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As the owner and landlord of various properties in Missoula for decades, I take issue with William H. Clarke's letter of Dec. 7 regarding the theory that costs are passed on to tenants. Clarke's suggestion that landlords can raise the rent whenever needed, i.e., tax increases, and that the tenant will pay the increase, is simply not accurate.

I find it humorous that Clarke accuses Tim Zalinger (letter, Nov. 23) and Diane Hilmo (letter, Dec. 3) of having "never been landlords or have the faintest idea of how being a landlord works." It is apparent that Clarke, in fact, is the one who has no idea of how the rental market works.

The residential rental market is not a regulated market such as Northwestern Energy, whereby all costs are calculated and a guaranteed percentage of profit is granted, which is included in the rates the consumer (tenant) pays.

The rental market is efficient and prices are determined simply by supply and demand. Prices are not determined by, and tenants have no interest in, what a landlord’s costs are. I suggest that Clarke consider taking a refresher course in Economics 101.

Dean Gingerich,

Missoula

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