Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has proposed a bill that would have the Department of Housing and Urban Development create a database of bad landlords.
Hawley’s bill comes after he toured the dangerous buildings owned by TEH Realty in St. Louis. The report Hawley brought back to Housing and Urban Development lead HUD Secretary Ben Carson to say TEH Realty will be suffering “consequences” for what had been discovered.
“Bad landlords have abused our housing system for too long and it’s happening right here in Missouri,” Hawley said in a statement. “They have taken advantage of tenants, failed to provide them the most basic living standards, forced them to live in squalor – all while demanding rent and bills continue to be paid. And because their properties span jurisdictions, they have gotten away with it. It’s time we hold these scumbag landlords accountable. This legislation will be a major step forward in getting tenants and local communities the transparency and relief they deserve.”
Springfield has been wrestling with bad landlords and dangerous properties in the city. One of the most notorious cases involved Chris Gatley and 417 Rentals, whose properties were placed on the auction block because of hundreds of thousands in unpaid taxes. Gatley owed the City of Springfield tens of thousands for code violations on his properties cited by housing inspectors.
Springfield City Councilwoman Phyllis Ferguson has been very vocal about combating bad landlords in the city who allow their properties to degrade.
“We can’t have responsible people leave and have irresponsible people come in and turn them into slum properties,” Ferguson said at the February 24, 2020 Council meeting. “You worry about your kids and their safety. You worry about our own health. There are bedbugs and roaches and rodents that come on your property when you’re next to these properties.”
Ferguson recently lead the charge to strengthen the city’s land development code to deal with nuisance and dangerous properties with various council measures.