Over the years a large number of people have been moving out of our depressed city, due to lack of jobs, and failing neighborhoods. People who once lived here just give up; they were tired of waiting for things to improve. They were tired of hearing the city is moving in the right direction when in reality it wasn't. A good number of people just left and let their houses go into foreclosure, or they allowed for their taxes to fall behind and left the city to deal with the problem. In some cases people passed away, and the family didn't want nothing to do with the house.
Most people knew they could never sell their home for the full assessed value that formed the basis of their tax bill. Additionally most houses in the downtown area are over assessed. Houses sell for fewer than $20,000 dollars; that’s the market price in some areas; some go for cheaper than that. This is what lead to the current problem we face today.
With houses being this cheap, it lead to the rise of property management companies. Most of them are good companies that take care of their property, while some are not. The ones that are bad don't care how their property looks or the effects it has on the neighborhood. Most places where they own or manage houses, the people in the area take care of their homes keeping them looking nice. Some property management companies do the opposite, they don't cut the grass, won't trim their bushes, garbage all over and the city don't do much about it.
For example, I heard a story from a resident how the house next door to him was purchased by a property management company. The gentlemen that use to live there passed away; he always kept the house looking nice. The new owners took over and they would never cut the bushes. He called the company. They said ‘we will have someone out next week to take care of it”. Three weeks later they were not cut. He called the city. They showed up four weeks later. A month and a half later they were finally cut and they didn't look much better. Every house on his street is well kept, but not this one. Why would they care? Maybe all they want is their rent money. Most of the owners of these properties don't even live in the city. Again why does the city let stuff like this persist?
Has the time come for the city to start regulating these companies, possibly through the landlord licensing office, or make each company get a special permit costing twenty five dollars to operate in the city, with conditions, that they maintain their property, making sure the grass is always cut, the bushes are well trimmed, every house should be inspected by the city to make sure they are up to code?
They should also have to be in full compliance with the local nuisance law. If any of these are violated, they lose their special permit for six months, and can't rent out the property for another six months. In addition any company receiving money from social services in the form of (Direct Payment) rent payments, their houses and apartments should be inspected by the county. We also need an adequate staffed inspections department to write these properties up and a strong housing court to enforce the code violations. Furthermore there should be laws to protect these owners from bad tenants. This way people are living under good conditions, if procedures like this were followed in the past, we might not be facing these problems today.