Schenectady Gazette Letter to the editor ~ March 24, 2013
In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, despite a city claiming that these inspections are for health and safety conditions, warrantless inspections of rental units are unconstitutional and violate landlords’ Fourth Amendment rights. Since 1981, New York courts have consistently ruled that cities and towns cannot compel landlords to submit to inspecting their rental units, and cannot penalize landlords for refusing to do so.
The law, is … requiring the search of their tenants’ bedrooms and closets, making public their insurance records and their tenants’ names, all in violation of the landlords’ and tenants’ privacy rights. Schenectady was built for over 100,000 residents and has plenty of housing for the 64,000 people living here now. … Potential tenants have many apartments to choose from, but the city is ironically assuming that tenants have no choice but to live in substandard conditions.
MOHAMED A. HAFEZ Schenectady The writer is a landlord.
See the entire article: Rental Certificates hurt landlords
Coach Mitch’s REFLECTIONS™
Property Rights are the most important right we have
In issues of primacy, i.e. whose rights are more important, the owner of the land or the user of the land? It is clear; today’s consumerist view has won out. Today, legislators nor judges feel constrained by the principle of Stare Decisis, to stand by that which is decided, i.e. the original constitutional precept. Rather, Progressives abide by Stalin’s Law, “A promise is like a pie crust, it is meant to be broken.” Feelings rule, not intellect. As a society we seem totally taken in by Goebbels like style over Jeffersonian and Madisonian substance.
Property is Primal
The Federalist, that gathering of essays explaining the Founders ideas, is replete with philosophical entreaties that, within Natural Law, property is primal. A natural law is an unwritten law that each person is born with, a law that no government can take away because natural law is higher than government law and all governmental law must first adhere to the basic premise that government exists to defend a person’s Life, Liberty, and Property. People do not exist to serve government, that is the Socialistic view, rather, government exists to defend peoples rights.
Property is a Primary Right
Property is held to be primary amongst man’s natural rights. The ability to defend and retain control over one’s property is the most important of our natural rights, for it undergirds all the others. A basic aim of Life is to gather property so as to sustain oneself. Liberty means nothing without the ability to improve one’s lot, primarily through the acquisition of property.
The admonition against government rule making over property is stated in several places in the Constitution. Probably the single most voiced line in American history is Jefferson’s assertion that amongst man’s natural rights are his “rights to Life, Liberty and” Property, expressed as a term of art as “the pursuit of Happiness.”
History has turned rights upside down
If looking at the history of law in the US and NYS, we see the steady assertion and institutionalism of an idea the Founders held in total disrepute: that Socialism, in any form was to be avoided because it always leads to totalitarianism. That is a fact. We see the originalist idea of “caveat emptor,” let the buyer beware, being changed in societal perception and in case law to, “caveat lessor,” let the landlord beware. This is fact.
Fascist philosophy abounds
It is not yet fashionable to label one as Fascist, but you decide if the Schenectady City Counsel deserves this label. Webster’s 1961 New World Dictionary defines Fascism as that form of government which “controls the means of production,” i.e. the economy. The control comes in the form of edict and regulation. The Founders expressly forbid regulation of this type because it leads to dictatorship and avoiding dictatorship was the main reason they sought independence.
The last four generations, having little if any schooling in the precepts of the Constitution, but having lots of schooling in Mao’s “Little Red Book” and Marx’s ideas, are not even aware of the precepts of natural law and how it underpins freedom. Anyone with an inkling of understanding of the Freedom Philosophy can clearly see the lack of Americanist ideals when reading the editorial opinions expressed in The Gazette.
Takings without compensation is unconstitutional
Veritably, all law that restricts freedom of property without fair compensation is not constitutional – period. This applies to Zoning law, which takes from every property owner the right to do with his property as he sees fit – but does not compensate him. That is the definition of legalized theft!
The Rental Certificate law, similarly, restricts property owners, violates their constitutional rights, and all without fair compensation. This is the hallmark of Fascism! You hold the deed; the government lets you keep ownership, but the government totally controls the use, usually in favor of a preferred class, in this case, tenants. In other cases, we see bloated government giving funds to preferred friends labeled “special interests.” This is how Fascism operates. You work to keep your nose above water and the government takes whatever it wants – but it always says it’s for your own good.
Just for the record: this black-hearted landlord of over 30 years, has never evicted anyone, and recently I restructured a $5K rental arrearage for long term tenants who have still not gotten their finances straight after eight years. Landlords help more people, in more real ways, than government. And we also clean the toilets and the greasy ovens tenants leave behind.
I understand the heart felt desires of legislators to fix a situation, to “do something.” However you can’t break constitutional rules to satisfy your feelings. The Constitution must be viewed in the same way as the Ten Commandments. G-d did not say “Thou shalt not steal – but if you’re hungry, it’s OK.” You don’t require the butcher to give away his meat to those who are hungry. Leaving the corners of the field for the poor is a voluntary act, which makes it holy.
In the same way landlords want good tenants and have the means to help when needed (like I did) but it should not be required. There are so many extra apartments available in Schenectady that tenants have a veritable choice and landlords know that they must compete for tenants. The biggest problem is the low grade of tenants – a subject the Schenectady City Council says they cannot do anything about, so the city resorts to harassing the landlord because of the Council’s refusal to correct errant tenant behavior.
wreck – ‘er work
For those who think that blaming the baby for the bathwater is a crazy idea; about a 15 years ago I followed real property law being proposed in the state legislature. Many bills stated as their purpose that rental property owners had assets that the state could use to help in its desire to house people.
Example: Problem: the City of NY’s municipal infrastructure is often overcrowded.
New Law Solution: make the eviction process take at least 30-60 days longer so tenants will not have to be housed at city expense. There was no proposal to compensate rental property owners; the mentality is to use the property as if it were the governments. Fascism is control through regulation.
Those whose work is to protect the needy and the weak should do so, and entreat others to do the same, through voluntary means. That is our history and the requirement of the Constitution, as the Constitution allows none of the current new laws. Yet, there are those who profess to have such a great heart that, in the current socialist egalitarian mode, that they want to give to those in need, yet can only do so by forcibly taking it from others, openly employ and defend legalized theft.
These folks do not see their crime. They do insist though that you be made criminal if you don’t abide by their edict. They steal from you and demand that you pay or be punished. Washington wrote, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Could any statement be more clear?
Let landlords fight it out for good tenants by having good properties. Rental Certificates are bad policy, they void the Constitution and they institutionalize government control. Rental Certificates are wrong!
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