Predatory Landlords, Debt, and Repairing the World

Dr. King said that,

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ”

The question is how does such “restructuring” happen?

Following up on my earlier post regarding debt as a problem of financial self-defense, particularly in the case of apartment renters who are forced to live in a lemon or face Breach of Lease, Biblical Law may have something to say about the long term consequences of artificially pushing people into debt (talking about otherwise frugal folks who do not spend profligately).

I respectfully submit that we have had one possible tool in our hands for several thousand years, and it may need to be examined in the context of our present debt crisis -the release of debts, both short term and long term, at different times.  Below is a handout from one of several talks I gave on the relationship between debt and community building, this one from the book of Deuteronomy: DCBM20August_Reeh_Class.

AfterNote: while debts do “expire” at different times in each state and DC according to the type of debt, only two states actually “extinguish” expired debts, and only Maryland prohibits lawsuits being brought against debtors for already expired debts!              Lawmakers in every country need to act to prevent this sort of financial and emotional bullying (in the case of landlords, offering apartments which do not suit, and then reneging on promises to fix issues, while in other cases, offering credit knowing that those who accept are at a relative disadvantage).
In the USA, each state regulates how long one can be sued for a debt, but even then, if the debtor does not know to defend, or is unable for some reason to go to court even if h/she knows, oftentimes creditors sue illegally and win. Now this cannot happen in MD, but of course debtors are still free to harrass up to and beyond the Statute of Limitation (‘expiration’) of the debt.

May we look to our collective good, as one Human Race, and to the potential of each and every Human Being.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest

my resume: JonesPolicyResumePublic
June 26th, 12017 HE

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22 thoughts on “Predatory Landlords, Debt, and Repairing the World

  1. You know! I’m sitting with a debt at the moment: I was working part time for a local (South African) bank. Via email, I received an invitation to accept a credit card to the value of R2000 – just before Christmas! So (silly me) I took it, and of course couldn’t find other employment once my contract with the bank was over. They had a system, now recently declared unlawful, where the bank would sell the debt of defaulters to a private company who would then hound one for the money. The bank itself was never at risk. So, indeed, artificially creating pitfalls for the unwary and often the needy or desperate, deepens poverty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup! Very sorry to hear this, but thank you for sharing yet another example of predatory powerful who exploit the vulnerable (which is each and all of us at some moment or another).

      Lawmakers in every country need to act to prevent this sort of financial and emotional bullying (in the case of landlords, offering apartments which do not suit, and then reneging on promises to fix issues, while in other cases, offering credit knowing that those who accept are at a relative disadvantage).

      In the USA, each state regulates how long one can be sued for a debt, but even then, if the debtor does not know to defend, or is unable for some reason to go to court even if h/she knows, oftentimes creditors sue illegally and win. Now this cannot happen in MD, but of course debtors are still free to harrass up to and beyond the Statute of Limitation (‘expiration’) of the debt.
      Very sad system.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Not for much longer, it doesn’t have to be: if we all work together to change it for the better through “cooperation and non-cooperation” -that is why I adhere to Voluntary Simplicity…

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        2. There is a tag as well as an entire category for cooperation, but I’m not sure that I ever took the time to write a post or create anything for non-cooperation, as Gandhi explained it so much better himself.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Espiritu en Fuego/A Fiery Spirit and commented:
    This is a timely article. Gives some reasons for the increase in homelessness. My Brownsville, Brooklyn neighborhood is undergoing gentrification. My rent is rapidly approach $1K per month. Obviously when I retire next year I won’t be able to live here enjoy though I Love the neighborhood. I will be pushed out to the edges of the city limits all due to lack of money and inability to pay high rents. Food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ouch, very sorry to hear of your rent increase. That’s been happening in DC as well. Various groups have been working to fight back, particularly to get the city to enforce its Affordable Housing laws (I’m not sure if the District still has rent control), but it is an uphill battle. 😦 Best wishes, and if I can come up with some useful ideas for you (do you have a renter’s collective in your building or complex?), I will try.

      Like

    2. Just fyi, I’ve linked to a reblog of one of your posts: related to resisting unjust laws via solidarity with All of us (especially those of us who are less than wealthy financially)… I wanted to thank you for the image and for the post where you started the topic (with the Fug. Slave Act) of resisting unjust laws: https://shiradest.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/resisting-unjust-laws-then-and-now-stayed-on-the-call-of-freedom-and-cooperation/

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi, again on this topic, I just found this article and am considering an updated version of this blog post, if others will do likewise?

          Not all of the MD debt-related laws are worth following:

          “our police, court commissioners, and corrections officers should be preventing and punishing actual crimes, not being forced to collect on private debts like enforcers in a Dickens novel. … there’s not enough legal aid to go around and the consequence can be time in jail. ”

          http://www.baltimoresun.com/…/bs-ed-op-0905-debtors-prisons…
          ( PG and Baltimore Counties, but especially PG county, are targets for debt-buyers and collectors who will sue for as little as 700dlrs, while up in Montgomery Co, it takes a debt of 3000 on average to be sued, despite SoLs!! Pass the word to defend in court, and make them validate any debts!!!)

          Liked by 1 person

    3. Just re-found this article and thinking of how to connect it with other articles in a way that helps both people who have debt and also those dealing with rising costs even if not in debt: https://www.propublica.org/article/why-small-debts-matter-so-much-to-black-lives?utm_source=suggestedarticle&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=readnext&utm_content=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.propublica.org%2Farticle%2Fwhy-small-debts-matter-so-much-to-black-lives

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        1. Here is a template for a letter that might help other NYers, any maybe you as well, although legislation takes time to get passed:

          The Honorable…

          The state of Maryland has recently passed a law prohibiting lawsuits on any debts which have passed the Statute of Limitation (https://www.dllr.state.md.us/…/advisor…/advisory-debtcol.pdf ). While some states require notification if a debt is expired, many debtors are not able to use that information. And while debt buyers are prohibited from suing on expired debts in all states but MD, original creditors are not. Many creditors, like exploitative landlords and lenders, never sell their debts, waiting years to sue, until details of the situation are less clear. Most lawsuits are won by default, even on invalid debts. The key injustice is that proportionately more poor debtors are sued than well-off debtors (due to the fact that the Statute of Limitation must be explicitly raised as a defense by the debtor in NY). This growing numbers of illegitimate judgments against those who do not have either the time or the ability (due to illness, etc) to defend themselves. Debt, credit reporting and court action can have a direct bearing on citizens’ abilities to access employment and housing. Disallowing suits on all expired debts could correct this injustice.

          Further, on debts which have not yet expired, a garnishment of 25% is more than many people can live on, and even worse when savings are levied from bank accounts. Please prepare legislation that will end these abuses of the most vulnerable in our society.

          Respectfully,
          sig”

          For #PublicDomainInfrastructure
          Shira
          (based on this letter:https://www.facebook.com/shiradest/posts/2162213397396935)

          Like

      1. Just read the article fully. Obviously with one bankruptcy behind me and another on the horizon I’ve had my cell phone cut off last year. The only thing that might save me is to work more overtime. Or suddenly become rich and wealthy via my photography and mixed media photo collages!
        I got into debt after my stroke ten years ago. Even with working tons of overtime I’m still robbing Peter to pay Paul.

        Liked by 1 person

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