1. Post #1
    Gold Member
    Matthew0505's Avatar
    January 2009
    3,334 Posts
    A Portland, Oregon, woman found dead from hypothermia in a parking garage, had been evicted from her flat in an affordable housing facility for missing a $338 rent payment.

    Karen Batts, 52, lived in an apartment building that provides low-cost housing for seniors and disabled people. Building owners Cascade Management and Northwest Housing Alternatives sent Batts a notice telling her she was late on a $338 rent payment. When Batts did not pay, they filed an eviction complaint. Batts did not appear at the hearing, and the court automatically ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. On October 21 she was evicted.

    The police do not believe that Batts found housing after the eviction. She was seen entering a parking garage while removing her clothes on Saturday, January 7, in the midst of a snowstorm. The garage was eight blocks from the apartment complex in which she once lived. It is possible that Batts was removing her winter clothing because people with advanced hypothermia feel extreme heat as a result of nerve damage.
    https://sputniknews.com/us/201701111...-rent-freezes/
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  2. Post #2
    Gold Member
    _Axel's Avatar
    September 2009
    6,693 Posts
    Aren't there laws against eviction during winter?
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  3. Post #3
    Aren't there laws against eviction during winter?
    Honestly there should be
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  4. Post #4
    Gold Member
    Dennab
    August 2009
    15,420 Posts
    That's fucking inhumane
    The thing that frustrates me is that this is just one person we happen to read about now, there are so many more people with a similar situation out there, although I bet most of em won't have been evicted over what is essentially chump change

    Edited:

    At least I hope so
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  5. Post #5
    Gold Member
    BuffaloBill's Avatar
    August 2010
    9,732 Posts
    This should never happen. I mean, I get that she was evicted legitimately (so to speak), but evicting someone in the winter is extremely cruel if you're not making sure she's got somewhere to go afterwards. :(
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  6. Post #6
    Gold Member
    _Axel's Avatar
    September 2009
    6,693 Posts
    Honestly there should be
    Over here evictions are illegal from November 1st to March 31st unless the evicted are given decent alternative housing or the building is structurally unsafe.
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  7. Post #7
    Gold Member
    Del91's Avatar
    October 2010
    14,266 Posts
    3 other people in Portland have died of hypothermia this winter. A big propane tank, like 50 gallons iirc, exploded in a homeless camp using it to keep warm last week a couple miles from me. It's been a rough winter, just today we got a foot of snow, whereas normally 2-3 inches would be significant.
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  8. Post #8
    Gold Member
    Talishmar's Avatar
    March 2007
    7,314 Posts
    Aren't there laws against eviction during winter?
    Maybe we should let free market sort this out /s
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  9. Post #9
    skylortrexle's Avatar
    April 2007
    1,879 Posts
    Welcome to Portland guys. This is pretty common. Not saying it's okay but living in Portland is fucking expensive. It's more expensive than Denver on average and there's a reason that Oregon is increasing the Min. Wage higher the closer you live to it.
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  10. Post #10
    Gold Member
    booster's Avatar
    July 2006
    24,372 Posts
    Aren't there like Shelters for people in need in the US?
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  11. Post #11
    Gold Member
    MILKE's Avatar
    April 2007
    4,074 Posts
    This should not happend ever
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  12. Post #12
    Gold Member
    ejonkou's Avatar
    October 2009
    7,389 Posts
    Aren't there like Shelters for people in need in the US?
    There are, but not on the same scale as in many European countries.
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  13. Post #13
    Gold Member
    Ganerumo's Avatar
    September 2011
    28,246 Posts
    Honestly there should be
    We actually have those in France, as a sidenote.
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  14. Post #14
    Trebgarta's Avatar
    March 2014
    5,832 Posts
    Why didnt she show up at court
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  15. Post #15
    Dennab
    March 2008
    133 Posts
    That's fucking inhumane
    The thing that frustrates me is that this is just one person we happen to read about now, there are so many more people with a similar situation out there, although I bet most of em won't have been evicted over what is essentially chump change

    Edited:

    At least I hope so
    I would go further than inhumane, I'd class it as murder. You don't evict someone in the winter without checking if they can actually go somewhere adequate for the weather. They knew it was a possible scenario that she'd be out in freezing weather which could easily kill her, but chose to do nothing about it.

    Knowing someone might die because of a decision you made and not doing anything to stop it, is murder in my books
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  16. Post #16
    Gold Member
    helifreak's Avatar
    May 2011
    6,286 Posts
    I would go further than inhumane, I'd class it as murder. You don't evict someone in the winter without checking if they can actually go somewhere adequate for the weather. They knew it was a possible scenario that she'd be out in freezing weather which could easily kill her, but chose to do nothing about it.

    Knowing someone might die because of a decision you made and not doing anything to stop it, is murder in my books
    More manslaughter to be honest.
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  17. Post #17
    I've got a bad feeling about this
    Sonador's Avatar
    December 2007
    2,686 Posts
    I would go further than inhumane, I'd class it as murder. You don't evict someone in the winter without checking if they can actually go somewhere adequate for the weather. They knew it was a possible scenario that she'd be out in freezing weather which could easily kill her, but chose to do nothing about it.

    Knowing someone might die because of a decision you made and not doing anything to stop it, is murder in my books
    Negligent manslaughter is the law that would apply here, but unfortunately it's not legally the management company's liability to ensure she was housed unless it was a mental healthcare facility and they knowingly released her with no ability to seek shelter.

    Personally, I don't agree with that, but that's the way it is. It needs to change.
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  18. Post #18
    Dennab
    March 2008
    133 Posts
    Negligent manslaughter is the law that would apply here, but unfortunately it's not legally the management company's liability to ensure she was housed unless it was a mental healthcare facility and they knowingly released her with no ability to seek shelter.

    Personally, I don't agree with that, but that's the way it is. It needs to change.
    Still, someone ultimately made that decision knowing that there was a good possibility of death having nowhere to stay in that weather, despite it being legal. I hope whoever made that decision has this stick with them for the rest of their life. At least they have a life, whilst having taken someone else's away

  19. Post #19
    I wasted a dollar on a stupid title.
    nikomo's Avatar
    September 2007
    19,190 Posts
    Why didnt she show up at court
    She might not have been of full mind, or however you want to put it.
    She would have probably been living somewhere else if she was "fine".
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  20. Post #20
    I've got a bad feeling about this
    Sonador's Avatar
    December 2007
    2,686 Posts
    Still, someone ultimately made that decision knowing that there was a good possibility of death having nowhere to stay in that weather, despite it being legal. I hope whoever made that decision has this stick with them for the rest of their life. At least they have a life, whilst having taken someone else's away
    Agree, but unfortunately what we can deduce and what can be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt in court are two different things. I wish it were different.
    The family DOES have very, very good grounds to sue, though.

  21. Post #21
    Gold Member
    thejjokerr's Avatar
    December 2007
    2,711 Posts
    She might not have been of full mind, or however you want to put it.
    She would have probably been living somewhere else if she was "fine".
    Yeah, also if she was already living in a home for elderly and disabled people someone should've really checked on her when she didn't show up in court or pay her bills.
    Immediately evicting seems like a weird move.
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  22. Post #22
    Gold Member
    BusterBluth's Avatar
    November 2008
    5,765 Posts
    Still, someone ultimately made that decision knowing that there was a good possibility of death having nowhere to stay in that weather, despite it being legal. I hope whoever made that decision has this stick with them for the rest of their life. At least they have a life, whilst having taken someone else's away
    She was evicted in October. She has been homeless since then, she wasn't kicked out in the dead of winter. She was involved with damaging the property, lease violations, late payments and incidents with other tenants and staff. The housing director even stated they attempted to.help her out multiple times to no avail.

    Of course the op leads out most of the story.
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  23. Post #23
    Spirit Guide
    Big Dumb American's Avatar
    March 2009
    22,733 Posts
    That is a heavily sensationalized perspective.

    Martha McLennan, executive director of Northwest Housing Alternatives, told KATU-TV that Batts had grown unstable in mid-2016, "becoming involved in a variety of lease violations that were either damage of property or late payments, also incidents against staff and other tenants." McLennan claimed that "there were dozens of attempts to help," but "when someone decline[s] service there's not much you can do."
    I really don't see how this is the landlord's fault. Evictions take time. The evictee would have known for at least 1-2 months before the date of the eviction (usually much longer than that, even) that the managing agency was taking action for her multiple lease violations, including failure to pay rent. She refused to pay during all that time, which would have (at the very least) stayed the eviction notice. Worse, she didn't even attend the court hearing, in which she could have tried to make a case for herself.

    After all of that, she was evicted in October, almost three months ago. Realistically speaking, she had 4-5 months to find alternate housing before she ended up in this tragic situation. Now, she may be psychologically or emotionally unwell, and that certainly does make this all that much more sad, but what could have the lessors done differently here, and how was she their responsibility in the long term? They provide low rent housing, and had little choice but to evict her for multiple lease violations, including damaging the property and clashing with staff. Saying that they should be charged with manslaughter, even fuckin' murder, is a huge leap. You're blaming the property owners for death because for not providing free housing to a destructive and psychologically unwell woman ad infinitum, which is ridiculously unfair.

    I'm not saying that she deserved this, or anything like that. Clearly she needed some help. However, pinning her death on to the evictor isn't even remotely reasonable given the actual circumstances. The apartment organization were not her legal guardians or stewards. They are not in any way responsible for her ultimate fate. If there's anything to pin the blame on here, other than the woman's illness itself, it's potentially in the fact that the legal system failed to help put her in contact with mental health advocates, charities, and/or shelters to attempt to arrange an alternate situation for her, assuming she was incapable of doing that herself. Even then, however: she wasn't at court. Short of arresting her, which may not have been a legal option, their hands seem pretty tied too.
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  24. Post #24

    May 2013
    555 Posts
    I really don't see how this is the landlord's fault. Evictions take time. The evictee would have known for at least 1-2 months before the date of the eviction that the managing agency was taking action for her multiple lease violations, including failure to pay rent. She refused to pay during all that time, which would have (at the very least) stayed the eviction notice. Worse, she didn't even attend the court hearing, in which she could have tried to make a case for herself.

    After all of that, she was evicted in October, almost three months ago. Realistically speaking, she had 4-5 months to find alternate housing she ended up in this tragic situation. Now, she may be psychologically or emotionally unwell, and that certainly does make this all that much more sad, but what could have the lessors done differently here? They provide low rent housing, and had little choice but to evict her for multiple lease violations, including damaging the property. Saying that they should be charged with manslaughter, even fuckin' murder, is a huge leap. You're blaming the property owners for death because for not providing free housing to a woman who was being destructive to the property, refusing to pay, and apparently even having "incidents" with staff ad infinitum, which is ridiculously unfair.

    I'm not saying that she deserved this, or anything like that. Clearly she was emotionally unwell and needed some help. However, pinning her death on to the evictor isn't even remotely reasonable given the actual circumstances. The apartment organization were not her legal guardians or stewards. They are not in any way responsible for her ultimate fate.
    If she's so off her rocker that she can't take care of herself and is harmful to her surroundings, then the only alternative to dying on the streets is institutionalization, no?
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  25. Post #25
    insert long title here
    SEKCobra's Avatar
    January 2009
    15,947 Posts
    I love how you guys put the burden on the landlord, like seriously, murder? I am all for not 'letting the free market sort it out', but how is it a landlords fault that someone becomes homeless? Be realistic. If there's no shelter available maybe the eviction notice can't be executed or something, but that should be about the extent of it. If she's mentally unstable she needs to be institutionalized, nothing else that can be done to prevent a free person from roaming the streets. People in cardiac arrest can refuse treatment and people without a home can refuse housing. Such is life with a free society. If someone is at risk of harming themselves or others and have a mental illness they can be committed, otherwise it is their decision.

    Edited:

    But it's not the landlords fault ffs, they could report it and nothing more - if there was a mental illness.
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  26. Post #26
    Gold Member
    _Axel's Avatar
    September 2009
    6,693 Posts
    If there's no shelter available maybe the eviction notice can't be executed or something, but that should be about the extent of it.
    Well... Yeah?
    I don't think anyone here is arguing for anything more than that.

  27. Post #27
    Spirit Guide
    Big Dumb American's Avatar
    March 2009
    22,733 Posts
    If she's so off her rocker that she can't take care of herself and is harmful to her surroundings, then the only alternative to dying on the streets is institutionalization, no?
    I would agree with that, yeah, but the landlords have no legal authority to institutionalize her. If that would have fallen on anybody other than herself or the family, it would have been the court, but she failed to show up for the court hearing.

    Edited:

    I love how you guys put the burden on the landlord, like seriously, murder? I am all for not 'letting the free market sort it out', but how is it a landlords fault that someone becomes homeless? Be realistic. If there's no shelter available maybe the eviction notice can't be executed or something, but that should be about the extent of it. If she's mentally unstable she needs to be institutionalized, nothing else that can be done to prevent a free person from roaming the streets. People in cardiac arrest can refuse treatment and people without a home can refuse housing. Such is life with a free society. If someone is at risk of harming themselves or others and have a mental illness they can be committed, otherwise it is their decision.

    Edited:

    But it's not the landlords fault ffs, they could report it and nothing more - if there was a mental illness.
    If there's a legal order to prevent eviction on the grounds of inadequate shelter and/or mental incompetency, and institutionalization isn't an option, then the court also needs to be willing to cover all of the costs incurred by the landlord, because a non-paying tenant who is actively damaging the property can rapidly burden a lessor with tens of thousands of dollars in expenses.
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  28. Post #28
    No such thing as overkill.
    catbarf's Avatar
    January 2007
    10,794 Posts
    I am guessing this may be an unpopular opinion, but I'm only in favor of laws against eviction in winter if the government will compensate the landlord for all expenses occurred. I've seen landlords get bankrupted by the damage bad tenants were able to do during the eviction proceedings, and that's without a full three months to do as they please rent-free before the landlord can legally kick them out.

    If people getting booted out in winter is a serious enough issue that the government has to take steps to mitigate it, I'd much rather see more shelters built with tax money so those people have somewhere to go rather than force landlords to host bad tenants and foot the bill themselves, because landlords having to eat those costs screws over the rest of us through high rent.
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  29. Post #29
    Spirit Guide
    Big Dumb American's Avatar
    March 2009
    22,733 Posts
    I am guessing this may be an unpopular opinion, but I'm only in favor of laws against eviction in winter if the government will compensate the landlord for all expenses occurred. I've seen landlords get bankrupted by the damage bad tenants were able to do during the eviction proceedings, and that's without a full three months to do as they please rent-free before the landlord can legally kick them out.

    If people getting booted out in winter is a serious enough issue that the government has to take steps to mitigate it, I'd much rather see more shelters built with tax money so those people have somewhere to go rather than force landlords to host bad tenants and foot the bill themselves, because landlords having to eat those costs screws over the rest of us through high rent.
    I agree completely. People imagine landlords as rich corporate goons, but the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of rental housing is provided by Regular Joes looking to supplement their income or prepare for retirement, usually just with a few properties under their belt. A court order to provide free room and board, with no fair compensation for the costs and damages, would be financially devastating. I obviously don't think that the homeless should just be left to freeze in the streets, but I don't think that the burden of their care is the responsibility of private property owners -- especially without fair compensation in exchange.

    Honestly, forcing the landlord to assume that responsibility even with compensation is extremely unfair, as it is essentially burdening that person with the care and stewardship of somebody who may be psychologically unwell. Imagine a cop knocking on your door with a schizophrenic stranger and telling you that you have to take care of this person for the next six months, but not to worry because you'll be compensated for you time. Yeesh.
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  30. Post #30
    Gold Member
    _Axel's Avatar
    September 2009
    6,693 Posts
    I am guessing this may be an unpopular opinion, but I'm only in favor of laws against eviction in winter if the government will compensate the landlord for all expenses occurred. I've seen landlords get bankrupted by the damage bad tenants were able to do during the eviction proceedings, and that's without a full three months to do as they please rent-free before the landlord can legally kick them out.

    If people getting booted out in winter is a serious enough issue that the government has to take steps to mitigate it, I'd much rather see more shelters built with tax money so those people have somewhere to go rather than force landlords to host bad tenants and foot the bill themselves, because landlords having to eat those costs screws over the rest of us through high rent.
    Don't know how damages or things of the sort work here, but in cases of inability to pay rent tenants have to appeal to various government housing and social security funds to help them pay.
    Of course that assumes the presence of a solid social security safety net, something I don't believe exists in the USA.

    Edited:

    Honestly, forcing the landlord to assume that responsibility even with compensation is extremely unfair, as it is essentially burdening that person with the care and stewardship of somebody who may be psychologically unwell. Imagine a cop knocking on your door with a schizophrenic stranger and telling you that you have to take care of this person for the next six months, but not to worry because you'll be compensated for you time. Yeesh.
    That sucks, but globally it's still a better outcome than having people freeze to death, is it not?
    Obviously adequate public shelters would be ideal, but when that's not the case there isn't really any other option.

  31. Post #31
    Gold Member
    milktree's Avatar
    January 2008
    2,796 Posts
    I remember hearing on the radio about a man with a similar story. he was able to shortly delay his death from the cold by drinking antifreeze

  32. Post #32
    Spirit Guide
    Big Dumb American's Avatar
    March 2009
    22,733 Posts
    That sucks, but globally it's still a better outcome than having people freeze to death, is it not?
    No, not really. You're turning one victim into two. Rather than forcing private citizens to care for psychologically ill strangers against their will, the evictee should be transferred to competent and dedicated housing facilities staffed by professionals or volunteers who are trained for just that purpose. No amount of compensation is fair for forcing the care of a human being into an unwilling strangers' hands.
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  33. Post #33

    May 2013
    555 Posts
    I would agree with that, yeah, but the landlords have no legal authority to institutionalize her. If that would have fallen on anybody other than herself or the family, it would have been the court, but she failed to show up for the court hearing.
    Batts suffered from schizophrenia, according to her family. Her mother, Elizabeth, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that "Nobody reached out to us… nobody cared about us to tell us what was going on. I mean, why couldn't somebody tell us something?" If she knew her daughter had been in danger of eviction, the mother claimed, she would have paid her rent, as she had many times previously.

    McLennan claimed that her company did not reach out to anyone because of privacy laws that they claim prevent Northwest Housing Alternatives from notifying family members if a tenant is facing eviction. "I see situations not uncommonly, where the person who needs the help doesn't know how to ask, or can't ask, or is in no shape to have that realization and ask," she said, also mentioning that Batts was evaluated for mental health intervention, but was not deemed eligible under the program's "stringent criteria."
    Sounds like the weak link in this particular case was the psychiatric evaluation for mental health intervention. They decided against it, turned out it was necessary. These things happen and it's most unfortunate. This time a person died and hopefully things get improved down the line.

    By the way, how is Sputnik News allowed source when RT is banned? Not that this seems like a terrible article in itself, but the agency is owned by state of Russia. For bonus hilarity the article picture is from northern Siberia.
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  34. Post #34
    I've got a bad feeling about this
    Sonador's Avatar
    December 2007
    2,686 Posts
    I would agree with that, yeah, but the landlords have no legal authority to institutionalize her. If that would have fallen on anybody other than herself or the family, it would have been the court, but she failed to show up for the court hearing.
    Actually, all you have to do is call the police. They're authorized to make an on-the-spot assessment as to ability to care for oneself, and take them to the hospital on a mandatory hold. The hospital can then hold them until a social worker can make a formal declaration.

    I've done it before to some of the more "gone" homeless folks I've dealt with. Gets them off the street and somewhere safe for 72 hours at minimum, and for the forseeable future until they're rehabilitated, if possible, at maximum.
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  35. Post #35
    Spirit Guide
    Big Dumb American's Avatar
    March 2009
    22,733 Posts
    Actually, all you have to do is call the police. They're authorized to make an on-the-spot assessment as to ability to care for oneself, and take them to the hospital on a mandatory hold. The hospital can then hold them until a social worker can make a formal declaration.

    I've done it before to some of the more "gone" homeless folks I've dealt with. Gets them off the street and somewhere safe for 72 hours at minimum, and for the forseeable future until they're rehabilitated, if possible, at maximum.
    Thanks, I was unaware of that. Just the same, in order to legally evict her, the housing agency would have had to call the police. Evictions are a legal process that require involvement from law enforcement and the courts. So, it works out the same in the end.
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  36. Post #36
    I've got a bad feeling about this
    Sonador's Avatar
    December 2007
    2,686 Posts
    Thanks, I was unaware of that. Just the same, in order to legally evict her, the housing agency would have had to call the police. Evictions are a legal process that require involvement from law enforcement and the courts. So, it works out the same in the end.
    Yep. I have no idea why the assigned sheriff's deputies didn't make that assessment after seeing her living conditions/reviewing the grounds for eviction if that's the case. Kinda dropped the ball there.
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  37. Post #37
    Gold Member
    _Axel's Avatar
    September 2009
    6,693 Posts
    No, not really. You're turning one victim into two. Rather than forcing private citizens to care for psychologically ill strangers against their will, the evictee should be transferred to competent and dedicated housing facilities staffed by professionals or volunteers who are trained for just that purpose. No amount of compensation is fair for forcing the care of a human being into an unwilling strangers' hands.
    I was more referring to preventing landlords from evicting tenants during winter in general, not the psychological aspect. Unless sending sane but poor people into an institute would be the solution? That sounds like poor allocation of public funds.

  38. Post #38
    I've got a bad feeling about this
    Sonador's Avatar
    December 2007
    2,686 Posts
    I was more referring to preventing landlords from evicting tenants during winter in general, not the psychological aspect. Unless sending sane but poor people into an institute would be the solution? That sounds like poor allocation of public funds.
    If they're damaging your property, you shouldn't have an obligation to house them because it's cold out. The better alternative is having a landlord's resource line for handling cases like this so any eviction proceedings are safe and humane.
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  39. Post #39
    Gold Member
    _Axel's Avatar
    September 2009
    6,693 Posts
    If they're damaging your property, you shouldn't have an obligation to house them because it's cold out. The better alternative is having a landlord's resource line for handling cases like this so any eviction proceedings are safe and humane.
    That would require sufficient shelter coverage though, if there isn't any available how do you carry out a safe and humane eviction?

  40. Post #40
    Spirit Guide
    Big Dumb American's Avatar
    March 2009
    22,733 Posts
    I was more referring to preventing landlords from evicting tenants during winter in general, not the psychological aspect. Unless sending sane but poor people into an institute would be the solution? That sounds like poor allocation of public funds.
    Even then, yes: managed public options are better than forcing undue burden on private housing providers. Forcing private landlords to provide room and board (even with compensation) for the poor is not wise or efficient. The cost and work needed to clean and repair a home that has been occupied without management for several months can be exorbitant. Depending on the kind of damage done, it could run into the tens of thousands much more quickly than you might think, and could take months to repair after the property has finally been vacated.

    A properly managed facility or housing option is one in which enforceable standards can be put in place to minimize those kinds of expenses with an authority and presence that private landlords don't have.
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