December 30, 2016

"The Crazy Story of the Professor Who Came to Stay—and Wouldn't Leave."

"It's not easy to evict someone in California. Usually that's a good thing."

43 comments:

Quaestor said...

So in January 2016, Abel headed to the Latin Quarter to work on a new book on Virginia Woolf...

Thus reaching the feminist literature critical mass [KA-BOOM!]

tim maguire said...

I would say it's usually a defensible thing. It is sometimes a good thing. The claim that it's usually a good thing suggests the writer has a poor grasp of economics and human nature.

YoungHegelian said...

This process was set up in part to protect tenants from predatory landlords. But in some instances it has provided cover for people looking to score a few months of free housing. In 2008, SF Weekly reported that there were between 20 and 100 serial evictees operating in San Francisco—bouncing from home to home without ever paying a dime.

Sadly, what the do-gooders who set up these laws never seem to realize is that for every avaricious slumlord out there, there are multiple sociopathic renters. And I'm sorry, trusting academics as some sort of exemplars of moral behavior! Is this woman daft?

No matter what ya try to do, Original Sin comes around & bites ya on the ass.

robother said...

When California's ridiculous eviction laws become the entire premise for a major motion picture horror story, you might want to take note.

tim maguire said...

I've had a mixed experience with airbnb. The only thing good about it is that it gives you the opportunity to have home cooked meals while traveling (I get tired of restaurants quickly). Stories like this make me doubt amateur hotelling will ever go mainstream.

Sydney said...

I wonder why she didn't check his references?

buwaya puti said...

This sort of risk is one (among many other) factors that increases rents in CA, because of the necessary risk premium.

Ambrose said...

Why is it "usually a good thing"?

Gahrie said...

Why is it "usually a good thing"?

The author states that renters need protection from predatory property owners seeking to evict tenets so they can raise the rent.

Apparently the right to use someone else's property is more important than the right to use your own property.

Unknown said...

Kalifornia-keep it.

damikesc said...

I love that "Adam Ruins Everything" blamed CA's housing problem on things like AirBnB and not the asinine regulations CA has.

Locations that have issues with housing are usually caused by the government itself.

Amadeus 48 said...

Hmmm...if property is theft, has Peritz done anything wrong?

This little tale illustrates what I call "the creditor's dilemma." A creditor enters into a commercial relationship by giving control of his or her property to another with the expectation of being repaid in a timely and complete way. If instead the debtor delays or evades repayment he gets the enjoyment of possession without completion of payment. There is no upside for the creditor, so he has to price his bargain assuming a loss in a certain percentage of the cases. How does he or she price the risk? It is somewhat easier where there is a volume of transactions--hence, credit reports--but this academic lessor let her cultural bias --"he's a professor"-- overcome her natural caution in dealing with strangers. That the laws of California hinder her from recovering her property in the case of nonperformance says a lot about California and its future.

Hail and farewell thou Golden State!

EDH said...

Justice will be the day all these assholes have to get real jobs.

Sydney said...
I wonder why she didn't check his references?

Did you see his hair? Don't underestimate the power of a good coiffure.

Also from his Sarah Lawrence web page... all the right views.

BA, Occidental College. DPhil, Oxford University. Special interests in democracy in conditions of cultural diversity, social complexity and political dispersal, critical social theory, social contract theory, radical democratic thought, and the idea of dispersed but integrated public spheres that create the social and institutional space for broad-based, direct participation in democratic deliberation and decision-making. Recipient of a Marshall scholarship. Taught at Harvard University, Deep Springs College, and Dartmouth College; visiting scholar at Erasmus University in Rotterdam and the London School of Economics. SLC, 2000–

Justice, Action, Legitimacy, Power - ADVANCED SEMINAR

This seminar examines five frameworks of normative and social analysis, focusing on the issue of how to understand power, action, legitimacy, justice, and gender in contemporary social worlds. We read works by four of the most influential and systematic contemporary political theorists—John Rawls, Jurgen Habermas, Michel Foucault, and Hannah Arendt—and by feminists who either criticize or extend their works. In this way, we examine—first on their own and then in comparison—the resources, implications, and limitations of different conceptions of social justice, human flourishing, political legitimacy, the organization of social power, and the nature of gender relations. We test the relevance of different approaches by examining the ways in which they either contribute to or impede feminist criticism. Stark differences will emerge between the five theoretical perspectives examined. For instance, a variety of positions will emerge on the issue of the worth or legitimacy of European modernity, the historical process that produced capitalism, representative and constitutional democracy, religious pluralism, the modern sciences, ethical individualism, secularism, fascism, the discourse on human rights, communism, new forms of racism and sexism, and many “new social movements.” While they are all late-modern or postmodern thinkers, the authors that we study disagree radically on the possibilities that modernity opens for social justice, political legitimacy, empowered human action, or new and insidious forms of domination and inequality. Issues to be discussed include: What is the content of social justice, and can it be realized in contemporary social conditions? What is the relationship of identity, action, and politics? Can democracy be realized in advanced capitalist societies; and, if so, what institutional and social forms does it require? Should we view the process of Western modernization as representing genuine moral and political progress or simply as replacing older with newer and more insidious forms of domination? Does a feminist perspective contribute to, modify, or lead to the rejection of contemporary theories of justice, action, legitimacy, and power? Emphasis will be on close and sustained readings from original texts.



YoungHegelian said...
...Sadly, what the do-gooders who set up these laws never seem to realize is that for every avaricious slumlord out there, there are multiple sociopathic renters.

Hence, more votes to be mined! Like the course description says: "Justice, Action, Legitimacy, Power"

Fernandinande said...

https://www.sarahlawrence.edu/faculty/peritz-david.html
"Special interests in democracy in conditions of cultural diversity, social complexity and political dispersal, critical social theory, social contract theory, radical democratic thought, and the idea of dispersed but integrated public spheres that create the social and institutional space for broad-based, direct participation in democratic deliberation and decision-making."

So the scamp was just using radical social contract theory to create a social and institutional space in her house to use for broad-based, direct participation in deliberation and decision-making about his eviction.

sean said...

Ha, dumb lib/lab professor gets what she deserves for the insufferable righteousness with which she has trampled on landlords' rights for years. I really despise people like Abel, and I wish she had suffered more.

MadisonMan said...

Most important lines in the article:

and she didn't bother asking for references, let alone do a background check

Be lazy up front, and you could have lots of work later.

My two AirBnB stays have been awesome. I would never ever rent out my house though.

john said...

You need to put a timeline on this rental story to get a perspective here:

She rented it in January 2016. Four months later she moved back to Berkeley to a house across the street. By Memorial Day she was back into her own house, having successfully evicted this joker. That's got to be a world record for getting a successful eviction in California.

But after only 2 late payments (Feb and March) she served to evict him in April. That's fair, I guess, but it hardly speaks to a serial squatter situation. Methinks she had additional motivations to move back early.

Guy is probably a real jerk anyway, so maybe it doesn't matter if he's maligned in Mother Jones.

steve uhr said...

This whole thing about "predatory landlords" doesn't make much sense. You have a lease which runs for a particular term. If the landlord wants to increase the rent he must wait until the lease term has ended. If it takes forever to evict a tenant in breach that is a cause of higher market rents, not a symptom. It also discourages people like the women in the story from renting out their place, reducing supply and further increasing rents.

Paco Wové said...

...suggests the writer has a poor grasp of economics and human nature."

The fact they're writing for Mother Jones suggests that even more.

Earnest Prole said...

Friends in San Francisco were forced to wait eighteen months before they could legally evict a squatter and re-occupy their own house. With lost rent, the rent they were forced to pay while they waited, and lawyers, the tab could have purchased a new house in many parts of America.

Michael K said...

It's amusing. We have rented a home in Orange County for the past three years. Now we have bought a place in Tucson and are moving in two weeks. I called the owner of the home we have been renting for three years, to tell him we would pay the last month but were moving out the 15th. He said, "We hate to lose you."

Now, I know why.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

According to the timeline, she got pissed off in April, told him she wanted him out by May 1, and he was out by Memorial Day. And the vendetta continues here in December. Hell hath no fury ... and how much was the rent?

Dave Duffy said...

One of the professors sent an email to the squatter:

"…please accept the fact that you have painted yourself into a corner, and that you have to leave promptly, and with an apology and a payment plan, in order to avoid any further destruction to your professional and personal world. Your itinerary of self-destruction is a stellar one."

Mother Jones calls this "epic" "eviscerating" "withering" "coup de grâce" Good grief! Only on the left is this considered a coup de grace. The guy doesn't give a damn and the cops had to throw the bum out.

David said...

Actually, it usually is not a good thing. Landlords want to keep tenants not get rid of them. Places where you can not get rid of a bad tenant are usually not where you want to look first for a place to live.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The renters side of the story, if he's well prepped by his lawyer, is going to be that his wife has allergies that were disclosed at the time they rented, for which the landlord failed to disclose the property was not suitable. He took steps to make the property habitable for his wife by sealing up closets, putting furniture and paintings into storage, and repainting walls, which took considerable time and some expense. And he did move out, within the timeframe of the lease. The landlady interfered with his quiet enjoyment of the property by setting up a command post to spy on him from across the street. And contacting his employers and colleagues was a gross per se violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The real question is what has happened to Mother Jones that they would get this story so wrong.

Doug said...

Leftists give zero shits about property rights.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Those laws that protect the Tenant *are* a good thing. If there were someplace better or cheaper for the Tenant to stay, the Tenant would would go there. There would be no problem.

The Landlord should not be depending on the rent to make payments of property taxes, insurance, repairs, principal and interest (if the place is mortgaged) or any unpaid utility bills tied to the property that the Tenant might leave.

Government taxing authorities, insurance companies, banks, and utility companies all have plenty of money so they should not need to get paid either.

If the Government owned all the houses and just assigned everyone to a home, there would be no problem. That's what most people want. I know because the Government keeps putting in "affordable housing" projects to replace the "market rate" housing that is the cause of all these problems.


rhhardin said...

I know the name Elizabeth Abel from somewhere, maybe some essay in Critical Inquiry or Raritan.

gadfly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Earnest Prole said...

The real question is what has happened to Mother Jones that they would get this story so wrong.

Good point. I'd almost forgotten that Property is Theft.

traditionalguy said...

Trained scammers, usually here from California and Chicago, do suprise traditional Rental Home owners in Georgia. The Counterclaims filed to Evictions now include, racism ( also reported to HUD,0 sexual harassment and the old standby of Mold poisoning. They are 200% false claims,but they will get their day in court.

Faced with an uncollectable Defendant and about a $10,000 attorney's fee to defend the counterclaims properly, the property owning owners all agree to let them move out and call it even when the Hearing Date finally gets set after a year of Discovery and expert witness preparation.

rcocean said...

Obviously, Abel is a friend or relative of someone at "Mother Jones".

In any case, i cry no tears for landlords in the Bay area. They've made out like bandits over the last 20 years. Property values and rents have soared and they're making obscene profits.

And don't give me all the Bullshit about "muh free market". If you need to work in the Bay area - you have no choice but to pay landlords whatever they want - unless you want to live on the street.

Jupiter said...

rcocean said...

"And don't give me all the Bullshit about "muh free market". If you need to work in the Bay area - you have no choice but to pay landlords whatever they want - unless you want to live on the street."

How about the Bullshit about "muh rent control"? Have you been there and done that? Are you aware that monopoly profits require barriers to entry, and the best barriers are the result of legislative capture?

Paul Zrimsek said...

I notice that the gonif expressed an interest in social-contract theory. He probably started by asking himself, "What would Rousseau do in a situation like this?"

SF probably really does need a law to stop landlords coming up with trumped-up reasons to evict their tenants: their rent-control laws make this the only way they can raise rents to keep up with the skyrocketing market levels brought about by their draconian restrictions on new construction. But I don't know why they swallowed the fly; perhaps they'll die.

rcocean said...

"How about the Bullshit about "muh rent control"?"

I knew some libertarian clown would bring that up. Go look up the facts. Most of the Bay Area is NOT covered by rent control. You know why the vast majority of the Bay Area is NOT covered by wall-to-wall apartment buildings?

Its because the existing home owners and apartment building owners don't want it. Yeah, 'cause they ain't stupid. They know that more supply = lower rents. So, they come up with reasons why you can't build that new apartment building down the street.

But of course "muh Free Market" isn't to blame. If only we had a REAL "muh free market" everything would be OK. Except "muh Free market" only exists in a fantasy world.

harkin said...

I rented my rural farmhouse to a tenant from hell. Luckily after a few months of missed payments and hide-and-seek to even make contact, I was able to serve him an eviction notice in jail after he was busted for meth.

I went to take possession of the house and found he had rented it to someone else but they fled as soon as I asked for ID and mentioned police.

Rob McLean said...

Special interests in democracy in conditions of cultural diversity, social complexity and political dispersal, critical social theory, social contract theory, radical democratic thought, and the idea of dispersed but integrated public spheres that create the social and institutional space for broad-based, direct participation in democratic deliberation and decision-making.

Sweet jumpin' Jesus, that's all one sentence!

buwaya said...

Politics through development restrictions is what suppresses market response to high housing demand. Thats not a free market at all. It is what happens when special interests capture the government, which is the natural state of the Democratic party. Its especially the case with large local landowners/developers who effectively own Sacramento. They live on the peoples blood, making huge profits through high rents and asset appreciation.
This is also very likely the reason why transit and highway projects are perpetually held up.

Zach said...

(As the site's founder put it in a press release, "There is an implicit degree of trust amongst academics.")

You would think a 71 year old professor at Berkeley of all places would have a bit more awareness of dysfunctional academics.

We read works by four of the most influential and systematic contemporary political theorists—John Rawls, Jurgen Habermas, Michel Foucault, and Hannah Arendt—and by feminists who either criticize or extend their works. In this way, we examine—first on their own and then in comparison—the resources, implications, and limitations of different conceptions of social justice, human flourishing, political legitimacy, the organization of social power, and the nature of gender relations.

There's a level of hucksterism in this paragraph which is really grating. He can't describe a simple reading curriculum without blowing it up with superlatives and social justice jargon. You have to wonder if constantly selling yourself like that doesn't lead to Willy Loman style spiritual emptiness.

Static Ping said...

It's a good thing because they stay in California.

LarsPorsena said...

Vaguely reminiscent of the plot for the movie "Pacific Heights".

Steven Wilson said...

Damn, Zach, in speed reading the comments I thought you were referencing Wile E. Coyote which might have been a first in the comments section of Althouse. Of course, if it wasn't a first, it is now. Only with Wile E. Coyote it would stomach emptiness.

mikee said...

Here in Texas a rent-delinquent tenant can be forced out in just under 3 weeks, or 3 days if landlord claims the tenant is dangerous to self, others or property. I've used both methods. The sheriff's deputies do the actual evictions where I live, and get paid extra for it, so are rather - enthusiastic - about helping us landlords clear out the deadbeats.