Pamela Stevens, in her quest for a two-bedroom Westside apartment, may indeed find many of them unaffordable by her income standards (Speaking Out, "Rentals: Supply Siders Break Law of Economics," April 21). This doesn't mean, however, that rents aren't being reduced and deals aren't being made.
While some naive landlords defy laws of supply and demand by holding tough on rents and doing little to upgrade interiors, there are still a few of us around who understand basic economics and merchandising.
Owners of the many Los Angeles and Orange County apartment complexes we manage couldn't care less what we charge for a given apartment. They're interested in occupancy rates and cash flow. Therefore, because the rental market is so highly competitive, we have to do what other merchants must do to sell the product: offer discounts and, when that doesn't work, throw in something extra.
Perhaps Stevens hasn't looked far enough or hasn't made prospective landlords an offer. To fill up apartments we have been doing some or all of the following: 1) reducing rents by as much as 5% to 6%, 2) offering $200 to $300 rent credits to tenants who stay at least a year and 3) providing free use of a refrigerator for a specified time.
Besides the above, we wouldn't think of trying to rent an apartment without first upgrading the unit with new carpets and vinyl flooring, vertical or mini-blinds, bright white paint jobs and, when required, restoring kitchen and bathroom counters.
What's more, we are often required to restore kitchen cabinets and replace old-fashioned lighting fixtures in dining rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. The increased capital outlays are more than recovered in the long run.
Look and ye shall find!
Jacobson is president of the Norman Jacobson Management Co.