Interview with Peter Haroutian

Peter Haroutian was trained in psychology. He is a member of the Worcester Property Owners Association, a landlord in Worcester, and the former manager of a housing and urban development (HUD) project. We interviewed him on December 15, 2014.  Our discussion ranges over the market run-up of the 80’s, his landlord-tenant philosophy, and generalized advice about divorce with large amounts of assets. We also get some insight into how a judge’s personality may be an important factor in court, and compare Massachusetts to other states in terms of landlord tenant laws.

 

Interview with Landlord Peter Haroutian of Worcester

[Start 0:00:00]

Douglas Quattrochi: Hi, my name is Doug Quattrochi, and my guest today is Peter Haroutian. Did I say that right?

Peter Haroutian: Correct.

Douglas Quattrochi: All right. Peter is a longtime landlord and a member of Worcester Property Owners Association. Peter, thank you for speaking with me.

Peter Haroutian: You’re welcome.

Douglas Quattrochi: So let’s start with an overview. How long have you been a landlord?

Peter Haroutian: Since ’84.

Douglas Quattrochi: Since ’84.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah, off and on.

Douglas Quattrochi: Off and on. Okay. Then how did you get into it originally?

Peter Haroutian: I did an unusual deal, which I didn’t know was unusual. I got involved in no money down (not with the courses or anything, I think most of them are full of baloney)

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Without realizing it, I was doing things that other people weren’t doing, and so we were at a picnic. Eddie Edeleson was there. He said, “Did you finally start?”

I said, “Yeah and I walked away with $10,000.”

He said, “What do you mean?”

Everybody turned around and looked like that. I thought, “What did I say wrong? I walked away with over $10,000,” I said.

They said, “How did you do that?”

In those days, it was different. The property, say was $46,000 and you put it down for $56,000 and that was it. You walked away with the difference.

Douglas Quattrochi: Wow, okay.

Peter Haroutian: They all said, “Whoa!”

Douglas Quattrochi: Did you buy at a high point or a low point in the ‘80s?

Peter Haroutian: I did very well at low point. I did very well without hurting anybody. I did very well with equity. I had usually 60 percent equity in anything I bought.

Douglas Quattrochi: Wow.

Peter Haroutian: Because that grew pretty fast because in the mid up to ’89 as I remember, I could be off a little here.

Douglas Quattrochi: We won’t hold you to it.

Peter Haroutian: Age, yeah. At ’89, it was moving fast.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: And so I bought a house on Grove Street, near Holden for $79,000, a two-family. I love the two-family. People thought it was a lot of money, so they didn’t buy it, and Doug Haddad. I heard Doug Haddad talking to people about the thing and they just kept hemming and hawing. I didn’t even lift my hand. I was reading, looking at the stuff. I said, “Doug, I’ll take it.”

Douglas Quattrochi: Wow.

Peter Haroutian: Just like that. He was back at me. I said, “Doug, I’ll take it,” and this went on for about 30 seconds.

He said, “What do you mean you’ll take it? You haven’t even seen it?”

I said, “I trust you and I’ll take it.” Okay, so I bought it for $79,000, and I sold it for $160,000 the year after.

Douglas Quattrochi: Wow.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. It was a different time. It was a different time and place.

Douglas Quattrochi: Did you have a business background before you started in the ‘80s?

Peter Haroutian: Absolutely none whatsoever. I had normal high school. I graduated from Clark. I went on to Assumption because you can’t go from undergrad to grad at Clark.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: In the same field.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay. Really. Okay.

Peter Haroutian: I’m going to go back for a PhD, and I decided that I was studying with a gentleman called Albert Ellis. He was the father of cognitive therapy in New York.

Douglas Quattrochi: Really. Okay.

Peter Haroutian: At the time, it was considered blasphemy. I was working at the state hospital, and after I got out of Clark in ’69 and I just took a different route entirely.

Douglas Quattrochi: You just decided a PhD wasn’t for you?

Peter Haroutian: There was no place that taught it because it wasn’t recognized.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: I just wasn’t I’m not into anything because it’s there like a degree or anything like that. I decided not to do it.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: And I was teaching established professionals, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

Douglas Quattrochi: Wow! I didn’t realize it. Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: People just seem to never have really gotten the gist of cognitive therapy, which will grow into because they think it’s just the way you think. It’s not just the way you think. It’s also there’s a way to changing the way you think, and that’s not as simple as just knowing you think poorly about something.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: It’s much when you believe. It’s like a lot of people who when it comes to real estate, they want to be hard on actually a customer if you will or a tenant.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: However you want to call them and they cause the problems.

Douglas Quattrochi: You talked about this before, before we started. You said some landlords are students of the kick-ass school where they tend to treat people really hard, but that’s not your style.

[0:05:02]

Peter Haroutian: It’s not because it’s do-goodie thing. It’s practical. You’re in business.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: When you go out into the street into a store and they treat you like crap, you’re not going to stay there. You’re going to go to the next store.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: You have feelings. The person getting the crap has feelings.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: So does everybody we interact with. If you’re not respecting them – so it’s not respect to be soft. Some people say, “Oh, boy, you’ve never had inner city.” I have. I had inner city quite a bit. I had property from here to Gilbertville, and I had ocean condos in southern Maine‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Wow. Okay.

Peter Haroutian: In New York and whatnot.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: The thing is everywhere you go, you have to maintain respect for the other person.

Douglas Quattrochi: Absolutely, yeah.

Peter Haroutian: And they feel it.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: I know a lot of smart people who feel it and saying to themselves maybe consciously or unconsciously, “You’ll get yours,” which isn’t an excuse. I mean it’s not a reason not to do it but the point is that they’re people.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: That’s what people do. That’s what landlords are doing when they retaliate.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: That’s what landlords are doing when they’re angry right off the bat and stuff like that.

Douglas Quattrochi: It’s not good.

Douglas Quattrochi: A lot of tenancies end or at least in my experience end in separation where two tenants come in together as a family and then one of them decides to leave, would you immediately jump to notice to quit if the remainder can’t afford to live there? Would you try to help that person?

Peter Haroutian: Well, if you don’t know your people by then, there’s going to be more trouble.

Douglas Quattrochi: So you should know whether that person is going to be able to be a good tenant on their own?

Peter Haroutian: If you’ve been respectful with them and worked things out, I mean I’m not saying give anything away.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: This is what people interpret it‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: As giving something away, or being weak and so on and so forth. It’s not that. You’re in business.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: I’ll give you an example. If it’s off the beat let me know.

Douglas Quattrochi: No, let’s have an example.

Peter Haroutian: I bought on Wayne Street in Worcester around ’87 or so.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: The guy got rid of the house, a three-decker because he wasn’t getting his rent.

Douglas Quattrochi: So he had problems with the tenants?

Peter Haroutian: So he had problems with his tenants.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: I bought the place and the first-floor tenants, I’ll never forget them, ever forget them. I’ll forget their name, but I’ll never forget the incident. It was an intact family.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: Meaning the way you define it – a husband and wife and two kids. When I went there, I took notice very, very rapidly took notice. The kids were barefooted. This was winter.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: They were barefooted and the place was a little cold and whatnot. I acknowledged the children. People are proud of their children. Because they’re poor doesn’t mean they’re not proud of their children.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah, sure.

Peter Haroutian: …they’re not proud of them. Of course they are.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: We talked for a while. We got to know each other for a little while. I said, “I understand you haven’t been paying your rent either on time or at all.” The guy kind of looked away a little bit, and so I said to myself he doesn’t have the money.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: I said, “Okay. Is there something that we can do about that? Is there any way we can make that easier?”

He said, “Well, I get paid a week and then it’s if I have to pay it a full month,” – I’m paraphrasing here – “all at once, I don’t have the money.”

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: Now this wasn’t the first meeting. This was two or three meetings when he starts to relax, he saw I wasn’t trying to kill him or de-ball him or anything else.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yes, yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Which was very important to him obviously.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: And to most people.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right. You didn’t just go in with an eviction notice. You tried to find a solution.

Peter Haroutian: No, no, no. He turned out to be one of my best payers except it went weekly payments.

Douglas Quattrochi: Weekly? Better for cashflow.

Peter Haroutian: It was his idea.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay. That’s a great example. Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. I mean they’re people. Again, I’m not talking about social work here. I’m talking about if you have 20 tenants, you treat them the same.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah. Right.

Peter Haroutian: With respect (A) but (B) you don’t treat one better the other, one less than the other, and you don’t treat any of them badly.

[0:10:02]

Douglas Quattrochi: Do you think this was part of your upbringing as a person or is this something you actively learned and worked on? Why do some people give their tenants so? Why do some landlords give their tenants a really hard time?

Peter Haroutian: Jeez, that’s a really tough question, but background, my upbringing and stuff had nothing to do with it in terms of learning. I just think some people tend to be more adaptable than others. I do believe that.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay, so you’ve adapted to the reality, which is where you are a landlord and you have tenants. Sometimes there are things you need to talk through difficult things, but you always make the effort.

Peter Haroutian: Well I honestly believe things are all related in the sense that what I do now in here will affect other things, and if I get nasty with you and so on and so forth, that’s not good.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah. That somehow comes back to you.

Peter Haroutian: Somehow, it will come back and even more so because if you’re doing that, you have a pattern anyway.

Douglas Quattrochi: That’s a fair point. Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: If you’re treating people that way in general, you think well I’m the landlord‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: And I’m going places and I want the money and stuff like that. I’ll probably get in trouble for this, but when I read on the WPOA – is that a blog? Do you call it a blog?

Douglas Quattrochi: The message board.

Peter Haroutian: The message board.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: There’s something going on right now in the message board, and‑

Douglas Quattrochi: About doorbells?

Peter Haroutian: Yeah.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: It’s not their fault that they knew somebody broke the doorbells apparently, but that’s the cost of doing business.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right. So the doorbells are broken and the landlord says am I legally required to have doorbells?

Peter Haroutian: Correct.

Douglas Quattrochi: And the answer is no, you’re not legally required, but your contribution was well you really should.

Peter Haroutian: Well, it’s practical. You’re giving them a message.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: I don’t know these people. He knows people that are in the house. I assume it’s a three-family. I think he said, right?

Douglas Quattrochi: I’m not sure.

Peter Haroutian: Okay. Well, he has to know all those people.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: I mean he has to do a little more thinking beyond the fact that I collect my rent.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: I don’t mean him. I’m not singling him out. I’m just saying that’s what you have to be thinking about I think all the time that’s your money.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: That’s your – what do they call that? Your breadbasket.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: You don’t want to poop in your breadbasket.

Douglas Quattrochi: You don’t want to fall into ruin by not replacing broken doorbells.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. You’re not really being sweet on people and you’re not really being kind on people. You’re being very practical.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: You may not like the form or whatever, but I think to embrace the form of respect and treating everybody the same. For instance now the doorbell thing. How do you think those tenants are taking it?

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: It’s possible that one of the tenants did it.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: But then again you don’t know that.

Douglas Quattrochi: It could have been wear and tear. It could have been something wrong with it.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. Plus I don’t understand how they’ve taken the bells off outside or whatever affects everything out.

Douglas Quattrochi: I don’t remember the details of that. Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. It’s the thing but the point is, I’m not reading anywhere there of concern for the tenants.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right, right.

Peter Haroutian: And the fact that there is also liabilities, so everything is related.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: Someone could get hurt upstairs when someone is not there.

Douglas Quattrochi: And because the doorbell does not improve a means of communication?

Peter Haroutian: Yeah.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Maybe they make it to the phone. Maybe they call 911 and whatever.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: But then what?

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: Then they’ll have to break the door down downstairs.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: And then the landlord is not going to like that because‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah, yeah.

Peter Haroutian: It’s not as simple as a lot of times we make it.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah. I really appreciate your perspective on that doorbell situation because it’s a great example of how you always think about what’s best for the tenants and what’s practical from the point of view of running a business. It’s also why I was so surprised to hear at the barbecue a year or two ago where you said you had been through that horrible divorce and you lost all of your properties. Will you be willing to share that story?

Peter Haroutian: Well, I think I could share it in a broader sense.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: Which I think is very important, and you’re bringing up a very, very important issue. Why are you buying houses? What is your goal? What’s your short-term, what’s your medium-range goal, and what’s your long-term goal? Okay. You have to have some awareness of that. For instance, in my case I hadn’t set up any LLCs or anything like that because I didn’t go into it as trying to be a mega-lord.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: I went into it because I was enjoying the fact that I was buying no-money down. This was great. I mean this was when at a time when I said “what a country”.  I meant it.

[0:15:01]

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: I don’t say that anymore unless I’m being facetious or sarcastic because of what’s happening to people. It’s coming from the top. It’s not just the government.

Douglas Quattrochi: We can come to that in a minute.

Peter Haroutian: It’s the corporations. But anyway also certain corporation. If I had set up a bunch of LLCs trust or whatever, if that was only goal in life, but of course my goal in life wasn’t to get divorced and set up LLCs and so forth.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: I think I have to keep that in mind. If you want to make an agreement, that’s fine. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Douglas Quattrochi: You mean like a prenuptial agreement?

Peter Haroutian: Prenuptials.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Or as you go along, or whatever. I do know of very big landlords. I don’t know if he’s still around, or living, or whatever, but he divorced and she didn’t get anything, which I don’t believe in, but my point being is he was in it for the money.

Douglas Quattrochi: And he had taken steps to protect that.

Peter Haroutian: He had taken enormous steps. I didn’t view that because that wasn’t where I was coming from. You have to know where you’re coming from.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah, what are your goals.

Peter Haroutian: It makes a big difference because in today’s money, those property who have way about $20 million‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah. Did she lose the properties while you liquidated everything?

Peter Haroutian: No, no. There was no gain for anybody.

Douglas Quattrochi: Wow! Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Everybody is at a different spot. The properties were the least of them. I didn’t want to get divorced.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah, yeah. I can understand.

Peter Haroutian: Now, but getting back to your question, you better be thinking about those things now.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: You also have people who inherit property.

Douglas Quattrochi: We get a lot of new members that way.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. Then they inherit the property, but they’re not thinking “landlord.”

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: They’re not thinking responsibility and business, and I’m not judging them honestly. What I’m talking about is the way in which you think will come back on you one way or another.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: You’re not going to win them all. I ran a 72-unit HUD building also, okay.

Douglas Quattrochi: Did you? Wow! Okay.

Peter Haroutian: It was the best of the county if I don’t mind saying that.

Douglas Quattrochi: All right.

Peter Haroutian: People still call me today and I retired 10 years ago. People still call me today because they don’t like the way they’re being treated and there’s nothing I can do. I tell them talk to them as much as you can. Call HUD if you have to, and so forth. That whole process of all those units and everything in my own units, I’ve had maybe, maybe and I didn’t include those when you ask me about‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah. How many ‑

Peter Haroutian: Maybe I’ve had five evictions.

Douglas Quattrochi: Really? Wow!

Peter Haroutian: Okay, because you’re going to work things out.

Douglas Quattrochi: It’s a low number, right? Say five evictions.

Peter Haroutian: My gosh, yeah.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah, and very low because we have some members who are in court regularly.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah, regularly. Regularly and they’re usually‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Well we won’t get into that.

Peter Haroutian: I know one of the quite frankly a man that I was very impressed with was Al Goldsmith.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: Al was a member way back‑

Douglas Quattrochi: I don’t think I have ever met him.

Peter Haroutian: He owned about 100 units.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: Many of them were single-family units.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: He was a lawyer.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: But he wasn’t an active lawyer, and he treated everybody with respect across the board, and that was golden. He did extremely well. People like Eddie Edelson, and Al Goldsmith and some of those old-timers were really kind of like what I look for.

Douglas Quattrochi: What you kind of aspire to be yourself?

Peter Haroutian: Sure, sure.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Learn from them.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah. Do landlords have a stereotype? Is there a stereotypical like if you’re not in landlord-tenant business, is there a stereotype of landlords and do you and the Al Goldsmiths of the world kind of break that mold or do they?

Peter Haroutian: Well no. I think that most landlords are responsible. I think they’re fine because they’re good people in that sense.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: They don’t distinguish – I think it’s very dangerous to distinguish people as different under the circumstances. They’re poor, they’re this, they’re that, therefore‑

Douglas Quattrochi: You don’t like to categorize people?

Peter Haroutian: I don’t think it helps. I don’t think it clarifies. I think if you take all the categories, do that constantly and you look at statistics again‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: That’s when you’re going to tell whether you’re on the right track.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: If you’re in court all the time, I’d question the track you’re on.

[0:20:01]

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah. Right. It’s got to be hugely expensive, too, because you’ve got to hire attorneys. You’ve got to serve notices. From a practicality point of view, you’ve got to question it.

Peter Haroutian: That’s a serious question‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: About that whole thing, but Al Goldsmith and Eddie Edelson. Eddie Edelson was Artie Mooradian’s partner.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: He’s a very nice person.

Douglas Quattrochi: With your five evictions, what happened? You just couldn’t find a solution?

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. Those are the people I know they’re out there as there are landlords out there.. What’s the difference? If you can’t talk to the landlord, it’s his way or the highway and you had a tenant it’s his way or the highway, I’m the ‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Same kind of person.

Peter Haroutian: What is the difference? I could not save them and one of them is recent. One of them is recent. I had people for 5 to 7 years and we’re fine and everything.

Douglas Quattrochi: After 5 or 7 years?

Peter Haroutian: And they were late on rent and stuff like that, and I work with them and they got to take it. It looked like they got to see it as they were going to believe that I would have to evict them. They’re just weren’t.

Douglas Quattrochi: They thought you’d be nice forever?

Peter Haroutian: Yeah.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: It’s a good point. It’s not a question of being nice. It’s a question of trying to work on issues and problems and whatnot.

Douglas Quattrochi: That’s a better way to say it. I agree.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah, and it really is because this person has highly excellent job. Husband worked or so. It wasn’t that their rents were not a strain. It was a single house.

Douglas Quattrochi: Why didn’t they pay, do you think?

Peter Haroutian: Who knows? Exactly. It came down to that. I tried to work for them to buy the house because all they ever said was, they love the place.

Douglas Quattrochi: Really?

Peter Haroutian: But they didn’t come forth and they were straining me.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: It happens.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: My point here is that you can’t win them all and even if you have a good track record, as a cost of doing business and as odds go, as statistic go, you’re going to get stung.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: But you have to be aware of that.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: You’re not going to get through the thing unscathed.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: But that doesn’t mean that because this people were like that, that the next pitch will be like that, and all people are like that.

Douglas Quattrochi: Of course not. Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: To me, you have to really keep that in mind.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: And it’s for you again. As landlord, it’s for you as well is to keep the damage down.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: It’s to keep the lawsuits down. It’s to keep out of court mostly.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right. Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: I mean you’re talking ’84 to 2014, five evictions.

Douglas Quattrochi: With a peak of 50 units plus are you counting the HUD units ‑

Peter Haroutian: Yeah, yeah.

Douglas Quattrochi: In the eviction count?

Peter Haroutian: Yeah, yeah. All of that.

Douglas Quattrochi: Including the HUD units? Wow!

Peter Haroutian: Yeah.

Douglas Quattrochi: Wow!

Peter Haroutian: Sure.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah, and they talk about the Section 8 the other day when we were at the meeting and stuff. What they didn’t tell you and should tell you is that a lot of those rules aren’t their rules. A lot of them are HUD rules especially with Section 8 that from my understanding of it is this if Section 8 is a real problem with the people giving this Section 8, they can walk away. You have to do due diligence. Now no matter what you do, it’s between you and the people.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right. Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: There’s no free ride. There’s no “Oh boy, I can get some money with Section 8.”

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah, definitely.

Peter Haroutian: I can get some problems with Section 8, too.

Douglas Quattrochi: I think that’s probably how many people think about it. Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. It’s not a free ride. There is no free ride. We are businesspeople.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: You could be nice as heck or nasty as heck. You’re still a businessperson.

Douglas Quattrochi: That’s right. As a businessperson, you’ve tried to interact with city and state officials at different times? Are you still having difficulty with the assessment of one of your buildings?

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. A lot of that has to do because I haven’t pushed probably hard enough, but the thing is I’ve been down to city hall a few times, and they kind of shuck me off.

Douglas Quattrochi: Really?

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. Nobody cares, and nobody will ever care. It’s like politics, corporations, government, and everything. I don’t separate them at all. Okay. It’s like if you don’t anything about it, if you don’t get off your fanny, if you don’t get organized, that’s what’s going to happen. The gentleman I don’t know his name that made a thing about a lobbyist ‑ I think he’s saying that for I don’t know how many years at the meeting.

[0:25:00]

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah, that was Bill.

Peter Haroutian: All those bills, most those bills are squashed or not squashed based on certain people.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: They’re not going there to be honorable and respectful and legislators are anything most of them today are for themselves. If you don’t get off your duff…

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Same thing with the landlord rules and regulations. The problem is really the courts.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right. Do you think so?

Peter Haroutian: I think so, yeah. I do.

Douglas Quattrochi: In terms of the decisions that they send out or the backlog cases?

Peter Haroutian: Well, I remember when Judge Martin came into the city. I studied him very carefully. I never lost with Judge Martin.

Douglas Quattrochi: Really?

Peter Haroutian: Because I made sure I didn’t act like I knew what I was doing better than he knows what he was doing, okay. I did not compete with him, all right. I watched the way he did things and I noted quite frankly that I scout a court and sit around for a while. I noted frankly that he would make a decision and he would tell you why, and it could be opposite of what he made last week and it was the same issue.

Douglas Quattrochi: He was deciding what based on personality clashes?

Peter Haroutian: It was partly that. It seemed that it was arbitrary. It seemed that there were some rumors that he was trying to prove something else. I don’t know if that’s true, so I won’t say if he was trying to prove.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: But when you go to court, you better know how to deal with the court. You better know how to maneuver at the court. I heard all the screaming and yelling and all those, “Forget the lawyer. They’re just like there.” That doesn’t tell you why they’re saying it.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: That doesn’t tell you why they feel that way, okay. They’re probably not getting it. They’re probably were absolutely wrong in the way in which they handled it.

Douglas Quattrochi: The landlord, you were saying?

Peter Haroutian: Yeah.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. I mean it’s very, very possible is it not?

Douglas Quattrochi: It’s possible, sure.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. And the thing is most of the problems I find are from the courts, and above them the legislature, and I think that’s they’re very “pro-tenants.” The thing is you have to find out why. You have to find out why that’s going on, who the pertinent people are, so the gentleman at the last meeting who said that you have to deal with lobbyists‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: I’ve always said that.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: And so, going to court, going to court, yelling and screaming, and yelling‑

Douglas Quattrochi: Makes no difference?

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. It makes it worse.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: It makes it worse. It just is not going to help anything. How would it help anything? Because you think you’re right?

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah. It just creates this picture of landlords as unreasonable angry people.

Peter Haroutian: As unreasonable, self-indulgent.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right.

Peter Haroutian: Condescending.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: Know best.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: It’s not about that. It’s about that. That’s the one thing that Judge Martin made kind of clear: this is a business and it truly is a business. Sure, you’re going to get a lawyer who maybe didn’t do the best they could do or stuff like that, but they have to work with what you’ve done before them.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: I would say sure be careful how you choose your lawyer, but don’t throw him off the window.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah, all right.

Peter Haroutian: You’re throwing the baby out with the bath.

Douglas Quattrochi: If you think the courts could be better, decisions could be more consistent, or you think the laws could be better, what gives you the biggest bang for your buck if you’re going to go into the system and make a little change?

Peter Haroutian: The laws definitely. I was licensed in four states okay when I was a broker.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: All right. I was a realtor in Massachusetts. I was licensed in the contingent states.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay.

Peter Haroutian: Rhodes, Iowa, Maine. I don’t remember the other – New Hampshire.

Douglas Quattrochi: New Hampshire, okay.

Peter Haroutian: They have the same laws basically. Basically in Maine, they’re actually more liberal.

Douglas Quattrochi: Okay, all right.

Peter Haroutian: However, if a person says, “I didn’t pay my rent because I got a hole in the wall. There’s a hole in the wall.”

The judge will say, “Was the hole in the wall there when you rented it? Was the hole in the wall there when you rented it?”

“No, sir.”

Douglas Quattrochi: That’s it. That’s the case.

Peter Haroutian: That’s it! The laws, it’s not just the laws how liberal they are. It’s the mindset, and that mindset has to be turned around, and it can’t be turned around by screaming and yelling.

[0:30:11]

Douglas Quattrochi: No, that’s for sure.

Peter Haroutian: Yeah. That’s pretty naïve.

Douglas Quattrochi: That’s for sure.

Peter Haroutian: Being self-righteous could hurt you so bad whether you’re a landlord or whether you’re in court or whether you’re going down to Boston. You cannot be self-righteous.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: You’re basically sticking it to the people you are talking to.

Douglas Quattrochi: Right, which is not productive.

Peter Haroutian: Because you know better.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah.

Peter Haroutian: You can’t do that.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our members here?

Peter Haroutian: Just that we’re all in it together whether you want to like that or believe that or care to hear it.

Douglas Quattrochi: It’s a good message.

Peter Haroutian: And that’s how you get what you need.

Douglas Quattrochi: Yeah. Well, thanks so much, Peter. I really appreciate taking the time to talk with me today.

Peter Haroutian: You’re welcome.

Douglas Quattrochi: All right.

[End 0:31:07]

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