Coming To A Legislature Near You: Bed Bugs And Animal Houses!

February 2009 | Dave Corsi, MREIA's Legislative Awareness Chair

Be prepared for a call to action. As many of you have noticed the United States is slipping into socialism. Why? Like naughty children who do something wrong, and then spend their time constructing elaborate schemes to avoid getting caught, our politicians are following suit. Washington has mismanaged this nation’s economic system. And like the misbehaving child, they are now looking to cover their tracks to avoid being held accountable.

Mismanagement of the economy, business and taxes has been going on for decades. Now the guilty are doing the predictable: pontificating that we should not be wasting time pointing out who is responsible for this mismanagement. To the contrary, if we do not point out who and how they created this mess they will remain in power and continue their screw-ups and coverups.

In short, the blame lies with the majority of politicians in Washington and at the state level. Here unwieldy bureaucrats create mountains of legislation and regulations that neither they nor anyone else has fully read. The winners of this system are the politicians, lawyers, bureaucrats and lobbyists who have created a nation of special interests. Their main weapon is a tax code that not a person alive can explain or defend. The losers are the American people and businesses. In short the people who create jobs, produce products and pay taxes and are not in bed with the government.

At the state level it is no better. New Jersey is at the top of the list for taxation and at the bottom in services received for those tax dollars. This would lead one to think that New Jersey politicians would be fiscally conservative considering that at the national level we are subsidizing the other 49 states, plus the aid that goes to foreign nations. But the opposite is true. New Jersey tends to elect fiscal liberals thereby hastening our economic demise. And don’t think that “they are all bad, except my guy; he is a good one.” Trust me; there are only a handful of elected officials from New Jersey who are truly financially adept.

Trenton politicians are now looking to encroach even more on private property rights, and are particularly taking aim at real estate investors. Recently fellow MREIA member Sak Photiadis and I had a meeting with a high-ranking state assemblyman. We explained our concerns about one of the pending “foreclosure/save the homeowner” bills being introduced in Trenton. We explained our concerns with one of the bill’s provisions, a provision that would have required a homeowner losing the home to move, even if the investor was willing to let the former homeowner rent the property at a rent he/she could afford.

Many homeowners in this position may not want to move, may want their children to finish school there, have health issues making moving painful (physically and emotionally) and difficult, etc. We explained this to the legislator. He informed us it was a higher priority for politicians in Trenton to be viewed as “doing something.” I asked point blank, if this “doing something” was more important then keeping people from having to move with possibly no other place to go? His answer was “yes!”

A few months back Trenton politicians proposed “Bed Bug” legislation (A3203 and S2257) that stated landlords will be responsible for and exposed to fines and damages if their unit has or contracts bed bugs. Ignore the fact that the tenants and their possessions may have brought the bed bugs in or the bed bugs entered because of another tenant. This proposed legislation is under review. May I suggest that you contact and write your legislator expressing your disapproval of this bill.

Also, “Animal House” legislation (A3056 and S869) has been proposed. In short, the town may hold the landlord liable if the tenants or their guests (even uninvited ones), act up. And by acting up, it may be something like an “anonymous source claiming your tenant is talking too loud.” I am not joking. Under this bill, if the police have to visit the dwelling, you may be charged for the time the police “work” on the case. If enough complaints are lodged, you may have to post a bond and may need to hire an attorney as well. To paraphrase, you are your tenant’s keeper. Remember, the one thing that most elected representatives respond to is inquiries, letters, faxes and phone calls from their constituents. Now is the time to contact your representatives and let them know your stand on these issues. Remember your family and our nation’s financial health is at stake. To read individual bills, visit and click on Legislative Corner.

About the Author

Dave is a Past President of MREIA, the current Legislative Awareness Chairperson and has made presentations at MREIA meetings and the Learning Annex.

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MREIA (Metro Real Estate Investors Association) is New Jersey's oldest real estate investors group founded in 1982. Our mission is to aid, train, motivate and share information relating to real estate investing. We are dedicated to helping both beginning AND experienced investors. We serve the New Jersey-New York metropolitan area.

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