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Why We're "Housing Providers"

You won't see the term "landlords" on this site very often, because that's not what we are. We provide critical housing services to our communities, often under very difficult social, legal, and political circumstances. We rarely receive recognition or even a 'thank you' for the work we do.
But we politely decline the label of "landlord," with its pejorative connotations. We are not lords over anything, and land is the least important part of what we do. The word "landlord" is an old one, developed in medieval societies where tenants had no power, no civil liberties, and no protections from abuses of power. Feudalism was an unfair system where landlords owned and benefited, and tenant-farmers just worked and suffered.

Our society is completely different today, and the continued use of the legal term "landlord" is a slander against our members and all rental owners. Tenants have important civil protections against unfair practices, monopoly pricing, poor maintenance, etc. Tenants also have significant economic power simply by their ability to move and leave the rental owner with an expensive vacancy. In many communities--like Berkeley--tenants often wield far greater political power than housing providers.

We are proud to be 'rental housing providers' or 'rental owners'. We make significant commitments of time and money to our communities. We have taken on a significant amount of risk as small businessmen and women. We are proud to serve our customers, our neighborhoods, and our communities.

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