We hope the city of Newport rejects the idea of making landlords financially responsible for the bad acts of their tenants.

Last week, city council members discussed a suggestion that Newport be like Winooski and consider an ordinance that would levy fines for landlords with unruly tenants.

In a society where people increasingly find ways to pass the buck of responsibility, it is now suggested that we punish landlords for not being better baby-sitters of their tenants.

The proposed ordinance would not only pressure landlords to become watchdogs of their tenants, it would also force them to intensively screen people before allowing them to become tenants. This, of course, would lead to more work for attorneys as the rejected tenants sue for discrimination.

At the city council meeting, one homeowner said landlords were just people in business to make a profit. This statement apparently was meant to have a negative connotation. We fail to see the problem with using the words business and profit in the same sentence, nor do we have a problem attaching the labels of businessmen and businesswomen to landlords. We doubt anyone would get into the business of being a landlord to lose money or risk spending money and time in court trying to evict troublesome tenants. Our guess is that they're just trying to make a buck like the rest of us.

We echo the sentiments made at the meeting by landlord Doug Spates. Police should enforce an existing ordinance that mandates the tenant be fined for breaking the law.

It may be a bum deal that we law-abiding citizens have to pay ever-increasing taxes to police the sins of the law-breakers, but someday the money spent to serve and protect could be used to serve and protect you.

Copyright 1999

The Caledonian-Record



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