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My Story | Dave Arnold

oldguy2.jpg“It’s important to realize you are in the service industry and do right by your tenants,” says Dave Arnold, 83. “And, if its possible, always make a nice garden.”

Dave’s been making gardens and doing right by tenants since the Berkely Calif., -born man unexpectedly fell into the rental business after leaving art school in the late 1950s.

One day, Dave’s landlord made him an offer he couldn’t refuse—to buy the five-unit building on San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill where Dave had been living. He scrapped together a down payment toward the $75,000 asking price—and the rest is history.

“Thank God I decided to do that,” he recalls, some 50 years later. “But perhaps, I shouldn’t say that, though, since I’m an atheist.”

Dave later traded the Telegraph Hill property for the apartment building he now owns in Berkeley. Along the way, he’s accumulated a few more Berkeley rentals—and another property with six units in Memphis, Tenn. His 32-year-old son, now a photo editor at Travel and Leisure magazine, is getting into rental property ownership as well.

Unlike Measure U1, Dave says he’s happy to support Measure DD because it is fair and a manageable tax increase—and he’s confident the money will to a good cause.

“Most of us are small business people,” he says of himself and other Berkeley landlords. “We want to do right—while keeping an eye on the bottom line.”

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