ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
A French Quarter property investor is seeking a rental increase from one of his tenants this week as the world returns to something resembling the old world.
In late 2019, Walter Butler’s unrenovated townhouse on Rue Les Taudis was renting out for close to $700 a week.
However, when the pandemic hit in March of 2020, swathes of young professionals and ex-pats left the French Quarter for greener pastures in the suburbs which left property speculators such as Walter left in a bit of a jam.
“It got to the point where I was just happy to have my mortgage payments covered by the rent, which in this day and age is revolting,” he explained.
“At one point, nearly a fifth of my property was vacant. I get chills even thinking about it now.”
Two young professionals looking to upgrade their living arrangements were able to rescue Walter from embarrassment down at the golf club in April – but with one catch.
“They offered me $575 a week, which I reluctantly took. It was just enough to pay the mortgage on the property, with a bit left over to cover the repayments on my Prado,” he said.
“But now that we are returning to regular programming, I wrote to my property manager to say I’d like to raise the rent back to $700 a week when the lease expires in April.”
Walter concedes that the rental market, especially in Betoota, hasn’t full bounced back but he’s confident it will before the current agreement expires.
In response, Walter’s tenants have asked him if he’s considered getting fucked.
That puts Walter in a tough place, said his property manager.
Leasing agent Peter Yousless said tenants in the French Quarter still have the upper hand and Walter might have to take his tenants’ offer into consideration.
“From what I know, Walter’s tenants are happy to move out and leave the property vacant at the end of the lease – and in this market, it will be vacant for a month or two – which I understand is bad. I don’t know, I’m just a leasing agent,” said Peter.
“So taking that into account, Walter might have to get fucked. Or at the very least, take the rent and shove it up his arse, which was another offer he received recently,”
“He has some thinking to do between now and the lease ending, that’s for sure.”
More to come.