What’s the deal?

Trash thrown out by landlords

Trash thrown out by landlords

 

Unfortunately, the picture above is a common sight throughout the Garden District neighborhoods.  When a landlord evicts a tenant or cleans out the house after they leave, they deposit all the junk on the street and stick a For Rent sign back up in the yard.  In this particular instance, the trash has sat in front of the house for a week and a half (I took this picture a few days ago) and nothing has been done.  I passed by there today to see if it is still there and not only is it still there, it has been rifled through and is out all over the street now.  I have reported such incidents to the First Call program/Code Enforcement, only to be told that they are contacting the landlord to clean it up.  Contacting the landlord to clean it up??  If the landlord had an inkling to clean it up, they would have done so in the first place…dontcha think?  Are we giving these guys too many chances?

According to the Alexandria City Ordinances,
Sec. 26-95.  Certain apartments and single-family residential rental units, etc.
Multifamily, duplex, and single-family residential unit owners shall be responsible for hauling away all trash, clothes, debris, etc., when a unit is vacated and cleaned out due to a move, eviction, or abandonment by the owner and/or tenant. If trash and debris is placed in front of the multifamily, duplex or single-family unit, a fee of three hundred dollars ($300.00) per trailer load or partial load thereof picked up shall be charged. No utilities shall be turned on at the multifamily, duplex, or single-family residential unit until the charges are paid in full. If the charges are not paid in full, a lien will be placed on the property.
The city shall service only small business customers such as offices. This service will continue on the basis that the business does not generate too much garbage where a dumpster is required. The city will determine if the business generates too much garbage and shall have the option to discontinue curbside service and require that the business obtain a dumpster or an alternate type of service.
(Code 1956, § 13-6; Ord. No. 48-1979, § 1, 4-17-1979; Ord. No. 29-1997, § 1, 2-11-1997; Ord. No. 235-2005, § II, 8-2-2005; Ord. No. 201-2006, § II, 6-20-2006)

I wonder if this ordinance is enforced?  I would assume that the above situation is why the city has a department called Code Enforcement.  I wonder if the city really does cite the landlords with ordinance violations?  I thought that it wasn’t getting enforced because no one was reporting it.  However, I have reported several incidents and all that ever seems to come of it is that eventually the city comes and picks the stuff up.  Although I am glad to see it gone, I still feel that the landlord should be held responsible and/or the cost passed on to him/her.  It seems to me that if this particular ordinance was enforced and the landlord made to pay, a landlord would think twice or even thrice about doing it again.  Especially if it costs $300.00 a trailer load!  Also, does the city really place a lien on the property and not turn on utilities?  I would speculate and say probably not.  So does the city pick it up at their own expense and thereby send a signal to the landlord that this behavior is ok?  I don’t mean to be arbitrary here…but if a landlord is in the rental business, hauling off the junk or renting a dumpster temporarily should be factored into the cost of operating that rental business!

I am presently investigating how to fill out a public records request.  I have called and asked the code enforcement people and they claim to not know.  If anyone knows what the process is to get copies of public records, I would appreciate any info.  Later on, I want to check and see if this landlord (and others I have been tracking) are receiving violations or not.  That would indicate whether or not this ordinance is being enforced.  Do I think it will fix the problem?  Not entirely, but let’s say one landlord owns 10 properties in the area and he starts receiving citations with fines and cannot rent his/her properties until the fines are paid, I think he would think again about putting stuff out on the curb and therefore 10 properties just got cleaned up.

The city really should be able to recoup their funds expended on picking this stuff up.  Think of all the money that would be saved if the landlords in the area would get charged to pick up all this junk instead of the city doing it for free.  Also, if a lien was put on the property and a new tenant was not allowed to turn on utilities until the fine is paid, that would force the landlord to pay them.  Otherwise he/she will not receive any income on the property until the lien is satisfied.  I think that by enforcing this ordinance, it will better curb some of the rampant bad behavior landlords in the area have.

Just a suggestion on saving the city money and also for cleaning up our neighborhood.

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One thought on “What’s the deal?

  1. A common sight, too often repeated.
    Some renters like to live in a home till their bills catch up with them and then skip in the night leaving the landlord holding the bag so to speak.
    How some of these slum lords continue to operate though is a question
    unanwsered.
    Alex

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