Lafuente proposes stiffer fines for problem landlords

On December 18, 2012, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Ward 4 Alderman, Tony Lafuente has submitted a Board of Alderman Order that would dramatically increase fines to Absentee Landlords when their properties become a nuisance or are identified as problem properties, such as illegal activity and disrepair. The measure would also call for police details – paid for by the landlords of problem units – at properties that continue to cause problems for neighbors.

The cities of Boston, Quincy and Woburn have implemented similar laws.

“We need to look at being proactive as apposed to being reactive when dealing with irresponsible and absentee landlords who are not mindful of neighbors, the community and the city,” said Lafuente. Other aldermen have already signed on to the order and it will go to the Committee on Legislative Matters in the New Year. “I look forward to have this new law passed and implemented as soon as possible so that we can begin to protect our neighbors and residents in a more proactive way,” added Lafuente.


12 Responses to “Lafuente proposes stiffer fines for problem landlords”

  1. JMB says:

    Thank you, Alderman LaFuente! This has been a problem for far too long. We need to put the onus on those aiding and abetting criminals/problem tenants, and stop having the taxpayers pick up after their negligence.

  2. Harry says:

    LaFuente could shake hands with Stalin! The city should actually thank absentee landlord because they usually keep the rent low on their property. Look, a landlord who does not live in Somerville could spend 10-15% of the rent income to pay for a property manager or something. However, that would mean that rent would be 10-15% higher! You numbskulls….

  3. A. Moore says:

    You are half right Harry. We do need something but it usually never works out fair in the long run. I have customers who donot live in Somerville with property that is run down. Thing is they don’t want the propery but are just keeping it because they have relatives there who do not have much. They can’t spend and real money there because they don’t have it. They want to sell it off but can’t until someone dies then they can get rid of it. I have several situations like this here. Some of the elderly here simply just don’t have enough to keep up their propery any more. I have even let my own house go into some disrepair as there is no money to do anything. Hopefully they will target the right people on this.

  4. The issue isn’t with absentee landlords-it is with problem properties. There are plenty of absentee landlords that keep their property maintained, however, there are others that house issues and, well, numbskulls. Those are the ones that will be impacted by this law.

  5. JMB says:

    Courtney – exactly what I said above. It isn’t the landlords per se, it’s the bad ones that allow these problems to go un-answered.

  6. Dan says:

    Courtney is right. Somerville has absentee owners that do what they are supposed to do and don’t have problems at their properties. What is being proposed goes after problem houses and fines the owners who don’t fix them. I hope they get sick of it and sell there house to someone who will take care of it and respects neighbors. Good job Tony for submitting this and Courtney for explaining it.

  7. Thank you, JMB, I was responding to Harry’s comment which came after yours. You are absolutely right! Clearly, we’re not numbskulls 😉

  8. Ray Spitzer says:

    But, you see, who decides what a “problem property” is? The neighbors?

  9. j. connelly says:

    The alderman is trying to resolve the problem. Everyone, especially in these tight $$ times cannot afford major expenses, they do however try their best to keep there homes as nice as possible with the limited $$$ they have.

    Going after those who refuse to address even the simple problems, like making sure the rubbish barrels are covered so their trash is not blowing thru the neighborhood, not attracting rats. Keeping the property appearance neater. Some let their relatives live there to help them out, but there vare also some who get exhorbitant rents from the students and do not put a dime into the property. There is a home up the street where the landlord personally comes to check on the property, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week and if the tenant is sloppy, he gets rid of them.

    It would be nice if they upped the income level in these assistance programs so hard working people like A. Moore, who is also caring for his parents, could get aid for home repairs.

    Also I would like to see all the cities put a ban on those blowing machines used by the landscaping companies. I’ve seen a few who blow the dirt/clippings on to tarps & then load them on their trucks but I’ve seen more who just blow the dirt & pebbles against peoples (damaging) cars and out on to the streets that we pay to have swept.

  10. A. Moore says:

    Thanks j.connelly but I don’t take handouts(no offense, you don’t know me, I think). I only buy and do what I can afford. If I can’t afford it, I do without. And I will pay my fair share. We sweep the street up and pick up litter around the street. We check the sewer and make sure the leaves are not blocking it. Our house may not look as nice anymore but does not have to have trash laying around it. Some of the elderly walking by often sit here and talk to my parents as they rest to go up the street where one place has trash out so they have to go out in the street to pass. Would not be so bad but it is in a bad place where people come speeding around the corner. They were putting it out a couple od days ahead of time but they don’t anymore. I assume they had some trouble about that. One of the people I had mentioned is on the 3rd floor and comes down everyday to sweep up around the street. Just because we have no real money does not mean we don’t try to be neat. At one point more people were like that here. The rubbish truck would come down the street and right afterwards some would come out and clean up after them if they didn’t get everything in the truck. The new people moving in in my area are sort of okay, not like before when people took more pride in the city. I suspect with that new app coming out that turning in violations will become easier, that is if they are acted upon.

  11. j. connelly says:

    No offense taken, we are about from the same age group, I don’t know who has seniority, you or me…lol…But I do know that we came from the group brought up right by our parents and really care bout this city. We have a FEW good politicians in this city…the rest are on ego trips and forget conveniently that they work for us.

  12. A Moore says:

    Haven’t quite hit 70 yet. At least most of us have a home regardless of how nice it looks. I just saw it was national homeless memorial day for those who did not make it. Sad there should be a need for a day like that.

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