Ocean Beach Landlord Michael Mills Targeted by Tenants’ Rights Activists

by on June 1, 2016 · 16 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics

OB rent control rally postrOB Residents to Protest Mills’ Outrageous Rents at Saturday June 4th Rally

By San Diego Tenants United

San Diego is currently facing a massive Housing Crisis: rents have increased 25% over the past decade and are expected to increase by 19% in just the next five (5) years, while wages have actually decreased for many San Diego residents.

A February 2015 KPBS article exposed multiple shortcomings with the current system in San Diego for ensuring basic living standards for tenants, making the case that slumlords are not held accountable in San Diego.

Fortunately, tenants in Ocean Beach are fighting back against one such landlord: Michael Mills.

“In the apartment complex I am in, almost half of the apartments are empty because he [Michael Mills] just keeps raising the rent,” explains one displaced Ocean Beach resident.

Explained one long time renter , a member of San Diego Tenants United and longtime resident of Ocean Beach:

“There is an expectation that we live at the beach so it is okay to hike up the rents and force people to pay thousands of dollars a month for a one-bedroom apartment, but many of us have been living in Ocean Beach for decades—Ocean Beach is a community first—ocean front property is beside the point,”

Many Ocean Beach residents feel the same, starting a Facebook Page called “Ocean Beach Tenants of Michael Mills”. The organizer of the page explains:

“I created this page for the Tenants of Michael Mills in Ocean Beach that have had a huge increase on their rent. I am also one of those victims. I say it’s time to come together as a community and put an end to such ridiculously high rent prices and rent increases. Let’s stand up for ourselves!!”

(See https://www.facebook.com/ oceanbeachtenantsofmichaelmill s1/?fref=ts)

Therefore, on Saturday June 4, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. at O.B. Park, at Newport & Abbot Street, tenants and supporters will be rallying to bring attention to this issue and demand that Michael Mills stop his outrageous rent hikes and hopefully to send a message to landlords and politicians in San Diego that tenants are getting organized and are empowering themselves to fight back against rent injustice.

Our organization is San Diego Tenants United with our .org website.  You can email us at sdtenantsunited@gmail.com.

We are here to support tenants around the city and hold code enforcement accountable for deplorable living conditions, to encourage  investment in the communities where people have lived for decades without displacing them.  We have petition imploring city council to turn their attention to the affordable housing crises in San Diego and hold bad landlords responsible for their properties.

We have code compliance work order sheets for people to fill out that we will file with the city at the end of each month in order for them to see the extent of the conditions some of our residents deal with. We want smart development to include a wide variety of incomes in our communities, investing without displacing. Housing justice is a moral issue, the city needs to recognize nearly half of San Diego residents are renters, and there is a housing crises around the entire country.  Can this city be a in leader in listening to its citizens and solving this pressing issue?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

John June 1, 2016 at 12:01 pm

How many properties/rental units does this slumlord own ? Will focusing all energies solely on Mills realistically lead to fixing anything? Should we expect him to drop his rents soon after this protest?

There are several other unscrupulous landlords/property managers who barely stay within CA landlord/ tenant laws. Laws put in place as bare minimum standards decades ago! A revision of these laws is what is needed first and foremost IMO.

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beachgirl June 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm

The bigger problem is my fear of asking my landlord to fix anything. They have all the power. My place is definitely not up to code and we repair many things ourselves. They can raise the rent or kick us out, where would we go? We could try to prove retaliation but it is hard. We look for other places but the rents are high and we get passed over because we have a dog.

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Mercy Baron OB Mercy June 1, 2016 at 4:19 pm

beachgirl….can’t believe how much I hear this one!! SO WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS!! O f course you could deduct from your rent and send him the receipt for materials bought and work done. But I’m sure you’re worried that he would just raise your rent. Which at that point, you have a legal case. KNOW THE LAWS….they’re all online, look them up! And if you have to call a tenants rights organization!

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kh June 3, 2016 at 5:01 pm

There are a lot of places cheaper than OB. Regarding this “slumlord”, is that really worse than if he remodeled the place and raise the rent even higher? Ideally they’d find that fine balance and simply maintain the property as is. beachgirl you are right to worry about asking for repairs unfortunately. I never asked landlords for anything, I always fixed the small things out of pocket.

But the article says his properties are overpriced and sitting empty, which disproves that he’s forcing anyone to pay his price.

I’m all ears for some coherent ideas on rent stabilization. I think it’s unfortunate that a long-time renter with a family can be suddenly priced out of the neighborhood on 60 days notice.

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Tammy Schmitt June 8, 2016 at 10:08 pm

John,
I would like to speak with you regarding your opinions on landlord/tenant laws.
IMO you are correct….
I am gathering information and could use some input from anyone who would like to share their story on how “Beach Homes,” ( owner Mike Mills), has affected their living situation.
Please, keep it real!
Change can happen if we look beyond our anger and arm ourselves with information…
tami_schmitt@yahoo.com

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Geeta June 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm

What exactly ARE the California landlord/tenant laws? It might be good for those of us “under the heel” to know what they are as a start to changing them.
Thanks.

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John June 1, 2016 at 3:13 pm
John A June 1, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Michael Mills has a very nefarious reputation in San Diego, especially in Ocean Beach. I’m sure he and his actions are not representative of most landlords. His history has been full of scams, dishonesty, shady business deals, and more. In 1977, he was suspended from the California Bar Association (CBA) after a conviction and in 1980, did resign from the CBA due to pending charges: (see: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/49660). I believe there has been much written on this person and his family in past news articles.

Bottom-line is that changing laws and making more rules are a good way to “punish” the good landlords (and thusly their tenants) while just becoming more of a challenge to to the bad ones who want to beat the intention of what is already in place.

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Denine June 1, 2016 at 9:17 pm

What properties does Mr. Mills own and rent out?

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OB Doug June 3, 2016 at 10:43 pm

Renters: 65%
Owners: 35%
Vacation rentals: 64% increase in the past year! STOP Vacation Rentals!
Anything that draws attention to the 2% Vacancy helps renters!
Talk about it, who running for office is speaking out?

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Zen June 4, 2016 at 9:52 am

I’ve lived in OB for 6 years as a renter, 5 years as a homeowner, and 1.5 years as both a landlord and homeowner. So I think I have some perspective on both sides here. I urge people NOT to report “code violations” to the city if they have problems with landlords.

Keeping property in perfect condition in OB is very expensive. Almost no house or apartment building is completely “up to code.” Once the landlord is forced by the city to make a whole bunch of repairs, just about the only choice is removing all tenants for at least six months to do a full renovation. And it will be quite expensive when it comes back on the market, or be converted to vacation rentals.

I am also aware of one situation on Bacon St (the former blue and white “castle”) and another on Lotus St where the city required the removal of parts of a small apartment building, resulting in the complete removal of small affordable units from the rental market. Both involved unpermitted additions to apartment buildings from a long time ago. Once the city officially becomes aware of them, they usually have to be torn down.

You may also find that the fence that gives your yard privacy has to be torn down or cut down to 3 feet, a parking space is “not allowed” and replaced with a planter, or that the little corner of the yard where you grow some medicinal cannabis gets torn up.

I was fortunate in my six years renting a 1-bedroom cottage here to never have my rent increased. I also never once requested a repair except when the 60 year old stove completely broke. There were probably 20 different little issues with the 1930’s cottage, and I fixed a fair number of them myself, and others I just lived with.

I suggest rather than complaining about issues with a rental, see if there is something you can fix yourself, and send your landlord before and after pictures. Or offer to do things yourself.

Also consider there is a national database of “problem tenants.” It is mostly used by larger apartment complexes, but anyone can subscribe or report to it. You do not want to be on it.

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SaneVoice June 6, 2016 at 10:21 am

So we as tenants are supposed to let our landlord break the law and not have the property up to code ?

By the way, there’s a database for shady landlords too. It’s called the SD Superior Court records. Scumbag Mills has at least 24 lawsuits against him that I can verify, most likely more. He shouldn’t be able to rent any properties whatsoever.

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John June 4, 2016 at 10:24 am

Huh?
Where is this ‘national database of problem tenants’ located?

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Zen June 5, 2016 at 11:52 pm

Here’s an article about this John. I have not used them myself:

http://ohmyapt.apartmentratings.com/blacklisted-tenant.html

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Harris October 24, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Dear Mr. Slumlord,

DON’T EVER THREATEN ME AGAIN !

It’s all a creepy game to you is’nt it?

You pretend to be everyone’s friend.

You are not. You are worse.
You mislead, misinform and reneg any chance you get.

Your greed and blatent disregard for humanity is beyond revulting.

You affect lives and you are evil.

You are a rodent !
You are human swill !
You should be ashamed !

Your gross neglect is inhumane, immoral and criminal.

You are not ” The American Dream”
You are a one man plague !

You should be caged like a rabid dog !

Your family/friends will not be proud !

Disgraced like they should be !

Mr. Bigshot Businessman.

Good thing is you know you are a sneaky punk.

You gotta live with that everyday. Haha.

Some of us were wondering,
do you wear a skirt on the weekends?

Are you diseased?
Is that the issue?

Do your children know you are garbage?

Think they will be proud?

Yep !
They already know!
Haha.

They dread your arrival and anxiously await your departure.

They gag on every meal you provide.
Wince in pain with every gift.

They are repulsed just knowing you breathe.

Your world cringes with every word, gesture or touch.

Your aroma to them is vomit.
Your calling card.

That’s all folks.
Have A Super Day.

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Rebecca December 8, 2016 at 1:04 pm

So….our old landlord just sold our building to this guy, Mickey Mills. Judging by what I’ve read here, we should be concerned. What can we expect in the next few months? I am done with my graduate degree in June and I’d rather not have to move right now if I can avoid it. But I’m not going to live with a shitty landlord either. My old landlord was awesome.

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