” A landowner owner who allows their property to deteriorate and who overcharges their tenants is often called a slumlord. However, Sergeant Chad Cunningham of the University Police Department says he wouldn’t define a slumlord. As far as we’re concerned, they’re all landlords, you just have different levels of landlords.””
A landowner owner who allows their property to deteriorate and who overcharges their tenants is often called a slumlord.
However, Sergeant Chad Cunningham of the University Police Department says he wouldn’t define a slumlord. As far as we’re concerned, they’re all landlords, you just have different levels of landlords. You have some that will keep up with codes and some that won’t. Slumlord is a derogatory term. It’s slang, Cunningham said.
Senior Joe Tuzze, a corporate finance major, has had a very unfortunate experience with a landlord. Whe he describes as a person that does shady work to make a quick buck, and has no consideration for tenants. The hassle for Tuzze began one day during the summer of 2006.
He explains that when he and his roommates moved into the house, they found leftover razor blades scattered that were from the replacement of carpets.
Tuzze said, No big deal, we wore shoes for a week until we made sure we found all of the scattered razor blades.
Even though their landlord was no where to be found, the rest of the semester went smoothly for Tuzze and his roommates.
Most students would want to avoid a living situation like this, and so the obvious question is if there is a way to know, and therefore avoide, landlords who don’t comply with their rights and obligations.
Cunningham says, There is a public list of landlords in the city of Akron, but it just says who the landlord is and what problems they have. However, it is not a complaint form.
Tuzze’s landlord issues continued when they returned from winter break. The house had no electricity. It was a Sunday and they attempted to reach their landlord for two days in order to fix the problem. Yet again, he was nowhere to be found.
Tuzze and his roommates discovered that the problem was the circuit breaker and the workers from the energy company were not allowed by law to fix it.
Tuzze explains, The man from First Energy gave us directions on how to turn the power off from the meter, take apart the circuit breaker, and put it together. By this time, it was ten at night and my roommates and I fixed the circuit breaker and had heat.
After receiving only one letter requesting renewal of the lease, the landlord began showing the house to potential renters. Tuzze informed the landlord they had intentions to extend the lease, but From this point it was just a downward spiral. He [the landlord] began to move to different houses and make them his office. These houses did not have drop boxes and made it impossible to drop off the rent. You had to mail your rent and hope he received it, says Tuzze.
The problem continued when the septic line began to flood their basement. He began by blaming us for the problem, saying that toilet paper and feminine products were the cause of this and we would have to pay for the damage, Tuzze explains. A plumber came to the house and spent three days trying to fix the problem before realizing the problem was due to the roots and collapse of the pipe from the road to the house.
Tuzze and his roommates soon received multiple eviction notices.
He says, fighting and debating went on until a settlement was reached and the lease ran out. After our lease was up, he gave us a week to move, and requested a full cleaning of the house or more charges would be added.
Tuzze also said, With only a few items left such as a sweeper, legs to a table, and other items he threw them away and gave no compensation for them.
Cunningham suggests knowing your rights as a tenant. Read the lease thoroughly and know your responsibilities as well as the landlords responsibilities. Before signing, walk through the house and ask the landlord questions.
Tuzze believes that his experience with the landlord was a hard lesson, but it has made him more careful when renting. Tuzze has since moved and is now renting under a different landlord. The Peterson Brothers and Father make renting a pleasure instead of the previous landlord.
Tuzze’s advice to other students after this horrible experience is to, make sure everything is in writing. Have a book to record payments and other incidents that occur. Pay only by check.
Although Tuzze had the opportunity to include his landlord’s name and possibly retaliate against him he says, I do not want to sink to their level, but his reputation is known as being a scumbag.
Cunningham believes that the right living environment depends on the person. If you live on campus, you do have the safety of the university. You know what the rules are going into it, you know what is provided for you, you know what experiences you will encounter, and we have an excellent Residence Life Administration but not everybody will be able to stay on campus.
Cunningham believes it is very important to do research on different areas no matter where you are planning to live. He suggests comparing different areas and the crime rates.
People need to be responsible for their own items, what I always say is ‘Be responsible for your own safety.’
For further questions regarding Tenant/Landlord Rights and Obligations, The Ohio Bar Association references the following Web sites: codesofohio.gov and lawwriter.com.
Call news writer Susann Schmitt at:
To comment on this story, go to: