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“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

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:;_ylt=AwrNUbB0Ha1RyxIAbLnQtDMD

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.”


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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…

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Just in time for Halloween; the RPA announced today that tenant filed complaints about ghosts, hauntings, or paranormal activity will be taken seriously. The Agency known for providing formal complaint resolution for tenants in all 50 States is now officially legitimizing paranormal related apartment complaints.

“Our organization is not claiming to validate the existence of ghosts or hauntings,” states RPA Director: Scott Paxton; “but we are validating that this issue is a very real concern for some tenants who claim to be living in haunted apartments.” When unexplained paranormal activity prevents a tenant from their right of enjoyment; filing a formal complaint through the RPA Complaint Center will be treated like any other complaint and not dismissed.

According to an AP/Ipsos poll, located here; 1/3 of Americans believe in ghost. That’s more than 32 million tenants nationwide, as per the updated rental clock located on the Rental Protection Agency website:

The RPA will most likely take some heat from skeptics about this decision to formally accept paranormal related complaints; but the organization is more concerned protecting tenants rights than it is about turning their backs on tenants with legitimate concerns.

For more information on the Rental Protection Agency and their complaint center, please visit the official site located at:

For the original version on PRWeb visit:


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AN EAST VILLAGE woman won a six-year fight to stay in her rent-stabilized  apartment Tuesday thanks in part to her unorthodox “sushi defense.”

Masako Mogi, who has lived in her $992-a-month studio at 409 E. Sixth St.  since 1980, was facing eviction due to her landlord’s claim that the  below-market digs were not her primary residence.

The landlord had hoped to boot Mogi, renovate the apartment and more than  double the rent — the going rate in the chic neighborhood of bars and former  cold-water tenements.

The building owner had presented records showing Mogi used a below-average  amount of electricity — evidence she spent most of her time in a second home in  Westminster, Vt.

But Mogi testified that she often eats out, orders takeout or makes sushi,  which doesn’t require much juice.

And her neighbors also testified they saw Mogi in the building “constantly,” swaying the Appellate Division to rule 3-2 in Mogi’s favor.

“I’m so excited I can’t talk. Emotion is taking over me,” Mogi told the Daily  News.

“She’s overcome,” her neighbor, Howard Weil, said as he grabbed the phone.  “She’s had four landlords during her case. They put her through a lot.”

Unless it’s appealed, the ruling ends a six-year battle to evict Mogi on the  grounds that her studio was not her primary residence.

The corporate owners contend that Mogi, a retired Japanese/English  interpreter, really lives in Westminster, Vt., in a small cabin that she bought  in 1990.

The Appellate Division majority said that when Civil Court Judge Jean  Schneider ruled in 2008 that Mogi’s landlords could evict her, Schneider put too  much emphasis on one barometer of residency: Mogi’s bank and credit card  records.

Schneider said she was persuaded that bank and credit card records showed  more activity for Vermont than New York and she concluded that Mogi stayed in  Manhattan only 45% of the time between 2004 and 2006, when her lease  expired.

Tenants who spend less than half a year in their rent-stabilized apartments  are considered to have primary residences elsewhere and can be evicted.

Mogi’s lawyer, Steven DeCastro, argued it was impossible to tell who used  the credit cards and bank in Vermont because Mogi shares her Vermont house, car,  bank account and credit cards with a long-time companion who mostly lives  there.

“An apartment should not be decontrolled merely because its tenant decides  to spend her weekends, holidays and vacation days in a second home that she  shares with a long-term friend and companion,” the judges said.

The appellate judges noted that Schneider said she was not persuaded by most  of the landlord’s other evidence.

For example, the landlord showed Mogi had below-average electrical use for  her studio. Mogi testified that she often eats out, orders takeout or makes  sushi, which doesn’t require electricity.

The appellate judges noted that Mogi’s apartment was furnished, and the  trial judge did not question the credibility of other tenants who testified that  they saw Mogi “constantly” in the building between 2004 and 2006.

“Under any fair interpretation of the record, a clear preponderance of the  probative and credible evidence supports the conclusion that the tenant was  using the New York apartment as her primary residence,” the judges said.

Justice James Catterson, who dissented from the majority opinion, rejected  Mogi’s sushi defense and said her average electric usage — 55 to 133 kilowatt  hours a month compared with 200 to 250 kilowatts for studios of that size — was  proof that she didn’t live there frequently enough.


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