Real Estate Agents Grab for Rental Listings as Sales Stagnate

I've lived in three apartments in San Francisco over the past decade. For each one, my landlord has always been a "mom and pop" team, an older married couple who bought the house or building as income property or kept it after they moved elsewhere, and decided to handle the renting and tenant management duties themselves. Now brokers and agents have taken control of much of the city's apartment rental market, and the same thing is happening in many American cities since home sales have slowed down.

I've had a good relationship with all of my landlords -- one woke up at 2 a.m. after my frantic call and rushed over to fix a gushing sink pipe; another stopped by with homemade chicken soup when I had the flu. But that type of renter-landlord relationship is quickly becoming a thing of the past.