Packed In: ‘It’s bleeding out the middle class’: Tenants trash property, landlord can’t evict, home sits vacant
SPOKANE, Wash. — Landlords have been in limbo for over a year. Many have been waiting for rent to come in or for state and federal funding to bail them out. One local landlord says he hasn’t gotten that help. Instead, he’s stuck with a property his tenants destroyed and he couldn’t kick them out.
“We couldn’t get them out on domestic charges, drug use, drugs with kids in the house,” said Adam Schinzel, the property manager for a 4 bedroom 1 bath rental in Cheney. “It spirals into a much larger situation even for my parents and other landlords.”
It’s a situation Schinzel’s been dealing with for over a year. He says rent stopped first and then the problems started piling up.
“Now, we’re getting calls from the cops saying there’s drug use, there’s domestic violence and there’s nothing we can do about it,” he said.
Under the current moratorium, tenants had to stay housed if they couldn’t pay rent. There were other ways landlords could evict for extenuating circumstances, but he says lawyers and judges told them their hands were tied in this case.
“Now, we’re sitting on a house paying for everything, not able to rent it and not able to sell it at this moment,” he said. “We’re waiting for it to get fixed.”
While his family waits, they’re still forking out cash. So far they’ve spent over $50,000, and that number continues to rise. They’re accounting for unpaid rent, attorney fees, clean-up expenses and unpaid utilities.
Schinzel says the only reason the tenants are out of the property today is because they’re in jail. He’s worried about the fallout from the moratorium and how it’s affecting local landlords who are trying to house families in the area.
“It’s bleeding out the middle class,” he said. “We would like to keep people housed, but this moratorium leaves no incentive for the landlords to do this. If the mom and pops can’t afford to rent because of the moratorium, who are they going to sell to for cheap — the big corporations.”
This property could be a rental option for other families, but it’s vacant and uninhabitable. As more people pack in to the area, this rental won’t be an option for families anytime soon.
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