The landlords "cottage industry"

The landlords "cottage industry" 
 
10/24/2005

Dear Editor:
 
The administration, in its never-ending search for truth, justice, and the American way for its allies, is promoting a change in the rent control laws which will limit the liability of landlords in the event of unlawful rent hikes to two years of excess charges. Dave Roberts is very concerned about the "cottage industry" of lawyers bringing landlords to task for long-term illegal overcharges to tenants. He would much prefer to protect the landlords' cottage industry of criminal profiteering. With a City Council full of landlords, several of whom have apparently been violators themselves, Dave's backdoor attempt to strip the law clean of relevance is likely to gain enthusiastic support. The mayor's argument is simple; he and his friends are landlords and they would like to be able to break the law with comparative impunity. Why would he want to deal with a real deterrent to criminal behavior instead of a "cost of business" slap on the wrist? Relatively few landlords actually get caught as it is, and Dave is determined to make sure that their penalties are no more than a nuisance if they do.

The Mayor's efforts are, of course, an engraved invitation to lawbreaking. Rent control laws serve a valuable social purpose; even if these well-intentioned and necessary statutes have, in extreme instances, not allowed landlords to obtain adequate rent levels. Rather than deal with the exceptions, our Mayor has chosen simply to favor illegal profits over fairness and respect for the law. In any case, I hope that Dave can get these inconvenient threats to his cash flow behind him and get back to important items like the belated opening of Sybil's Cave. Perhaps the excavators will find some long-lost treasure not seen for decades, like the Mayor's conscience.

Dean Kemph 


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