Yep, Biden’s CDC director decided that just this week, even though it’s against the law. What authority does she have? Well, she used to be a college professor...is that good enough?
And really, why question it?
Why not just stop paying rent, take that $1,000 extra or more a month, and start buying things that you want...like maybe some new hunting gear, perhaps a nice vacation, or even a new boat!
Hey, it’s happening...maybe not here (yet), but it’s happening.
Consider the landlord in North Carolina that hasn’t received rent payments in months, yet still had to shell-out $4,500 to repair his rental property.
This when one of his renters hadn’t paid in months, but still bought three new boats.
So far, this poor landlord has lost $24,000.
I think he’ll be just fine long-term, because he owns 35 rental properties. But imagine if someone in Missoula was out $24,000? Most landlords here have one or two properties. In other words, they’d be screwed.
The only catch to this situation is that one day, you might have to pay all that back-rent back.
Or will you?
If the courts can’t even stop a clearly illegal eviction moratorium from being expanded yet again, how are they going to force you to pay rent you should have paid months, and perhaps at one point, years ago?
At this point, we simply have no idea.
The Missoula Angle
We’re told that 9.1% of Missoula renters are currently behind on their rent.
If these people were forced out tomorrow, most would have to move out of town - the rental vacancy rate in the city is a paltry 0.38% when it should be closer to 5%.
Most of the renters owe about $2,700 in back rent...which will never be paid back.
If they can’t pay it now...how are they going to pay it later? And are these people going to be hounded for years over that $2,700...and will interest be attached to it?
Will back-rent become the new student loan debacle, where small loans balloon into huge amounts that can never be repaid?
When will the courts become involved? They sure aren’t involved now.
There’s been no words from our courts at any level as to this new extension of the eviction moratorium by the CDC, which most say is clearly unconstitutional.
By most I mean the Supreme Court, the media, hell...even the president himself.
And yet it goes on, with our courts sitting on the sidelines and our landlords pulling their hair out.
Imagine being a small time landlord here in Missoula, with perhaps one or two rental properties that you own, maybe a small house, perhaps a double-unit or a duplex.
Are those properties paid-off, or do you have to pay a mortgage on them? Because, guess what - there’s no moratorium for that. The banks want their money!
Can you imagine what would happen if a landlord stopped paying the mortgage on their rental house to Stockman Bank? How long before the bank would foreclose on that property, how long before they seize it, how long before they sell it off to the hedge fund Black Rock?
Do you think they’d give you 10 months, and counting? Because that’s how long our federal government has given to renters all across the land.
And I think this is all happening by design. The feds want local landlords to lose their properties; they want large investment firms to buy them up; they want those firms to raise rents, forcing even more from their homes and apartments.
This fosters more dependence on the government, and likely more votes for Democrats. It flies in the face of everything this country was founded upon, and yet Republicans are moot on this. It’s almost like they want it to happen as well.
And why should they care, Dems or GOPers at all? They have their homes, bought and paid for with the jobs the corporations paid their way to get. They’re safe...why should they care about you from behind their gated communities?
Alright, now that I’ve worked myself up...what can be done about this?
I think it’s time we offer up a few more long-term housing solutions for Missoula, like we did a few weeks ago.
Last time we discussed the idea of more Canyon Creek Village-style communities, where regular working people can actually realize the dream of home ownership.
One idea I’ve heard bandied about is the idea of reducing the number of AirBnB’s, but let me tell you why I don’t think this will matter too much.
Some discussion is turning to the AirBnB problem, or what we refer to as short-term rentals.
How many are there? That’s one of the first things to figure out, and the city wants to spend $30,000 next year to study that.
Personally, I believe they can use one of the existing 688 city workers on staff to do that using currently budgeted monies.
Also, why not just go to the Missoula AirBnB site and look for yourself? It says right there that we have over 300 houses available to rent.
And yes, they are houses. If you narrow the search, they’re all houses.
Ten years ago, every single one of those would have been on the market in one form or another.
Suppose we added 300 homes to our existing housing stock overnight. How would that affect our rental vacancy rate? Would it move it up to even 1%?
No, short-term rentals aren’t the solution here, nor is vilifying AirBnB or the people that are making some money off it.
I think the only thing we can do is build our way out of this problem, and the fastest way to do that - if we truly want affordable housing - is to use existing city land.
We have to get the old library torn down as fast as possible, and build a twin to Roam across from it, probably higher, and dedicated to studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and perhaps a few larger units.
We could house 500 Missoulians in such a structure.
The original Roam cost $38 million, with another $3.2 million of that coming from taxpayers. It started in March 2017 and - with many delays and some construction not quite finished - finished in September 2018, with 468 beds.
So about a year and a half.
That’s both exciting, and frustrating.
It’s exciting because you know it’ll have an impact when it’s done...but it won’t be done until well-into 2023...at the earliest, and that’s if we started now.
But we won’t start.
Instead we’ll drag feet and point fingers and say ‘what coulda, shoulda, woulda’ while we do nothing.
The mayor is in no rush, as he already has the Scott Street construction project to point to - which won’t be done for years - and the place that will eventually be built next to the jail - again, not for years.
The Sleepy Inn is another option, and I wrote about the huge amount of acreage the city is set to get here way back in August 2020. Since the city owns it, they can build affordable housing without a lot of problems or constraints. Here’s what that will ultimately look like:
And let me tell you how this will play out. When/If Engen gets his next term, he’ll be safe to hand this tract off to the rich developers to build a new hotel, conference center, art gallery, high-end condos...you name it.
What won’t be built are affordable housing units for struggling workers and middle-class professionals.
Besides that we have large tracts of lands around the mall, specifically behind Bob Wards. The homeless are moving in here.
Large church parking lots are used primarily one day a week, sometimes on Wednesday night. I’d love to see unused portions sold-off and made into duplexes or something, but the likelihood is low.
Mostly, it’s about offering up ideas and talking about them and seeing what sticks.
I wish other candidates were doing that more. At the least, they could just steal my ideas. It’s not like anyone’s reading this site.