So, the Mayah wants to go after absentee landlords, claiming they are responsible for harboring hoodlum tenants, you know, the type that's dealing in illegal drugs and recklessly spraying gunshots throughout New Bedford. "People move into town with criminal records and there are [absentee] landlords that are willing to tolerate all kinds of bad behavior," so says Mayor Jon Mitchell.

Mr. Mayor. If you know where the bad guys live, get Chief Cordeiro to arrest them? Quit belly aching about out-of-town landlords and get the real McCoys. Gun toting and shooting people are still crimes, right? Lawful residents tell me they want the criminals apprehended. By blaming absentee landlords, Mayor Mitchell is tolerating bad behavior! Stop playing the blame game.

Who do you expect to rent in dilapidatedville? Funny, the city was all too happy to have someone buy the multi-families, years ago, when the economy sucked and housing stock was swimming underwater in red ink.

I painfully remember being a tenants and toilets manager in New Bedford. What a gut wrenching, marriage wrecking experience. No matter how I tried, the tenants screwed me over: inconsistent to non-existent rent payments, drugged out knuckleheads pretending to fall off the back porch, ruined paint jobs, two deaths, constant calls from the city. Once you start to evict, forget seeing another red cent.

One time, some hoodlums busted a bedroom window and frame to break in and steal from a non-rent paying tenant. This made the apartment uninhabitable. Housing court forced me to place the drug dealing, bum and his wife at the Dartmouth Motor Inn for 15 days at $50/night. Nevermind the drug dealing. Nevermind the criminal intent.

Why didn't I evict? You're at a financial crossroads. It's more costly to boot them out, especially if there are no buckaroos coming in. At mortgage payment time, my fingers were crossed hoping to use rent money instead of using my day job funds to pay the debt. So much for the investment?

Why do you rent to them? The landlord business is predicated on having paying renters. Everybody pleads they'll be a grand tenant. Nobody acted like an idiot or addict during the interviews. The background checks were optional. Former landlords are restricted in what they may convey, like employers, regarding former tenants.

So Mr. Mayor, go ahead. Please tighten that vice grip on absentee landlords. Do them a favor. Force them to sell off their properties. You takeover as the caretaker, the fiduciary, the Trustee-landlord. Let's see how well you handle the situation on limited funds, with the stock of tenant talent available.

New Bedford residents better pray Mayor Mitchell has home grown buyers. If not, dilapidatedville will be plagued with more vacant properties. With less property tax dollars to operate with, current taxpayers will foot the bill for these vacancies. Last but hardly least, the uncontrollable criminal element, the thugs, still get to roam New Bedford streets and shoot at targeted and innocent people. The good news. The absentee landlord problem has been resolved.

Editor’s Note:   Brian Thomas is the host of Brian’s Beat on 1420 WBSM New Bedford.  He can be heard weekdays from 10am-Noon and Saturdays from 6am-9am.  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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