5/03/2010Posted by MJ
The Buffalo News reported on the progress of the nuisance law:
...Smith’s proposal creates a point system for arrests. Convictions are not required.
Crimes are assigned four or six points, and if residents of a particular building rack up 12 points in six months, or 18 points in a year, that address is deemed a public nuisance.
The law gives the police chief the power to close any premises that make the nuisance list unless the problem is resolved within 30 days of a warning notice. In effect, he can evict the occupants.
“Once you set a precedent, landlords would do a better job screening their tenants, which is our ultimate goal,” Smith said.
The law drops the hammer on landlords, too, by directing the corporation counsel to go to court to hang a $5,000 civil penalty on the landlord of any building closed by the police. It also allows the city to demand that the landlord cover the costs of reimbursing those evicted.
Once a building is closed, it remains off limits for a year, the law says...
All in all it appears to be a sensible law. I could see blindly enacting and enforcing the law creating more angst between residents and the city. There is also the possibly of creating unneeded vacancies. The onus is on the city to make sure it is sucessful. The city should be prepared to offer insight in how to word rental agreements, etc. It needs to present itself as a leader in the change for people to have better neighbors and for landloards to have more profitable tenants and a reason to reinvest in their properties.
A good portion of those involved will respond better to an outreached hand. For the few that don't, the law will serve its purpose.
...and what exaclty is the legal definition of loitering?