Bad Landlords

Dear Editor, 

Last weekend while out canvassing, I visited with a grandmother of 3 who served our country in the Navy. With the Temptations playing in the background, she shared her concerns for her grandsons and the community. One of the boys came up and asked, “can you help us?” 

I asked what he needed, and he replied that their landlord wouldn’t fix the broken electrical outlets in one of the rooms in their house. I asked the grandmother to help me understand, and she shared they have a terrible time getting anything repaired because their landlord lives out of state. 

I hear this same story all too often. We must hold absentee landlords accountable for their end of the agreement with their renters. Unfortunately, state landlord/tenant laws are written very favorably for landlords, and are not renter friendly. The best tools we have are to use code enforcement to require landlords to clean up or improve the property, and fining them if they don’t comply in a timely manner. But even the fines have been capped by the state. 

While I might not have been able to help that little boy get his grandmother’s house fixed, I was able to help his grandma with some other immediate needs. She uses a wheelchair, doesn’t have access to her own transportation, and did not have a photo ID. I was able to connect her with the Spirit of Kokomo and a local nonprofit. Now, she’ll have a new photo ID and will get to vote on November 5th.

In your service, Dorothy.

 

Abbie Smith

Democratic Candidate for Mayor

Kokomo, Indiana

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