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FORMER TENANT LEAVES $1,900 ELECTRIC BILL

“SEATTLE — A south Seattle family is sweating it out because someone else didn’t pay a giant electricity bill.

Liz Havlin, her husband, and their 4-month old son moved into their apartment on 1st Ave. S at the beginning of July. The Havlins found the 800-square-foot space perfect for their needs when they did a walk-through prior to signing a lease.

Havlin filled out a form on the Seattle City Light website to transfer the electricity service a few days prior to moving, she says. It wasn’t until their first night in the apartment that she tried to switch on the lights – and nothing worked.

“(A customer service rep) explained to me that someone has to pay the bill before they can turn the power on. My first reaction was, why didn’t anybody say anything earlier?” Havlin said, sitting in the apartment Monday, as temperatures hovered near 80 degrees. “We wouldn’t have moved in so quickly. Now I can’t go back. Now we’re here and there’s no power.”

The previous tenants moved out of the same apartment about 18-months ago and left behind about $1,900 in unpaid bills, said Scott Thomsen, spokesman for Seattle City Light. In that case, the utility’s policy is to collect the amount from the customer or the landlord, he said.

“These things do come up where someone leaves without paying their electric bill. It gets left with the landlord,” Thomsen said. “They’re typically not happy about having the responsibility of paying if we can’t track down the person who left.”

Multiple messages left for the Havlins’ landlord went unreturned Monday. Liz Havlin said she’d run into the same issue – leaving several messages for her property owner – without hearing back.

Unhappy with the red tape she was facing, Havlin started an online petition this week to lobby the utility to turn electricity on to her unit. A neighbor helped with a temporary fix by running an extension cord to her balcony, so she could power a computer and a small fan for the living room.

By Monday afternoon, after KOMO News reached out to City Light, a spokesman said they’re going to allow Havlin to turn on the unit’s electricity after an inspection of the unit, while going after the landlord for the money owed.

Havlin said she was grateful for the help.

“I think if somebody moved out a year and a half ago and left a big bill, it somehow seems like something someone else should deal with,” she said. “It’s somebody’s responsibility but it’s my problem. I don’t have power, so until somebody pays that $1,900 dollars, I guess we’ll keep that extension cord,” she said.”

 

 

Originally posted by komonews and can be viewed at http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Family-steaming-after-former-tenant-leaves-1900-electric-bill-215610871.html

Landlord Could Face Jail Time

“A 4 p.m. deadline is looming for a Northwest Washington landlord to reestablish power at his apartment building that hasn’t had it for weeks. If the landlord, Abraham Joseph, doesn’t do it, a judge says he’ll be taken to jail. Residents of a Northwest Washington apartment building have been without power for weeks. Because of that, residents of the small First Street Northwest building have had no lights, air conditioning or refrigeration for their food. “We’re still right here with no air, no anything, and it’s hot,” tenant Tammy Embrey said. Despite a court order, Embrey and other residents still are in the dark and sweating out the heat and have been since the power went out June 28. Joseph said Wednesday that he’d have power restored within 24 hours.

ABC7 asked Joseph why the problem has persisted so long. He blames the tenants.

“They blew the fuse,” Joseph said. “The fuse was blown. That’s pretty easy to replace.”

Joseph said he called in an electrician to fix the problem. But when ABC7 tried to ask the man identified as an electrician about the repairs, he took off. Asked why the electrician was so desperate to elude us, Joseph said, “Why didn’t you stop him? Why didn’t you stop him?” The problem is more extensive than a blown fuse. The wiring is so bad, Pepco won’t restore power. “They told me to have the work done by tomorrow, and it’s going to be done by tomorrow,” Joseph said. The tenants are holding on to their court order and are confident if they are still in the dark tomorrow, the landlord will find out what it is like to suffer.”

 

Originally posted by ABC 7 News – WJLA and can be viewed at http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/07/judge-to-d-c-landlord-restore-residents-power-or-go-to-jail-91263.html#ixzz2Z8jcDKRt

 

Landlord mistakes tenant’s tomato plants for pot

“You say “tomato”, I say, “illegal pot farm on a Brooklyn rooftop.”

A resident in a Brooklyn apartment building got an unexpected, and unmerited, visit from the police after his superintendent called the cops to report an illegal pot-growing operation on the building’s roof.

There was just one small problem―the plants growing on the building’s roof were actually tomatoes.

“I don’t know much about plants. I’m not too good with that,” building superintendent Christian Delarosa told the New York Daily News. “When I saw them, the first thing I thought was ‘Oh, my God.’ Right there I looked it up on my phone and they looked close to marijuana plants, but I thought I should call someone who knew about plants, so I called police.”

After Delarosa put in the call, a lieutenant and two officers were sent to the scene to investigate the 15 Solo cups and the mysterious green seedlings contained within.

An unapologetic Delarosa, 34, says that while the plants turned out to be entirely legal, he wasn’t the only one fooled.

“When the police officer came he couldn’t tell right away, either,” he said.

Obviously, tomato plants don’t contain the psychoactive compound found in marijuana plants but they do contain nicotine.

As for the unnamed building resident? Well, he won’t be spending any time in jail. But Delarosa is still shutting down his rooftop grow operation. Even if the only thing being produced is perfectly healthy and legal produce…”

 

Originally posted on Yahoo! News. To read the full article, please visit: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/cops-mistake-man-tomato-garden-marijuana-farm-212113442.html;_ylt=AwrNUbB0Ha1RyxIAbLnQtDMD

LANDLORD-TENANT DISPUTE TURNS DEADLY

“Hialeah police have questioned and released a man who reportedly shot and killed his former tenant Thursday morning.

According to authorities, the tenant had been evicted Wednesday by Miami-Dade police from the home in the 5600 block of West 10th Avenue. But police say he returned to the property about 1:20 a.m. Thursday and began arguing with the landlord in the front yard.

The dead man, whose name has not been released, brought a baseball bat. At one point during the argument, the landlord pulled out a gun and shot him, according to detectives.

The landlord, who gave a statement to detectives and has been cooperative, has not yet been identified. by police. The Miami Dade state attorney’s office is currently reviewing the evidence to determine…”

Lease Agreement Gone Wrong

FAULKNER COUNTY (KATV) – A lease agreement went terribly wrong in Faulkner County, with both sides saying they’re in the right.

On Monday, James Munson overlooked what used to be Munson’s Fish Store off Highway 365 in Mayflower. He leased his store for two years before he packed it up December 31 — spending $5,000 to do it.

“I wanted to cry,” said James Munson. “I mean it, because this is my livelihood.”

When he found documents that show his landlord didn’t actually own the land, he says lawyers told him to get out before he’s eventually sued by the real owner.

“They basically told me I needed to move my buildings,” said Munson. “What it all boils down to, he’s taking from his mother’s estate.”

County records show the property is owned by a Mary Fuller.

“Miss Mary Fuller is in a nursing home and she has Alzheimer’s,” he said. “[She] don’t even know that I’m here.”

Fuller’s son and Munson’s former landlord, Russell, says there’s more to the story.

“He packed up and left because he didn’t want to pay the bill,” said Russell Fuller, who leased the property to Munson on a month-to-month basis in 2010.

Fuller maintains he indeed owns the property.

He says Munson is finding a way out of paying his $350 per month rent that just went up.

“I guess he’s crazy,” said Fuller. “I’ve got seven and a half acres out there. It’s mine and my family’s. It’s heir property.”

 

For the full story, please visit http://www.katv.com/story/20527129/faulkner-co-tenant-says-landlord-leased-someone-elses-land

POSSIBLE LEGAL ACTION FOR LANDLORD ACCUSED OF NEGLECTING PROPERTY

POPLAR GROVE – More former tenants of a Harvard-based landlord accused of neglect of several properties have come forward accusing the landlord, William Perez, of similar issues.  The tenants from his most recent condemned property spoke with us and showed us pictures of the raw sewage they were exposed to.

“We lived in raw sewage for days and he said it was okay,” said Tyrone White.

White, his girlfriend plus her two kids rented theState Streetproperty William Perez owned in Poplar Grove.  White says problems started for his family after neighbors had work done on their septic system.  It caused raw sewage to seep into his home’s two bathrooms, preventing his family from keeping hygiene without the aid of bottled water and paper towels.  But when White says he called Perez, he says he was nowhere to be found.

“The first three days we were trying to get in touch with the landlord, you know?  What do we do?” said White.

Perez finally sent someone to fix the problems.  White claims the worker who came out to rectify the issue had commented to him that he had been at the property before and said the pipes to the house were broken.  According to White, Perez had instructed the handyman to just snake the pipes, which White says just made matters worse.

“Whatever they did to the pipes, it seemed like the smell wasn’t even that bad at first,” said White.  “But it’s like they opened up a whole new avenue with this and it got real bad.”

Continued…

Since the health department condemned the property last week, White and his family are now homeless.  He says both he and his girlfriend are unemployed.  They were put up in a hotel for a week thanks to several charity organizations, but now they must stay with friends until they can find work and another place to live.

WTVO/WQRF has had repeated contact with William Perez, but he has repeatedly declined the opportunity to do an interview.  Michelle Courier,BooneCountyState’s Attorney, says she’s aware of the issue and is now reviewing the file to decide whether to pursue legal action against Perez.

We just found out today that Perez doctored a letter from the county’s health department to give to the family from yesterday’s story involving the same property but different tenants.  Those tenants, theDowns, say they’re in contact with a lawyer regarding their eviction under false pretense.

 

To read the full story, please visit http://mystateline.com/fulltext-news?nxd_id=367532

KINGSTON LANDLORDS MAY BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE COPY OF TENANT LAW TO RENTERS

KINGSTON, N.Y. — A Common Council panel has recommended that a law be adopted to require landlords to supply a copy of the newly passed Tenant Accountability Act to renters when they move in.

Alderman Thomas Hoffay, D-Ward 2, the council’s majority leader, said the council’s Laws and Rules Committee has passed an amendment to the Landlord Registration Law to require owners of rental properties to notify tenants of the new regulation.

The committee made its decision on Tuesday.

On Nov. 7, the Common Council agreed to the Tenant Accountability Act, a law originally proposed by Mayor Shayne Gallo. Continued…

 

The Tenant Accountability Act, among other things, requires that:

• Residential premises “be maintained in a clean, safe, sanitary condition.”

• Yards, courts and vacant lots be kept clean and free of hazards.

• Extension cords be used only for purposes intended and shall not “be run or laid under rugs or carpets or used as additional electrical wiring.”

• Grounds, buildings and structures be maintained “free of insect, vermin and rodent harborage and infestation.”

• Adequate sanitary facilities “be used for the collection, storage, handling and disposal of garbage refuse.”

• Domestic animals and pets “be kept in an appropriate manner so as not to constitute a hazard or nuisance and under control.”

• Pet waste be promptly “collected and disposed of in a sanitary manner.”

Violators of the law face a maximum penalty of 15 days in jail and a $250 fine.

The proposal also states smoke detectors shall not be removed or damaged and that “it shall be the duty of the occupant of any residential premise to keep and maintain such smoke detectors located within the dwelling unit, or sleeping room, in good repair and operable during their occupancy of such a dwelling unit.” Continued…

To read the full story, please visit http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2012/11/21/news/doc50ad5426e6419296622127.txt?viewmode=fullstory

 

LANDLORDS CONSIDERING COURT ACTION AGAINST HARRISBURG’S “DISRUPTIVE PROPERTIES” BILL

A recently passed law cracking down on disruptive rental properties in Harrisburg has landlords fuming and considering court action.

Under the law, if the city issues two disruptive conduct reports for tenants at the same rental property within 12 months, the landlord’s residential  rental  permit for the individual apartment will immediately be revoked.

Should the landlord not begin eviction proceedings against anyone living in the rental within 15 days of receiving notice of the permit revocation, the apartment would be considered unfit for occupancy.

Harrisburg is cracking down on “disruptive” people in rental properties.

The law, which goes into effect on Dec. 4, considers disruptive conduct any violation of any city law that can “reasonably” be deemed to disrupt the peace of neighbors or cause damage to neighboring properties.

It will not shut down an entire multiple-unit rental property. Bill 12 only affects the rental housing disruptive tenants. And after a landlord evicts problem tenants from a unit, they again can rent the space.

City Council members and Mayor Linda Thompson said the law protects property owners from disruptive neighbors, will drive away slum landlords and help preserve property values.

But the Capital Area Rental Property Owners Association says the bill is an overreach and unfairly targets landlords and tenants. It will hit investors in the wallet when they can least afford it in the down economy, said Arthur Sullivan, CARPOA president.

“Is City Council setting up a double standard? People who rent homes are still citizens of the city, and as such, all the [same] laws and regulations also apply to them. What I am asking City Council to do is to apply the laws currently on the book,” Sullivan said. “CARPOA is researching the possibility of taking court action to oppose the enforcement of this new bill.”

If property owners rent to quality tenants, they have no reason to worry about the law, Thompson said. She said the bill was drafted in her office and is part of her three-prong fight against blight.

“I would find it difficult to believe that a responsible landlord would reject this legislation,” Thompson said. “[Landlords] wouldn’t want [disruptive neighbors] in their neighborhoods, so how dare [they] expect us to have it in our neighborhood.

“This legislation should have been enacted years ago,” she said. “This does not affect the good landlord. We are going to run the bad guys out. This is the toughest slum landlord action taken in recent city history.”

Violations of Harrisburg’s property maintenance code is considered disruptive conduct under the law.

And should property owners notified of maintenance code violations not take corrective action within the time allotted to them in notices, the city is able to perform repair work on its own, charge owners for work and materials and tack on an additional 10 percent of repair costs.

It affects your whole life when you are next to a house with disrespectful neighbors. … You become a prisoner in your own house.”

Councilwoman Patty Kim, who is set to leave the board to become Harrisburg’s state representative, said she hopes the law acts as a deterant.

Kim said she personally knows how it feels to live next to disruptive neighbors.

She had hoped the bill would impose a more-lenient four-strikes-and-your-out mandate against landlords instead of two. But she said protecting residents from unruly neighbors was a top priority.

“It affects your whole life when you are next to a house with disrespectful neighbors. You feel like your house is a refuge, and then you become a prisoner in your own house,” Kim said. “I am trying to fight for those residents who invested in their house and deserve peace and quiet in their own homes.”

Kim is a landlord herself and said she “goes to great lengths to find quality tenants.” Too many landlords rent properties to tenants without conducting background checks simply to get a monthly rent check, she said.

The law might be perceived as unfair by landlords, but Kim agreed that it would not affect responsible rental property owners.

Larry Hatter disagrees.

Council may have the right intent at heart, but by adopting the law, it has unwittingly pushed a police responsibility onto the backs of landlords, said Hatter, chairman of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors’ Government Affairs Committee.

The law likely will force landlords to evict tenants who, even though they were loud on occasion, pay their rent and haven’t broken leases, Hatter said.

“The purpose for government is to provide protection and the first thing [council did] was cede the responsibility of protection to the landlord,” he said. “It infringes on private property rights without a doubt. That is the first issue when you get down to the constitutional issue of the matter here.”

Hatter added that “[The law] is not within the landlord/tenant laws. How can I evict somebody when they are in compliance with their lease?”

Often, Harrisburg rental property owners are “mom-and-pop” investors with two to 10 properties in the city, Sullivan said.

Much of the housing stock they buy and rent in Harrisburg is old and takes significant financial and “blood, sweat and tears” investment, he said.

The new law will make it less attractive for those investors to do business in the city going forward because they could easily lose their rental permits through no fault of their own, Sullivan said.

Jason Lucas owns 20 rental properties in Harrisburg and 20 others within 40 minutes of the city.

With council adopting the new law, Lucas said he will not buy another rental property in the city, where it already is hard to attract tenants because of Harrisburg’s debt crisis, crime and poverty rate, poorly performing schools and high utility costs.

“I have so many problems being a landlord in a bankrupt city,” Lucas said. “I can’t believe I have to be responsible for my tenants’ actions and evict people because the government tells me to.

“You only rent to people who live in that neighborhood,” he said. “And if you try to rent to people better than that neighborhood you screw yourself because they will move out after a few months.

“We deal with the pool of people the city attracts,” he said. “They attract the demographics that live there and we have to live with them.”

 

To read more, visit http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/11/harrisburg_rental_properties_l.html

LANDLORD REFUSES TO TERMINATE LEASE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM

 Since 2007, Arizona has had a law allowing domestic-violence victims to terminate their leases early and move, without penalty, to protect their   safety.

But that hasn’t helped Anne Koshinski, who said her landlord refused to return her security deposit and threatened to collect the remaining four months’ rent due on her lease when she moved out after her abusive former boyfriend moved in across the street.

Koshinski isn’t alone, said Anthony Young, executive director of Southern Arizona Legal Aid.

Sometimes, landlords don’t know about the law, and, in some cases, he said, landlords try to intimidate tenants or keep them in the dark about their rights, Young said.

Koshinski’s ex-boyfriend was evicted from the Monterey Gardens Apartments, 1039 N. Alamo Ave., where both lived in separate apartments.

The relationship was stormy, Koshinski said, including domestic violence and culminating in her filing an order of protection with Tucson police. She doesn’t want to leave the Monterey Gardens but doesn’t feel safe with her ex living across the street, she said.

The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act allows tenants to terminate a lease when domestic violence is involved without being liable for security deposits or future rent, if they present the landlord with a protective order or a police report. But when she submitted her order of protection and request to end her lease on Sept. 27, Koshinski said, Northpoint Asset Management, which manages the complex, refused.

David Walsh, Northpoint’s president and chief marketing officer, said his firm has received legal counsel on Koshinski’s case and is not in violation of the law, but he would not comment further.

“Well, the landlord is just wrong,” Young, from Southern Arizona Legal Aid, said. He said about half the people coming to his office state they are victims of domestic violence, and an order of protection alone is enough to get tenants out of a lease.

Young advises domestic-violence victims who must move to present the landlord with the law and relevant documents such as an order of protection, and if they don’t comply, to seek legal help from offices like his. He said it is especially important for people with a Section 8 low-income housing subsidy to follow the letter of the law because a lawsuit could result in losing assistance.

“A huge dynamic of domestic violence is displacement,” said Stephanie Noriega, who works with housing issues at Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse. She estimates 150 people each month look for help with relocation from Emerge, with requests ranging from a place to stay for the night to permanent relocation resources.

Economic issues are the biggest reason victims struggle to get away from abusers and the places abusers can easily find them, Noriega said. But, she added, victims often don’t know about the statute that could ease those concerns.

The Arizona Multi-Housing Association, which was involved in passage of the law, referred questions to Becky Noel, Crime Free Multi-Housing Officer with the Tucson Police Department, which just completed its final training session of the year on Arizona tenant law for landlords and property managers.

The protection of the law is twofold – it helps victims move, and it allows landlords to remove suspects from leases and avoid incidents on their properties, Noel said. “It’s a win-win,” she said, good for everyone’s safety.

While losing income might be a concern for landlords, Noel said she believes that the statute is rarely used.

The law also provides property owners the right to seek compensation for losses from the person cited in an order of protection.

In a case like Koshinski’s, that is the ex-boyfriend, according to Young.

For her part, Koshinski is going ahead with her move even though her hopes of getting her $150 deposit back are slim.

“I hope it all works out,” she said, “but at least I can walk away knowing I did the right thing.”

 

To read more, visit: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/arizona-law-can-help-victims-of-domestic-violence-to-safety/article_a31060f9-e71e-5cc5-bed8-3d1cf8a2ba93.html

EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1ST, CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS MANDATORY IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Effective January 1st, state law says landlords have to install carbon monoxide detectors on their properties.

When most people think of Carbon monoxide, they think of boating accidents, or people running the car in their garage. Well gas-fueled homes are on the increase in Washington and so is CO poisoning. Effective January 1st, state law says landlords have to install carbon monoxide detectors on their properties.

Greg Crawford owns 12 apartments along Birch Avenue in Richland.
He’s been a landlord here for more than a decade. None of his properties have carbon monoxide detectors right now.

“I don’t think a lot of people are aware. I haven’t had any tenants mention it, that they would like to have them.. carbon monoxide detectors,” Greg tells KEPR.

As of January First, every rental, hotel, apartment and remodel will have to have the detectors on each level of the home.

Greg says, “Mount them either in the ceiling or down low.”

Homes built after 2009, already have them. They weren’t required before that. Firefighters wish they were a requirement for every home. They’ve seen more cases of carbon monoxide poisoning over the years, which can come from a natural gas leak.

Batallion Chief Tod Kreutz explains, “More people are putting in gas.. we’re having more and more activations.”

In Washington, more people were hospitalized for C-O poisoning in recent years. From just 50 in 2008, to three times that last year.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be fatal, but it’s rare. It’s most common when there’s a power outage that lasts for a few days.This is what happened in Grant County back in 2007. A generator was brought inside a home for heat and three kids under age eight died from the fumes. It’s one more reason why firefighters say this is a cheap way to keep your family safe.

Tod continues, “It’s a minimal investment, to have some security in your home. The prices have gone down tremendously in the last few years for Carbon monoxide detectors.”

You can pick up an alarm at any general hardware store, costing anywhere from on sale here for about $25 up to $50.

Eventually, any homes sold will have to have C-O detectors, but laws are still in the works for that.

Another thing you should know, don’t save a buck by purchasing a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Smoke detectors last ten years, and carbon monoxide only six. Investing in them separately might save you in the end.

 

To read more, visit http://www.keprtv.com/news/local/New-state-laws-making-carbon-monoxide-detectors-mandatory-176348691.html