5/03/2010

Nuisance Law Update

Posted 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?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am all for this and am a landlord who does screen well and has a really thorough lease. I am wondering though..they do not mention how the landlord will be notified and for which infractions. I have tenants and a scannar but am still unaware most times when police visit my places for domestic issues or anything else for that matter. Not that I have ever had issue with drugs or anything. But..I would like to know, will they notify you of every time they go to one of your properties then? Or just when you start to rack up points. Now mind you I am sure this will not be me but just hope they will find a good notification system for the Landlords. I would like to know every time they go to my property no matter what its for, there has to be an economical way and also what about the tenants privacy issues?

Just a few questions on this one. All in all a good new law for the people who do not keep an eye on their places.

Robin McCowen said...

For those who are interested in furthering the discussion of the Nuisance Law, please take the time to email me at mccowendr@yahoo.com and leave your contact information. Even though the Law is not in it's final form, we are gathering public opinion and may possibly hold a "Town Hall" style meeting to answer questions, discuss the concerns and welcome the support of such a Law. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I know that our city has many landlords who know how to find good tenants, however, this does require work. Credit checks, criminal background checks, and checking with previous landlords will tell a lot about what kind of potential tenant you will have. This can all be done LEGALLY!

The landlords that usually complain are the ones who don't want to go to this extent, can't afford to have an apartment vacant, or their rentals just aren't up to snuff. This is a business-businesses do not always succeed. When you can't make it work, then it's time to sell. It's also important to realize that these properties, like private homes, need to be maintained properly. They are not just a money ticket. Part of the rental money needs to be put aside regularly for these type of expenses.

I think holding classes to help landlord's learn how to legally write leases that will protect them and their investments will be very helpful.

MJ said...

I agree on Annon.

A quick primer on how to work it and actual wording to put in rental/lease agreements will be huge to its success. It will also save frustration and animosity for both the renters and the landlords.

I had a conversation with a gentleman on a plane trip a while back. We was talking to me about the virtues of owning rental property. When I brought up how hard it was to find good tenants he mentioned of a place in the Buffalo area that did renter background checks, etc. For the overall headache and effort reduction, I'm guessing it would be worth the fee.

Anonymous said...

I think this would be a good time to start thinking about a landlord association also. This way landlords can be a support to each other and also share information when needed.

Anonymous said...

Have not heard any news on this, any updates?

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