Box 22, Folder 17, Document 22

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Box 22, Folder 17, Document 22

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For a tenant who is poor and lives in a slum, the balance of
power in landlord-tenant relations is an unequal one.

The slum dweller's ability to compete in the market place by
moving elsewhere is sharply limited. His ability to seek legal redress
is hampered both by his level of poverty and the lack of an adequate ©
framework of legal protection. His ability to obtain protection from
government is limited by inadequate code enforcement programs and a
lack of effective governmental sanctions in dealing with major code

Reformation of landlord-tenant law is a state and local
government responsibility, but of sade dumewian se to the national
welfare. The federal government already has substantial authority
to help protect the rights of tenants through better code enforcement.
The steps taken by the federal government, while indirect, can be of

decisive importance.

Recommendations: The Task Force therefore recommends:

1. That a National Institute of Urban Housing Law be es-
tablished and adequately funded on a long-term basis. The Institute
should be empowered to prepare model statutes, develop briefs, and

serve as a clearinghouse of housing law information.
2. That the administration of HUD's "Workable Program" which
now statutorily calls for an effective program of code enforcement, be
strengthened (a) by giving the matter highest possible priority in the
Department, (b) by clarifying regulations and developing specific
criteria on what constitutes an effective program, and (c) by requiring
uniform statistical reporting to determine comparable rates of municipal

3. That HUD's program of aid for concentrated code enforce-
ment (Sec. 117) be revised to allow the use of such funds in hard ‘core
slum areas to cope with most urgent code violations, or new legislation
should be sought to provide a new aid program for urgent repairs and in-
tensified municipal services in such slum areas.

4. That HEW should be directed, either by legislation or
administrative action, to require as a condition of continued welfare
payments that state and local governments establish a program that:

(a) provides a system for the inspection and certification of major code
violations and the opportunity for welfare recipients to elect to with-
hold their rent where justified, (b) allows rent to be placed in escrow
for the repair of such violations, and (c) requires enactment of
appropriate legislation prohibiting summary eviction of such welfare


5. That all federal departments concerned with property acqui-
sition prohibit payments for values represented by the amount of code


6. That federal departments dealing with the audit and veri-
fication of real estate and mortgage loan assets require certification,
for each property concerned, that no official complaints of code violations

are presently pending.

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