Lay off Landry
I have known Tom Landry for at least five years, primarily through business, but I consider him to be a friend. In all the time I have known him I have only seen him as a kind, generous person. He contributes generously of his time for worthwhile causes in our community, including my primary cause, The Tri for a Cure Women’s Triathlon — not as an out-in-front name, but quietly, behind the scenes, as a valuable volunteer, never parading his companies or self-promoting. He also is involved in numerous other activities that benefit our community.
Tom and Amy are valuable community neighbors and are in no way deserving of accusations made by you and your publication [“That’s My Dump!” February 2013]. The good he does for those around him is far greater than anything he “may” have done to upset you. I have never heard him say a bad thing about someone or make an effort to disparage someone for his own gain.
I was appalled by the effort you made to skewer him. How bad I felt that someone of his character should be singled out and put under a sadist microscope for unsubstantiated accusations that seem to only have value as a sensationalized local smear story.
You should be ashamed. Impress me and print this.
Lay off landlords
I take considerable exception to the closing statement in Chris Busby’s “dump update” in the March issue of The Bollard ["That’s My Dump!"] — “There are probably landlords in the neighborhood that do worse things we don’t know about.” This biased and inflammatory statement perpetuates the image of the unscrupulous, greedy landowner. As a landlord for the past 13 years and member of the Greater Portland Landlords Association, I can tell you that the majority of landlords work very hard to provide tenants with clean, safe, affordable housing.
I personally invested my life savings to buy the property I own with a very modest return on that investment. I have to deal with Maine housing laws that grossly favor the tenants. The eviction procedure is lengthy and costly. Typically, once the eviction procedure is started, the tenant will no longer pay any rent. When the tenant is finally brought to court, they can have free legal representation courtesy of Pine Tree Legal. Yet as a landlord and a corporation, I cannot, by law, represent myself, but must hire legal counsel to represent me.
I could write a book of excuses why tenants claimed they could not pay the rent. The law requires that each unit have a carbon monoxide/smoke detector. I have had units fail inspection because the tenant took down the detector and threw it away before the inspector arrived. It seems to be a real challenge for most tenants to understand that you need to buy blue City of Portland trash bags for the city to pick up your trash. I have had tenants look me in the face and say they did not know how a letter addressed to them was in a leaf bag left at the curb since it was not their trash.
A security deposit is just that: a security deposit to cover any damage done to the apartment. Most tenants do not understand that concept, either. “You have my security deposit, so I won’t pay last month’s rent” So my option is what, evict them? Then comes moving day and the couch is beat and won’t fit on the truck. Just leave it curbside! The city will call any landlord on the peninsula and tell them they have 24 hours to move that couch or face a hefty fine.
If you are unfortunate enough to have your building identified as a “problem building” by the Portland police, you will get a letter telling you that and informing you it is your responsibility to resolve the situation. Note that in order to find out what “the situation” is, you need a copy of the police report, because due to confidentiality, the police will not tell you who was involved. Copies of the police reports cost $20 each (may be more now). Then, as a law-abiding private citizen, I am expected to deal with my tenants’ criminal activity!
Yes, there have been a few unscrupulous landlords, but the majority of us work very hard and take considerable financial risk. How about some investigative reporting on the disparity in landlord-tenant laws?