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Archive for Sunday, October 21, 2012

Letter: Renter help

October 21, 2012

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To the editor:

Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc. (HCCI) staff was sorry to read the article Oct. 13 about the city condemning Court 26 Apartments, causing 13 renters to be evicted. The city had no choice once code enforcement officers determined the extent of neglect by the landlord. But renters always have a choice. Since 1972, HCCI has been counseling renters, landlords and property managers about their rights and responsibilities as defined by the Kansas Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, Fair Housing law, and city code. HCCI’s Rental Housing Counseling service is free for both renters and landlords and is sponsored in part by grants to HCCI from the City of Lawrence, HUD, and private donations.

Extensive free information is available at www.hcci-ks.org. The primary complaint to HCCI by renters is that some landlords do not maintain property. Renters should take appropriate action when maintenance issues such as doors and windows that cannot be properly locked cause safety concerns or when health is jeopardized by water damage or inadequate heating. Appropriate action begins with appropriate communication between tenants and landlords.

HCCI counsels renters to check their written lease agreement first. When landlords use a lease, they have typically included clauses from Kansas law and should be held accountable for the safety of their units based on the law. Forms to address maintenance issues are available at no charge to renters on the HCCI website. A booklet titled Commonly Asked Questions by Tenants and Landlords is available free from HCCI.

Comments

Loretta James 1 year, 6 months ago

sometimes u got to take what u can afford. That is a slumlord my grandson lived in one of his apts. on redbud his shower backed up in thr tub below him so they told him not to use the shower!!!!!!!!!!! they never did fix it that is not all that was wrong but when he with held the rent they evicted him. they need to inspect all the apts. he owns.

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 6 months ago

Why doesn't the J/W print the letter that was sent to the owner/landlord? I bet some questions would then arise. Also, what about the different social service agencies that have clients in the "condemned" property? Were the clients case workers not doing their job?

Something is fishy about this. Does Olive Garden need more space?

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paulveer 1 year, 6 months ago

Thanks, Robert, for the work you and HCCI do.

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headdoctor 1 year, 6 months ago

It is true that renters don't have to sign and there are a few landlords that do not have written leases. Here in a college town the landlords have a bumper crop of young kids every year to prey on. Ignorance may not be an excuse but most of these kids are clueless about real estate and or contract law and many of them are faced with not a lot of money. I have always thought that lower end apartments and houses do serve a purpose for many of the less fortunate. Lower end rentals does not have to equal run down junk property.

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geekin_topekan 1 year, 6 months ago

Renters are always free to not sign the lease. That is the freedom that landlords rely upon in this town. No lease? No problem. (Go find somewhere else to live)

If the lease does not contain agreements over repairs, parking, upkeep, and landlord responsibility, it is non-existent. If you ask it be inserted, the answer is "no".

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headdoctor 1 year, 6 months ago

Well maintained apartments and houses may cost more in Lawrence but the small number of landlords who are closer to slumlords tend to extract as much rent as possible doesn't make their rentals real cheap either.

I don't care much for Government interference. Unfortunately there are cases where property owners will do as they please so interference is the only real option left. The City of Lawrence could help in this area if they would stop dragging their feet and follow through with licensing and inspections of multifamily rentals. There are several single family houses that have been cleaned up because of the licensing ordinances and a few who insisted on being slumlords ended up losing or shutting down their property.

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Steve Jacob 1 year, 6 months ago

It's a double edged sword. Well maintained apartments will cost more. You get what you pay for.

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tbaker 1 year, 6 months ago

Darn good information. Too bad the renters didn't avail themselves of it sooner and perhaps compell the landlord into holding up his end of the bargain.

I am curious though. Something doesn't make sense. Were I forced to live in a rental that was so poorly maintained it was merely waiting for a city code inspector to condemn it, I sure wouldn't be paying any rent. Why would someone pay rent if they could easily prove the landlord's failure to maintain the property was a breech of contract, assuming I actually had a lease in a dump like that.

You hear stories of apartments full of free loaders who won't pay their rent. The cost, time, and effort required to evict them one by one is cost prohibative, so the land lord just lets the place go to crap in an effort to drive the bums out.

I wonder what happened in this case? The story just says the landlord was negligent. It doesn't say the 13 renters were honest, rent-paying tenants. Were they?

Close the loop on this one LJW.

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Abdu Omar 1 year, 6 months ago

Was this an advertisment for HCCI?

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