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View Diary: The terrifying implication of the LIHEAP cuts? Thoughts from a WH Call (186 comments)

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  •  In some cases, it might be a question of getting (12+ / 0-)

    the local code enforcement agency to enforce their own rules. I know of more than one landlord here in TN who rents properties with sewage running out from under them, and holes in the floors so big animals can crawl through them--last summer, I saw a baby at the ER who lived in one of those properties who got bit by an opossum that crawled into her house. This same guy is renting out FEMA trailers that had been condemned by the federal government, and yet you don't see code enforcement doing a thing.

    •  The "ruleoflaw," American-style. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mattman, tonyahky, radical simplicity

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 05:25:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are plenty of (9+ / 0-)

      responsible landlords who are honest but wish to make a reasonable profit.  The challenge that exists in many situations is that (a) the tax/other code runs counter to making investments that improve the energy efficiency (maybe having to deduct over many years the depreciated cost of that investment; any increased rent that gains from the savings the efficiency creates would end up being taxed at a higher real rate than the depreciation would result in, etc ...), (b) tenants often (typically) pay the utilities, so direct benefits apply to the tenants, (c) our culture doesn't really value 'cost to run/own' as opposed to cost to buy.  If a landlord invests in a way that will save every tenant $25/month in utilities at a cost that might be assessed, honestly, at the equivalent of $10/month, what is the chance that the landlord would be able to succeed in the market with a rent $17.50/month higher than his/her competitor.

      Now, there are (plenty of) SOB landlords who might merit jail more than an income from underserved tenants living in buildings that fall below any reasonable code standard.  Writ large, I will bet that the 'decent' landlord (some great, some simply 'okay') is far more the norm ...

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 05:31:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's true--but remeber that poor people are far (8+ / 0-)

        more likely to be living in a property owned by an irresponsible slum lord, as opposed to a property owned by somebody decent. The landlord I noted in my comment above has several trailer parks where he rents out substandard housing--and he is the richest man in the whole county. Those kinds of landlords turn a profit by exploiting people who are either too poor, or whose credit has been ruined by a divorce, bankruptcy, or other financial difficulty to pass the credit check for something better.

        •  Writ large ... (5+ / 0-)

          I am not sure about the "more likely" in terms of the overall population of poor(er) people in the country. I would agree that those with less economic means have less ability to shift away from those irresponsible slum lords and are more vulnerable to their preying practices.  Note, to a certain extent, we are arguing about angels dancing on a pin of a needle.  I agree, wholeheartedly, about the value of real codes and meaningful enforcement of those codes to make such unethical/immoral/abusive practices something that people simply don't want to pursue because the 'system' won't let them get away with it.

          Can't remember the movie, but there was the comedy about the judge who sentences the landlord to live 30 days in the slum that he is letting deteriorate.  Comedy of course made it all come out rosy but, writ large imo, not a bad practice/concept.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 05:58:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  One wonders, then, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, radical simplicity

          how he gets around code enforcement issues: does he pay off inspectors? Are there any, anyway? If they issue damning reports on him, what happens - does he pay off the people who would process them into fines or criminal charges? Or does he simply pay the fines, or pay off the prosecutor/judge/jury/etc., or threaten them, or...

          And so on.

          I'm going to go for my first guess that the town, county or state doesn't have the money to run an effective inspection program.

          "Neskon would be a good choice, except he's a flame-trooper. They're all bug-eyed madmen."

          by Shaviv on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 08:57:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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