Sunday, July 23, 2017
Paul Franzese (Seton Hall) has written an op-ed in New Jersey.com titled Tenants Shouldn't be 'Blacklisted' For Asserting Their Rights. Check out this excerpt:
Yanira Cortes, a mother of four young children, lives in subsidized housing in Newark's Pueblo City Apartments. Her apartment is unsafe and uninhabitable, infested by rats, roaches and mold.
Her complaints to the landlord have gone unheeded. Finally, when the premises' bathroom ceiling collapsed, she withheld rent as is her right under the law and was promptly sued for eviction.
As a result, she found herself placed on a tenant "blacklist" that is the equivalent of a miserable credit rating.
Tenants who appear on those "tenant screening reports" find themselves denied future renting opportunities and discriminated against because they asserted their right to safe and inhabitable housing. . . .
For the past two years my colleagues Abbott Gorin, David Guzik and I have studied the experiences of low-income residential tenants in Essex County. We found that landlords can use tenant screening reports generated by private reporting agencies as a means to penalize tenants who fight back against unsafe and unlivable conditions.
Tenants like Cortes find themselves punished for asserting their right to safe and inhabitable premises while landlords who lease grossly substandard affordable housing units continue to receive sizable state and federal subsidies for those units.