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February 12, 2013 by Baltimore Slumlord Watch

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently issued a report on investor activity in Atlanta.  Not surprisingly, the study found that investors were buying up property in neighborhoods where poverty and vacancy rates were high, and median home values were low.

A group of Montgomery County legislators have introduced a bill that has the slumlord lobby up in arms — the bill proposes Maryland property owners who own four or more rental units should be subject to rent control.  It also mandates that landlords cannot force tenants to make them the beneficiary of renters’ insurance policies.  These two things are definitely worth supporting.  Unfortunately, the bill is a bit of a mishmash, with other landlord-tenant issues thrown in — not sure where it will end up.

Some New York City landlords have found a way to make money off the homeless, by operating for-profit SROs/rooming houses — and needless to say, the living conditions are less than acceptable.

I’ve always been fascinated with Centralia, PA — a mostly-abandoned town situated on top of a coal fire that’s been burning for decades.  WGAL has a “then and now” slideshow that’s worth a look.

How to be successful in Maryland politics:  Give your campaign contributors lucrative development contracts.  Just don’t get caught…

CBS Baltimore reports that a recent house fire, in which one woman was found dead in the basement, was more than just a simple house fire.

So now the Mayor wants you to pay for trash pickup?  I thought property taxes paid for that, but…perhaps I was wrong.  Oh, and the City is dicking around with the Fire Department again.  It’s all about solving the budget crisis, I guess so we’ll have more money to give to local developers.

Speaking of the budget, how would you balance our completely out of whack budget?  There’s a website for that.

 

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12 thoughts on “Link Roundup

  1. Jo says:

    I had a laugh when I heard the mayor wants folks to pay for trash pickup. We have enough troubles with landlords not providing trash cans for their tenants!!!

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch says:

      Indeed. It’s also my understanding that property owners who own multi-family buildings are supposed to pay for waste hauling and not rely on the city to pick up their trash.

  2. classic8art says:

    I disagree with the rent control issue. I think it forces landlords to do very little. I try to do a lot of improvements, and those costs must eventually be passed onto the tenant.    Deborah Cole. Thank you. 

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch says:

      Some costs, yes. Other costs, no. At some point landlords have to accept the cost of doing business just like any other business owner, and realize you can’t raise rents past a point that will only encourage Section 8 tenants to move in. Over-improving a property because you bought into the HGTV hype? Not the tenant’s problem. I think rent control could go a long way in opening up properties to responsible middle-class renters who have previously been shut out of certain neighborhoods.

  3. C says:

    Well, I work as an insurance adjuster and I have two issues with the bill. First of all, renter’s insurance covers the tenant’s belongings. You can’t be a named insured on a policy if you don’t have an insurable interest in the property covered. Since the landlord doesn’t own the tenant’s belongings …. the insurance industry will take care of that one with or without the bill being approved.

    Second, most landlords who know the law will require the tenant to take out at least a minimal policy on the home they are renting. I see fires (usually unintentional from cooking) all the time. If the tenant wasn’t required to take out a policy on the home then a court will generally not allow subrogation against the tenant even in cases of negligence.

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch says:

      I wondered about this — why on earth should a renter name the landlord as a beneficiary for their renter’s insurance policy? If my home is broken into and the insurance will cover the losses, the landlord has no right to that money — even for the damage (broken window, door, or lock). That’s what property insurance is for.

      • A few years back, a lease for a house I wanted to rent had a clause that required the renter (me) to take out insurance on the contents (standard) and to name the landlord as a beneficiary. I asked for that clause to be removed and was told that the landlord was a nice guy and I wouldn’t have to worry. I told them that I would not sign a lease containing that clause even if the landlord were my father (whom I love and trust). The landlord refused to take that clause out, so I found another place. Now I’m thinking that I should have asked a lawyer about it, but it was easier at that point to get another place. I still feel icky when I think about it.

      • Baltimore Slumlord Watch says:

        Just when you think some people can’t get any greedier….wow.

  4. C says:

    One more thing. Renters insurance has a small amount of liability coverage. So in the event that the tenant damages the home there is protection for the owner.

  5. Patti says:

    Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.

    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

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