Committee members question intent of bill

Parker Willis

House Bill 504 makes it to committee and brings up many questions.

The bill would make landlords no longer responsible for possessions left at a house where the tenant had been evicted.

As it stands now a landlord has to move the property into the public right away, because if it is taken to a dump or otherwise disposed of the landlord can be sued for the missing property.

But if the landlord moves the property out, he or she runs the risk of getting a ticket for littering.

Connie Petty, landlord, said she was fined $500 and had to do community service for her ex-tenant’s possessions.

However, some committee members believe that giving the landlords permission to dispose of the property is asking for trouble.

“You’re probably going to dispose of all the property in a landfill,” said Rep Michael Vogt (D-St. Louis).

Then he asked a witness if the tenants possessions will ever make it to the curb despite their value after the bill is passed.

But Jim Ikleberger, real estate investor and landlord in St. Louis, replied probably not.

“Ninety percent of this stuff is just junk,” Ikleberger said. “They’ve already had ample time, six to eight weeks, to come and get their stuff.”

But one committee member mentioned that most of that six or eight weeks Ikleberger is talking about is the trial, and the tenant isn’t always sure they will lose the trial and be forced to move.

By the time the meeting was over it was unsure as to which way the members would vote because so many questions were brought up about the bill.

The committee didn’t vote on the measure because of lack of time between sessions.