Problem is Bad Tenants, Not Landlords

In response to the ongoing assault on landlords and local taxpaying, attentive, responsible, multiunit property owners, I would like to assign blame where it belongs. I’d bet you even money that it isn’t the property owners (landlords) who are routinely abusing, neglecting or abandoning their properties. Go to the courthouse in Pittsfield and talk to the women in the civil court office and get the list of the “tenants” or “renters” (both terms used lightly) who are constantly on the books for one complaint or another and go see how they treat other people’s property.

These are the people who know how to use Pittsfield’s totally tenant-friendly, anti-landlord health department and legal system to abuse and take advantage of the property owner. These “tenants” destroy their surroundings and then don’t pay their rent, citing the damages they caused as their reason for non-payment. The landlord has to fix everything the tenants destroyed, just to have the law and the laws come after the property owner.

It’s enough of an accomplishment just to get the rent from many tenants. But, unfortunately, once the door closes behind them they not only have more rights than the landlord the landlord has no rights whatsoever. Just ask Berkshire Housing Authority, I did. I could probably give you the first eight or 10 names that are on the list in the civil court for eviction, and damage to property.

There is an undercurrent of “players” in the system who use our laws to abuse and take advantage of those of us who work and pay taxes. The women in the Civil Courthouse office know who these “players” are, the sheriff’s department knows who they are and Berkshire Housing Authority knows who they are. If you drive by the same properties and see piles of debris by the curb you probably know who they are too. You can bet it’s not the landlord/owner.

I am forever grateful to, and have the utmost respect for, the Pittsfield Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, Health Department and the court system. I’ve lost count of how many times these departments have helped and/or bailed me out of one problem or another due to negligence or destruction of my properties from tenants. Yet, as the landlord/owner I am not only responsible but as far as the laws on the books go I am at fault! Why does the law allow these people to destroy one apartment and then just move on to the next victim?

My experience over the last 11 years leads me to believe as a landlord, investor, owner I have no rights whatsoever in any sense of the word.


The preceding was a letter to the editor that was originally published by the Berkshire Eagle from Pittsfield, MA.

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