This Might Be the Biggest Financial Disaster That Has Ever Hit a Landlord

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This Might Be the Biggest Financial Disaster That Has Ever Hit a Landlord

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A landlord in Oakland was fined for nearly four million dollars for the housing conditions they provided for their tenants. Sure, it was Oakland – a place known for some more ludicrous housing fines. Unfortunately, there are similar fines across the country, so the best we can do is try and protect ourselves from getting such fines in the first place.

A landlord in Oakland was fined for nearly four million dollars for the housing conditions they provided for their tenants. Sure, it was Oakland – a place known for some more ludicrous housing fines. Unfortunately, there are similar fines across the country, so the best we can do is try and protect ourselves from getting such fines in the first place.

What Happened in Oakland

Let’s get the story straight. In Oakland, a landlord was fined 3.9 million dollars for the “hazardous” conditions the tenants were living in. The landlord couple had over one hundred and thirty properties, some of which weren’t for family tenancy. Those that were being rented for residential purposes included converted properties that may not have been “converted” properly.

The hazardous conditions included:

What Happened in Oakland

Let’s get the story straight. In Oakland, a landlord was fined 3.9 million dollars for the “hazardous” conditions the tenants were living in. The landlord couple had over one hundred and thirty properties, some of which weren’t for family tenancy. Those that were being rented for residential purposes included converted properties that may not have been “converted” properly.

The hazardous conditions included:

  • Hallways too small for safe evacuations
  • Lack of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • Improper or illegally installed water heaters
  • No hot water heaters
  • Unsafe electric wirings
  • Possible mold in living quarters
  • Windowless bedrooms

How Did This Happen

Some speculate that the landlords at fault were able to ‘get away’ with these conditions as the main tenants were low-income migrants who did not speak English – therefore, they could not complain. It is easy for a landlord to not know there are problems when a tenant can’t tell, right?

  • Hallways too small for safe evacuations
  • Lack of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • Improper or illegally installed water heaters
  • No hot water heaters
  • Unsafe electric wirings
  • Possible mold in living quarters
  • Windowless bedrooms

How Did This Happen

Some speculate that the landlords at fault were able to ‘get away’ with these conditions as the main tenants were low-income migrants who did not speak English – therefore, they could not complain. It is easy for a landlord to not know there are problems when a tenant can’t tell, right?

Getting fined for providing unlivable or hazardous living conditions isn’t unusual. Most states and cities have similar protections embedded into their landlord-tenant laws. The question is, how did the fine get so high. 3.9 million dollars is a ludicrously tall order for many landlords to even imagine, and across only 130 properties? The idea of divvying it up doesn’t seem to fit. However, in Oakland, under the Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO) a court “can require a landlord to pay up to $1,000 a day per violation.” All those violations for an extended period of time across all those properties, it does begin to add up.

Getting fined for providing unlivable or hazardous living conditions isn’t unusual. Most states and cities have similar protections embedded into their landlord-tenant laws. The question is, how did the fine get so high. 3.9 million dollars is a ludicrously tall order for many landlords to even imagine, and across only 130 properties? The idea of divvying it up doesn’t seem to fit. However, in Oakland, under the Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO) a court “can require a landlord to pay up to $1,000 a day per violation.” All those violations for an extended period of time across all those properties, it does begin to add up.

In January of 2015, one landlord was fined $300,000 after renting a single family home to seven college students. Another landlord was fined $800,000, at that time a record, for 467 code violations. Two more were fined $460,000 after breaking fire safety code violations. While Oakland might crack down on infringing properties seemly more than other areas, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods in your zip code.

How to Keep It from Happening to You

The best thing to do is to just be safe. The one thing all these landlords have in common is, in layman’s terms, that when something broke, they didn’t get it fixed. They didn’t fix smoke detectors, call exterminators, and they didn’t check electrical wiring. For the first landlord with the multi-million dollar fine? They bought and “converted” properties whose hallways were too small to begin with. They didn’t double check some important things and ignored property conditions to the point where they became hazardous.

 

Problems that big aren’t likely to happen to you. As a responsible landlord, you check for mold, and keep your codes up to date, so you won’t be fined for those issues. As a landlord who takes care of the small issues in a timely manner, such as a leaky faucet, you don’t have to worry about those issues spiraling into big problems like mold in the kitchen. As a good caretaker, you don’t need to worry about the big fines, because you take care of the little things before they become problems. That’s how you know you’re safe.

In January of 2015, one landlord was fined $300,000 after renting a single family home to seven college students. Another landlord was fined $800,000, at that time a record, for 467 code violations. Two more were fined $460,000 after breaking fire safety code violations. While Oakland might crack down on infringing properties seemly more than other areas, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods in your zip code.

How to Keep It from Happening to You

The best thing to do is to just be safe. The one thing all these landlords have in common is, in layman’s terms, that when something broke, they didn’t get it fixed. They didn’t fix smoke detectors, call exterminators, and they didn’t check electrical wiring. For the first landlord with the multi-million dollar fine? They bought and “converted” properties whose hallways were too small to begin with. They didn’t double check some important things and ignored property conditions to the point where they became hazardous.

Problems that big aren’t likely to happen to you. As a responsible landlord, you check for mold, and keep your codes up to date, so you won’t be fined for those issues. As a landlord who takes care of the small issues in a timely manner, such as a leaky faucet, you don’t have to worry about those issues spiraling into big problems like mold in the kitchen. As a good caretaker, you don’t need to worry about the big fines, because you take care of the little things before they become problems. That’s how you know you’re safe.

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ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.