Melissa and her family are landlords in the Salem area. She is a strong supporter of HB 2004 and provides her thoughts on why as well an example of a current tenant who had been impacted by a no cause eviction before moving to one of Melissa’s properties.
My name is Melissa Gustav; I am a landlord and I am a member of Silvernail LLC. I am writing to you today on behalf of my siblings and I who are landlords who support the passage of HB 2004.
I wanted to start by taking a moment to share with you my story of becoming a landlord and to explain why I am encouraging you to vote yes and pass HB 2004. Five years ago my father passed away and left my brother, sister and I with a house and a couple of other properties. At the time my siblings and I had some decisions to make. Should we sell the house and take the money or should we keep the house and look at it as an investment in our future? We thought about this for some time and decided that becoming a landlord was a more significant investment in our futures. The rate with which property values increase, coupled with the revenue generated by renting gave us a better rate of return than we would have gotten by selling and investing the liquid assets. I would also like to say that the amount of work involved in being a landlord can be significant at times, but for the most part, is pretty minimal when we are not changing tenants.
Throughout our time as landlords, we have definitely experienced some minor losses, we have had tenants leave while several months behind on rent, we have had to evict tenants for cause, and there have also been a few times we were left with hefty cleaning and garbage bills after a tenant left. These are all risks we were aware of when we made the decision to become landlords. Despite these few issues, our investment has continued to grow in value, and we cannot see any sort of significant impact on our ability to profit or sustain if we were to lose the right to pursue a no cause eviction. No cause eviction is unfair, and we would never utilize this process because it has such a negative impact on people’s ability to feel secure and safe in regards to their housing needs. People need a place to live, and my family and I feel fortunate that we are in a position to help people who are not able to secure a home of their own and at the same time invest in our futures.
The final story I would like to share with you is about our current tenant. He is an elderly gentleman who is a veteran and lost his previous rental home, because it was literally falling down. He was evicted from the home, because the owner of the home decided he did not want to make any more improvements to make it a safe and healthy place to live. He is 79 years old and lives on a fixed social security income. He was referred to us by a common friend who he was staying with while he saved to be able to cover first month, last month and one month of deposit. We were told by his friend that he didn’t think it would work out; he knew the rent on our 4 bedroom 2 and a half bathroom home was probably outside what he could afford which was $750 monthly. His friend was correct about the rent; our previous tenants had been paying $900 a month. My brother and sister and I met and discussed whether or not it would work for us to drop the rent in order to provide Robert with a safe and secure place to live. We made the decision to do this, because it felt like the right thing to do. Robert has been a great tenant! He takes great care of our home and is so grateful that he has such a nice place to live that is safe, does not have black mold growing in it, and is still affordable.