2009-02-06 / Letters

Landlord Vs. Deadbeat Tenant

Dear Editor,

What is a thief? The answer is obvious. There are nuisance crimes, petit and grand larceny. Pick your poison. What if I say that this city allows grand larceny by turning a blind eye to it every day of the week? To what am I referring? I am referring to tenants who remain in an apartment knowing they cannot pay their rent, living off their landlord, waiting for their eviction.

How magnanimous this city is with a landlord's income as the current laws can allow the stay of a nonpaying tenant up to nine months, during which the landlord is not only deprived of rent but, further must incur more than a thousand dollars in legal fees to get the tenant out. Oh! Meanwhile, the heat and in some cases the other utilities are also compliments of the landlord. What exactly does the skell tenant pay? Most often, the tenant pays his cable bill, period. After all, you wouldn't want the skell not to have cable.

Generally, the set-up at tenant/- landlord court allows a non-paying tenant to remain in an apartment for a minimum of three months. Mitigating circumstances, here, would be children in school finishing the school year undisturbed, often resulting in a summer vacate order. Imagine, nine months where the landlord is stuck struggling to pay his bills while the tenant gets off scot-free. The very same landlord most probably has to pay his mortgage, taxes, and homeowner's insurance bills in general. The landlord at the very least, then, should be able to deduct the loss of income on his income tax return; but, alas, not.

During the next term of the City Council, council members must make every effort to revise the current tencontinued

ant/landlord laws. Landlords cannot continue to be forced to support

non-paying tenants. Non-paying tenants cannot continue to feed at the trough of the landlord. Think of it. A tenant knowing he cannot afford to pay rent of $1,200 per month stays in the apartment for three months with consent of the City, is stealing $3,600 from his landlord. That constitutes premeditated larceny from where I sit and should be prosecuted as such.

Enough of the draconian laws, council members, landlords have rights, too.

Landlords must be given the right to deduct losses incurred from nonpayment of rent and in legal fees involved in getting rid of a deadbeat tenant. Moreover, deadbeat tenants must no longer be allowed to extend their stay in the home of landlord when they know they can't pay the rent. That, dear council persons, is a crime.

The time is long overdue to stop punishing the landlord. Shorten the length of time it takes to evict a deadbeat tenant, council members. That will lighten the financial burden on the landlord. And, if you are worried where these deadbeats will live after committing the crime of premeditated larceny following the eviction, how about jail.

JOAN METTLER

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