JAMESTOWN – The push to hold absentee landlords accountable continues in Jamestown, following a report last week that detailed one family’s struggle with an absentee landlord.
With around 50 percent of Jamestown’s housing stock making up apartments, this family’s story runs parallel to so many, which is why city leaders are continuing their push to inform tenants of their rights.
Director of Development Crystal Surdyk believes that people are afraid to contact the help they need based on the fear of lashback.
“I want to encourage people,” explained Surdyk. “Because I don’t want people to be afraid to come to us and file a complaint for fear of being displaced.”
Although it is the landlord’s job to keep the tenant in a safe environment.
“They have a responsibility to make their properties liveable for their tenants,” stated Surdyk. “If they’re going to be landlords, it is ultimately their responsibility to make those properties liveable and habitable.”
The advice that Surdyk gives to potential renters is to inspect the property and make sure there are no problems that could occur.
“If the landlord is asking you to pay cash, if they’re not giving you a lease, if there is no sort of written agreement, it’s probably not someplace you want to rent from,” explained Surdyk.
One of the best scenarios is to make a working relationship between the landlord and tenant to ease the tension.
“There really does need to be more relational approach between landlords and tenants,” stated Surdyk.
There are many programs that can help renters in need, these can be found under the Department Of Development section of the city’s website.