Letter: Help Pittsfield landlords beat rent scammers

Help city landlords beat rent scammers

To the editor:

Because there are professional tenant scammers who bilk landlords out of thousands of dollars in court costs, legal fees and lost rent, I have come up with a plan to help rental property owners put an end to these scams.

* Have your rental unit inspected by the Pittsfield Health Department and receive a certificate of compliance. Do this before you rent the unit. Photograph the unit as well.

* The rental agreement should read as follows: The landlord can evict the tenant with a 30-day notice for any or no reason.

* If there are issues in the tenant's unit, the issues must be brought to the landlord's attention before going to the health department and they must be made in writing.

* Once the tenant receives a 14-day notice to leave, the landlord should be allowed into the unit to assess any health violations or damage caused by the tenant and document these problems. The landlord should also take photos of damage caused by the tenant. Any serious problems the landlord detects should be corrected immediately and the tenant should pay for repairs of problems created by them.

* The rental agreement must state that if the landlord has to incur legal and court costs to evict a tenant all costs will be borne solely by the tenant.

* If a tenant and landlord can't come to a resolution, the landlord should serve the legal eviction notice from the district court.

* On the court date, the landlord should provide proof of compliance of all of the above stipulations. The court should then evict the tenant and order the tenant to pay all money legally due to the owner in full or set up a payment schedule agreed upon by both landlord and tenant.

The courts are havens for rental scammers and the recommended procedures will help landlords procure money that is due to them.

Landlords are business people and tenants that don't pay their rent are stealing money from their business. They should be prosecuted to the fullest by the courts. Ideally the courts will change their procedures to make it easier for landlords to prosecute rental scamming criminals.

Craig C. Gaetani, Pittsfield


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