A Renter's Civic Duty

Photo: Barackobama.com Forget about working class white males in Ohio. The real swing vote powering Sen. Barack Obama's historic Nov. 4 presidential election win might as well have been America's renting class. Nearly 60 percent of renters polled in a national survey by Apartments.com were backing Obama heading into Tuesday's election. Arizona Sen. John McCain received 23 percent of renter's votes; 9 percent of renters preferred not to disclose their choice. Six percent were undecided. According to the survey-part of the "What Renters Want" research series-90 percent of renters surveyed named the national economy as the most important issue in the race. Rounding out the top three were health care, at 59 percent, and the Iraq War, at 53 percent.

No Vacancies

The city of Syracuse, N.Y., is selling 11 vacant properties zoned for multifamily to qualified developers for $1 a piece. The properties also come with a seven-year tax break of up to $45,400 to help cover the cost of rehabs done to existing structures on the properties. Syracuse is facing a major vacant housing problem, with approximately 1,200 units vacant in mostly two- to four-unit dwellings. The city's sale is intended to attract out-of-town developers while clearing out properties that have been seized due to tax delinquencies.

Hall of Shame

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski held a press conference outside of two multifamily properties managed by an absentee landlord to officially launch the city's "Landlord Hall of Shame" initiative. Pawlowski is giving the public the opportunity to nominate additional property owners to the hall by calling the city's Bureau of Building Standards and Safety. "I took office with the express intent of improving our housing stock in the city," Pawlowski says. "We have some absentee landlords in this city who refuse to improve substandard conditions on their rental properties. Meanwhile, the homes where they reside appear to be in immaculate condition." The Landlord Hall of Shame Committee consists of the director of the Bureau of Building Standards and Safety, the housing rehabilitation supervisor, the construction code superintendent, and representatives from the zoning and recycling bureaus. Criteria considered by the committee include delinquent fees; code violations; registration and licensing warnings and revocations; health, police, or fire department issues; and resident and neighbor testimonials.

Editor's note: Send your offbeat multifamily news leads to cwood@hanleywood.com.