Feb 18, 2002
In January, a Baltimore landlord got a slap on the wrist for endangering his tenant Cynthia Ware and her four children. A few months ago, he turned off water service for an entire week, without giving any reason. Ms. Ware had to go to neighbors to get water. Recently, when leaking water caused the kitchen ceiling to collapse, the Fire Department turned off the water and electricity for safety reasons. The family lived for two weeks without either water or electricity, waiting for the landlord to make repairs. Ms. Ware paid $500 a month for this falling down house.
A District Court judge used strong words, calling the landlord "despicable,” saying he was an example of a "bad landlord."
So what did the judge do to teach this despicable landlord a lesson? He was fined a great big whopping $500 and sentenced to 10 days in jail – with the sentence immediately suspended to ONE DAY.
A poor person who steals groceries from a neighborhood market is likely to end up serving several years in prison. But a landlord who twice denied a family water, causing major health and safety hazards for tenants, gets a day in jail.
No wonder there are so many “bad landlords.”