Slum Lord or Just Plain Slow?

Broken-FurnaceThis article is for those people who might have a few questions concerning tenants rights, ethical behavior and basic human rights; as well as, what it means to have those rights violated as far as law.

My husband, daughter and I just moved into a new place at the beginning of the year, and for lack of better words the experience has been trying and draining. For one thing moving in the cold for some people would be a turn off. However, for us the cold weather has proved to be an excellent factor in our seeing the condition of the stead, that is, things that might have not been known until later were brought forward.

First, there is need to realize that ignorance plays a huge part in what property managers get away with and for how long. When I say ignorance, prospective tenants who are not aware of the ins and outs of what to look for  in their properties, or about the business of doing your own inspection of the property to look past good looks, more space, new countertops and new carpet. Hence, these, though eye-catching for renters need to be at the end of the list as far as move-in readiness of the property.

America’s constitution pronounces, “Life, Liberty and pursuit of happiness.” Therefore, most Americans have the freedom to choose where they want to live. Accordingly, no one is happy when some have spent their money to move only to find that though they want your money they do not care to spend money so that you can live happily, or at least with the liberty to be happy.

Abraham Maslow developed a theory concerning the basic of human needs saying that people are most motivated when certain needs are met.

They are: (a) physiological, (b) safety, (c) love, and (d) esteem all these which one must have and which lead to a self actualization. It is the case that without these people cannot be motivated. In this we discuss safety because we are speaking about housing.  Therefore, people feel safe and are safe when they have adequate shelter. That means, when a home is  purchased or renting of  a dwelling that the shelter is not substandard, that is, the roof is good, the air and heating is working, as well as the plumbing.

Subsequently, some have been taken aback to find that once they moved in all hell has broken loose. In our case, what happened is the heat stopped working in the dead of winter and temperatures well below 30 degrees, so that even with a fire going the place was cold. What has happened over the last few days has been a nightmare. I finally, after not being taken seriously had to call code compliance.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe that stereotypes have played a part, because nothing about my speech says education I look like a typical black female, sound like a typical black female which means that I am not well versed, or rather, pro-perrr in speech. I jest here, but my landlords may have taken that to mean uneducated, and here I set with a Bachelor degree and near finished with a Master. Big mistake for them, because needless to say I know more than what I might look like. Moreover, I have rented before but it is a far cry from housing and HUD to actually house hunting on one’s own.

For you, here are a few tips. Always make sure that the property has been properly inspected.

1. Check the attic to make sure that it is properly insulated, especially, those homes older and with cathedral ceilings.

2. If you have a fireplace, before move in ask to start a fire, or, ask for inspection of the fireplace.

3. Make sure that plumbing is working. If the water is off, ask them to turn it on to check that the toilets flush and there are no leaks. One place we had already paid our deposit when it was found that the last tenants had poured cement and cut electrical wiring.

4.Make sure the lights are working everywhere. Some places have the electric connected for tenant viewings already.

5. Water heater. One of the things that happened here is that our water heater was working but sprung a leak. Come to find upon the inspection of the heater that it  was manufactured in 1988. This is 2015 can you imagine? That water heater was tired.  Luckily it was a slow leak and thanks to our grandson’s incessant complaints about his wet socks we were spared our carpet being ruined.

6. Keep written record of events, emails, pictures and phone calls requesting maintenance

For more information concerning Tenant Rights and Landlord Responsibility you can visit your city’s Code Compliance or Enforcement site or call.

Watch:  Tenants Rights for Safety

No More Locked Doors!

download (4)All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. [US Constitution Amendment 14 Section 1].

College students in America should be aware that the job market, or rather attainable rights to own and run business and the job search market might seem to be on level footing but they are not, because underlying levels of discrimination and bias are at the frontline. Accordingly, some reports say that though many people might have the same initial education or degrees, seemingly, there are great disparages among blacks and whites with the same education or degreed status.

In the case of Amendment 14 Section 1, people might have an idea that legally this would allow immunity against being sued or some other legality concerning court. However, when the subject of one’s immunity is brought forth this would also mean protection from harm in all things pertaining to ‘life, liberty and pursuit of happiness’. Therefore, one’s ability to seek a job, and/or own a business measurable with their education should be a mainstay. However, though allowed to seek and even be in a top list of candidates the ability to obtain employment is stalled at the door. Hence, establishment of programs to curtail employers who tend to discriminate in the application process, but do they help?

In the article, “Black Men Need More Education Than White Men to Get Jobs”, Margaret Barthel (2014) wrote:

A recent report from the advocacy group Young Invincibles suggests not: African American millennial men need two or more levels of education to have the same employment prospects as their white peers. White male college graduates have a 97.6% employment rate. Black male college graduates have a 92.8% employment rate—which correlates more closely with the job prospects for white men who have some college education but no degree (92.5%) (Barthel, 2014, para. 2).

Discrimination and or biases is further noted in the article which alludes to white sounding names versus black names being a problem in the applicant process as well. Hence, one should ask what  the protection against such clandestine treatment is there. Please note, one employer stated that he does not deal with applicants with ‘tribal’ sounding names. In essence, this thinking targets blacks whose names might seem unusual rather than standard names such as Mary, John, Martha or Mark and is in direct contradiction to the amendment which states that, “any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” and to which employers should adhere to but apparently have found a loophole to avoid it.

In essence, the situation begs the question which asks, what is a person to do if one cannot get in the door of opportunity?

Watch: African American unemployment hits depression-era levels