Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Serious Post of the Day: Slumlord Series

Pittsburgh area slumlords arrived en masse at City Hall yesterday in opposition to an 'anti-slumlord' bill proposed by Mayor Luke. The bill would hold the slumlord accountable for his/her noxious tenants by levying fines or criminal penalties. The slumlords plead mercy; they can't be held accountable for the behavioral dispositions of a crack-whore tenant. Hell, look at it as providing a public service. They're like the Housing Authority! Providing half-way housing between jail and rehab. They deserve a break!

Drug dealing is the landlord's problem. So are pugnacious tenants who cage-fight on the front porch, or run impromptu heroin galleries in the kitchen, or let their children vandalize the neighbors' cars. Its the landlord's problem because these are all evictable offenses. In fact, by not doing anything, the landlord is supporting this behavior.

But rather than screen tenants for police records or bad credit, rather than evict the crack-whore for disruptive behavior, rather than confront the nightmare that is their property, they cash that Section 8 rent check and turn a blind eye while their toothless crack-whore tenant gums some hood's dick in the alley behind their building... and hell, your East Liberty slum isn't within earshot of your Squirrel Hill estate, is it Bernard Sobol!

But Section 8 always pays on time.


The Duke said...

Even if this get's passed into law, does anyone see this being enforced?

Capt'n Lunch said...

This bill effectively punishes real estate investment in troubled neighborhoods. Title-holders aren't omniscient and can't be expected to know of tenants' illicit activity without consequently invading their privacy. To screen tenants beyond their ability to pay and willingness to observe contractual obligations runs afoul of equal-opportunity housing laws. This legislation would put landlords on the hook for offenses they may not reasonably know about -- and, if they were complicit in illegal activity on their property, they could already be prosecuted without any new laws.

In effect, only investors who have an established relationship with City Hall and/or district judges could thrive in such an environment. Everyone else would have no assurance of unreasonable prosecution and would be compelled to either issue preventative evictions or exit the Pittsburgh market entirely. This would tend to drive up vacancies, depress real estate investment, and increase "blight."

A more reasonable bill would allow City Hall to issue a citation with a binding edict for eviction. Only upon failure to formally initiate eviction proceedings or appeal the citation would landlords then be held liable for the subsequent deleterious actions of their tenants.

jc said...

Section 8 is pretty strict and the tenants will lose their voucher if they get busted for illegal activities. Most of the tenants that will be evited for this law are not section 8. They are just screw-ups.

My question is, what will happen to all of the shit heads? will they shape up or ship out to the declining areas outside of the city of pgh? Do we have enough bodies to fill the units where these people will be evicted from?

As a side note:
I have 311'ed 830 Mellon at least 3 times now and 911'ed it once. I'll continue to do so until is it managed properly.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Landlords are lazy. It is all about the money and how little they have to do to obtain it. A slice of the get rich quick scheme. Then with section 8 footing the bill at the taxpayers expense, whooo hooo!, it is guaranteed. Besides, they don't live there, why should they care? All about the money.

Anonymous said...

typical generation, needs to blame somebody for somebody else's problems. Why is it a landlords job to wean out junkies? Why shouldnt it be the police's job? I mean come on, we all know very well how 'sane' and 'rational' a junkie or crack whore can act. You try to give them an eviction and BOOM your getting beat down with a bat in the middle of the night, not to mention getting robbed on top of that! Why wouldnt you send the people who are granted that level of athority and training to remove the vermin? But like everyone else in the world today the police would just say 'well its not my job !!"

lawlady said...

A tenant background check is always a good idea.