Feb 27, 2014

Allentown's Housing Future

Some people read tea-leafs, I read deed transfers. It would be more accurate to say that I study deed transfer. There has only been two weeks in the last 35 years that I failed to scrutinize the list, and those omissions were failed attempts at relaxation. Recently, I mentioned Kenneth Heffentrager and his Tenant Association of Allentown. Kenneth has become a fixture at City Council meetings, complaining about housing and landlords. Kenneth is going to become a very busy boy. For the last several years the deed transfers have been dominated by landlords buying owner occupied houses. Many of these landlords are new to the business, attracted by $25,000, and even cheaper houses in center city. Landlording is tough for experienced operators, and the learning curve is steep. It will take years for the city to identify all the new landlords, and many will walk away when confronted with the realities of their new venture. Although Allentown has a strategy for Hamilton Street, it needs one for the remainder of center city.


Guy Williams said...

theres another component in this mess that we can not overlook and need their cooperation in an effort to solve some of these housing problems and that's the realtors and mortgage reps. There are more than just a few landlords in over there heads and simply cant afford to maintain their properties because of refinancing,muliple purchases and speculation schemes gone sour in the current recession. Unless we stop pointing the finger and looking for scapegoats and sit down with a plan to fix the housing mess we will just keep spinning our wheels.

Anonymous said...

There is already a syestematic solution for solving the problem of landlords in over their heads --foreclosure and bankruptcy. These mechanisms relieve failed investors and speculators of the on going liability of their failed investments/speculation. Homes would then be resold at current market rates to people who can afford them and want them. The idea implied above that government should provide a further solution which bails out failed investors so they can continue to receive the benefits of their capital is counter to everything a free society stands for.

Guy Williams said...

Bailouts were not implied and are not the answer but maybe creative solutions could be agreed upon. If you owned a car and didn't keep it in a drivable condition you wouldn't get your inspection sticker. Maybe an occupancy permit based on periodic inspections could be implemented. Also tenants should also share in responsibility. If you can get a fine for parking violations why cant tenants get a fine for some health violations. The Section 8 inspectors know what im talking about ,pig sty conditions not caused by landlords.