Home Antioch Barbanica: Absentee Landlord Behavior Needs to Stop, Suggests a Monthly Report Card Program

Barbanica: Absentee Landlord Behavior Needs to Stop, Suggests a Monthly Report Card Program

by ECT

Often I have been asked what we as a property management company do in the City of Antioch to ensure a clean city.  I moved to the City of Antioch when I was two years old.  I have seen many changes over the years, which have not always been positive, especially with rental homes.  I have lived in rental properties, in fact when we moved to this city our first rental was on John Glen Court. Over the years I have seen the decline in the condition of so many properties that it disgust me.

What happened to the city where I grew up?  Why did so many properties appear in terrible condition? And why did it seem as though little was being done about it?

I started managing my own properties in 2007, expanding over many years and building a property management company in two counties.  My wife Kristine and I would drive around the city after Saturday morning coffee and could not believe what we were seeing.  In many neighborhoods, home after home were becoming eyesores with trash, weeds, and car repairs in the front yard, not to mention the condition of the actual homes themselves.  We saw peeling paint, structural issues, graffiti and some owners and tenants that genuinely didn’t care.

I remember the morning where we had left Starbucks and were headed downtown, driving around just looking at homes.  I turned to her and asked, “What the heck are we still doing living here?”  However, I remembered that this is where I grew up and I wasn’t ready to walk away.  After all, I raised my kids here and chose to open my business within the city, not to mention the memories as a young boy, getting up and riding my bike all over the town and playing grasshopper baseball at the City Park.  It just seemed that things were getting worse, and that many owners and tenants had stopped caring. There were a lot of out of town owners that bought properties here but rarely set foot in or cared about our city.

I told Kris that I was going to implement a policy in our property management company, that monthly an employee was to drive every property, photograph the exterior, and send it to the owner and the tenant with a report card on the condition.  If the property was in need of repairs and in violation of the lease, the tenants would immediately get a notice to repair the eyesore.  If they refused, we would have the option to proceed with action against them.  Also, any property that happened to be on government assistance would be held to the same standards as any other tenant.  As always, owners would be responsible for repairs that were beyond the tenant’s control, and if they neglected this, we did not need to manage for them.  This policy became something we told every owner that was new to our system, as we were tired of seeing substandard housing.

We implemented this throughout the City of Antioch and at first we got some resistance from tenants. However, over time we started seeing a change in the exterior condition of the properties we managed, and neighborhood complaints became less and less.  So many tenants were used to absentee landlords and we wanted to send a message that absentee was not our style.  Ultimately, we implemented this policy for every property under our control as property managers throughout all of Contra Costa County and then into Solano County.  It has seemed to work in most cases, at least with the properties that we manage.

I’m sure we all see that there are still some owners and tenants out there just don’t care, and that needs to stop.

We are often asked how the residents of this city can get rid of Section 8.  Many people do not realize that the governor signed a statewide law last year that requires owners to consider a Section 8 tenant, and prohibits the rental advertising to state “No Section 8.”  Now more than ever we need property managers and owners to step up and do the right thing.  We tell every owner asking about Section 8 that all tenants, Section 8 or not, should be held to the same standards as any other tenant, including screening and the condition of the home.  It’s not about just getting a government check.

If nothing else, our goal was to make a change in our little piece of Antioch, at the very least the homes that we manage. We can only hope that other owners and property managers will follow suit.  Little by little we can all change this city.

Mike Barbanica
Blue Line Real Estate & Property Management
DRE #01804774


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Rich May 10, 2020 - 8:32 am

“A deep drive way out to the Green Monster”-Grasshopper BB was the best.

The Absentee owner is a major issue, we all see the crappy house in our neighborhoods that keep drawing in the crappy people. The City officials just let anything go in regards to the commercial property, this leads to major areas being crappy. We has lost control of the entire A st. Corridor, as a glaring example. Thanks for not giving up, I hope one day it might improve. This city needs people like yourself and Ken T. who actually care to have any chance.

Dana Roach May 10, 2020 - 8:43 am

You are gonna get a monthly Dick Pic from my address

ECT May 10, 2020 - 12:58 pm

Good luck with that.

Senator Chang’s legislation comes on the heels of the Texas State Legislature passing the first-in-the-nation law to fine and criminalize the sending of unsolicited nude photos. Bumble successfully pushed this legislation in 2019 and Senator Chang is now bringing that momentum to the Golden State.


Dana Roach May 10, 2020 - 2:25 pm

If I stand in my garage naked and mother fuckers take a pic…… not my problem. Come on over and see my Johnson

Frank May 10, 2020 - 12:09 pm

As a longtime landlord in Antioch I totally agree that each landlord should be held accountable, but also we pay the city with our rental property business taxes to monitor blight. So either do their job or get out of my pocket.

Sarah Foster May 10, 2020 - 8:56 pm

You have nothing better to do on a Saturday morning than to drive around judging people’s living. Some one to not want section 8 doesn’t know the struggle. Even a single mother like myself that makes a decent living and does not get any government assistance struggles every month living pay check to pay check to keep the bills on. Sorry if the exterior of my house doesn’t impress you.

Low income Antioch Rez May 11, 2020 - 12:44 am

These vultures are literally the death of Antioch. Why ECT gives them a platform to cry is nuts. It is almost like giving an arsonist a platform to talk about his burnt fingers after burning something down. You don’t build strong communities with 40% or more renter populations. If we had good leaders here we would put a ban on the creation of these new ghettos until every landlord who bought their rental property between 2008-2015 is forced to put it up for sale to a first time buyer.

Michael Kitterman May 11, 2020 - 1:14 am

Good article Mike, and good job on this sensible policy. This is a perfect example of how solutions to problems are achieved. You managed the issue. In this case you recognized the problem, you analyzed the issue and identified the challenges, you made a plan, you executed the plan, and you are even tracking your success. You’re really not introducing new restrictions, you’re actually just taking responsibility for assuring that tenant and landlord abide by the existing agreements. What I like most here is that you kept a broad perspective and you have remained neutral. This is an issue that you no doubt have your own personal opinions and beliefs, but you show no sign of that within the framework of the solution. You keep it fair and unoffensive. Your policy is not only good management, this is good leadership. I see no reason why landlords who manage their own properties couldn’t follow your example.

Jack May 11, 2020 - 7:21 am

This is a great idea. Antioch cannot afford anymore absentee landlords and this is one policy most property owners would be smart to implement in their own companies. I am tired of how dirty our city looks because renters do not care about keeping their rental clean. Judging by the comments on Facebook, it appears so many people either failed to read this article or do not understand this deals with renters/landlords, not actual homeowners.

Why people will accept a trashy houses in their neighborhood, scratching my head on that one. At least this is one property management company trying to improve a city.

Dana Roach May 11, 2020 - 8:11 pm

So actual homeowners can have shirt yards?

Mozell May 13, 2020 - 8:25 pm

As I commented previously, there are many owners who do not take care of their properties in Antioch. What are the solutions for those property owners?

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