Wednesday, September 14, 2005

"Coming from you, friend is a 'four letter word'...."

Much has been written and said about the acts of kindness, both great and small, performed in the wake of hurricane Katrina. However, someone needs to document the scandalous behavior of some folks regarding rising rental and real estate prices.

First, I'm not referring to buyer exuberance leading to premium selling prices for homes. That's the price you pay, when you don't operate with full knowledge of the situation. To the buyers, please take a deep breath and consider what's going to be available soon, if it isn't already, in Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. Tammany parishes. It might not be your home, but it's better than being upside down on a mortgage. No, what I would like to discuss is people jacking rental prices as much as 100% higher days following the storm.

Let me explain this in the form of a story:

Family A is contacted by Family B concerning Family B's rental property. Family B is very interested in helping out Family A given the long-standing family relationship between the two (in-laws are best friends, B's daughter was the flower girl in A's wedding, etc.), so Family B offers to rent their property to Family A for $750 a month. Note: This property's pre-Katrina rental price was $550 a month. Given the aforementioned real estate exuberance in the area, Family A gladly accepts. One week later...Family B decides it now wants to sell the rental property, and informs Family A it can now rent said house for $1,000 a month with no lease.

Not that it matters much to the story, but Family A is Uncle Speed's family. I know how small this area can be, so hopefully Family B will eventually recognize themselves in this post.

Our's is not the only story like this here. Buyers please, please, please, think before you get in to this situation. If you're a landlord who did this, God rest your soul and expect the Attorney General's office to be contacting you soon.



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