Creating “Direct Vendor Payment of Rent” for the State’s welfare recipients was the Associations’
A footnote needs to be entered here; we have developed an outstanding relationship with the greater Waterbury area Legislators. They have introduced countless bills trying to solve problems for rental property owners only to see these solutions fail because they are shot down by legislators from other parts of the State, this practice still occurs today and is both frustrating and commonplace.
The scheme in Connecticut shifted years ago from helping businesses prosper to protecting the poor residents in our State. Dozens of activist groups are hard at work at the Capitol portraying a picture of a downtrodden class of tenants being victimized by money grubbing landlords who make tenants live in unsafe and decaying apartments, however the truth couldn’t be further from this well-entrenched fabricated propaganda.
Most rental property owners are good citizens seeking to earn a return on their investment for such things as retirement funds, a child’s college tuition or just to pay their current financial obligations. Taking advantage of poor tenants is truly a misconception because everyone in the rental housing business knows the key to successful rental property ownership is taking care of your good tenants, the lifeblood of the rental industry.
Today, many of our neighborhoods are blighted and decayed. This can be attributed to a failure to protect the taxpaying property owners and rewarding irresponsible behavior by the growing ranks of abusive tenants trying to live rent free. Many of these bad tenants have been empowered by numerous groups of activists who have successfully shifted the focus and policy decisions away from the largest contributor of urban blight, irresponsible tenant behavior. Instead, today it is common practice to blame landlords for all that is wrong with the condition of our rental housing stock, a true insult to both common sense and justice.
Blight ordinances, mandatory inspections, licensing and registration fees are only adding to the problems already overwhelming local mom and pop landlords. These small property operators are a fragile core of individuals helping to provide some stability in so many challenged communities in our State, these owners need help, not more regulation!
Nobody buys a property to purposely let it decay. Blaming urban blight on absentee landlords is a huge stretch, I along with many seasoned landlords say blame it on drug addicted, destructive tenants fueled by street gangs and empowered by liberal advocates but few want to face up to this hard reality. Speaking of the reality, our Association saw this coming for years; we experienced it, complained about it, and offered legislation to fix it, all to no avail!
Most cities blight policies are simply “Throwing the baby out with the bathwater;” the focus needs to shift back to the problem’s cause, irresponsible tenants. Many blight programs sponsored by unknowing politicians will hurt the good landlords who care about their properties and miss their stated target, a small group of irresponsible slumlords who bought property on speculation and never intended to be community stakeholders.
If fee generating ordinances along with higher fines and more regulations against property owners are fully developed; what incentive is there for any responsible owner to invest more money into our core neighborhoods?
There are no success stories to prove higher fines and the threat of arrests will fix anything, just look around at what other cities failed policies have done, there still is blight in all these cities because they are not going after the root cause of the problem, irresponsible tenant behavior. Actually higher fines and fees will do something, something bad, they will drive away much needed “fresh capital” required to be invested in our more challenged neighborhoods.
Waterbury has a chance to get it right if the city creates a balanced anti-blight plan with input from good landlords offering years of daily experience dealing and coping with the irresponsible tenants; these owners are a group who have a lot to loose financially if we don’t fix the true cause of the problem and are on the ropes now.
So eighteen years later, I must say this; had the legislature listened to what the responsible landlords were saying all along and changed some of our policies such as the eviction laws that we asked for a requirement of payment into escrow for non-payment evictions, the blight issue would be a non-issue. Connecticut would have been able to generate billions of dollars to maintain properties and fuel the legitimate economy, not the drug gangs and the underground economy, which is what occurred.
If policies need to be created to deal with decaying housing, let the responsible landlords who are on the front lines in the war on blight help solve the problems. Landlords are willing to work hard and can solve the problems the cities face, but not with both hands tied behind their backs by statutes while facing increased regulations under the threat of larger fines and new fees. These punitive policies will only lead to more property abandonment and eventually more blight.
Please listen to what we are saying now; good landlords can clean up this mess and want to do so, but we must make the tenants more responsible for their negative actions. The Legislature should choose to help the taxpayers and incentivize investment in our struggling neighborhoods. Currently our legislature is on the wrong path and should not discourage future investments with higher fees and fines against struggling rental property owners who are all small business owners struggling in this economy.
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The CT Property Owners Alliance provides educational seminars, offers discounted prices on essential real estate services and supplies resources such as tenant screening, free property management forms and a landlord’s collection agency for its members.