Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Landlords Vent Their Frustrations at City Forum Experts Offer Advice on Dealing with Problem Tenants, Evictions

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Landlords Vent Their Frustrations at City Forum Experts Offer Advice on Dealing with Problem Tenants, Evictions

Article excerpt

GEORGE STRAHL sang the landlord blues at a meeting Monday night of people in the landlord business.

Strahl, 71, a south St. Louis landlord, spoke softly into a microphone in front of a panel of lawyers, politicians, housing consultants and police officers.

Strahl was one of more than 200 frustrated rental property owners who gathered at the forum to complain about problem tenants and how to get speedy evictions.

The forum, at the Sunday Morning Athletic Club, 1012 Loughborough Avenue, was one in a series sponsored by the 27-member Neighborhood Stabilization Team. The team was created in October 1994 by Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr.'s administration to increase communication between residents and city government, and to focus on crime prevention, housing, education, neighborhood marketing, recreation, beautification and cleanup.

At the meeting, rental property owners from the Holly Hills Improvement Association and the Carondelet Community Betterment Federation of south St. Louis were invited to ask questions and to express their concerns.

Strahl told the panel that in June he got a legal judgment for an evicted tenant for $525 in back rent, but he has yet to collect. "It will cost me more to get an attorney than to collect the money," Strahl said.

"Why can't a group of landlords get together to hire a lawyer on a retainer?"

Ralph Layton of the circuit clerk's office told Strahl that he might be able to collect his sum through Small Claims Court. It would cost $10 to file and $20 for the sheriff to serve the tenant, he said.

Unfortunately, Layton said Strahl might end up with an uncollectable judgment. "If they have a job, you can garnishee their wages, but sometimes these people decide not to work," he said.

Carole Rulo, public safety coordinator of the Neighborhood Stabilization Team, encouraged the landlords to organize a landlord and property owner association to continue their dialogue about rental problems. …

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