By now most of us have heard about predatory mortgage lenders, however are you familiar with the term predatory landlords? Well, as of recent I was on a payment plan with my landlord; a verbal agreement between both parties. Yes, my current rent was up-to-date and I had made substantial payments on my arrears while making substantial concessions so my landlord was getting paid and my family retained our apartment; concessions that included no car, no telephone at all, no cable, no Internet, and I had even sacrificed my beloved laptop to a local pawn shop. My routine of food shopping had also been dramatically altered by my frequent visits to local food pantries instead of local grocery stores. I believed my family's sacrifices were beneficial instead of in vain as long as my landlord was receiving his due money that was agreed upon. However, one day I received an unexpected 48 Hour Notice that had been slipped under my door; my shock was compounded by the fact that I not only had just recently chit chatted with the owner of the building, but there was no legal forethought such as an Execution, any other type of Notice to Quit, or even the courtesy from my landlord in anyway of being made aware that my family was on the road to homelessness.
Predatory landlords do exist and some of their main targets are:
- Previous or Current criminal/civil issues
- New immigrants
- Students and Young Adults
- Unsophisticated renters
- Previous housing issues
- Disabled physically/mentally
Most landlords do run a legitimate and fair business through their rental units or are home-owners that need that extra income. I definitely know too that some tenants do exist that take advantage and not only do not care about their neighbors, the property, the rent, or even themselves; certain renters do give others a bad name. Yet, too many potential renters and current renters are being preyed upon as not only the economy gets worse, but as the desperation for housing continues to rise. It is this desperation that almost made me homeless not believing the 48 Hour Notice to be forcibly moved was an effective and legal order. I am thankful to the mediators at the NorthEast Housing Court and especially to the lawyer I originally only called with one quick question that came immediately to my defense handling my day in court Pro Bono.
I can still recall being a very little girl growing up by the Collins Cove in Salem, MA. My mother was raising 6 children in a small 2 bedroom apartment working hard and doing it all basically on her own. Our landlord cared about us as a family since he knew my mother as a long-time tenant and knowing she tried was of upmost importance to him. He allowed my mom to make payments and appreciated her honesty as well as her perserverance. It is this same landlord that also would occasionally give my father odd jobs to assist with the rent costs since my dad was usually unemployed. I can even picture my father as a younger man on the scaffolding of a home near Derby's Wharf painting alongside with the landlord and his crew on a hot summer day. I, as a child, believed back then that those that did everything right and those that did the best they could would always have security; security not only for themselves, but for their families. Well, not only have times changed from long ago, unfortunately so haven't people changed from long ago. My advice, never believe things are stagnant because in this world you never know what each day may bring.