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Do Massachusetts landlords really have it tougher?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis January 9, 2013 07:00 AM

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OK, I have been accused of landlord bashing. Can't imagine why that would be, though maybe my post the other day on "soaring rents" and asking who is greedier right now, landlords or home sellers, may have been terribly misconstrued somehow.

Seriously, though, there are many sides to this story. And mom and pop operators who rent out an apartment or two arguably suffer the most from some questionable and seemingly archaic state laws on the books here in the Bay State.

The Small Property Owners Association has been pushing for years to close loopholes that enable so-called "professional tenants to use phony health board complaints as an excuse to stop paying rent.

While such deadbeats theoretically face eviction, they are shielded from getting the boot as long as they can keep ginning up various fake charges, damaging their apartments in the process and living rent free.

SPOA and other groups have pushed for legislation that would force such professional loafers to at least pay their rent into an escrow account while the dispute is being resolved, but it predictably goes nowhere year after year on Beacon Hill.

Here's what nancysyd had to say:

Well, let's see. Rent escrowing still isn't the law, domestic violence allows the victim to void a lease or alternatively can be used as a defense in an eviction hearing, i.e., I can't evict a domestic violence victim even if her presence endangers or disrupts other tenants. There are better ways to support and protect domestic violence victims than to place the responsibility on private landlords. Yet, we will still won't pass the laws that protect landlords from "professional tenants." Yeah, we earn every bit of what little profit we actually make.

And if you can't stomach our rising rents, move to France! That, anyway, was what funnels had to say.

Greedy? what a bunch of bs. Owning and renting out property can be a serious headache, and I see no issue with charging what the market will bear. Frankly, I'm getting pretty sick and tired of all the bashing of anyone who makes a profit doing anything. Don't like it? move to France. No one cried a river for the landlords when rents bottomed out in 2009, but now that their apartments are in high demand, they are just supposed to rent them out below market because that's what the poor tenants want? Give me a break.

That said, my empathy is limited to responsible mom and pop operators. The big national companies that are rolling out huge, upscale apartment towers and complexes around the Boston area are leading the charge when it comes to jacking rents - as well as coming up with all sorts of fees as well.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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