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March 25, 1983 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-25
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

a

v

a

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v

U U

HOusing
from 1
more than 13 percent.
The jump in the rate has opened
doors that had always been shut in
students' faces. Tenants were actually
in a position to demand - and receive
- repairs before theysigned a lease, to
negotiate rents, and to work out eight-
month leases at reasonable rates. Lan-
dlords even began to volunteer new
furniture and carpeting to keep old
tenants and draw new ones.
The landlords say they're suffering
irrevocable losses. Some say the new
conditions, along with climing costs on.
all fronts, are forcing them out of a
business they were certain would be
profitable.
Even though some experts predicted a rise
in the vacancy rate as early as the spring of
1980, landlords, tenants, and city and
University housing officials were stun-

ned when the rate soared to 13.7 percent
in 1981.
"It seemed like its was almost over
night," says Fred Bohl, information
manager for the city's planning depar-
tment. "For the first time in years, I
remember seeing little vacancy .signs
on houses."
But some tenant advocates say they
find the double-digit vacancy rate a lit-
tle hard to swallow. "It's virtually im-
possible for me to believe that between
1980 and the spring of 1983, the vacancy,
rate has gone up six times," says Paul
Teich, a lawyer for the University's
Student Legal Services who specializes
in housing cases. "I think it could be as
low as 3 percent."
Teich says landlords have strong
political motives to inflate statistics
when they report their vacancies to the
University's Housing Office. Because
landlords have an ongoing relationship
with the housing office, they want to be
seen in as positive a light as possible,
Teich says. They use inflationary tac-
tics to earn sympathy, he says, because
it's to the landlords' advantage if the
housing office and tenants think they're
in dire financial straits.

Housing office officials, however,
think it works the opposite way. "If
anything, I would think they would in-
flate the figure of units rented tomake
the picture seem rosier," says Jo Rum-
sey, assistant director for University
housing information.
But even some landlords doubt the
accuracy of the overall figure. Dick
Vale, owner of Ravalp Management
Co., says that when the vacancy rate of
13.21 percent was announced in Sep-
tember, he had all but 3 percent of his
175 units rented. By the end of Septem-
ber, says Vale, he had nothing left.
Even if, as Teich says, the vacancy
rate has climbed only from 1 to 3 per-
cent, Ann Arbor's rental housing
market has experienced a drastic tur-
naround.
"Money is the biggest (factor) of
all," says Rumsey. Most students who
come into the housing office today, she
says, are looking for the cheapest place
they can find. They are willing to
sacrifice quality, location, and the
luxury of having their own bedrooms to
save money.
Throughout the '70s, landlords say,
the emphasis was on privacy. Students
wanted to have their own rooms and
they were willing to pay for it.
"The economy has reached a point
that the parents of the students have set
an upper budget, and that's all they
have to spend," says Tom Clark, who
owns more than 50 units on campus.
That means students aren't exactly
beating down the doors to get efficien-
cies and one-bedroom apartments,
which run between $300 and $350. Many
are opting instead to squeeze eight or
nine people into a six-bedroom house.
Others are turning to apartments
several miles away from campus. Bet-
ween 1981 and 1982, the number of
students commuting to the University
from such remote areas as Ypsilanti
jumped by about 900.

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callIs
Psychedelic Fars
Prism Productions
Michigan Theatre
8 p.m., Sunday, March 27

I

;,.

Landlords: Snowed under
insurance rates for rental units and
property taxes haven't helped, they
say.
.At the same time, landlords readily
admit they don't expect to make much
money on their rents, anyway. The only
time they can really clean up is when
they sell their property, and even then
the market conditions have to be right.
"People do not make money renting
houses," says Klein, an independent
landlord. The money, he says, comes
from buying and selling. "In the mean-
time, you try to wait it out, keep the
property up, keep your tenants happy,
and hope you break even."
Right now, it's the buying and selling
part that's giving landlords a hard
time. Although property value in the
campus area has stabilized and even

'People
houses . .

property
hope youI

do not make money renting
. you try to wait it out, keep the
up, keep your tenants happy, and
break even!'
-Perry Klein,
independent landlord

By Larry Dean
Editor's note: All the events and
characters depicted in this journalistic
investigation are based in reality. The
Psychedelic Furs are a modern rock
group (electric guitars, vocals, etc.).
Their most recent album, "Forever
Now," is very entertaining.
T HE TELEPHONE is a necessary
element in today's society. Without it
we would be as isolated from one an-
other as shipwrecked sailors on a
desert island. No longer can man com-
municate by means of a carrier
pigeon's wings, or the ancient custom of
smoke-signals; even Western Union is
out of date. No, it is the smooth push-
button precision of Ma Bell that reaches
out and touches that special someone a
million miles away.
Given the assignment of writing an
article on the coming of the Psychedelic
Furs by a world-weary editor, I was
faced with a number of contradicting
impressions: how could I, in my solip-
sistic state, ever dream of putting down
my own personal opinions on the Psych
Furs without alienating those members
of the populace who scoff at their
questionable presence in the musical
hierarchy? So, Trimline in hand, I
sought my answers over the telephone
poles of the United States.
Taking the issues to the people, I first
called a Mr. Donald G. Furre of Por-
tland, Oregon. Mr. Furre answered the
phone with a gruff and authoritative
"Hello," which was expected, but
which nonetheless threw my casual-
demeanor off for a moment. As I ex-
plained my purpose to Mr. Furre, he
listened silently and intently, but his
facade of indifference was melting
away with each uttered syllable.
Mr. Furre professed to never having
heard of the Psychedelic Furs, but
thought their name was "appropo to
many other rock band names." He cited
the Mothers of Invention as a band that
came to mind in comparison.
Furre also said that he found rock
bands to be "faddish" and disapproved
of the whole drug scene that is so
readily connected with the world of the
rock musician. Our call concluded with
pleasantries 'and a hearty barrage of
appreciation from yours-truly that Mr.
Furre could speak so candidly to a total
stranger.
Excited about the prospects of this
new method of journalistic in-
vestigation, my fingers took me to
the Windy City and Mr. John Pavlis, of
Furs by John Pavlis, Inc.
From the onset, Mr. Pavlis was gen-
tlemanly and helpful, addressing me as
'sir' and sincerely mulling over my
questions. "I never heared before this
kind of group, and I don't like rock

music," said Mr Pavlis. "I like soft
music.. ." he then tired to convince me
that this was because of his age by ad-
ding, "I like nice, soft music. We don't
like the noise."
When asked his opinion on the name
'Psychedelic Furs,' Mr. Pavlis said it
meant nothing to him.
As our call wound up to a close, ILasked
Mr. Pavlis about the weather in
Chicago. "We have rain all day long,"
he sighed. "lousy weather." However,
he had to admit that the wetness could
not ruin the picturesque beauty of
Chicago. I hung up with the feeling that
I had tapped into something very right
and mysterious with Mr. Pavlis, that he
had left me with a cryptic clues to his
true feelings about the Psychedelic
Furs: rain, dreariness, grey
skies-yet the hidden beauty shows
through, transcending the murkiness by
offering faint hope in things fantastic.
When the next callee answered, it
was a young lady from Furr's Cafeteria
in Santa Fe. Though she was extremely
busy, she greeted me with a cheery
"Can I help you?" to which I em-
phatically answered "yes."
She told me she, too, had never heard
of the Psychedelic Furs, although their
name sounded alright. In fact, it remin-
ded her of "somebody eating on furs." I
think she'd been working too long.
'taking a moment out to help ring up a
customer's bill, the young lady retur-
ned to the phone and turned the tables
with a question of her own: "What kind
of music do they play?" Hard-pressed
to give an accessible and semi-concise
comparison, I told her that they soun-
ded like Roxy Music. "Roxy?" she
quipped. "What kind of music is that?"I
explained as Dest I couia ana sne ended
our conversation by apologising about
her lack of musical knowledge. I
soothed her bruised ego by telling her
how much she had helped me, and gave
an upbeat "good-bye" as the sound of a
cash register ringing up another bill
culminated my encounter with a Furr's
Cafeteria employee.
Though my calls until then had given
me a great deal of input from the collec-
tive unconscious of America, I still felt
that I had not really broken any new
ground on the Psychedelic Furs ex-
perience. Undaunted, I consulted the
telephone-talkers' bible, the Phone
Book, looking under the white pages of
a sprawling metropolis: San Francisco.
There I found what promised to be my
answer: Fur Design Interiors.
With shaking hands, I pushed the ac-
cording numbers in sequence, being
careful not to upset a single one. When a
recording informed me that the number
had been changed, I almost lost all
hope; but seconds later, a new one was
given to me, which I called, waiting
breathlessly as the phone rang.
A secretary answered and patched me
through to-the Fur Design Department,
where a spunky lass with an Irish ac-
cent answered. After the appropriate
introductions were made, she asked,
"Is it a psychedelic band you're talking
about?" I told her it was more a catchy
tag then anything absolute. "Then
what's 'furs' got to do with it?" she in-
sisted, drilling me better than any
average Joe Friday-type character. "I
think they picked the image because
they wanted one that was soft and
furry," I said, grabbing for straws.
"What?" she responded with astonish-
ment and laughter. "It's crazy. Listen,

Campus-area landlords, don't like
these trends very much, and they're
working hard to protect themselves. At-
torney Teich asserts that although lan-
dlords may be losing money on units
that are sitting vacant, they are making
a lot of it'back by charging more per
person for occupied apartments. For
example, he says, if a landlord is ren-
ting a two-bedroom apartment to three
people, he will often charge the tenants
$85 each instead of charging two tenan-
ts $100 each.
Rumsey, however, says this is a sim-
plistic view of the landlords'
predicament. "They are making some
of (the loss) up, but not as much as they
were making before, when they could
rent out their whole apartment."
Landlords are quick to say they are
not making the profits they once did.
While rents have remained the same or
dropped over the last two years, the
cost of utilities for landlords, par-
ticularly heat, has skyrocketed. Rising

dropped over the last few years, high
interest and mortgage rates are
making it difficult to find buyers. Ad-
ding to this misery, more and more
homeowners finding it difficult to sell
their houses are renting to students and
adding to the supply of available
housing.
So, the landlords say they're waiting
it out, and keeping the property up is
becoming more and more important to
them in the scramble to attract tenants.
Five years ago, students were often
lucky if their' landlord fixed a broken
window within a week; holes in the
walls could go unattended for months.
William Yadlowsky, supervisor of the -
city's housing bureau, says the
economy and stepped-up inspections
have forced landlords to dip into their
wallets more often. Students know they
no longer have to settle for dilapidated
housing, he says. "They know they're
not stuck like they were in the- old
days."

Richard Butler: Furs vocalist backstal
let me put you on with somebody who'll
be able to handle it. It's too much for
me to end my day that I can't take it."
I agreed, and she passed the receiver
on to her boss. "I never heard of
Psychedelic Furs!" he burst in with,
adding that he name was "incongrous
with furs ... They're opposing names.
Somebody wants to have an outstanding
name, something that's incongrous is a
good name." Then he stated: "As far as
its logic, it is illogical."
Yes! This man had come across
something that all the others had not.
He had achieved Zen by some means
alien to himself and was, even then,
using his newfound knowledge to
educate those less fortunate.
Diverging from our meditations for a
moment, I asked him about Fur Design
Interiors. He told me that it was a
business dealing in fur-covered home
furnishings. Immediately I thought of
the Psychedelic Furs and how pleased
they would be to know that their word
and way of life was spreading
thoughout the Western World.
Back on the track, I gave him a brief
A RMY
I SURPLUS
201 E. Washington at Fourth
OPEN M-SAT, 9-6
OPEN FRI. 9-8
994-3572

ge
outline o
sonofagu
ded: "I c
Kiss was
where th
wild anc
thought I
him they
were "pr
ploded it
parted v
weekends
My exr
old prove
younger:
playing.
was pick:
what was
soothsaye
and took t
him: "D(
same roc
new ones
most wor
the boy do
his way.
put his hc
by a rattl
1
ALL A
(Ex

12 Weekend/March 25,1983

I

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