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Archive for Tuesday, June 18, 2013

25 years ago: Expansion of rent law to include apartments

June 18, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for June 18, 1988:

A 1987 law making it a crime to defraud a landlord by not paying rent was not a violation of the Kansas Constitution, according to a decision this week. The previous year's Legislature had expanded the original law, which had applied only to hotels, motels, and restaurants, to include rental units as well. Atty. Gen. Robert T. Stephan this week said that the law clearly applied only to cases where intent to defraud was evident, not just for failure to pay the debt. To establish guilt, Stephan said, the prosecutor must show the tenant intended to defraud the landlord when first obtaining the rental unit. The crime was classified as a Class A misdemeanor if the amount of money in question was $150 or less, and a Class E felony if more than $150. Rep. Jessie Branson, D-Lawrence, had asked for the opinion, pointing out that the constitution said that "no person shall be imprisoned for debt, except in cases of fraud." She admitted that members of tenant associations might be disappointed in the decision but that it was "going to be almost impossible to prove intent of fraud at the time someone [signs] a lease."

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