Montana Landord-Legislators Agree To Make Evictions Easier, For Good Of All (Landlords)
Roughly 36 percent of American households are renters. Just a skosh over 7.1 percent of tax filers report having income from rentals, so 7 percent is probably a good ballpark figure for how many of us are landlords, assuming some rental properties like RV storage spaces don't actually have people living there.
So for some HOLLOW MORDANT LAUGHTER, let's watch this short video of the Montana House of Representatives on Wednesday as the body prepared to vote on a bill that would revise the state's rental laws to make it easier for landlords to evict renters. We'll get to the details of the bill in a moment, but for now, just enjoy the 44-second video:
\u201cThis happens often, but here\u2019s the clip yesterday at the Montana Legislature when the room was asked (during 2nd reading on a pro-landlord bill sponsored by a landlord) how many lawmakers are landlords/have a financial interest. Bill then passed 60-40. MT https://t.co/bCuVsvpxv4\u201d— David Erickson (@David Erickson) 1675957192
First, the minority leader of the Republican-controlled House, Kim Abbott, stood to disclose that she has a financial interest in the bill since she's a landlord. Then another representative stood to say the same, and a third, and at that point the chair of the session asked any other landlords to please stand, to move things along, presumably.
Whole lotta people standing! As Missoulian reporter David Erickson points out, nearly two dozen members stood up. Happily, there are exactly 100 members in Montana's House, so that makes the cipherin' easy: the percentage of landlords in the body is a tad more than three times the national average.
Then the House voted to pass the "second reading" of the bill — no, not gonna look up Montana House procedure, you can't make me — on a 60 to 40 vote.
Erickson explains that the bill, Montana HB 282, would
allow a landlord to issue a 24-hour “notice to correct” or obtain immediate injunctive relief to compel access to a unit if a tenant refuses to allow lawful access or replaces a lock. If the 24-hour notice to correct is not remedied, the landlord would be able to issue a three-day notice to terminate the rental agreement.
The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Steven Galloway (R), who is of course a landlord too, said that the bill would "alleviate stress on the rental market and on the judicial system," so that would be a good thing unless you're the tenant getting evicted. But what if the tenant were a CRIMINAL, Galloway asked:
“Let’s say you got a grow farm in an apartment next door to somebody else,” he said. “Do you really want to be 14 days in satisfying those other folks that could be in danger or the damage that could be done?”
Well gosh I would not want a smelly pothead to have due process, no! I may be a renter but I'm one of the good ones, so we need to get rid of all the bad renters, just not me.
Two Democrats from Missoula, Reps. Marilyn Marler and Zooey Zephyr, spoke against the bill, because that's how Democrats do, siding with the pot criminals and other renters.
Zephyr said 24 hours is not nearly enough time for a busy tenant to gather information on their rights and that a group of women she knew had to change the lock after an armed intrusion.
Marler, who was a landlord for 20 years, said the bill is “just not fair.”
Good for them! Also, we think that "Two Democrats from Missoula" would be a great name for a little bistro.
Another Democrat, Rep. Dave Fern from Whitefish, pointed out that a lot of his constituents are service workers who rent, and asked,
Service workers, who are their lobbyists? It’s us. [...] They’re depending on fairness and good representation, so I’d just ask you to think carefully on this.
Well if they want representation, maybe they should buy a rental property, since there are plenty of landlords in the House to represent other landlords. Not a lot of bartenders or Uber drivers in the Montana Lege, so Mr. Fern should probably choose his constituents more carefully.
It's like Abraham Lincoln — a Republican, though not a landlord as far as we can tell — always said, in a quote we are putting on the internet right now to make it real: Government of the landlords, by the landlords, for the landlords is what you get when you let a bunch of money get elected to office.
[Missoulian / Image: Victorian Web]
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