Op-ed: Good landlords want to avoid evictions

Op-ed: Good landlords want to avoid evictions
Posted at 8:00 AM, May 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-20 08:00:32-04

Jen Dute is an apartment owner who lives in Anderson Township. She wrote this in response to this storyby reporter Lucy May. 

I have been in the business of owning rental property for 20 years, and my husband has for 40 years.  We have seen things change from having a waiting list for apartments to having multiple vacancies waiting for good tenants.

I think most people would agree with Mr. Desmond that there should be more affordable housing. What I don't think is evident is the efforts many landlords will take to avoid filing for eviction.

COLUMN: Fewer evictions could reduce poverty

Personally, I have tried several things to help people who are helping themselves -- people who are making an honest effort to do the right thing, to better the lives of themselves and their families. Communication between landlord and tenant is of utmost importance. Once a tenant stops communicating with me, it forces the situation to move to the last level -- eviction.

No, I don't think tenants have to have lawyers. No, I don't think landlords have to have lawyers. People need to make better judgments about what they can afford, and landlords need to make better judgments about who will be and who won't be able to pay the bills.

Jen Dute

Some apartments are owned by one entity, and managed by another entity, and the two often have conflicting interests. Some want to get people in there, get their money and then in two months, if they can't pay, evict them and start over. That is not a feasible strategy, but I've see it many times.

Ohio has landlord-tenant laws that are protective of the tenant. Good owners and managers are doing the right things. Being burned over and over again by tenants who hide below the radar makes everyone's lives harder.

People were living paycheck to paycheck. Now it seems people are living next months paycheck to the two-months-away paycheck ... with no savings. If they lose their job today, they are in deeper than they imagined.

It isn't only a matter of affordable housing, it is a matter of financial responsibility. If you want to get ahead, get that better job and that better place to live, then make a plan and work the plan.

Expecting others to pave the way for you won't do it. Everyone has had a little help along the way, but it seems to me, expectations of immediate success have changed people to feel entitled to live where they can't afford, drive cars they can't afford.  No one "needs" as much as people want.

I understand being poor, starting at zero, being on my own. I didn't expect anyone except myself to get a leg up. I did the work, I got my education, and worked several jobs and didn't spend every dime I had on things I wanted. 

Until people get a grasp on some responsibility, both financial and moral, it is only going to get worse.  Tenants who refuse to keep up the property, pay their rent on time and have visitors that maintain respect for others, will continue to use the system and waste their time and their landlords time and money.

Making a whole new set of tenant rights isn't going to change the system. It will turn landlords away from further investment. In Ohio, there are rights for tenants that make sure they will not being tossed out overnight.

Anyone who goes to court and acts like they don't know what is going on, is not telling the truth. Most people being evicted -- if you look them up -- have been evicted before, and know the ropes. Once they are evicted, they won't be renting from my property.

I know the efforts I go to to avoid filing eviction because I know what it will do to a person's chance of getting a decent apartment for a long time. 

It costs landlords money to file, and if an attorney is required, money for that, plus money to turn the place back over once the tenant is evicted (being mad, they destroy the apartment on the way out).

Mutual respect and financial responsibility are lacking in society as a whole. I stress these two things when applicants apply. Simply giving people more rights than they already have won't help matters. Going by the rules, there is no way someone isn't aware of the situation and had time to make plans.