Monday, November 5, 2012

Richardson Rental Registration

This weekend I got an email from some people very unhappy with Rental Registration some cities have going on.
I saw your post against the Rental Registration program on your blog a few months ago, but now they're gone. (

Some of the landlords are getting together to fight the city on the program. Are you interested in joining us?

We fought the city of Garland a few years ago. Separate from Dr. Dearmore's lawsuit, a group of property managers and landlords formed a task force with the city and negotiated how to make the program more workable for landlords. The result was the certified landlord program.

As long as we take the certification class, inspections aren't required.  This way the city can focus on slumlords or the properties that really need attention.

Contrary to some people's belief, the Richardson Rental Registration Program was not started in 2012; it started in 2004. The city started charging a $50 registration fee in 2009 under Ordinance 3759. We've been paying the fee since 2009. This is not just about rentals. Homeowners, you're next in line! We need your support to put this issue back on the council agenda.

In a nutshell, there was a suit that prevented city inspections on vacant properties. Without probable cause, the city inspectors can't just go in and inspect vacant rental properties. Richardson decided to hold off on inspections until after the renter moves in as a result of that suit. I don't know about you, but if I were a renter and moved into a property, I would not want the city officials to come in, look around and rummage through my stuff. Some say waiting until after the renters move in is a back-door method of finding out how many people are actually living in a property. It would seem to me that if city officials want to inspect a property to see if it is in good enough shape to rent, then it should be done when the house is empty. So the city is in a tough position. Whose rights are they going to stomp on to do the inspections? The owners right to private with a vacant house? Or renters right to privacy after they have moved in?
For myself, I think the best method is it wait until there is a complaint filed about unsafe living conditions and then do an inspection. That way, no rights are violated and the use city resources would be best used.



  1. who says the City knows what is best for anyone. Once again a citizen right is violated by control freaks at cityhall.

  2. It's about time people who are extorted out of their livelihoods start objecting.

  3. BOTH parties condone the taxation of estates and make it very difficult to pass on to our children and grandchildren. It is like we can only RENT our lives. lol

    There are some estate planners who are advising the purchase of property in IRA's and sometimes in a 401(k) for asset protection and a safe way to transfer on assets and significantly reduce the 50% taxation on estates.

    So the big question becomes when are fees a tax? IRA's are exempt from taxation til a later date. Shouldn't fees be also.

    Selected taxation via fees is another way to pad a budget. You see it at every retreat, mid July every year. It's what my Grandad used to call squeezing a nickle til the buffalo squeals.

    Yet, in Richardson the budget grows at a much faster and larger rate than the ad valorem taxes in this city so the Council believes they HAVE to be creative in their financing activities. Very creative!!

    How much of the entire budget is actually property taxes and sales taxes these days? And how much are selective taxation, er uh, fees?


  4. and how much of the budget goes for pensions?? My neighbor said they are trying to will a city pension to the kids. We might be living in another Bell California.

  5. Currently, approx 47% of the budget is for salaries and benefits for less than 1,000 employees. That makes the average salary and benefits about $91K per employee.

    It is quite staggering when the median salary in the City, per the Census bureau website is $63K. Recently there was an article in the Dallas Morning News that the DISD can support 20,000 employees on a smaller budget of $189m. So what does that tell you?

    What I dislike most about this concept of this ordinance is it works directly against what the Council wants in Richardson. Or at least what they say they want. It is hard to get past the deceptions, half truths and no comments to really understand what THEY want.

    I thought we give them our votes to represent us. Every two years the campaigning begins and they all want to talk about how important the neighborhoods are, yet once elected, the decisions they make diminish them. But since this is not unique to Richardson, or Garland and they like to compare to other cities so much, it appears this one fell out of a national initiative. The Municipal Leagues across the country are buying into it (or developed it) to give local governments something to do. Some in this country think it is the UN Agenda 21 initiative to take away individual private ownership. And if you purposefully destroy a neighborhood, what do you get? A bigger, better, renter!

    A friend is a mortgage broker for over 30 years. He is telling me the loans coming to him are on average the $900K and better variety. That is a very small portion of Richardson. Canyon Creek and a portion of the Panhandle.

    The middle class $200-$350K loans are just far and few between. He feels like the investor scenario is the only option to keep neighborhoods thriving thru this failing economical cycle. Families want to live in homes, not the stack em and pack ems if they can avoid it. But, isn't that exactly what the Council is chiming they want in Richardson? Sustainable Developments. Mixed Use. Apartments. More and more open houses until they start getting the answers they want and call it the will of the citizens. The Delphi Technique.

    Brick Row is a clue. You tear down homes and one apt complex you don't like, to build something that is homes and a bigger appartment complex with vacant mixed use for the most part, that carries a great big obligation over the taxpayers heads for money owed to a developer. One of those Wimpie deals. You know, I will pay you on tues for a brand new apartment complex today!! The disclosed financials show we cannot pay what is owed to the developer's heirs. As of last annual TIF report generated by the City, the number is about $17mm owed for 2 projects. But hey, it looks better than what was there, right? Vacant with brand new big debt must be the new normal!!

    Does it have you wondering why keep a home here to eventually have your hard earned money force you out because someone else thinks they know life or business better than you do?

    And then someone will say the city is well run. By what standards and for whom is it will run? (Do you hear the crickets while waiting for a response that never comes?)

    But I digress. As far as your original question on pensions, currently the citizens commit $2 for every $1 dollar contributed by each employee with a 5 year vesting period. They can "retire" before 65 with 20 years of service. So if an employee who started to work for the City at 18 years of age could retire at 38, drawing a pension and go work somewhere else. I think our former City Manager has done just that. As well as the former Police Chief. There is nothing better in the private sector for a retirement model that I have heard about.


  6. RE: Inspections of "vacant/unoccupied" vs. occupied" properties

    Richardson Community Service and council think their program is so "unique."

    They think they can dodge the risk of lawsuit on the grounds of the 4th Amendment because they inserted "with the occupant's permission" in the ordinance.

    However, at least one of the city inspectors threatened us saying "I'll bring the police with me and enter your property" when we said our tenant didn't want an inspection.

  7. Invite the inspector to read the ordinance they are trying to uphold. Somehow I doubt Spivey would get involved in something like this. Unless the City Manager forced him to do so. And then there are all kinds of legal aspects. Get an attorney to help you. Keep up the fight!!

  8. We're speaking with an attorney (who loves to fight cities). He wants to take our case. He says it doesn't matter whether the city gives tenants the right to refuse inspections on the question of the 4th Amendment.

    We need more local landlords to join our pursuit. It's an expensive process until the city loses and pays our legal fees, with our tax money!