landlords don’t make money by letting people live rent free in their units. I have yet to meet a landlord who would not evict a tenant over unpaid rent no matter the tenant’s race (other than situations in which the landlord is going bankrupt anyway). You have one comment from one tenant that suggests she is not paying rent. She may not be telling you the truth. Even if she is, there may be more to it than she told you. You’d want to confirm what is going on and how extensive it is before reaching the conclusion that race is the deciding factor.

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