Bill would force landlords to dump evicted items

November 04, 1997|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

In an effort to rid the streets of piles of furniture routinely left curbside after evictions, a bill to force landlords to take the belongings to a dump was introduced in the City Council last night.

Sanitation officials say litter from evictions is a serious problem in Baltimore, where there were more than 10,000 evictions last year. Bureau of Sanitation crews were called to about 9,000 of those evictions to pick up household furnishings.

Only about 3 percent of tenants pick up their furniture and appliances, said Norman A. Handy Sr., chairman of the council's housing committee and the bill's sponsor.

City leaders don't want to continue paying the high cost -- about $700,000 last year -- of storing or dumping "eviction chattel."

The proposed measure "is an effort to remove blight and improve public safety," Handy said.

The council rejected a similar bill in 1995 and the new bill is likely to draw as much ire from legislators, tenant associations and landlords.

In testimony on the 1995 bill, landlords said they don't want the responsibility.

Only four of the 19 council members present for last night's meeting supported the proposal.

Handy has set a Dec. 2 public hearing on the proposed measure.

Under existing law, landlords can only remove the household items, not throw them away; tenants are given 24 hours to pick up the discarded items; and the Public Works Department, at the request of tenants, picks up the belongings and stores them.

Under the new bill, landlords would be required to give tenants a specific date and time for eviction; if the belongings are not claimed then, the landlord would have them transported to a dump, and the city would waive tipping fees.

Pub Date: 11/04/97

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