SeattlePI.com – Evictions skyrocket, along with complaints of crummy rentals

“Jonathan Grant, executive director of the Tenants Union of Washington State, said his group has seen a spike in evictions and that illegal evictions are a constant, complex issue on his radar. Often, such complaints go hand-in-hand with substandard-housing gripes, a pairing increased by tough economic times.”

By VANESSA HO
SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF
The young couple and their dog were living in the crawl space of a South Park building, with dirt floors and not enough ceiling height to stand upright. The rent? About $300 a month.
Another tenant, a college student in the University District, was renting a tiny furnace room as her living quarters, until she twice went to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning.
Those were just two cases handled by Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development, which saw a small rise in the number of substandard housing calls and a huge rise in eviction complaints.
The trends, referenced in a department briefing this week, spoke to the continuing, painful fallout of the Great Recession. Housing advocates said foreclosures, continuing joblessness, and a lack of affordable housing have led to a massive increase in evictions, and a steady stream of tenants living in dangerous conditions.
Last year, the city’s Planning and Development department, which enforces building codes, saw a doubling in calls about evictions. Some of the increase came from better record keeping, said Karen White, director of the department’s code compliance division.

‘People are in distress’

But much of it was due to the downward economy.
“People are in distress, they can’t pay their rent, they may have lost their job,” White said. “They get a notice from their landlord and they want to know, ‘Can a landlord do this?’ “
While the number of eviction calls swelled — from nearly 640 in 2009 to more than 1,220 in 2010 — the number of eviction violations had dropped slightly. There were only 38 such violations. In 2009, there were 48.
Jonathan Grant, executive director of the Tenants Union of Washington State, said his group has seen a spike in evictions and that illegal evictions are a constant, complex issue on his radar. Often, such complaints go hand-in-hand with substandard-housing gripes, a pairing increased by tough economic times.
Grant said some property owners, facing foreclosure, want to evict tenants to avoid costly repairs or utility bills. In other cases, a tenant makes a repair himself and deducts rent, triggering a dispute.
He said many people have been forced into dilapidated conditions, because of increasingly stringent screening and little affordable housing. Often, a tenant with a steady paycheck but a blemished record – past eviction, or poor credit rating caused by health-insurance woes – is screened out of market-rate housing, he said.
“That person often is going to motels, or the basement of some landlord trying to make an extra dollar,” he said. Or, in one case, a tool shed that had been converted to an apartment.
He applauded the passage of a city ordinance last year that allows for rental housing inspections.
“We get a lot of calls about a unit that is not structurally sound,” he said, saying complaints have involved exposed electrical wiring, black mold, and a tenant’s foot going through the floor.
White, with the city Planning and Development department, said substandard housing cases often involve lack of heat or electricity, or living in a basement with no emergency-exit window or door. She said the number of emergency vacate orders had decreased last year, while the number of complaints about substandard housing had increased.
In one recent case, two families were found living in the windowless basement of a commercial building in Rainier Valley. The basement had been carved into separate living areas, but only one area had a direct entrance out of the basement.
“With the economic distress, we have had in the last couple of years people renting places that shouldn’t be habitable,” White said. “And there are people trying to get money from their property.”
Link – Evictions skyrocket, along with complaints of crummy rentals
National Apartment Association Tells Its Members MOLD CAUSES DEATH; Tells Courts It Doesn’t With The Help of US Chamber and UCLA
Thank You National Apartment Association. I will do my best to get this very important information out ASAP to numerous owners, investors, huge property management companies (e.g., Riverstone Residential), attorneys, and judges, AND, of course, to the MANY people who are currently living in MOLD-INFESTED APARTMENT COMPLEXES right now! katy
Question to Kevin H. Brown, CEO of the National Apartment Association – “So, aptly spoken…are you lying to your members or lying to the courts?” Just Answer The Damn Question!
Political Action Committee – National Apartment Association (NAA) files Amicus Brief in mold case (two infant deaths in mold filled apt – Wasatch Prop Mgmt) citing US Chamber/ACOEM ‘litigation defense report’ to disclaim health effects of indoor mold & limit financial risk for industry
ARIZONA APPELLATE COURT DEFINES “OUTRAGEOUS! BEHAVIOR” AND THEN PROCEEDS TO PRACTICE IT – Fraud In Health Marketing By the US Chamber of Commerce et al. Submitting Known False Legal Documents By Licensed Attorneys
Information about Riverstone Residential, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, and the owners of Jefferson Lakes Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana allowing tenants to be exposed to extreme amounts of toxins from molds by intentionally concealing evidence
Irrefutable evidence indicates that Riverstone Residential, Guarantee Service Team of Professionals, & plaintiffs’ attorney, J Arthur Smith III, must have agreed to exclude evidence that would have shown the owners of Jefferson Lakes Apartments & Riverstone Residential had knowledge of the severe MOLD INFESTATION at the complex before we moved in
Riverstone Residential Litigation
Mold Inspection Reports
Photos of Mold in Apartment
Attorney Malpractice
Links – Riverstone Residential Mold & Illegal Business Practice Complaints & More!
U.S. Chamber of Commerce & Deceit in Mold Litigation
WorkCompCentral: Scientists, Physicians, Attorneys; Citizens Lodge Concern Regarding ACOEM 2010 Mold Statement Revisions Being A Continued Aid For Workers Comp Insurer Fraud Over Mold Issue. Request Transparency and Government Oversight Of ACOEM Peer Review Process
JUSTICE CANDIDATE JUDITH MCCONNELL & NINE SUBORDINATE SAN DIEGO JUDICUARIES~ASSISTING WITH STRATEGIC LITIGATION BY CRIMINAL MEANS BY AN AUTHOR OF “ENVIRONMENTAL” POLICY FOR THE US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AGAINST A WHISTLEBLOWER OF A MASSIVE INSURER FRAUD SCHEME~ AIDING AND ABETTING TO SHIFT COSTS OF WORKER INJURY ONTO CA AND US TAXPAYERS
TRUTH OUT Sharon Kramer Letter To Andrew Saxon MOLD ISSUE
“Changes in construction methods have caused US buildings to become perfect petri dishes for mold and bacteria to flourish when water is added. Instead of warning the public and teaching physicians that the buildings were causing illness; in 2003 the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, a think-tank, and a workers comp physician trade organization mass marketed an unscientific nonsequitor to the courts to disclaim the adverse health effects to stave off liability for financial stakeholders of moldy buildings. Although publicly exposed many times over the years, the deceit lingers in US courts to this very day.”
Sharon Noonan Kramer
This entry was posted in Environmental Health Threats, National Apartment Association, Riverstone Residential, Tenants Rights, Toxic Mold, US Chamber of Commerce and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s