By JLP | August 28, 2008
I received an email from a reader this morning with a link to this article: Morris Family’s Plight Shows Flaw in Housing Assistance Program. The reader wanted to know my thoughts and the thoughts of AFM readers.
Legalities aside, would you rent an apartment to the lady in the article? I’m not a landlord, nor am I familiar with all the laws involved in being a landlord. That said, I’m not sure I would make a good landlord as I think I’m too soft on people (yes, I’m a softy even though you wouldn’t know it from some of my posts!).
I like the fact that this lady does at least seem to be trying to get her life back on track. I’m all for that! I think that’s awesome.
One thing the article did not mention was how long this lady would receive the housing assistance. If I was a landlord, I’d want to know that information before I made any decisions. I can imagine trying to evict a renter who can’t pay the rent is expensive.
I did think this law seems a bit ridiculous (emphasis mine):
According to the Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ), an independent, non-profit group that helps provide free legal help to low-income residents: “New Jersey law makes it illegal to refuse to rent housing solely because a tenant will pay rent with rental assistance.”
The organization also recommends that individuals receiving subsidies should contact an attorney or the state Division on Civil Rights if a landlord refuses to rent to an individual because of poor credit history or the amount of your income.
ISN’T THAT THE POINT OF A CREDIT HISTORY? If I’m a landlord and someone with a poor credit history comes to me and wants to rent an apartment that I OWN, it should be up to me to decide whether or not I want to take a chance on this person. After all, it is MY PROPERTY that’s at risk here.
Rant aside, I do believe in second chances and this lady does at least seem like she’s straightening her life out. If I were a landlord, I’d consider renting to her.
What about you? What are your thoughts?