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Letters to the Editor 12/30

January 02, 2002

Letters to the Editor 12/30 Part 1

Rental registration proposal would force good owners to pay for bad



To the editor:

In response to Bob Maginnis' column regarding "Time to register Landlords in Hagerstown" I have only one word to say: No!

What you are advocating is the establishment of a $250,000.00 dollar a year bureaucracy to force 90 percent of the landlords to pay for the policing of the other 10 percent who keep shoddy property. You are advocating that a third party be responsible for the actions of people who refuse or lack the capability to be responsible for themselves.

Shoddy tenants beget shoddy landlords, and lousy landlords beget lousy tenants, and they deserve each other.

You stated in your column that there is a place for tenants who have a problem with a run-down property to bring it to official attention - so why is another layer of government control over peoples lives required?

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The first three paragraphs in your editorial exemplifies why we don't need landlord registration. You chose to live in a less than desirable place, so what is really needed are people who refuse to accept dirty, rundown rental properties to live in in the first place. After awhile, these run down properties would be vacant, and fall down on their own accord or be condemned by the city, after all.

You also state that the police, in doing such a great job in one area, are causing drug dealers to migrate to "downtown" where the properties are uninhabitable. So then, why don't the building inspectors just go there and condemn these buildings, too?

Why don't you speak to a few landlords around town, and they will tell you why some of their properties are run down: it is because you just can't stay ahead of some of the low-life irresponsible people who destroy your property and then leave. Even if you take them to court, they won't have the money to pay for all the damage they cause.

I think it is time for landlords to register bad tenants. Publish a list of people who have left owing back rent, or people who left holes in the walls, or who let their children take crayons to the walls, and so on.

Okay, let us have landlord registration - and tenant registration, too. Let the $250,000 bureaucracy keep track of which tenants occupy which apartments, and when they vacate, have the tenants leave the property like they found it, in good habitable condition, freshly painted and cleaned. Now that I would not have a problem with.

But maybe the best solution is to train the lead paint inspectors do the other aspects of the property inspection, too, and kill two birds with one stone.!!

On another subject: the proposed rebuilding of the West End projects. The project was listed at $72 million dollars for 400 new rental units for subsidized housing. If you do the simple arithmetic on those two numbers you get an average of $180,000.00 per unit!

Even allowing $10,000 to tear down each of the old ones, that still averages $170,000 per unit. Why bother doing all this work? Just buy them cheaper houses in the creative homes developments advertised - a house and lot for only $139,900.

MIke Dawson
Waynesboro, Pa.

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