Boston and Detroit Crackdown on Evictions

Apartment owners, managers and landlords are commonly using evictions to be able to get new tenants that will pay higher rent amounts.  They also don’t want to spend money making their apartments better for existing tenants.  However, the cities of Boston and Detroit are fighting back.  They are definitely becoming pro-tenant cities and are cracking down on evictions.

Detroit is trying to prevent landlords from renting substandard homes including stopping them from collecting rent if they don’t comply with inspections.  While Boston just approved a set of regulations that could make it harder for landlords to evict tenants without just cause and the measure would require landlords to notify the city whenever they move to evict a tenant, for whatever reason.

Evictions are a common tool utilized by landlords and property managers to remove tenants for a variety of reasons, which could include non-payment of rent, property damage, or some similar breach of a rental contract.  Additionally, evictions are increasingly utilized in rental communities to clear properties for new tenants that could pay significantly more rent.  It is a long and costly process but one that landlords often pursue in not always the most scrupulous path.

Boston and Detroit are attempting to crackdown on evictions but it is a challenging prospect.

The City of Detroit

The rental market in Detroit is often plagued by scrappers and thieves.  It has become so bad that an informal “24-hour rule” has been put in place.

From The Detroit News website (Oct. 05, 17):

The dozens of working furnaces and water heaters sitting in Chris Garner’s warehouse sit idle because of what he calls his “24-hour rule.”

Within a day of a tenant moving out of one of his Detroit rentals, Garner, the owner of a Taylor-based property management company, has staffers remove the systems and board up the home. It’s all to deter scrappers and thieves. They won’t reinstall, he said, until 24 hours before a new tenant is scheduled to move in.  detroitnews.com/story/news/special-reports/2017/10/05/detroit-evictions-landlords/106351462/

 

Challenges are with property owners putting very little money into rental properties, often due to the demands and cost of stringent annual property inspections.  Due to low quality of properties tenants often refuse to pay rent thereby forcing the onset of the eviction process.

The Mayor of Detroit, as well as the City Council, seeks to correct the situation.

From The Detroit News website (Oct. 05, 17):

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and other city officials say part of the solution to improve city rental housing is a landlord crackdown, and last month pledged to launch a campaign to prevent landlords from renting substandard homes. That includes stopping them from collecting rent if they don’t comply with inspections.

The city admits most rentals haven’t been inspected.  detroitnews.com/story/news/special-reports/2017/10/05/detroit-evictions-landlords/106351462/

 

The City of Boston

In Boston steps are being taken to better manage evictions.

From the Boston Globe website (Oct. 04, 17)

Boston’s City Council overwhelmingly approved a set of regulations Wednesday that could make it harder for landlords to evict tenants without just cause, while giving city officials better ways to track how many housing evictions are occurring and where.

Called the Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act — named after the late social justice advocate — the measure would require landlords to notify the city whenever they move to evict a tenant, for whatever reason. The city and landlord would then have to alert the tenant to his or her housing rights, such as the ability to appeal to a state Housing Court, and the tenant could be directed to advocacy groups.  bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/10/04/city-council-bill-would-better-regulate-and-track-evictions/pZSRLVJbazy0pIxgWdDyTP/story.html

 

These steps are designed to help protect against speculators taking over properties and increasing rents until tenants can no longer afford the rent and either leave or are evicted for failure to pay.

Evictions will remain a challenge for Cities, Landlords and Tenants.  However it is an important tool that landlords need in order to protect their investment but it can be used more maliciously in order to remove existing tenants in favor of potential higher paying tenants.  Boston and Detroit are trying to redesign how evictions should work and are definitely on the side of the tenant.

Evictions and the eviction process will continue to be a complex tool and one that landlords and property managers should strongly consider before implementing.  A best practice for landlords is to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening company to remain current and compliant with law and to maintain a fair and compliant applicant selection decision making process.

To learn more about the eviction process and how Boston and Detroit are cracking down and dealing with this issue along with why and how landlords can be unfair to tenants as well as what tenant rights are available read recent TenantScreeningUSA.com press release:  http://tenantscreeningusa.com/tenant-screening-news/evictions-a-tale-of-two-cities-boston-and-detroit/

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