Landlord: We're not 'ogres'

I am a local landlord, and I must take exception with a story in Sunday’s edition, “Households are evicted every day in Lynchburg.”

One thing that this article obfuscates is that a lease is a contract. When contracts are broken, there are legal consequences. No thinking person would argue that evictions represent tragedies, not only for individuals but also for society at large. Landlords do not take pleasure in evicting tenants. It is a costly, and arduous process.

However, as with any business, landlords have many costs. Debt service, taxes, insurance and repairs must be be paid, no matter if the tenants pay or they don’t.

Landlords are often portrayed in the media as ogres. There was a story in a local media outlet in 2015 about one of my units, featuring a tenant who claimed that there was mold in the house. What was not mentioned was that the tenant was in arrears on his rent and that he left the house with serious damage after it had been rented to him in good condition. While I was not mentioned by name, I felt smeared.

The article cites “... a lack of affordable housing.” Laws such as rent control will only exacerbate this. There was an attorney quoted in the article stating that “... the system is stacked against the tenant.” Oh, really? In the 20-plus years I have been landlording, I can recall two evictions for drugs on the premises, after police intervention. All the rest were for non-payment of rent. Evictions are always for a reason.

Gina Smith, who was also quoted in the article was exactly right about non-payment of rent. I, too, have had a string of delinquent renters. To keep good tenants, and comply with the city code, one must properly maintain rental properties. This is only possible when there is a stream of income from them.

I feel that the general tone of this article, especially the emphasis on income inequality and poverty, misrepresents the entire matter. While I don’t deny that these are problems for our society, Smith was spot on when she said that “We are a business. We are not here to give you a handout.”

Enough said!



The great Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal, the acclaimed blues musician, is performing at The Academy Center of the Arts on Saturday, July 27. While I never knew Taj Mahal personally, I will never forget him. He is the most successful graduate of the high school class we shared many years ago.

Westfield High was a large regional school in western Massachusetts. Students from eight small towns surrounding Westfield were bused to the school of over 1,200. Because the towns were small and only had one bus each to transport all students, students got to school very early in the morning and went directly to the auditorium to await the locals.

One morning, a young man took it upon himself to step onto the stage and start playing the piano. Things got quiet fast. He was incredible. When he finished, the place erupted. We knew great when we heard it. I don’t remember how often we were treated to the future Taj Mahal’s talent. I just know we wanted more. Everyone involved appreciated his sharing his gift, as he will be doing again soon.

Do yourself a favor and plan to attend!



Soccer fans shafted

Last Saturday and Sunday, we were unable to watch the last two games of the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer games in France which were blacked out because of a contract dispute between Nexstar the owner of Channel 27 WFXR and Directv. After having watched all of the other games in the series either live or by recording, we were greatly dissatisfied by this decision.

It not only appears to be discriminatory towards the professional women’s soccer players but also grossly unfair to the clients of both of these organizations. I wonder if they would have made the same decision if it were the NFL Super Bowl or MLB World Series games?


Lynch Station

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