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Monday, September 05, 2011

HUD sues neighbors for forcing black family out


Blogger Bob said...

Property investor/property rights activist Tim Ballering of Milwaukee said;

Here is a case where neighbors used complaints to the city and landlord to try and force a Black family to vacate. Well, actually the neighbors succeeded in forcing the family out, which probably was to the neighbors greater detriment.

The neighbors now are facing $16,000 per violation each plus damages to the tenants and the Fair Housing Commission. There would appear to be at least 4 violations identified - it could be a lot more.

Note that the landlord was not charged in the complaint. This would appear to be the result of him reviewing the allegations and ignoring what he saw as unfounded complaints.

I do not know how it is in St Paul, but here in Milwaukee neighbors and city councilmen will use our inspection department as a club to beat landlords who rent to tenants the neighbors do not like. Most often this is a race thing.

This is the third case I've read this year where HUD went after the neighbors and won. There may have been more as I only skim the HUD releases for cases that seem interesting.

This case is also more important than the others as it comes out of HUD Region 5, which covers WI as well as MN

Tim Ballering

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll tell you how it is in St. Paul. Exactly the same. Neighbors do not want african americans living in the neighborhood and they call the city council to complain. City council members call code enforcement and police to go out and make the landlords life hell. Name of the game is to cost landlords so much money the rent has to go up to a point where certain classes cannot afford to rent it any longer. Problem solved - neighborhood cleaned up - elect me again.

2:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reality in Saint Paul was that they acted pretty much the same as what occurred in this story.

Are there people who direct calls against tenants because they are African American? Yes.

Is it the City's obligation to respond to the call? Yes. (and if you read this case file the city did in this case too.)

Is it the City's job to make sure that they are enforcing the code? Yes.

Is it the City's job write up properties with violations and to not right up those that don't? Yes

Were there admitted to violations in EVERY case in all of these law suits in Saint Paul? Yes, everyone admitted to the violations.

Was there evidence that the City was concerned that African Americans could be targeted by code calls and were trying to make sure that DIDN'T happen? Yes, there were several times that came up in the case.

If the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs in the current law suit and allows what is left of the Saint Paul case to go forward, would the only people who could reap any financial benefit be the tenants of the buildings that had code violations? YES... there is nothing left of the case for the land lords.

Is what is left of the case the premis that cities should not enforce the code, since troubled buildings are more likely to house low income people and low income people are disproportionately people of color? YES

Would the net effect then of the City of Saint Paul losing the law suit be that no city could enforce any code? Yes

Is there any chance that Saint Paul can lose the case? NO


Chuck Repke

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tenants are not even part of that lawsuit you stupid sap. How the hell do you think property owners sue for danages and the court gives those damages to someone else that is not even a party to the court case? And while we are at it .......while you are talking about admitted vioaltions why don't you talk about the false violations that were admitted to by the city inspectors? And the city concerned about targeting african americans? You dope..the city was very well aware of who they were targeting......also admitted by city officials. Get a clue

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:51 actually the court has already determined that there were no false charges... and the court has already determined that the City was not targeting African Americans. So, maybe you should buy a clue or at least read the case stuff that Bob has already posted here.

There is one charge left in front of the court and that is even though the City did not target people of color, did the non-biased enforcement of the code have an adverse impact on people of color? That is the last charge. You can whine all you want, but that is all that is left of the case, the rest has been thrown out as the garbage that it was...

The court has said, that every property in the case had violations, that every property the enforcement was done even handed, but the question is, even if that was the case did people of color get victimized by fair enforcement? Because that still could be a HUD violation.

The City has argued at the Supreme Court that if the case is allowed to move forward and if the City was found to be guilty, it would mean that you couldn't enforce housing codes of any kind anywhere. Their argument is that property in disrepair will always rent for less, that poor people will be more likely to live in them because of that and that until things change in America there will be a disproportionate number of people of color in the low income population.

So, if you site a house for code violations and the house is repaired it may raise the rent; and if it isn't repaired it will be nailed shut. Either way that has an adverse impact on the tenant.

What the City is saying to the Supreme Court is that adverse impact of that kind should not be considered in housing cases. The law does not specifically address adverse impact on housing code enforcement and that if there isn't targeting and there isn't intent that you shouldn't have a HUD case. Otherwise the City loses the ability to have any health standard. You simply can not protect anyone since the worse properties will be rented for the lowest dollar amount and have a disproportionate number of people of color in those units.


Chuck Repke

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If cities cannot run a code enforcement program without making up untrue violations then maybe it is for the best that they cannot enforce any codes chuck.

11:36 PM  

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