Fox 21 News, "Superior Aims to Rid 'Slumlords' Through Public Survey"

2 Replies

Wow, as investors in this town with population 28,000, this shocked me. The people we have filing though to look at our properties are always commenting on how clean, etc. We own 9 properties and they have all been completed renovated or are newly built. 

We have walked through a number of multiplexes that do show similar conditions. Unfortunately, some of the conditions are not an exaggeration. I personally know people whom are afraid to report leaking roofs and mold growth to the city inspectors, because they are afraid to lose their housing.  

Any thoughts or suggestions on this market's issues?

Some of (possibly a majority of) the issues in the video appear to be tenant issues. If a tenant does not clean their shower, for instance, many cities with ordinances on the books will fine the owner/landlord. For a potential solution, the short answer is for your lease to include minimal housing requirements... standards, if you will, for tenant behavior. Include the steps a landlord can take to remediate the problem and include what and which expenses will be the tenant's responsibility. Example (paraphrased): 'tenant shall maintain lawn... if lawn length exceeds 10" landlord may remediate by having the grass cut by a landlord selected lawn service company... at a cost not to exceed $50... and that cost will be billed to tenant and due upon receipt...'

Over time, you will know which properties/tenants need the most attention. Better landlords to be proactive than a city to institute unilateral punitive ordinances that will increase burden for landlord, tenant, and public servants.

Dirty toilets and showers are tenant issues, not owner issues.  That said, I have walked through some nasty rentals in Superior and Duluth.  I walked in one (owner lived in the same building), were the tenant had a tarp in the kitchen due to a months old roof leak and they were using the gas stove to heat the unit.  The owner stated to me he could not understand how anyone could live like that.  My thought was I cannot understand how an owner would be okay with a tarp in the kitchen and a tenant heating the unit with their stove.  Oh and this unit "passed inspection" from the City of Duluth.  I would have condemned the building for the condition it was in.

I'm glad to see Superior is asking for landlord input, but sadly they will likely make life much more difficult for the good landlords.

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