Podcast 254: What Landlords Need to Know About the Violence Against Women Act

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 is now in effect. Here’s what it means for landlords..

In this episode, we talk about VAWA, rent control in Massachusets, and activists marching in Berlin for rent control. Tune in by listening above.

Resources mentioned in this episode:




Transcription Notes:

00:00 Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Rentprep for landlords to sub so number 254 and we’re gonna be talking about some recent topics in the news and we’ve got some pretty interesting stuff coming out of Berlin and then a couple, a recent news stories that affect us, investors that you’re going to want to stay on for. And we’re going to get to that, right after this

00:20 1,2,3,4 ya ya ya…. Welcome to the RentPrep for landlords podcast. And now your host, Steven White and Eric Worral.

00:24 So quick t’s, we’re going to be talking about rent control in possibly Massachusetts. So that be big news if you own properties over there. Oh, we’re all going to be talking about a huge march that happened from Berlin activists. so we’ll be discussing that. And then most importantly on this episode, we’re gonna spend a good amount of time with va waa. If you’re not familiar with what that is, VA Waa. No, not the Wawa gas station chain. I think in New Jersey that I stopped at once, which I was very impressed with. They had these nice little like a screens you could, you know, click to order food on. And this was like maybe 10 years ago. So it seemed like it’s really futuristic. And now it’s not at all. No, we’re talking about Vowell v a w a and I’ll explain what that is and why that matters as a landlord and what the recent news is with that. So the first story here, uh, is titled, should Massachusetts Bring Back rent control? And this is from Wbur.Org. this is written on April 2nd. By Deborah Becker and Jamie Balogun.

01:27 I says here that if passed a bill on Beacon Hill, who gives cities and towns the option to implement rent control? It wouldn’t be a first for the state. A state ballot question ended it in the Commonwealth in 1994. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what that sentence means. Beyond that. This was stopped in 1994. I won’t lie to you, but I said that now, state representative Mike Connelly, a Democrat from Cambridge is one of the bill’s cosponsors and said that the region is facing an emergency of displacement of homelessness, of rising costs. If our bill passes, nothing would change the next day. But what would change is then cities and towns would have the ability to consider what makes sense for them. So it sounds like this isn’t going to be like a state wide sweeping rent control thing, which was more so going to give the possibility for individual towns decide what they want to do. But others like Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker say rent control won’t help with high housing prices and could even make things worse. He said that run control will stifle the production of new housing. He said that’s exactly the wrong direction to go in. What we need to do here in Massachusetts is build more housing. So should the state consider bringing rent control back? Would it help curb the ever rising prices in the Boston area or is it the fixed simply to build more?

02:45 I feel like that’s the question.

02:46 It always comes back to, we talked about other rent control areas, a Oregon doing that and the issue of uh, you know, are you discouraging people from building in that area and creating more, uh, areas that, more homes that people can live in. So, it’s kind of interesting if you have property in Massachusetts, I’m sure it’s very interesting to you. So why don’t we move forward to our next, in the news article here. This one comes from UK routers.com, a UK.Router’s.com

03:14 and it says that Berlin activists marched to demand city, sees housing from landlords. We talked about this before, but obviously this is percolating and bubbling up over there. Um, this article is from April 6th and came from Caroline Copely and it said that thousands of Brulin residents took to the streets on Saturday to vent anger over surging rents and demand the explorer and who I was gonna screw this up. The expropriation of more than 200,000 apartment sold off 2 big private landlords, which they blamed for changing the character of the city.

03:48 So I had to look up expropriation and I said it right that time. And uh, basically what that means, I’ll give you the dictionary definition. It’s the action by the state and our authority of taking property from its owners for public use or benefit. So the citizens in Berlin 200, uh, I mean it says thousands showed up. Uh, the, the image they have, I mean, it does look pretty busy to give you an idea when they show like, um, you know, sporting events and I saw this last year, like the Toronto Raptors. we’re at the other teams, they’re at an away game, but at home they put up video boards, everybody to watch in the streets and there was just thousands and thousands of people watching. And you see that sometimes at the, uh, the home team, uh, or the away team doing that at their, uh, their arena. It looks like that. Like there’s just thousands of people lined up in Berlin and what they want is that have 200,000 apartments sold off from big private landlords.

04:44 the threshold would be that landlords who own more than 3000 apartments that they would take back those apartments and give them back to the people because they’re afraid that these landlords are 2 profit profit centric and are creating a, a bad housing market. I think I said, here are the, it’s changing the character of the city. So it’s a pretty interesting to a no, I’m sure not a lot of listeners from Berlin. Uh, but if you are and you, uh, you know, you’re keeping up on this and I’d love to hear what’s going on out there. Always drop us a line. So, this last one here, uh, I think it’s really important. It’s something that I didn’t know about before working at Rentprep and I’ve become aware of just from hearing things, you know, it’s related to a tenant screening, property management and all that in a lot of landlords and people in general are not familiar with va waa B a w a. And what that stands for is the violence against Women Act. So the title of this article for associates from AclU.Org. So if you’re not familiar for almost 100 years, the ACLu has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the constitution and laws of the United States. In this particular case, it’s talking about the rights afforded to women who have been exposed

05:59 to violence. So again, the name of the act, the violence against Women Act. Well now it’s actually, it passed in the House of Representatives today, uh, today being when they wrote this article on April 4th and it said today the House of Representatives passed the violence against Women reauthorization act of 2019 visit Valois. Bill authorizes programs and funding that support survivors of gender based violence, but it also does more it tackle some of the laws and institutions that perpetuate domestic violence and sexual assault across the country. Dismantling these structural causes of gender based violence is essential to ensuring the security and dignity of survivors, their families and communities. So there is a bolded a headline here and it says protecting the right to seek emergency and police assistance. This is where it really applies to landlords. It says in cities across the country, victims of crimes increasingly pay a terrible price for calling nine one one the eviction from their homes. Thousands of localities have enacted ordinances that punished tenants and landlords based on calls for police or emergency services or criminal activity at a property even when the tenant is the victim of the crime or needed 8. Those ordinances disproportionately harm survivors of domestic violence who may need to reach out for police protection repeatedly kind of summing that up.

07:18 Basically that there’s ordinances or , restrictions placed on tenants or, and even landlords where if the police are called out to the property, uh, you are going to be penalized Xyz. So it actually deters people from calling the police and they may be worried about being evicted from their home and it gets worse. As you read the next paragraph here, it says that once residents learn they can be evicted for calling nine one one, they usually lose all faith in law enforcement. Even worse, these ordinances empower abusers because they know how report they know reports to the police can result in a survivor’s eviction. So think about that. If a, let’s say there’s a abusive relationship and we’ll just say it’s a, a boyfriend abusing the girlfriend. The girlfriend is the one that’s on the lease at this apartment. The boyfriend can kind of hold that over the girlfriend and to say that, hey, if you call the cops, you’re going to get a victim.

08:09 You’re not going to have a place to live. So you can see how this creates a really, negative, uh, atmosphere and experience, for that person that’s being abused. Because not only are they going through this abuse, they feel like there’s nowhere they can turn. Because housing is so important. You don’t want to lose your housing. And a, you can see how you’d really feel like you’re just kind of caught in a vice at this point. So the ACLU has represented survivors of domestic violence who faced homelessness and escalating violence due to these local laws and advocated at the local and state levels to address their inhumane affects. The house bill recognizes the rights to report crimes and emergencies from one’s homes and protect landlords, residents and tenants from being penalized, requesting law enforcement or emergency assistance by governmental agencies that receive federal funding. While some states have legislation to address this issue, a federal response is direly needed.

08:59 No crime. Victims should be forced to make the impossible choice between suffering in silence or calling nine one one and being kicked out of their homes. I think this is a great article. Um, it makes some really interesting points because let’s say your city has an ordinance that if the cops are called twice to a property that the person’s going to be evicted. Well, that’s horrible for the person who lives there. It’s horrible for the landlord these type of ordinances, just like the article spells out, are going to create an atmosphere of essentially as, you know, snitches get stitches, right? If you want to use a colloquialism, that, that idea, right? If you are going to snitch and you’re going to call the cops, you know what, you’re going to be penalized for it. And that’s kind of what you could really summarize this article for a and what they’re trying to do away with.

09:44 And, obviously anything that’s a violence against women act is something that as a people and as landlords, we want to get behind and figure out, you know, rather than just kind of looking at the surface level of it and being like, you know, Oh, you’re trying to control things or whatever. it really look at why this a reauthorization act is being presented and why it’s being used to help people who are vulnerable, a vulnerable population that is, I’m feeling even more vulnerable because of the restrictions and limitations being placed on them by ordinances and, the threat of being evicted. So I will link to all of these resources, uh, in today’s podcast notes. So if you want to check out any of these articles further depth, thank you to the Ja authors who put those together. they’re a really interesting topics here and I hope you guys appreciate it and check those articles out. And, yeah, until next week, take care and have a great week.