Saturday, June 30, 2007

Gang issues? Hold landlords responsible!!

A recent story in the Herald News, alas one not available online, detailed a resolution passed by the Fall River City Council designed to help combat gang activity in the city.

The "Criminal Street Gang Activity as Public Nuisance" ordinance, which was detailed in an earlier Herald News article allows the city to take legal action against landlords that allow illegal activities, such as murder, assault and battery, rape, kidnapping, larceny and violating the
controlled substance act, to take place on their properties.

Lefty's view: Making landlords more responsible about who they rent to is a good first step to improving our neighborhoods and our city. However, I have grave concern about how the word 'allow' might be interpreted and landlords being victimized for activity they might not have had any real knowledge of. It would seem that absentee landlords are much more guilty of renting to bad tenants than those who live on site. If so, perhaps non-owner occupied housing should be subject to commercial tax rates instead of residential, if for no other reason than to help keep owner occupied housing a more affordable and attractive option.

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