Tahlequah Daily Press

November 29, 2013

Where was code enforcement?


TAHLEQUAH — Editor, Daily Press:

No child should be living in the situation little Dakota suffered. I’ve lived in areas of the nation where a renter could call the building inspector, who would visit and determine is a certificate of occupancy was warranted by the living quarters.

As a single mother, I once moved into what became an awful rental with an absentee landlord. I had to keep replacing fuses (turns out the wiring was substandard), the kitchen cabinets fell off the wall, the hot water heater lost its bottom. Immediately the building inspector reprimanded the owner and repairs were completed.

Houses don’t have to be luxurious and storms can create temporary situations, but if a landlord is collecting rent, the place should meet safe and sanitary conditions, or the owner should be fined and fix the situation immediately, or forfeit the property.

I am appalled that people were paying $450 rent for a room without its own bathroom and we see trailer houses no one should be dwelling in. If the residents’ rents were being paid by aid, then that is my – and your – money lining the pockets of slum landlords.

It would be nice if the law could read that landlords of substandard housing must subsequently allow mistreated tenants to move into the landlords’ quarters until the rental meets code.

Karen Cooper