Posted by rm on February 09, 2005 at 08:54:47:
You must not own any rentals, because if you did, you would know that renters often remove smoke detectors, quite often when the “low-battery” alert starts going off. I’ve had instances where ALL of the smoke detectors were missing upon move-out.
In addition, the list of violations is minor. One might argue that “exposed wiring in the basement” is a major issue, however that often is cited when a junction cover is missing, which is located at the floor joists.
Another thing: the source of the fire was an extension cord… I can’t tell you how many times I see tenants trying to plug half their appliances into a single cord- the cheapest kind of cord you can find. They had an AIR CONDITIONER plugged into an extension cord… would YOU do this? And the husband apparently “fixes houses.” He should have known better than to plug an AC unit into a cheap power cord.
The story is tragic, but the landlord didn’t light the fire- he can’t possibly educate people on using extension cords wisely.
When you own 50 properties, you almost always have some properties with violations that need to be fixed at any given time.
To lay the entire tragedy at the feet of the landlord defies common sense. If you lived in a rental and the landlord didn’t provide smoke alarms, and you had your FAMILY living there, would you just rely on the landlord, or WOULD YOU GET OFF YOUR ASK AND GET THEM YOURSELF?!? And don’t tell me they couldn’t afford them. They’re free from many fire departments.
Bottom line is, this kind of thing could happen to anybody, even a consciencious, diligent, hardworking, honest landlord. However, I don’t think the press would acknowledge that one exists.
It’s just too easy for reporters to point to a “greedy, negligent landlord” as the cause of all ills. I think the press feels it’s easier to write “fairy tales,” where there’s ONE good guy, and ONE bad guy. Fairy tales sell better than reality.