Village Mayor Jason West is currently looking at new ways to regulate landlord violations. These regulations would make it so that landlords have to keep track of a checklist which would record housing violations, such as mold growth and whether or not windows and doors are weatherproofed.
West also said that if landlords do not comply with the checklist, they could face the consequences of daily fines that reach $750. He believes the checklists will make things more efficient for the 75 percent of village residents who rent.
We at the New Paltz Oracle applaud the idea to update landlord regulations and believe it is necessary for these regulations to become reality as soon as possible.
Many renters in New Paltz are students, some of whom don’t attend SUNY New Paltz, but other schools located in the Hudson Valley. A majority of these students more than likely do not have a steady enough income to take care of problems they may face at their apartments or houses, so they are reliant on landlords to help them.
We’re all too familiar with the story of how one of our classmates or friends was left without hot water, internet, heat, or other utilities landlords might be responsible for. It’s unacceptable for landlords to be cognizant of mice infestations and windows that don’t shut and not do anything about it.
Stories like this have to end now. Landlords are obligated to their tenants, who pay expensive rent prices and expect to be taken care of by the people they pay to do so. It isn’t uncommon to hear stories about students who get taken advantage of, and we hope that the checklists will help to end stories like ones we’ve seen in the past.
If landlords do not comply with the checklists or have difficulty in doing so, their renters are more than allowed to question whether or not landlords should be permitted to rent to people in the first place.
We hope that Mayor West and the rest of the village government will stick by what he said and will fine landlords who fail to comply with the checklists. Heavy fines will put pressure on landlords to make sure their renters are not only accounted for, but that their safety is kept intact as well.
We also hope that vacant seats on the Tenant-Landlord Relation Committee will soon be filled, particularly the student seat. It is important for a student representative, who serves as the liaison for the majority of renters in New Paltz, to be assertive and make their voice heard.
We do see why landlords would be anxious and angry where heavy fines are concerned. However, we do not sympathize with the possibility of these fines happening. Not taking care of your tenants is an egregious offense, and it’s reasonable for there to be harsh punishments for those who fail to do so.
What landlords have to check off on their inspections are what they should have taken care of in the first place, so we find it difficult to see the complaint landlords would have with filling out a simple checklist.
In the end, it comes down to people getting their money’s worth of care and services. Landlords are able to make a living with the money their renters pay to live where they live. Therefore it is more than reasonable to expect landlords to not only look out for their tenants, but to simply do their job.