Landlord gets jail for renting firetr...

Landlord gets jail for renting firetrap trailer

There are 21 comments on the Columbus Dispatch story from Jul 14, 2009, titled Landlord gets jail for renting firetrap trailer. In it, Columbus Dispatch reports that:

A man who rented a mobile home that he knew had faulty wiring said he thought he was just doing a good deed for a down-on-its-luck family.

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Jimmy

United States

#1 Jul 14, 2009
What a bad example that judge has set.
Leah

Upper Sandusky, OH

#2 Jul 14, 2009
I'm torn on this one. Did the renter expect to get something "up to code" for $100? Did the landlord have a responsbility to tell him it wasn't up to code? It's a terrible tragedy but my gut reaction is that, for that cheap of rent, the renter should have expected the worst and prayed for the best.
Seriously

Columbus, OH

#3 Jul 14, 2009
I agree, Leah. I do feel that some responsibility rests with the man who did not demand smoke detectors at the very least. Many fire departments will give them away for free or have sources that will give them to the poor. Just a sad story all the way around. It's not like this guy was fleecing his tenants--at $100 it's more like he wanted to help them.
Mark

Columbus, OH

#4 Jul 14, 2009
It doesn't matter what the renter expected. If you can't bring the rental property to proper safety requirements, sell it or tear it down or leave it vacant. If you can't afford to abide by the safety codes as a landlord then get out of the business. Would you like to eat at a restaurant that can't afford sanitary measures for cooking food even though they are open to the public? These scumbag landlords should have the book thrown at them.
GATX

Cleveland, OH

#5 Jul 14, 2009
This is what you get for trying to help a family?

This man couldn't have imagined tragedy was going to take place.
Leah

Columbus, OH

#6 Jul 14, 2009
If there is a law that a landlord must keep things up to code, then of course he's liable. I just wasn't sure if there was a law stating that. And if there IS a law, then this guy should have the book thrown at him, as they say.
Bodie

Columbus, OH

#7 Jul 14, 2009
Finally a slumlord getting punished. Now how about putting some in jail or at least fining the crap out of them in Columbus' "BETTER" rental properties. Oh that's right we might snare a politician,doctor,lawyer or someone that thinks they are someone in society that owns slum rentals.
GATX

Cleveland, OH

#8 Jul 14, 2009
"It doesn't matter what the renter expected. If you can't bring the rental property to proper safety requirements, sell it or tear it down or leave it vacant."

The restaurants you mention aren't working for $100 a month and they build in to their prices the costs of meeting health regs.
If landlords are going to face this kind of liability, you can expect a lot of poor people to be thrown out on the street as word of this gets around. "I can't afford to bring this "up to code" so, afraid you folks are out."
Landlord, however, should have sprung for a smoke detector.
Way too harsh punishment on this man.
Observer

Miami, FL

#9 Jul 14, 2009
While I agree that landlords have a responsibilty to rent homes that are to code, but what about the tenants that tear up the property and live there for 6 months for nothing. The landlord gets stuck with 6 months of no income and the bill for bring the house up to code again, where is the landlord recourse, he has to go to court pay an attorney to get them removed and get a judgement at an additional cost that will never get paid. Note: I am not a landlord before everyone jumps to conclusions.
AMEN

Grove City, OH

#10 Jul 14, 2009
Observer wrote:
While I agree that landlords have a responsibilty to rent homes that are to code, but what about the tenants that tear up the property and live there for 6 months for nothing. The landlord gets stuck with 6 months of no income and the bill for bring the house up to code again, where is the landlord recourse, he has to go to court pay an attorney to get them removed and get a judgement at an additional cost that will never get paid. Note: I am not a landlord before everyone jumps to conclusions.
There will be a special place in HEAVEN foryou.
The rest of the deadbeats that have no clue need to get a reality check.
ericville

Columbus, OH

#13 Jul 14, 2009
Columbus could help some of its budget issues by issuing much needed fines against campus-area landlords whom continue to rent out-of-code houses to students for an extreme profit. It took almost a month to get my landlord to clean up black mold in the bathroom that was caused by the landlord placing plywood over the window to add on another room on the roof yet not installing an exhaust fan either.
landlord responsible

Brinkhaven, OH

#14 Jul 14, 2009
GATX wrote:
This is what you get for trying to help a family?
This man couldn't have imagined tragedy was going to take place.
Couldn't have imagined it? He had the pieces in place that it was a fire waiting to happen.
he tried to help

Lancaster, OH

#15 Jul 14, 2009
The fire was an accident. The story says the father of this family kept calling. This guy refused the first two times and I'm sure he told them why. Finally, he "rented" it ($100/month isn't "rent") just to try to help a family have a home probably till they could get back on their feet.
What will come of this? No one will want to help anymore because for fear of "no good deed goes unpunished" I think your about to see alot more families on the street.
landlord responsible

Brinkhaven, OH

#16 Jul 14, 2009
GATX wrote:
"It doesn't matter what the renter expected. If you can't bring the rental property to proper safety requirements, sell it or tear it down or leave it vacant."
The restaurants you mention aren't working for $100 a month and they build in to their prices the costs of meeting health regs.
If landlords are going to face this kind of liability, you can expect a lot of poor people to be thrown out on the street as word of this gets around. "I can't afford to bring this "up to code" so, afraid you folks are out."
Landlord, however, should have sprung for a smoke detector.
Way too harsh punishment on this man.
You are all thinking of rental prices in Columbus. It's not like that in this area. In Kenton, it's about $300-400 tops for what people in Columbus probably pay about $800 or more. And for an older trailer, you would not get nearly $300.
renters

Brinkhaven, OH

#17 Jul 14, 2009
Observer wrote:
While I agree that landlords have a responsibilty to rent homes that are to code, but what about the tenants that tear up the property and live there for 6 months for nothing. The landlord gets stuck with 6 months of no income and the bill for bring the house up to code again, where is the landlord recourse, he has to go to court pay an attorney to get them removed and get a judgement at an additional cost that will never get paid. Note: I am not a landlord before everyone jumps to conclusions.
I agree with you. However, for this paticular case, there is nothing in the article that suggests these were bad renters.
renters

Brinkhaven, OH

#18 Jul 14, 2009
ericville wrote:
Columbus could help some of its budget issues by issuing much needed fines against campus-area landlords whom continue to rent out-of-code houses to students for an extreme profit. It took almost a month to get my landlord to clean up black mold in the bathroom that was caused by the landlord placing plywood over the window to add on another room on the roof yet not installing an exhaust fan either.
Call the health dept. From my experience, they act immediately to make sure the landlord fixes the problem.
Vixtia

United States

#19 Jul 14, 2009
GATX wrote:
Way too harsh punishment on this man.
So the deaths of five people is worth...less? Now we're getting into theoretical punishments for animal cruelty, and while I get emotional over that, it is nothing comparable to human life. Especially kids.

By the way, it helps to know the area, the local economy, and the types of apartments up there. The average rent runs about $300-400/month for a good apartment. If anyone thought of asking me to pay $100 for rent, even up there, my first question would be "What's wrong with it?"
Advocate

Newark, OH

#20 Jul 14, 2009
Leah:

YES! There is an Ohio law that landlords must keep their rental properties up to code and maintain them in decent and healthy conditions. The landlord knew that the place was dangerous.
All landlords and tenants should know the laws and rights and responsibilities of each. Try ORC 5321 - Landlords and Tenants.
Would that every city and county would assist in enforcing these laws...
newlexington ohio

Columbus, OH

#21 Jul 14, 2009
Hail to that judge, Icomend the judge for doing the rite thing!!!
Here in Newlexington ohio thier is a slumlord[ Donald Dutiel] that rents houses and trailers that are unfit to live in at all, and needs to be torn down. My heart goes out to the family,who lost thier lives may God be with them.
Leah

Upper Sandusky, OH

#22 Jul 14, 2009
Advocate wrote:
Leah:
YES! There is an Ohio law that landlords must keep their rental properties up to code and maintain them in decent and healthy conditions. The landlord knew that the place was dangerous.
All landlords and tenants should know the laws and rights and responsibilities of each. Try ORC 5321 - Landlords and Tenants.
Would that every city and county would assist in enforcing these laws...
Knowing this, I'm surprised the culpability of the landlord is even in question. He is definitely responsible for renting something out without following the laws. Just like I wouldn't add an addition to my house without consulting the city, he should have known that you can't just rent out a place without telling someone.

Then again, I didn't know about the law either - and for a measly $100 a month for a family that was bugging, I would probably have risked a law anyhow, assuming, "What's the worst that can happen?" Unfortunately, in this case, this landlord had to learn the hard way what the worst was. He's lucky he got off with what he did. Ignorance is not bliss.

And yes I feel terribly for the landlord but since I can see myself in his shoes, I can't help but emphathize. You bet I'd be hitting my forehead and calling myself stupid for that one, knowing full well I deserved what I got.

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