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Property investors in the States reminded of their duties

Landlords in the USA are well accustomed to taking out property damage insurance, the number of cases brought against rogue tenants every year in the States numbers millions. Property owners and property managers also come in for their fair share of criticism too but a directive from the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) in one city is trying to ensure the management of property and the behaviour of tenants is brought under control.

Help to eradicate criminal element offered to landlords

In Wilmington, the number of properties estimated to be operating under private rental agreements is 16,000, approximately half of the properties in the city. Law officers and city officials have long been concerned that a large majority of the crime committed in the city emanates from tenants of the private lets and now the fathers of the town are offering landlords the chance to fight back. Crimes committed by tenants in their properties cam impact on landlords in more ways than one, and they are being encouraged to escape prosecution under the Delaware Nuisance Abatement Act which stipulates it is a landlord’s responsibility to prevent crime from being committed from his property, by being more alert to the activities of their tenants.

New course well attended

About 75 landlords and property managers attended the first course offered by the AGO where they were taught how to look out for signs of illegal activity being carried out in their properties, drug running, drug growing (a thriving business) and prostitution are all rife in some areas of the City and many citizens groups say the problem is exacerbated by absent landlords. The landlords were also reminded that not running tenant criminal background checks could affect any property insurance claims if damage caused by criminal activity occurred.

Course not compulsory but…

The courses are all undertaken voluntarily but the AGO have made it plain to landlords that if landlords who fail to undertake the course find themselves facing prosecution under the state’s Drug Nuisance and Social Vice’s Abatement Act then they can expect little leniency. The nuisance abatement programme has already forced 125 properties to be rehabilitated with at least 16 more closed down because of the danger to the health and welfare of the surrounding community. The AGO is talking tough on this subject but appears to have the full backing of the law abiding population of the city.

By Simon Dack