Friday, October 31, 2014

Need more changes

9/27/2013

My previous letter to The Herald’s Reader Forum was about a certain senior apartment complex in Ottawa and titled “Nothing has changed.” Well, since then, something has changed, but not enough.

As I understand it, the apartments’ management has changed. I hope this will be positive change for the residents for a lighter atmosphere with less intimidation and uncertainty. However, I still have some issues, which I believe need to be addressed.

My previous letter to The Herald’s Reader Forum was about a certain senior apartment complex in Ottawa and titled “Nothing has changed.” Well, since then, something has changed, but not enough.

As I understand it, the apartments’ management has changed. I hope this will be positive change for the residents for a lighter atmosphere with less intimidation and uncertainty. However, I still have some issues, which I believe need to be addressed.

The main concern I have is how Kansas law is written regarding landlords and tenants. If a landlord retaliates against a tenant for legal, but unpopular, action on the part of a tenant, it might result in a court-ordered eviction of the tenant. If the tenant wins in court, which we did, there is still no real satisfaction for the tenant. Kansas law is such that even if the tenant is found not guilty in a court of law, the judge cannot order the landlord to allow the tenant to stay.

So why go through all the time, effort, stress and expense to hire a lawyer to represent you in court when it gets you no real satisfaction? The reason why change is needed is because we did not want to move, but we had to anyway. This is wrong and the law needs to be changed.

I was happy living in the senior apartments, except for a few accessibility issues which we (as a sanctioned committee of four) brought to the attention of the manager. She retaliated against us by refusing to renew our leases when they came due. We were harassed, lied about, and humiliated. The manager even went so far as to illegally put a hold on our mail so that we had to pick it up at the post office instead of having it delivered to us at our apartments.  One of the residents, whose lease expired first, actually received a court-ordered eviction notice delivered by a sheriff’s deputy.  

I know this is old news but I think we have to keep reminding the public and our legislators of just how unfair this law is. No one should be afraid to address safety and/or accessibility issues for fear of retaliation and eviction. Even though it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate, there are elderly and disabled people who do not speak up because they are afraid of what the consequences might be and most cannot afford to hire an attorney.

May I repeat: This is wrong and the law needs to be changed.  

 

— Vivian Butler,

Ottawa

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