Saturday, October 13, 2012

Crying Wolf?

Two days before the "Celebrate Amherst Block Party"-- the inaugural debut of the Business Improvement District -- the Amherst Board of Health issued a stern public health advisory/warning to stay indoors to avoid contracting a mosquito borne illness.

The next day they pretty much retracted it -- at least for the downtown block party. So I wonder how seriously local landlords are going to take this threat of heavy fines from the Board of Health for having a slumlike demeanor?

After all, the town's Nuisance House Bylaw has always had the provision for fining property owners $300 for the actions of their rowdy tenants ... but have never employed it.

And even when serious -- potentially life threatening -- infractions are found, like faulty smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, blocked fire escapes, or illegal bedrooms in basements without a second means of egress, the town seems to do nothing of note to the rental property owners.

Board of Health Nuisance Threat


Anonymous said...

we pay very good salarys to these dept. to make and inforce the laws,by-laws,ect. if they can"t,won"t maybe we should look at the dept. and restructuer!!!!, and I would to Thank You Larry for keeping us informed. Life long res. of Amherst.[N. Amherst]

Anonymous said...

Read the bylaw, landlords can be fined on the THIRD ticketed offense . Very few of these houses get a third visit and fine so obviously very few landlords would be fined.

Ed said...

What everyone in Amherst has forgotten, first with the noise tickets/arrests and now these, is that we do not live in a "Judge Dredd" society -- these are literally nothing more than a court summons.

For an impartial hearing in front of a neutral judge. A trial where both sides can bring lawyers -- the college kids won't, but you better believe that the slumlords will. And lawyers are expensive and lawsuits moreso, that is what got me fired from the AHA.

The town simply isn't going to take on someone with a lawyer. It is that simple and it is so much easier to bully the college kids, who can't fight back.

At least not individually -- and when will you folks understand what is really behind the virtual unabated rioting you now have?

SomewhatPatient said...

Bylaws with no teeth. How does a location with a noted illegal basement apartment get advance notice of "inspection" thereafter?? Does someone running a meth lab get an advance call to set up an appointment? This is an illegal, moneymaking operation that is putting the health and safety of tenants at risk. Playing "nice" with landlords, whether large or small, that flout the laws (weak as they are), serves exactly WHAT purpose?
LLC's are ruining Amherst's neighborhoods when the subdivide and rent each bedroom out. Towns that required owner-occupancy in rental homes, or have the legal teeth that the "Rooming House" clause has, but these "2-family homes" skirt, have far more investment in civility.
Acquiring an education does not convey license to intimidate, harass, trash, or vandalize private or public property. The peer apologists who sanction such behavior, along with public drunkenness to the point of alcohol poisoning, vomiting/urination/defecation on lawns/gardens that are on the way to the next party, in the name of "the college experience" only expand the problem.
Safe housing that respects tenants, as well as abutters: That is a worthwhile goal.