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I have been posting a thread with many issues on Section 8 in the Antelope Valley Lancaster/Palmdale area...
Another great news story!
City seeks to pull plug on Section 8 influx
Rentals blamed for bringing crime, neglect to Lancaster
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press on Thursday, July 26, 2007.
By MARISSA BELLES
Valley Press Staff Writer
LANCASTER - City officials said they will investigate whether they can temporarily stop issuing new business licenses to landlords who rent to tenants receiving so-called Section 8 government rent subsidies.
At its meeting Tuesday night, the City Council agreed to look into a proposal by Councilman Ron Smith to establish a five-year moratorium on issuing business licenses for Section 8 rentals, which have drawn blame as contributing to crime and unkempt property in Lancaster.
Please post additional info as it becomes available...
My first response is what Lancaster is proposing will not work... The time to have acted was before the county applied for and accepted Section 8 funds to administer.
Historically, a business license to rent individual homes is used for two things... generate general fund revenue and give the city or county the right to inspect and require the business owner to correct deficiencies.
I doubt a local jurisdiction can deny an entire class of citizens housing based on receiving Federal Funds...
Lancaster City Council seeks to address Section 8 problem
Welcome, VickyVicky to City-Data.com's forums! Nice to see so many newer folks come in and participate.
Here's my take, based on a very long historical view. Keep in mind I was in fact born here in the Antelope Valley, raised here, and - drum roll - still live here! Imagine that, you naysayers (and you know very well who you are. . .)
The Antelope Valley, which includes Lancaster, has been for much of my life an isolated, small town kind of place. The old time ethic was people helping people. . . because if you didn't, and you were the one needing help next, it just really hurt!
In time, the Antelope Valley Freeway (California State Route 14) was built, and the isolation ended. Los Angeles was a lot more reachable. Then the real estate boom of the 1980's began in the Fall of 1983. Intersections changed overnight to where you didn't recognize where you were. . . the difference in the landscape (rural vs. surburban) was like night and day! Tons more folks moved to the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster. And the Joshua Trees and desert landscape began to disappear.
The economy soured in the 1989-1992 time frame, and the great exodus of upside down borrowers began. People literally left their house door open with the keys inside. These houses, about a third of them (as in the 1960's real estate depression) were abandoned, boarded up, and looked shabby with their dead lawns. Not a pretty sight.
By 1999, things had stabilized. Then the great real estate boom of the 2000's began, and houses tripled in value. What a hysterically nutty time that was! I had potential buyers writing me letters, calling me on the phone begging me to sell to them. Of course, I did not. Here I am. . . still here.
In that downturn of the 1990's one solution used by many to deal with the depression was renting houses out to Section 8 holders. We know how useful that was to the social and economic fabric by now. . . or at least we know the public's reaction to that practice. (Actually, when you read the scholarly academic research on the subject of Section 8 and whether or not it helps or hurts the community and the Section 8 holder, you find not that many move far from the proverbial "tree.")
What's going on now is Lancaster City Council working to prevent such a redux in the present time frame. . . not repeat past mistakes. I say kudos to them for such an effort. The Antelope Valley will probably always be the "low cost leader" in Southern California housing, and with the Antelope Valley becoming more intertwined and connected to the Southland (and less forgotten like it used to be), the temptation is for the crowded more established parts of the Southland to "dump" their housing problems here. I say there needs to be a more fair approach. I'm willing to do my fair share, but I'm not willing to be dumped on. I think that sums it up for a good many of us concerned citizens of the Antelope Valley. Senator and Assemblywoman Runner, are the both of you hearing us from your Sacramento digs? Give us a break or something and help us solve this population/demographic/economic problem, OK? Or the unwashed hordes will eat us alive or something. . .
Oh, and since Section 8 is a Federal program: paging "Buck" McKeon, paging U. S. Representative Howard P. "Buck" McKeon. . . please pick up the white courtesy telephone at your convenience. American Airlines flight 661 is now boarding for passengers only at gate 138.
I have the solution for the City of Lancaster right here.
Don't denigrate an entire class of citizens!! Not EVERYONE on Section 8 is a problem. How did Section 8 come into being? As a means to help those who would otherwise die by society's roadside. I know wheelchair bound Section 8 recipients who greatly appreciate their rent subsidy and would never do anything to endanger that subsidy because they know what would happen - homelessness and helplessness. By the same token, I know of Section 8 recipients who use drugs, get high on drugs and/or alcohol constantly, move in undesirable unauthorized occupants, and just generally take Uncle Sam's payout totally for granted - no appreciation whatsoever. "Tenants" like these are the problem but .......
MAKE THE LANDLORDS RESPONSIBLE!! They are the ones responsible for who lives in their rental units. If the landlords/owners want to live the high life at the beach and forget that they have rental properties out here in the dust bowl of the AV, LET 'EM!! That's the problem. Make the landlords responsible for anything and everything that goes on at their rental properties.
Drug dealers? That's the LANDLORD'S responsibility.
Overcrowding? That's the LANDLORD'S responsibility.
Prostitution? That's the LANDLORD'S responsibility.
Drunks laying around the property? That's the LANDLORD'S responsibility.
Losers hanging around in front? That's the LANDLORD'S responsibility.
Broken down motor vehicles and dead lawns? Guess what? LANDLORD RESPONSIBILITY.
Issue fines. Issue no more than THREE written warnings. If the Landlord bums don't want to take care of business, take control of the property and SELL IT. Refusal/denial/inability to take care of rental properties is NO EXCUSE. If the Landlord/Owner wants to run a flop house, that should be absolute legal grounds to forfeit ownership. EASY. CITY OF LANCASTER - TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS. The collective "YOU" drag your feet and wonder why the place is a sh*thole. I'm telling you why.
MAKE THE LANDLORDS RESPONSIBLE!! How much clearer can I say it? Hit the landlords/owners in the bank account and GUARANTEED - life WILL get easier when these slumlords know that they stand to lose property. They will be forced to take care of business, hire responsible managers and keep in contact daily with the goings on at their rental units. They will be forced to IMMEDIATELY serve notice on tenants who refuse to follow the rules. As it is right now, Joe Blow Landlord in Irvine doesn't give a krap about what's going on up here just so long as he/she receives the rent. Collecting rent doesn't make a landlord but making them responsible for their TENANTS will. If the landlords are afraid to deal with the loser tenants they rented to in the first place, they should be forced to either get educated or sell the property. There is way too much abuse of the Section 8 program but don't blame EVERYONE. There are decent Section 8 tenants out there for sure.
Regardless of whether or not the tenant is on Section 8, MAKE THE LANDLORD/OWNER RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING THAT GOES ON WITH THEIR PROPERTY. THE CITY SHOULD NOT BE POLICING APARTMENT BUILDINGS OR RENTAL HOUSES - THAT'S JUST RIDICULOUS.
On the one hand you make a point of saying not to group all the section 8 tenants into one classification, yet you are doing that to the landlords. Like sec 8 tenants, there are good landlords and bad landlords,
California definitely favors tenant rights over landlords so by shifting all the responsibilities to the landlords, you put many in a losing proposition. If a landlord want to clean up his rentals, he will have a hard time getting some tenants out since so many laws are set up to make sure tenants are treated fairly-to a point of abuse sometimes.
If you think a tenant is dealing drugs, how do you prove it to throw them out? Unless the police come in to arrest them, it's your word against the tenants. The tenant could easily sue the landlord for the false accusations. It has to be the city and landlord working together.
These is no doubt that some shoddy landlords aren't doing there part, but to punish all landlords is just as unfair as punishing all section 8 tenants.
I rented to an elderly couple on section 8 and they were wonderfull people and tenants. I gave them a safe clean place to live and they paid the rent and cared for the house. But going to the sec 8 office I saw a lot of really undesirable people there. These people should have been thrown off the sec 8 program. But since I can't pick and choose my sec 8 tenants without the high risk of being accused of breaking anti discrimination laws, I chose to never rent to sec 8 tenants again. Too bad because I have really well kept and reasonable rentals.
We have lived in lancaster since 86, my wife was here before i met her. We bought our first house in 2001 It was a great neighborhood until about a year ago. Thank you section 8 renters!!! WE now have trash in our streets, because people here in the hood do not pay for trash service. We now have dead lawns and big parties(Which the sheriffs dept gladly shuts down pretty quickly thank you!!!) We also have broken down cars in the front yards, like a pick a part lot. I need the section 8 hotline telephone number if anyone could help me out. We need help here in our neighborbood. Section 8 is really great, if you need it!!!!!
Housing authority investigators start investigations after receiving tips from a Section 8 fraud hotline, (877) 881-7233
The Code Enforcement line (where you can call about the dead lawns, cars, trash, you name it) 661-723-6121
Make sure to jot down all the offending addresses when you call and tell them each and every single one on your block, even if they arent Section 8, any of the houses that look in unrepair or bad lawns, broken down cars, they will still get written up by Code Enforcement.
And trust me, they will get on the people, I have seen it happen numerous times, its the only way things get cleaned up around here is when Code Enforcement is contacted.
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