1971: "Personal Data"

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jc
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby jc » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:19 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote: Yeah, good for real estate investors ... and ... y’know ... homeowners ... which is something like 64% of the American population.
gmalivuk wrote:64% of occupied dwellings are occupied by an owner. That's not the same thing.

If you have a better estimate, then I'd be happy to hear it and will start to use that number instead. If you don't have a better estimate then I'd be very interested to hear how you feel this fact contributes in any way to the discussion.

I'd think it does contribute to the discussion. Personal example: As a child, I lived entirely in houses occupied by the owner. But I didn't own any of those houses. So one of those 64% figures includes people like I was then; the other 64% doesn't. Confusing the two seriously overestimates the percent of the population that owns their homes, by treating all the country's children as "homeowners". This is misleading in the extreme.

Such misleading statistical claims are the norm in political settings, and should be exposed for the propaganda that they are.

I did a bit of googling, and I couldn't find what I'd consider a "better estimate". Most of them used numbers in the same range, but didn't make it clear whether they were counting only the population that is legally allowed to own homes, or whether they're including children and others who can't own property in their "homeowner" category. Maybe someone has that info. It might be interesting to know the "right" number. But I suspect that it'll be difficult to verify that any given statistical claim doesn't have this sort of trickery silently built into it. Outside of technical papers (usually hidden behind paywalls), it's sorta rare for anyone to make such things clear, much less verifiable.

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:00 pm UTC

Children (and spouses) of homeowners benefit from rising home prices as much as the homeowners do, though. Eventually that equity gets passed to next-of-kin, unless it all gets spent by the homeowner. And if my parents sell their home of 30+ years and wind up spending it all on trips to Hawaii and hospital bills before they pass on, well, I would consider money spent keeping my elderly parents happy and healthy to be money well-spent.

On the other hand, the idea that an individual homeowner always benefits from rising prices is also not true. If Joe and Jane Middleclass want to sell their $100,000 starter home and move to a larger one to have their 2.2 kids, and can afford to spend/mortgage an additional $100,000, having real estate prices magically double overnight hurts them: while they can now afford a $300,000 home, the $200,000 one they were eying yesterday suddenly costs $400,000. (Unless they were wise+foolish enough to keep their savings in something that tracked real estate prices, then they're okay.)

So the question can be as much of a lie as the answer, as any good lawyer knows.

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:05 pm UTC

Rising home prices don't help the homeowners at all, or their descendants. If houses cost $10k when Mom & Pop bought theirs, and $100k when their kids inherit their paid-off house, then their two kids each inherit half the value of a house and have to pay the other half of their own houses off themselves. If half a house is $50k instead of $5k, then the rising home prices have made the kids worse off. Best case scenario is Mom & Pop have an only child who inherits their house and doesn't have to pay anything for a new one of their own, but that scenario is neutral with respect to house prices, because multiples of zero are still zero.

And as you describe, rising house prices make things worse for anyone trying to get more house, including people trying to get any house at all (moving up from none). As more people having better (or any) homes is good, rising house prices is therefore bad. End of story. The only people who benefit are people selling off (or renting out) housing and yet not just buying more housing elsewhere with that money, i.e. people who own excess housing. Who benefit at the expense of literally everyone else.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Stargazer71 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:26 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:... rental property should not exist, and you shouldn't have to build up funds to start buying a place, and the existence of rent is what causes you to have to by artificially distorting the housing market.


I'm very happy about two things.

1) I'm happy that you gave a description of how you see this issue. By doing that, it has shown how incredibly differently we see the world, thus arguing would be beyond pointless. So it's nice to avoid that.

2) I'm happy I don't live in your ideal world. Holy s---.

Beyond that however, I do have a question: Out of curiosity**, can you describe how your view of rent/ownership meshes with the world of business real estate?

Every business I have ever worked for rented their office or retail space due to the liabilities that comes with ownership. For example, if the business grows or shrinks by 5x in the course of a year, a business that rents is able to move to a more suitable office space very quickly (relative to a business that might be forced to own a building for years waiting for it to sell).

There's this environment of unpredictability in business that is not present in single family dwellings, and rental agreements allow business to move quickly when things change. So I'm curious how you believe things should work after saying, "rental property should not exist."

(**Truly ... and I mean truly out of curiosity. There is zero chance that you can change my mind on this issue, but since I've never heard of anyone with your views, I'm curious how you see the world.)

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:04 pm UTC

Short answer is that in my ideal world there would be arrangements capable of emulating the desirable features of rent for those who want them, at a cost comparable to the losses incurred in renting. If you (as a tenant) want something that looks more or less like rent as we have it now, you could have it. But people who, in the real world, are stuck forever renting and unable to buy, would not be.

You can think of the end result as something like this: everything is like we have it now, except after spending enough time paying rent you end up owning, when moving from a rental property you might (depending on various factors) be able to recover some of what you've spent on rent, and nobody can raise your monthly rent or force you to move for any reason besides nonpayment. Possibly some other slight differences I'm forgetting at the moment, but that's about it.

I have extensive thoughts on exactly what those arrangements would be and how they would work out to the above, that I've elaborated upon at length elsewhere (on this forums and others) and don't feel like going over yet again here.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Stargazer71 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:29 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:You can think of the end result as something like this: everything is like we have it now, except after spending enough time paying rent you end up owning, when moving from a rental property you might (depending on various factors) be able to recover some of what you've spent on rent, and nobody can raise your monthly rent or force you to move for any reason besides nonpayment.


So basically like lease-to-own agreements, but maybe with modifications. They already exist and (according to investopedia) end up strongly favoring the landlord, so they're unpopular.

Not sure I completely follow most of your ideas, but like I said, we're so different in world views that there's no point in debating the matter. You explained a little bit of how you see things, so thank you for that :D .

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:29 am UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:So basically like lease-to-own agreements, but maybe with modifications.

Very different, though they sound the same on the surface. When I heard that those existed I thought "problem solved!" but then looking into it, what actually exists now really solves nothing at all.

You explained a little bit of how you see things, so thank you for that :D .

Thank you (and Mikeski) for this surprisingly non-upsetting discussion. I've been dreading this turning into yet another interminable argument like it always does, and I'm very happy it hasn't so far.

ETA: I'm still afraid of this maybe turning into an interminable argument, but your civility has emboldened me to explain the world I'd like to see in further detail.

Picture a scenario in which you put down a sum of money comparable to a rental deposit, and then start making monthly payments comparable to rent. But you're not actually renting, because the payments you're making are going toward your purchase of the property: if you make enough such payments, eventually you get to stop making payments. If you want to move before that time comes, there are several possibilities.

Worst case scenario is you just walk away from the property, don't ask for any of your equity back out of it, just let the seller repossess it, and basically act like you've been renting this whole time. Of course, if you've damaged the property during your tenure of it, in excess of the money you left behind when you walked away, then the seller should be legally due those damages, just as if you had walked into some stranger's house and wrecked the place.

(I understand that it is difficult in our current legal system to recover damages like that, but that is a problem that needs to be fixed in order for a more equitable economy like I envision to be possible, just like strong protections against theft are necessary for any market economy to function).

If you like, you could buy insurance against such a possibility, paying a monthly fee to make sure that any necessary maintenance gets taken care of. The seller could, if he likes, offer such an insurance himself, if he wants to act like a traditional landlord. You are of course free to just suck up the risk and save that money every month if you want to, however.

If you don't want to just walk away and lose everything you've spent already, you can try to sell the property. You could sell it to some random individual on the same kind of long terms that you purchased it on, so that they are basically paying all of your remaining payments on the property for you, and then at some point you've paid it off and they're still paying you and you recover your equity then.

That sounds very risky and inconvenient though, so you might rather try to get someone to buy you out of it completely; that is, get someone to pay you all in one lump sum, instead of over time like you've been paying. But of course, people will be less willing (and able) to pay in one lump sum than in many small payments over time, so you may have to accept less money overall (and thus lose some of what you've already paid) to achieve that. But you can at least probably get something you've paid back.

(If you move around a lot, you're probably not going to be building up much equity over time because of that, but you wouldn't be building up anything if you were renting traditionally so there's no loss there, and people who stay put for long periods of time still get the benefits this is all intended for; namely, so that people who spend their entire lives living somewhere and renting because they can't afford to buy don't end up with no property to their name despite having spent well more than the purchase price of the home they've been living in all those years).

It's possible to build a business facilitating that kind of transaction, buying people out of their homes in one lump sum, and selling those homes off on longer terms for more money. Possibly the seller you're buying from is such a business, so you could just sell back to them if you want to move. But there would be competing businesses of the same kind that you could shop around for the best deal with, instead of just accepting whatever your "landlord" is willing to offer you back. Which of course would be nothing, if they were the only option. Which would be basically rent as we have it right now. But that would not be the case in my scenario.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:17 pm UTC

Hire Purchase, or an analogue, is what I was thinking of as I read that. Closed-end leasing is mentioned there, and I think something like that has become the new buzzword for vehicle ownership (with the option to buy outright or walk away or renew to an upgrade upon maturation) over here, amongst all the hoopy froods. Apparently. I have the wrong kind of goatee to be let into those meetings. Even/especially the ones with girls (with or without goatees).

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby elasto » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:39 pm UTC

I don't think you need anything like as radical a solution as banning renting. You simply need to have a significant proportion of the country's housing stock in public ownership, which could be achieved by house builders handing over a proportion of newly built houses in lieu of paying tax.

In addition, the government could commission house building directly for a decade or two until it gets the numbers up. It'd be a better investment than missiles and bombs for sure.

Set affordable rent levels on the houses in public ownership and you'll make buy-to-let uneconomic and drag the whole market towards affordability both for renting and for ownership.

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:55 pm UTC

I've heard it said that there is more empty, unused housing in America than is necessary to house the entire homeless population of the country, so (if that is true) lack of housing stock is not the problem.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:35 am UTC

elasto wrote:I don't think you need anything like as radical a solution as banning renting. You simply need to have a significant proportion of the country's housing stock in public ownership, which could be achieved by house builders handing over a proportion of newly built houses in lieu of paying tax.
Over here, it really should be done to reverse/balance the Right To Buy, which isn't itself a way of banning renting. (Though could be used to reduce predatory/slipshod private letting practices, while lowering costs.)

Make it an HP/Closed-end process, the council acting as a unifed agent in bringing those that want/need to transition to full ownership (then reinvest in replacement homes, in a strictly ringfenced manner outwith all the "Land Banking" tricks and scams of purely private developers) accompanied with a sensible land-reuse scheme (refurbishments and replacements of run-down housing under its control, proper brown-field reclamation, and fully Town And Country Planning Act-compatible green-field expansions after all the other possibilities have been been pipelined) and it'd solve most of the issues we currently see over here.

(Not that I'd expect it to be completely unsubverted in different ways. Proofing against everything needs more thinking than a five minute forum post.)

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby jgh » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:27 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:...and nobody can raise your monthly rent or force you to move for any reason besides nonpayment.

Ooo, wonderful, will you also ban my bank from increasing my mortgage payments?
And I'd quite like my gas and electricity bills to be the same as they were in 1992.

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby GlassHouses » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:49 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Rising home prices don't help the homeowners at all, or their descendants. If houses cost $10k when Mom & Pop bought theirs, and $100k when their kids inherit their paid-off house, then their two kids each inherit half the value of a house and have to pay the other half of their own houses off themselves. If half a house is $50k instead of $5k, then the rising home prices have made the kids worse off. Best case scenario is Mom & Pop have an only child who inherits their house and doesn't have to pay anything for a new one of their own, but that scenario is neutral with respect to house prices, because multiples of zero are still zero.

Wait. Each kid inherits half a house. How is that a problem? Mom & Pop each owned half of the house, so their kids are no worse off -- and once the kids marry, assuming they marry someone who also stands to inherit half a house, then they are completely unaffected by whatever might be happening with house prices.

If a kid who inherits half a house stays single forever, but they want to own a whole house -- as in, the same size that they grew up in -- then yes, they would have to get and pay off a loan for that other half.

Pfhorrest wrote:I've heard it said that there is more empty, unused housing in America than is necessary to house the entire homeless population of the country, so (if that is true) lack of housing stock is not the problem.

It is a problem if the empty housing is not where it is needed, and/or if it is too expensive. The two numbers "homeless people in America" and "empty houses in America" do not tell the whole story.

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:36 pm UTC

jgh wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:...and nobody can raise your monthly rent or force you to move for any reason besides nonpayment.

Ooo, wonderful, will you also ban my bank from increasing my mortgage payments?

Interest is just rent on money, so obviously yes, otherwise they're retroactively increasing the cost of a product after you agreed to purchase it.

(Rent debate aside, it boggles my mind that variable rate mortgages are legal or that anyone accepts them.)

And I'd quite like my gas and electricity bills to be the same as they were in 1992.

Varying costs of material goods that you consume more of over time are quite a different thing than someone just deciding that you owe them more money to keep possession of the same thing you already have.

I think you fundamentally misunderstand... basically everything.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby ucim » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:45 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:(Rent debate aside, it boggles my mind that variable rate mortgages are legal or that anyone accepts them.)
If the choice is 8% fixed or 2% variable the choice is easier. You choose to take (or not take) additional risk in exchange for additional money.

Pfhorrest wrote:Varying costs of material goods that you consume more of over time are quite a different thing than someone just deciding that you owe them more money to keep possession of the same thing you already have.
But you don't actually own the thing you have, if you own it on borrowed money (using it as collateral).

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby jgh » Fri May 04, 2018 6:47 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
And I'd quite like my gas and electricity bills to be the same as they were in 1992.

Varying costs of material goods that you consume more of over time are quite a different thing than someone just deciding that you owe them more money to keep possession of the same thing you already have.

I think you fundamentally misunderstand... basically everything.

I consume less gas and electricity now than in 1992, but I have to pay more for it.

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri May 04, 2018 7:48 pm UTC

But you are not consuming the same bit of gas or electricity that you already consumed in 92. You're continually consuming more, even if your rate of consumption went down. Whereas if you live in the same house you lived in in 92, you haven't consumed more house since you moved in there. You're still just reusing the same house, in a way that you don't do with consumables like gas or electricity.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Keyman » Mon May 07, 2018 4:52 pm UTC

ucim wrote:...you don't actually own the thing you have, if you own it on borrowed money (using it as collateral).

Jose

Sorry, that is not correct. The Lender does not own the asset. The Borrower owns it. Then Lender will have some lien against it, and may foreclose and take ownership in event of default, but "you" own the thing.

Pfhorrest wrote:Picture a scenario in which you put down a sum of money comparable to a rental deposit, and then start making monthly payments comparable to rent. But you're not actually renting, because the payments you're making are going toward your purchase of the property:
Start making monthly payments...to whom?

I know you don't want to make this a long involved explanatory posts/thread (so if you have it somewhere else and want to PM me some links, that would be fine) but I don't think you're starting at the beginning of the cycle. Housing units don't just spring into existence. Someone paid for it to be built. That someone has to live somewhere, and if you want to live there, they have to in some other place. Do they give up "ownership" of the place where you now live?
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon May 07, 2018 5:30 pm UTC

Keyman wrote:
the payments you're making are going toward your purchase of the property
Do they give up "ownership" of the place where you now live?
They don't "give up" anything, except in the sense that the prior owner always "gives up" things upon selling them.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby ucim » Mon May 07, 2018 6:33 pm UTC

Keyman wrote:Sorry, that is not correct. The Lender does not own the asset. The Borrower owns it.
You are technically right (I was wondering if somebody would call me on it; I don't know why I wondered, after all this is xkcd. :)

But the point (to Pfhorrest) is you don't own it free and clear, due to the lien. The contract can take many forms, but it typically includes clauses about what you may and may not do with "your" property, and what kinds of insurance you will be required to have on it, and who will be named insured. Also, you are paying interest on the money; often a variable rate. If the interest rate goes up, you may well need to "pay more money to keep the thing you already have". You don't fully "have" it until all obligations are discharged.

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Keyman » Mon May 07, 2018 7:14 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Keyman wrote:
the payments you're making are going toward your purchase of the property
Do they give up "ownership" of the place where you now live?
They don't "give up" anything, except in the sense that the prior owner always "gives up" things upon selling them.
Either I'm not understanding the 'chain of title', or I am understanding it fully but can't get my head around accepting what seems to be the basic premise - a person can own only the living unit which they personally inhabit.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon May 07, 2018 9:51 pm UTC

Keyman wrote:a person can own only the living unit which they personally inhabit.
That's not quite what's being proposed, but even if it were, is it really that you can't wrap your head around it, or is it just that you don't like the idea of being unable to turn quite so much profit as a landlord?
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Keyman » Tue May 08, 2018 2:42 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Keyman wrote:a person can own only the living unit which they personally inhabit.
That's not quite what's being proposed, but even if it were, is it really that you can't wrap your head around it, or is it just that you don't like the idea of being unable to turn quite so much profit as a landlord?

Yeah that's it. I come from a long line of rapacious landlords. Look, the original proposition was...

In a world without rent, those who own property they're not using themselves would have to either sell it on terms that would-be renters could buy it on, or else take a total loss on it, and obviously it's in their best interest not to take a total loss. But they can profit more from renting out than from selling on such terms, so they do, since we let them.

It seems then "not using themselves" specifically exudes owning as rental property "in a world without rent". So I'd have to sell a place I'm not living in. This sounds like it could/would/is currently accomplished through a "Contract for Deed". Buyer pays $X/mo. for Y-months and then takes ownership. But it leaves me as owner in the meantime. And doesn't build any 'equity' if the buyer doesn't complete the contract. I imagine the contract could be drafted to allow some of the payments to be "pseudo-equity" to be returned in a case of early termination, which would be part of the "terms that would-be renter" can afford.

So then this "take a total loss" remains an issue. If I didn't like the "terms that would be renter" can afford, it seems to imply my property would be taken away somehow by some person/agency.

Then what?
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue May 08, 2018 4:24 pm UTC

Just to clarify what seems to be a misunderstanding of language here, still don't want to get into a long debate:

If someone has purchased a property as an investment, not for their own use, and they are unable to rent out that property, then the only way they have available to get any return on their investment is to sell the property. If they don't do that, then they just dumped their money into something useless to them. The latter scenario is a total loss on their investment: they put money in and got nothing (of any value to themselves) out. Nobody is being forced to sell anything they're not using or having anything taken away by force, but without the possibility of rent the market incentives are either to use it yourself, sell it (on whatever terms it will sell), or else just have a useless waste of money lying around. The latter is clearly the least attractive option, so for a property not being used by its owner, the clear best option is to sell. And if the only people buying are people who otherwise could only have afforded to rent (because nobody is buying just as an investment anymore), then to sell you'll have to offer terms that would-be renters could afford.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 08, 2018 4:36 pm UTC

Keyman wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Keyman wrote:a person can own only the living unit which they personally inhabit.
That's not quite what's being proposed, but even if it were, is it really that you can't wrap your head around it, or is it just that you don't like the idea of being unable to turn quite so much profit as a landlord?

Yeah that's it. I come from a long line of rapacious landlords.
I mean, it's a relatively straightforward proposition. I find it kind of unlikely that you genuinely don't understand what it means, and far more likely that you just disagree with it a lot so want it to mean something different.

It seems then "not using themselves" specifically exudes owning as rental property "in a world without rent". So I'd have to sell a place I'm not living in.
Or take the loss of having an empty property.

(Of course, there is already enough empty property in the US to house all the homeless, so that's an additional issue that needs solving.)
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Keyman » Tue May 08, 2018 5:13 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Just to clarify what seems to be a misunderstanding of language here, still don't want to get into a long debate:

If someone has purchased a property as an investment, not for their own use, and they are unable to rent out that property, then the only way they have available to get any return on their investment is to sell the property. If they don't do that, then they just dumped their money into something useless to them. The latter scenario is a total loss on their investment: they put money in and got nothing (of any value to themselves) out. Nobody is being forced to sell anything they're not using or having anything taken away by force, but without the possibility of rent the market incentives are either to use it yourself, sell it (on whatever terms it will sell), or else just have a useless waste of money lying around. The latter is clearly the least attractive option, so for a property not being used by its owner, the clear best option is to sell. And if the only people buying are people who otherwise could only have afforded to rent (because nobody is buying just as an investment anymore), then to sell you'll have to offer terms that would-be renters could afford.
That does clarify things somewhat. Thank you.

I originally was gong to ask you to PM/post links to where you'd had this discussion before, so I could check details, etc. (but by then you'd decided to post the first 'summary') because I don't think you couldn't get rid of "rent" entirely. You'd have to exclude hotels for vacations and business travels, and make some accommodation for "short-term" stays, like a contractor coming to a town for a specific interval. And my first thoughts are the end-point would be more along the lines of gentrification and condominiums instead of more affordable housing for more of the population.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Keyman » Tue May 08, 2018 5:18 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Keyman wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Keyman wrote:a person can own only the living unit which they personally inhabit.
That's not quite what's being proposed, but even if it were, is it really that you can't wrap your head around it, or is it just that you don't like the idea of being unable to turn quite so much profit as a landlord?

Yeah that's it. I come from a long line of rapacious landlords.
I mean, it's a relatively straightforward proposition. I find it kind of unlikely that you genuinely don't understand what it means, and far more likely that you just disagree with it a lot so want it to mean something different.

It seems then "not using themselves" specifically exudes owning as rental property "in a world without rent". So I'd have to sell a place I'm not living in.
Or take the loss of having an empty property.

(Of course, there is already enough empty property in the US to house all the homeless, so that's an additional issue that needs solving.)

Think it unlikely all you want, but yes that "having an empty property" was the part I didn't understand.

ETA: And to be honest, that may indeed be why I didn't, as in the "he cannot really mean that, can he?" Because he didn't. But he explained it rather than assuming either an intellectual dysfunction or mean-spirited philosophy.
Last edited by Keyman on Tue May 08, 2018 5:25 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 08, 2018 5:21 pm UTC

That's the part about it not being exactly what was proposed. My contention was that even if the proposal had been "a person can own only the living unit which they personally inhabit", that wouldn't actually be a complicated proposition even if it is a disagreeable one.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue May 08, 2018 5:31 pm UTC

Keyman wrote:I originally was gong to ask you to PM/post links to where you'd had this discussion before, so I could check details, etc. (but by then you'd decided to post the first 'summary')

I'm not sure where exactly I've discussed this before, but if you search the forums for my username and "rent" you'll probably find multiple other threads.

because I don't think you couldn't get rid of "rent" entirely. You'd have to exclude hotels for vacations and business travels, and make some accommodation for "short-term" stays, like a contractor coming to a town for a specific interval.

For short-term use my system collapses to something basically indistinguishable from what we have already. You start paying for the unit in small rent-like payments that, if you continued them, would eventually end up with you owning the unit outright, but you don't necessarily have to continue them. Worst case scenario, you could just walk away, forfeit the money you've already spent like you would forfeit rental payments, and let the unit be repossessed like a rental unit would. But you could also resell the unit and maybe reclaim some of what you've paid on it, and if it's something like a hotel, they might be happy to buy it back from you, since that's their whole business model. For less than they sold it to you, naturally, though the possibility of you reselling it to someone else places competitive limits on the difference they can charge.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby airdrik » Tue May 08, 2018 9:44 pm UTC

Or you could emulate rent more directly by using interest-only loans: The non-rent payment amount is converted to some fixed interest rate on a loan from the non-landlord for the present value of the property. The non-rent payments don't affect the principal of the loan, which reduces the non-rent payment amount but removes the possibility of eventually fully owning the property. Then when the non-renter decides to leave they just sell the property back to the non-landlord to pay off the loan in a net-zero transaction which can be built into the contract. The net-zero transaction where the non-renter sells the property back to the non-landlord for the original value of the property is part of emulating the current rent situation where changes in market value during the rental period result in gains/losses for the landlord not the renter. Other contracts could be established which could shift that gain/loss to the non-renter, such as allowing the non-renter to sell the property back to the non-landlord for the current market value earning/paying the difference when leaving the contract.

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue May 08, 2018 10:41 pm UTC

Interest is just rent on money, so a rent-free world is also an interest-free world, and if contracts like you describe were possible then it would completely defeat the point of eliminating rent as people with more than they need for their own use could still lend it out to profit off of those with less than they need for their own use.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby CatCube » Wed May 09, 2018 9:11 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:For short-term use my system collapses to something basically indistinguishable from what we have already. You start paying for the unit in small rent-like payments that, if you continued them, would eventually end up with you owning the unit outright, but you don't necessarily have to continue them. Worst case scenario, you could just walk away, forfeit the money you've already spent like you would forfeit rental payments, and let the unit be repossessed like a rental unit would. But you could also resell the unit and maybe reclaim some of what you've paid on it, and if it's something like a hotel, they might be happy to buy it back from you, since that's their whole business model. For less than they sold it to you, naturally, though the possibility of you reselling it to someone else places competitive limits on the difference they can charge.


This is even more confusing. So if you can just "walk away" from property you've been paying monthly for as if it was a rental, that implies that the owner is the person you "bought" it from...but then how can you "resell the unit"? Or are you proposing that if you "own" a house and then "sell" it on the stream of monthly payments, you're in some kind of quantum ownership state where the waveform doesn't collapse until the person you "sold" it to makes the final payment?

Help me understand this: Let's look at how this works under the current system. I own a house that I've partially paid off, but I now have a wife and kid, so I need a bigger house. My options are basically: 1) sell the house or 2) rent it out.

If I go with option 1, the buyer will negotiate with their lender for an interest rate, down payment, and prinicpal, then negotiate with me for a purchase price. After all the agreements are made they drop a check on me, we sign the closure documents, and I have a big wad of money and I wash my hands completely of the property.

With option 2, I establish a monthly rent, by figuring out what my known and likely liabilities are. I know I owe property tax, the mortgage payment, insurance, that eventually I'll need to do a repainting and repairs on move-out, and can probably figure the likely repairs that will be required over time (both ones I could do and ones I'd have to hire a contractor for), though many of those will require large lump sums (like replacing a water heater or fixing the AC). If I have half a brain, I'll also figure out what the opportunity cost of renting rather than selling is, and add that in (hey, I could just get a lump sum check and invest the money in the stock market rather than bother with being a landlord). Finally, I need to figure out what kind of risks I'll have in terms of getting a bad tenant, and the times between tenants that the house will sit empty. Then I can figure out a rent that's likely to make enough profit to make this worthwhile, because otherwise you're putting in a lot of work for $2.50 an hour. Then I find a renter, mostly try to satisfy myself that they will actually pay me on time, and let them move in. I get a stream of monthly payments, have the fixed monthly costs to pay, and have large lump-sum costs every so often when something shits the bed--possibly to a large fraction of the value of the property if, say, the tenant turns out to be somebody you'd see on "Hoarders" and you have to have a hazmat company come in and take the walls down to the studs. Occasionally, the stream of payments dries up when I'm between tenants, or when a tenant doesn't pay their rent. So long as I balance the stream of payments to have working funds to pay the mortgage and these large lump sums when they come due, everything is fine. I have a source of income, but I also have ultimate responsibility for the property and all of its costs.

Now, assume we're operating under your proposed system (for the sake of clarity, "seller" and "buyer" refer to the person who used(?) to own the property and the person making monthly payments in your proposal). I want to move to another house. I can't rent out the old house, so my option is to "sell" it. However, it's not clear to me how this works. I get a string of payments from the "buyer". However, who pays if something breaks? Under the current structure there is a very clear answer as to who is responsible for maintenance: the owner. Which makes sense, because they get to capture the value of any repairs. There could be various contractual arrangements about sharing costs with a lessor (for example, my current lease requires that I carry $100,000 in insurance for all types of damage that I could cause, and is very clear that I am 100% responsible for any damage due to frozen pipes), but at the end of the day, major repairs will occur due to the owner hiring a contractor, and if they can't get the money from their lessor, then that sucks to be them and I hope they priced that risk into the rent. (I live in an apartment, and if I forget to put out my morning pop-tart fire I can cause way more than $100,000 of damage to the building.)

You do a bunch of handwaving above how if I'm the "buyer" I could buy some sort of insurance for maintenance, to include purchasing this insurance from the "seller" to be a quasi-landlord. By implication, this seems to imply that the "buyer" is responsible for property maintenance. However, if the "buyer" knows he's only going to be around for a couple years, if something really major is starting to go he could just say "fuck it" and walk away--or he could even do this if he just doesn't have the cash flow. This seems to then dump the property back onto me who now has the property again, but now broken. If the "buyer" had only been making payments for a few years, it's possible that I'm is now on the hook for repairs that far exceed the value of the payments I got that I'm going to have to make before they can try to "sell" the property again. You do further handwaving about how I should be able to legally go after the "buyer" in this situation, but the difficulty actually has less to do with the legal system and is more the fact that most people just don't have the assets to go after, even if the legal system was easy to use.

Further, if when does my responsibility extinguish? If my "buyer" has been making payment and doing repairs for 15 years, if they walk away am I really now responsible for "selling" the property again, even though I may have not been involved for a decade and a half (you seem to be otherwise assuming the "buyer" is more or less the owner as we now think of it, so do I as the "seller" have any rights to enter the property to inspect it)? If they don't walk away, but "sell" their interest to somebody else, how does my responsibility transfer? Do they have to pay me up front for the remaining 15 years? What if they can't sell their interest for enough to cover this because the area is economically depressed? Do I get the property back and can re-"sell" it?

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed May 09, 2018 4:54 pm UTC

CatCube wrote:This is even more confusing. So if you can just "walk away" from property you've been paying monthly for as if it was a rental, that implies that the owner is the person you "bought" it from...but then how can you "resell the unit"? Or are you proposing that if you "own" a house and then "sell" it on the stream of monthly payments, you're in some kind of quantum ownership state where the waveform doesn't collapse until the person you "sold" it to makes the final payment?

The buyer owns the property, and owes money to the seller. That owing of money is a debt, just like a loan. Think of making car payments. You own the car, and you owe the dealership money, and if you don't complete your payments they repossess the car. But you could still sell the car to someone else before you finish, and use the money from that sale to pay off what you owe the dealership.

The creation of debts happens every time there is a sale of anything, they're usually just due in one lump sum and moments later. If I agree to sell you a widget for $X and then I hand you the widget, now you have to hand me $X; you owe me $X, due right now, in one lump sum. But we could just as easily agree that you owe me $1/12X now, and another like that in a month, and so on for the next year. How much is due when is part of the terms of sale. Businesses doing business with other businesses arrange for terms like this with each other all the time; for example something like "NET 30" or "NET 60" are common standardized terms where the buyer owes the seller the full amount within 30 or 60 days,
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby sonar1313 » Wed May 09, 2018 5:25 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
CatCube wrote:This is even more confusing. So if you can just "walk away" from property you've been paying monthly for as if it was a rental, that implies that the owner is the person you "bought" it from...but then how can you "resell the unit"? Or are you proposing that if you "own" a house and then "sell" it on the stream of monthly payments, you're in some kind of quantum ownership state where the waveform doesn't collapse until the person you "sold" it to makes the final payment?

The buyer owns the property, and owes money to the seller. That owing of money is a debt, just like a loan. Think of making car payments. You own the car, and you owe the dealership money, and if you don't complete your payments they repossess the car. But you could still sell the car to someone else before you finish, and use the money from that sale to pay off what you owe the dealership.

The creation of debts happens every time there is a sale of anything, they're usually just due in one lump sum and moments later. If I agree to sell you a widget for $X and then I hand you the widget, now you have to hand me $X; you owe me $X, due right now, in one lump sum. But we could just as easily agree that you owe me $1/12X now, and another like that in a month, and so on for the next year. How much is due when is part of the terms of sale. Businesses doing business with other businesses arrange for terms like this with each other all the time; for example something like "NET 30" or "NET 60" are common standardized terms where the buyer owes the seller the full amount within 30 or 60 days,


It's actually very rare, except perhaps in the B2B transactions you mention (and perhaps late night TV ads for steak knives for five easy payments of $9.99) for payment to a seller to come in installments. The error in your statement is that you don't owe the dealership, you owe the bank. The car dealership gets all of its money right away. So does the seller of a house. The bank (or other financing agency) gives the money to the dealership immediately and you pay the bank back.

This seems like a pedantic difference but really it's all the difference in the world. Nobody would give anyone a major asset like a car or a house without cash in hand. If that cash in hand comes from a bank, fine. The rest is between the buyer and the bank. This is why your interest-free world would grind all commerce to a halt. People without enough money can't get that money if people with more money won't lend it to them, and nobody is doing any lending for free.

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby ucim » Wed May 09, 2018 6:50 pm UTC

Ok, so I own {thing} and you want to buy it. I'll sell it to you for $x, but you don't have $x. So, no sale. Sux to be you.

Or

I own a {thing} and you want to buy it. I'll sell it to you for $x, but you don't have $x. I can rent you $x if you agree to pay interest too. You don't believe in interest, so no deal. Sux to be you.

Or, I own a {thing} and you want to buy it. I'll sell it to you for $x, but you don't have $x. I withdraw the offer. It is now null and void. The market changed. Whatever. I make a new offer: I'll sell it to you on an installment plan of k easy payments of $(x/n), k>n, over the course of some time period.

Deal? Or sux to be you? How does the third scenario meaningfully differ from the second?

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Mikeski » Thu May 10, 2018 3:09 am UTC

ucim wrote:Ok, so I own {thing} and you want to buy it. I'll sell it to you for $x, but you don't have $x. So, no sale. Sux to be you.

Or

I own a {thing} and you want to buy it. I'll sell it to you for $x, but you don't have $x. I can rent you $x if you agree to pay interest too. You don't believe in interest, so no deal. Sux to be you.

Or, I own a {thing} and you want to buy it. I'll sell it to you for $x, but you don't have $x. I withdraw the offer. It is now null and void. The market changed. Whatever. I make a new offer: I'll sell it to you on an installment plan of k easy payments of $(x/n), k>n, over the course of some time period.

Deal? Or sux to be you? How does the third scenario meaningfully differ from the second?

Jose

The third scenario is different from the second in that devout Muslims would be allowed to do it, since charging interest is not allowed under Sharia law. Though there's usually a third party involved; you would sell the thing to a bank for $x, and the bank would sell it to the buyer for k payments of $(x/n).

Why something that is mathematically equivalent to interest is not considered "interest" for religious purposes is left as an exercise for the religious scholars. (The wikipedia article implies that the science is not settled.)

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu May 10, 2018 3:51 am UTC

The important difference is that under the third scheme there cannot be such a thing as an interest-only loan or usual property rent, where you pay and pay and pay and pay forever without end, because infinity is not a number and so cannot be a price. Under the third scheme, you always gradually acquire ownership. The less like that that infinite-price scenario we consider, the more the second and third schemes become alike, and that's fine with me, so long as they diverge in similarity as they approach that scenario.

Also: thank you for mentioning third party involvement as that answers most of the other questions I don't want to bother going into.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby orthogon » Thu May 10, 2018 7:26 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:The important difference is that under the third scheme there cannot be such a thing as an interest-only loan or usual property rent, where you pay and pay and pay and pay forever without end, because infinity is not a number and so cannot be a price.

Does k have to be realistic, though? Otherwise you could agree to pay back over a billion years, which for all practical purposes would be equivalent to an interest-only loan, or to a rental agreement. I guess you could say you have to finish paying before your normal retirement age.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby Keyman » Thu May 10, 2018 1:53 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:The important difference is that under the third scheme there cannot be such a thing as an interest-only loan or usual property rent, where you pay and pay and pay and pay forever without end, because infinity is not a number and so cannot be a price.

Does k have to be realistic, though? Otherwise you could agree to pay back over a billion years, which for all practical purposes would be equivalent to an interest-only loan, or to a rental agreement. I guess you could say you have to finish paying before your normal retirement age.

It doesn't have to be realistic. It just has to be agreed to.
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Re: 1971: "Personal Data"

Postby ucim » Thu May 10, 2018 2:16 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:The third scenario is different from the second in that devout Muslims would be allowed to do it, since charging interest is not allowed under Sharia law [...] Why something that is mathematically equivalent to interest is not considered "interest" for religious purposes is left as an exercise for the religious scholars.
Calling a tail a leg doesn't help a horse to walk.

Pfhorrest wrote:The important difference is that under the third scheme there cannot be such a thing as an interest-only loan or usual property rent, where you pay and pay and pay and pay forever without end...
Fair enough, although your reason for not wanting other people to have this transaction available (forcing the purchase price down) would not be promoted here, since n and k are unlimited.

Are you against gambling? Simply let n and k be variable (you are gambling on the outcome) and you can end up with a "pay forever" scenario.

I guess my point is that there are so many ways to generate "bad" transactions that focusing on rent (which has many good uses) as "the" evil is misguided. IMEO, of course.

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