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Slumlords Must Be Held Accountable

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The Albuquerque City Council unanimously approved the Slumlord Accountability Ordinance on Monday, August 6th, 2007, sponsored by City Councilor Martin Heinrich (District 6).

The ordinance mandates that the residential property owner or manager bear the financial costs of relocation when the City of Albuquerque’s Code Enforcement Team determines living conditions are unsafe.

In years past, families have sometimes been displaced – often times on short notice -- due to the closure of poorly managed rental properties; this bill requires the property owner to bear the financial responsibility of relocating.
The new ordinance appropriates $100,000 to cover start-up costs. Two-thousand per family will be available for displaced renters who meet certain criteria. Councilor Heinrich believes that the relocation payment support, combined with timely intervention from trained housing specialists, will also enable people to identify better, safer and more affordable places to call home, in addition to encouraging more responsible property management.

“This ordinance is a practical and common sense way to hold property owners accountable, and to prevent low-income people from becoming homeless,” said Councilor Heinrich. “The threat of having to pay relocation costs for displaced families should provide an incentive for negligent landlords to address code violations and keep their properties from becoming nuisances in the first place.”

Mark Allison, President of the Albuquerque Affordable Housing Coalition, worked with the Albuquerque Apartment Association and others to help Councilor Heinrich draft a consensus ordinance that in the end, expresses a broader statement of the value of quality housing in Albuquerque.

“The people of Albuquerque deserve safe and decent housing. Neighborhoods deserve to be free of nuisance and eyesore properties. This ordinance will provide the city with another important tool to accomplish both of these important objectives," said Allison.

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