Sep 13

I was listening to NPR while clearing some paperwork off my desk.  They had a half  hour segment “How We Survive: Renters, Rights, and Resistance

Under the guise of protecting tenants from foreclosure related evictions the speakers were  promoting just cause eviction laws – starting with CA but their goal is nationwide.  Let’s face it in most foreclosures the tenants live rent free for months.

More alarming was the second half the program where they discussed tactics used to avoid eviction for non-payment.

All this concerns me  on a couple of levels

Just Cause Eviction Laws

The foreclosure element is a smokescreen. The just cause laws I’ve looked at apply across the board to all tenants, not just those whose owners are in foreclosure. Under these laws you need to have “just cause” to evict or in most cases to raise rent. The theory on rent increases is that legally they are termination of a tenancy and with an offer to enter into a new one at a higher rent. In WI a tenant is not required to give notice after you give a rent increase, they can just vacate the last day of the old rate.

The neighbors and other tenants will complain to you about a loud, rude tenant, but usually will not appear in court on a for cause eviction hearing, often because they are afraid of the hoodlum or would have to miss work to be there.  Today 28-day termination notices are a good way to get rid of a tenant who is annoying the neighbors without requiring the neighbors to testify at an eviction hearing.  If your property is in a community where there are just cause eviction laws either the neighbors would have to testify or the troublesome  tenant gets to stay, leaving the good tenants and neighbors to put up with it or move themselves.

Tactics used to avoid eviction for non-payment.

About two thirds the way through the broadcast is a segment with Studs Terkel interviewing a Judge Samuel Heller on how he was creatively circumventing the eviction laws back in the ’30s. His tricks and thoughts are the similar to what is coming out of the Milwaukee eviction courts this past year. He spoke of how he change the 5-day notice to ten days, then a month.   None of this has to do with foreclosure, but with a socialist attitude that tenant rights are superior to owner rights. 

They also had an interview with people who during the same time period helped others forcibly reoccupy their apartments after eviction and steal utilities.

When NPR puts these types of thoughts out there it encourages others to apply them today as a method to steal from owners, forcing more into foreclosure. But that won’t matter as the banks won’t be able to evict them either.

Listen to the program. It is thirty minutes long, but much more useful than watching another rerun of Lavern and Shirley. Heck put it on your iPod and listen to it while you exercise   Any landlord listening to this will be able to bench press twenty percent more and trim a minute off their mile time. 😉

It is unlikely the public or judicial system would feel that others regardless of their economic condition should be able to steal groceries, gas for their car or clothes.  Yet somehow they feel that stealing rent money is okay.  We need to work to change this perception.  We also have to help tenants understand what is bad for rental property owners is ultimately bad for them

Leave a Reply

preload preload preload