Back in 1983 I began my real estate investment career in Hampton, Virginia while employed as an engineer at Newport News Shipbuilding. Back then, I learned all about the various subsidies that were available to low income tenants. However, being a landlord was a respectable vocation as long as you managed your investments correctly, the landlord tenant laws worked well. Tenants then knew to behave and take care of your property during their time of "possession." They were completely liable for any damage other than "wear and tear."
Then I started investing in Youngstown, Ohio in 1995. Of course I could see "white flight" and accepted it as a part of the evolution, all investors speculate that demand and productivity should happen in the future. What I learned and witnessed in the seventeen years of Youngstown investing was a great lesson on what the future is in store for majority of the urban centers of America if the "entitlement movement" (entitled are those who give no production in return) isn't checked. In Youngstown, old laws are distorted in a way to completely hold property owners liable and responsible for the actions of the entitled. For instance, single parent mother's water will never be disconnected, the law is distorted wherein the property owner is responsible for the water, but the distortion is the City does not shut the water off for non payment. Furthermore only the tenant is aware of their account. And here is the big one why investors have fled the City and houses are left to be stripped; other than wear and tear, the tenants destroy the structure knowing the City will only go after the property owner with criminal charges. I have seen good people go to jail because of this. The side effect is that the entitled use this as a weapon against their rent collecting landlord. This is the only reason why blight in housing exist in Youngstown.
twelve years ago, we shifted our focus out of rental housing and started investing in land. As houses are being demolished the land returns to acreage. The question was how do you make land productive and self sustaining? This is the crossroads that the City finds itself at. The evolution stated above is now happening on the fringes of suburbia, leaving expanse of acreage in the City. Now how does the municipality govern themselves with outdated laws on property, it has no idea. As we have done introducing agriculture/aquaculture on City lands, has the City coming armed with commercial and industrial code against the basic fundamental right to grow crops on ones land. Rural landowners know and lived without any interference from local government. Farming code is sacred and streamlined to allow productivity. The City of Youngstown is hell bent on enforcing wanton control and commercial and industrial code on any agriculture in the City.
Now today, where does this leave us with the new high tech horizontal deep drilling? The City knows it has no authority over energy policy, but they are looking for some. And Cities such as Pittsburgh with all their entitled voters exercised power by outlawing drilling in the City, leaving their tax paying property owners the inability to sell their land's product. This is what case law shows as a "taking." In New York state, they did this taking on a larger scale, the whole bloody state has its landowners unable to sell what is rightfully theirs, with ZERO compensation. When government needs to build a highway through your land, they have that right for the good of the public to take your land, BUT they must pay you for the taking, are landowners of New York paid for their minerals?
For a long time, I was in denial about this entitled movement to create their world of property only belonging to the State. Now I can honestly say I am seeing it and living it. Us, landowners big and small, are the silent majority. We surround urban centers en masse, we are the most likely to vote, we are the "Makers" of the old America. land is the beginning to everything to us, our homes are built on land, our farms and manufacturing base are planted on land, what does not come from land? The silent majority must rise and unite to force our leadership to go backwards not forward and return to "LIFE LIBERTY AND PROPERTY."