A Message From the President of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA)

Industry News,

On July 22, 2021, I had the privilege of welcoming many of you to our online event, “Meet Our Legislators,” which we held in lieu of our in-person “State Legislator Breakfast” that we held in previous years.  I am sure that we can all agree that so much has happened since we all met in person a couple of years ago at the Proud Bird Restaurant for our last State Legislative Breakfast. At that time, we had the opportunity to hear from California State Treasurer, Fiona Ma. We were also facing Assembly Bill 1482 and worried about the possibility of statewide rent control affecting our rental properties.

But little did we know that something worse such as the economic shut down caused by the global pandemic, COVID-19, was just around the corner.  After dealing with limited rent increases caused by the emergency declaration because of fires in the State of California, this new state of emergency would not only continue to limit our rent increases but it would also prevent us from collecting any rent at all.

One of the other consequences of the “shut down” was that during this state of emergency, we also lost our ability to meet with our legislators in person. We could not meet with them to discuss their proposed laws such as Assembly Bills 3088, 91 and 832 and their impact on our lives and livelihoods as small property rental housing providers.  By holding our online “Meet Our Legislators,” we were taking our first step toward reconnecting with our State’s elected officials.  We had the opportunity to engage with them and hear from California state Senator Portantino, Assembly Members Garcia, Lackey, Gabriel, and Santiago. Former Senator Rod Wright moderated the discussion, and I appreciate every one of them for participating and giving us their valuable time.

That morning, we sadly acknowledged the passing of Malcolm Bennett, a former Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles board member, and a person who served as a leader in many other apartment associations.  Malcolm was a stalwart advocate at every level of government for the rental housing industry and rental properties owners throughout the State. He will be truly missed by many of us who knew him.

Also, that morning, we introduced our State lobbyists, Steve Carlson, Jonathan Arambel and Matt Moretti, all who work with us from Sacramento, and we heard from our Executive Director, Dan Yukelson.   Each of them worked together with our elected officials and our keynote speaker to present our virtual legislative event.  Our apartment association has had a long history of working in cooperation with other organizations that support and protect the rights of small business owners and advocate for the preservation of private property rights.

The California Association of Realtors is also one of those organizations that has/have been strong advocates for property owners.  Many of us got our start in the rental property business by being agents, realtors, and brokers.  We believe that it is more important now than ever before that we continue to work together as owners, agents, or both, by supporting good legislation and opposing harmful legislation or ballot measures that are detrimental to private property rights. I am proud to say that the California Associations of Realtors has supported us  with our property rights litigation by filing Amicus, friends of the court, briefs in our cases.  Accordingly, it was only fitting that Joel Singer, the Chief Executive Officer of the California Association of Realtors, served as our Legislative Breakfast keynote speaker.

Joel Singer has held top staff positions with the California Association of Realtors for more than 30 years. Throughout those years, he oversaw its business development, strategic planning, and legislative policies. He has been described as the industry visionary who led the organization into the digital era by creating products so that real estate professionals could succeed in the real estate market.  He was instrumental in developing the California Living Network, one of the industry’s first web-based listing and real estate information service. He was also the driving force behind the development of electronic forms through the organization’s for-profit subsidiary, Real Estate Business Services® LLC (REBS®) where he serves as its president.  Under his 20-year stewardship, he was also instrumental in positioning zipLogix™ as the leader in the real estate forms, e-signatures and transaction management space and oversaw zipLogix™’s sale to leverage the technology to enhance the success of REALTORS®.  It is also well known that under Joel’s direction, the California Association of Realtors has had a strong presence in Sacramento, advocating for the real estate brokerage industry, housing, and private property rights. Most, importantly, they worked with us to defeat Propositions 10 and 21, the ballot measures that would have repealed the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

Joel Singer is identified as one of the 200 leaders that have the most power and influence to impact the residential real estate brokerage industry. He was named as a real estate industry doer “whose ingenuity, outspokenness, strength, conviction, power, and persistence are driving change.” He is an executive officer in charge of more than 100 local chapters representing more than 170,000 Realtors in the State of California. We were very pleased to have Joel Singer as our 2021 “Meet Our Legislators” keynote speaker, and we wish Joel well with his planned retirement at the end of this year.  He will be truly missed.