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DESTROYING THE CITY, ONE APARTMENT AT A TIME

As a property owner in Buffalo, I am writing to voice my opinion on why many properties are left to decay.

The problem stems from the inability of the courts to hold accountable the destructive tenants who are unemployed or on public assistance.

From personal experience, I can attest to the fact that once these people leave the courthouse, they can disregard the judgment against them without fear of reprisal. Ironically, the defendants can continue to get public assistance, unemployment and an income-tax refund without penalty while in violation of a small-claims judgment.

Without having to face consequences for their actions, these people are given a government-funded license to systematically destroy the city one apartment at a time.

My suggestions to remedy this situation are as follows:

The courts should keep the defendants' current address and employment status on file so that legal means of follow-up can be instituted in the event of non-payment.

Public assistance should be garnished so the defendants face financial consequences for their actions.

The courts should keep a list of the names of these defendants, which should be made available to landlords. The names should stay on the list until restitution has been made.

Federal income-tax return information should be made available to the courts so thereturns can be garnished.

For delinquent defendants, community service or jail time should be required until their obligations have been satisfied.

Without the support of the courts, many absentee landlords with good intentions will be forced to sell their properties or let their houses decay because they cannot afford to continually repair damage that they will never be compensated for.

Contrary to popular belief, landlords like to keep their properties in good condition. It is easier to rent the property, the rents are higher and theresale value of the propertyremains stable.

James E. Pazderski Cheektowaga

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