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Fair Housing Center Opposes HB 88, Urges Amendment; Bill Might Erase Rental Housing for Evacuees

Posted on 10. Nov, 2005 by

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC), opposes House Bill 88, and urges the bill be amended. The Bill has the potential to give landlords carte blanche to evict tenants and destroy or keep their belongings without due process. Tenants who have already been displaced from their homes and communities will also lose rights to their remaining personal property if the law is passed.

HB-88 proposes to allow landlords to assume that tenants have abandoned their property if rent is not current and landlords have not communicated with tenants; presume that tenants have abandoned all belongings inside their homes; allow landlords to dispose of or keep all tenants’ property; and allow landlords to terminate leases by simply placing notices on tenants’ doors. If the bill were passed, some tenants would have no recourse or opportunity to claim personal belongings.

By giving landlords near complete discretion to discard or remove tenants’ personal property, the bill would prevent and discourage evacuees from returning to New Orleans.

James Perry, GNOFHAC Executive Director comments, “While it is essential to provide fair and equitable means to deal with landlord tenant issues in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the proposals in HB-88 dispose of nearly all the rights afforded to renters. This is particularly unsettling when one considers that approximately 60% of residents in Orleans Parish rent their homes. HB-88 has
the potential to be the death-blow making thousands of evacuated renters homeless upon their return to New Orleans.”

Perry and New Orleans renters who could potentially lose their home and property are available for interviews.

11-10-05 Download the press release here

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