He Won't Do Nothin' For You

Learn the cunning strategies and strange secrets of three of Seattle's most notorious landlords. The way some slumlords treat their tenants just might be a crime.

It'd be easy to think that Seattle doesn't have real slumlords. Not Seattle, the city of niceness and quiet good taste, exuding prosperity from its lakefront manors to its downtown boutiques and sleek coffeehouses. Easy, but wrong.

Seattle has more than a few slumlords who could hold their own in any major city in the country. "There are so many around it's unbelievable," says Jack Alexander, a veteran building inspector with the SeattleKing County Department of Public Health, which brings criminal charges for such things as rodent and cockroach infestations. "The main thing is that they take money in and they don't put any out—that's the name of the game."

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There has perhaps been no better time for slumlords to flourish than in the current housing squeeze—which makes this a fitting time to ferret out the worst of them. Given the competition, this proved no simple task. Several worthy candidates in the metropolitan area didn't make the cut: the owner of the Bothell apartments so plagued by mold that the children of one family developed respiratory problems and were told by their doctor to move out immediately; the owner of the dilapidated cabins in the woods off a Tukwila highway that, in the words of one county official, "looks like Appalachia."

While the designation of "worst" is inevitably arguable, the individuals featured here are renowned among tenants and their advocates, as well as housing and health inspectors. Their reputation derives not merely from the condition of their buildings but also their unpleasantness and sometimes abusiveness towards tenants. Testament to their management style can be found among criminal charges, tenant lawsuits, and housing code violations. Last, but not least, there are the buildings themselves—ranging from shabby to nearly unlivable.

Though at least two of these landlords live in cushy circumstances themselves, those that agreed to be interviewed portrayed themselves as victims—of tenants and city officials out to get them. There is, it seems, a certain amount of game playing in the slumlord biz, and it can get bizarre. Witness the following stories: of a Chinese immigrant who says he is being persecuted because of his race; of a secrecy freak who presents himself as destitute and fights off criminal charges with public defenders; and of a former Aryan Nation member who claims that his tenants are "guests."

ALAN HUA

Margarita Martinez, a young woman from Mexico, looks around her one-bedroom apartment in Alan Hua's Empire Courts at Martin Luther King Way S and S 68th Street. At a distance, the Empire Courts could be mistaken for a cluster of abandoned train cars.

Wearing cornrows and a black bodysuit, and maintaining an ebullient sense of humor despite her surroundings, Martinez pulls back an area rug she has put down in the living room. Underneath is the tattered, gray carpet Hua has provided. It is damp and putrid. "Just look at the walls," she says, through an interpreter from the Tenants Union, a nonprofit advocacy group. The walls are cracked, covered in big brown patches of dirt or grease, and marked by occasional holes. "That's also why it gets cold in here," she says, adding that "the heating system doesn't work very well." She pulls a couch away from the wall to show a big rusty vent, which she says is the apartment's only heating source.

Before going on, she suddenly flies across the room with a sneaker in hand and swats a cockroach on the wall, smiling at her victory. There are lots of cockroaches, lots of mice too. "I see them running around from one side of the room to the other sometimes. Want to see one?" Heading into the kitchen, she rustles through a cupboard and pulls out a trap from which dangles a tiny white mouse. Her 3-year-old daughter steps toward it, fascinated. She says her other daughter, who is 8, has been bitten all over by mice-borne fleas.

In this kitchen she's also dealt with missing and broken cabinet drawers, a stove that gave her electrical shocks before it was finally replaced, and plumbing under the sink that spewed dirty black water—which also issues from her bathtub faucet.

Finally, there's the mold—a thick, brown film that covers entire walls in the bedroom and bathroom, making the place seem like a cave. For the privilege of living here, she pays $425 a month. If she thinks too much about it, she starts to cry.

Empire Courts is only one of 14 King County properties owned by Alan Hua, formerly a farmer in his native China. His holdings, built up over 20 years in the business, have a total assessed value of almost $6 million.

Most have drawn censure from tenant activists and city officials. "Alan Hua's buildings are in absolutely inexcusable condition," declares Tenants Union organizer Siobhan Ring. "There's no reason people should have to live in that kind of housing."

City prosecutors are now pressing a criminal case against Hua arising from Health Department inspections of the Douglas Apartments, a sprawling four-building complex on S Henderson Street in the Rainier Valley. After three unsuccessful prosecutions against Hua on other landlord-related charges, housing officials are closely watching this case, which charges him with four counts related to maintaining health hazards, including "failing to take reasonable measures to maintain a building free from rats, mice, and other rodents."

On May 1, in an unusual development, a municipal judge rejected a plea that would have meant no finding of guilt if Hua would allow city inspectors unfettered access to his buildings, hire a permanent pest control professional, and pay a $75 fine. Hua, a slight 60-year-old dressed for the occasion in a stylish gray suit, came to court bearing a letter of support signed by 50 Douglas tenants (which he later conceded his manager had written and passed among tenants). Unmoved, Judge Jean Rietschel declared of the plea: "The court cannot agree given the long history of significant unsanitary conditions." A jury trial was later scheduled for June 30.

What's more, the city Department of Construction and Land Use (DCLU) has informed Hua 65 times of violations, often listing multiple violations in a single citation. A recent DCLU inspection of Empire Courts resulted in a written notice of a monumental 163 violations.

True, the new inspector who issued the notice, Lois Eulberg, comments that Hua has cooperated with her requests for repairs, though notes in DCLU records indicate that he did not always cooperate with her colleagues. Moreover, while Hua may sometimes be responsive to city authority, tenants say he's not at all responsive to them.

An 83-year-old man who moved to the Douglas Apartments after suffering a disabling stroke 27 years ago tells how his bathroom ceiling recently started leaking dirty water from the toilet above. "I was at him for five, six months to fix it," he says. "It got bad. It was smellin', you know."

The man says he has noticed a marked change in the last eight years under Hua's ownership. "He's the worst one [landlord] I've ever had. He won't do nothin' for you—just promise you, that's all. Then he gets mad if you even ask him."

Alosita Hess, a tenant who also managed the Douglas for almost three years until she had a falling-out with Hua in March, paints a similar picture. She recalls that when she would tell him about repairs needing to be done, "Alan says, 'It's not an emergency. We have to do emergencies before we do the others.'"

But her husband, Thomas Hess, adds that Hua would only repair "absolute emergencies," and says that dealing with Hua can be an unpleasant experience for tenants. "He gets right in their face and starts screaming and hollering at them."

Some tenants feel there's a racial component to Hua's nastiness. "He has this prefixed notion that all black people are drug dealers," says former Douglas tenant Leon Conley. "You can tell it through his attitude. It's always as if he is standing on the fourth floor and you're in the basement." Others, both black and white, have gone as far as to file discrimination complaints with the Seattle Human Rights Department, charging that Hua set higher rents for them and performed fewer repairs. The department, however, did not find enough evidence to justify any of the four complaints filed.

Whether or not there's racism at work, Hua clearly doesn't think much of many of his tenants. "We are not a baby-sitter," he says, and suggests that many tenants don't know how to take care of their apartments: "Sometimes they let children draw on the wall, then afterwards they tell me the landlord doesn't take care of it."

Hua repeatedly talks about how "troublemakers" have made "phony reports" to health and housing inspectors. He then notes, without explanation, that when he took over the Douglas Apartments, "75 percent of tenants [were] black." He says they—especially a number of disgruntled tenants evicted for drug dealing—tried to drive him out because of his race, by complaining about him. He suggests that official discrimination makes the situation worse: "If I am white, maybe the city, the Health Department not treat me that way."

In reality, he maintains, he tries to clean up the buildings he buys, as evidenced by his evictions at the Douglas. "Any building I buy is run-down. After I buy it, I improve it."

But how much improvement there's been at the Douglas is questionable, certainly in the realm of crime. After two fatal shootings and several drug busts last year, police consider the complex a "problem address." For a full year, South Precinct community police officer Randy Huserik has spent most of his time working to reduce crime there. Huserik notes that landlords can take a number of steps themselves, like taking advantage of a police program that does criminal background checks on prospective tenants, or using trespassing and loitering laws to keep outsiders off the property. Asked if police have been working with Hua on such measures, Huserik says dryly, "We've been trying to."

Nonetheless, Hua has a point when he speaks of tenant negligence. In Empire Courts, for example, Martinez has made her place look even worse by leaving piles of dirty laundry and half-eaten bowls of food lying about. "She's given up," concedes the Tenants Union interpreter, who says she has seen the apartment much cleaner in the past.

However, to keep an apartment like this feeling somewhat livable takes constant vigilance. A couple from Vietnam who live in Empire Courts don't want their 5-year-old daughter to get an infection from the pervasive mold. So they go through the all-day process of removing it—first wetting the wall, then bleaching it, then cleaning it again and finally soaking up the moisture with dry cloths—again and again. They also try to attack the smell and decay in their rug by vacuuming as much as they can.

"I don't want to complain," says the husband, who takes great pride in his recent departure from public assistance, after attending community college to train as a refrigerator technician. He acknowledges that his rent of $425 is "very cheap." A former English teacher who spent eight years in a Vietnamese jail as a political prisoner, he adds, "I have been suffering many things. Right now this condition is OK for me."

Still, he can't help but express some bitterness at Hua. "We all Asian. How can he do that?" he asks, referring to Hua's general management. "He has to pay a lot of bills too, we know that. But he should help the people a little bit. It's not just a business."

Just a business or not, it has proved profitable. Witness Hua's mansion on Lake Sammamish. Worth a million dollars, according to tax records, it is a 7,000-square-foot white house with a red-tiled roof and circular driveway. It's a safe bet that repairs chez Hua are made promptly.

ERIC HILTON

When Eric Hilton Kapusy was 21 years old, he took his middle name as a new last name. Barely out of adolescence, the newly named Hilton was already careful about his public identity. Even then, Hilton was in the process of accumulating rental properties—together with Emery and Hildegard Kapusy, widely believed to be his parents—for which he has consistently refused to admit ownership. He maintains instead that he is a mere property manager.

Hilton did not return telephone calls seeking an interview. And it's easy to see why he might be embarrassed. Now 34, he operates at least eight boarding houses in the University District for which he has received 55 oral or written DCLU reports of violations. His specialty in the past was to jam as many people as possible into the single-family houses he bought and chopped into numerous individual units. "He pushed the envelope," says DCLU supervisor Steve Horswill, referring to Hilton's flouting of a law allowing up to eight unrelated individuals to live together without a special permit. Horswill says Hilton's interpretation of the statute often meant "housing people in rooms we didn't consider habitable spaces"—lacking, for instance, proper ventilation or light.

After a number of tangles with DCLU, Horswill says Hilton "started to get with the program," at least on that issue. But Carlee Casey, a DCLU inspector who worked the U District from 1995 until February of this year, is unimpressed with the new, improved Hilton. "He does make repairs, but he makes them in such a way that they are very short-termed. He may meet minimum standards—but that's it." And those repairs are often made only after DCLU has gotten involved.

"There was a house on Fifth Avenue NE where for weeks, possibly months, the kitchen drain was a 5-gallon bucket," Casey says. She recalls the bathroom of another house: "I see a lot of boarding-house bathrooms, and they're always a little iffy. But this one—I don't know how anyone could use it. It was unclean, unsanitary, dark... "

Five years ago, Paul Carlson, who places Harborview Mental Health Services outpatients in housing around the community, went to see a client who found a place on his own, in a Hilton house at 5217 12th Avenue NE. Carlson's reaction was so strong that, for the first time in his career, he wrote a letter to DCLU to complain. Explaining that his job had made him familiar with low-income housing, he wrote that the Hilton house had "perhaps the worst conditions I have ever seen. . . . Water covered the floor of the common hallway and four tiny bedrooms from a leaking toilet and bathroom plumbing. The mildew was visible throughout these areas and the odor of the mildew so strong my client was compelled to keep a fan . . . blowing the fetid air out his window. The common kitchen had only a two-burner stove, a refrigerator that did not operate, and a sink smaller than that in the average bathroom."

Today, a few doors down at another Hilton building, 5213 12th Avenue NE, conditions are similarly dismal. There's a surreal feeling as you enter, fostered by paint encrusted so thickly on the hallway wall that it looks like a van Gogh painting. On the first floor, a bathroom plumbing leak has kept tenants without hot water for months. Exposed wires fall to the floor. Air blows freely through an unsealed bedroom window.

Up a creaky flight of stairs, a filthy kitchen is conspicuously missing a sink. "It hasn't been there since January," says tenant Glen Johnson. "We've had to use the bathroom to wash dirty dishes." At least the oven works. It's on now, as it always is, because "the heater is constantly broken," Johnson says. "I had to really complain about it." In response, the manager at the time (not Hilton) gave tenants small portable heaters. Only problem is, when power in the house shuts off—as it frequently does—the heaters are inoperable.

Down in the basement, another tenant occupies a room that looks like a cell. There's literally nothing in it except a sleeping bag stuffed into a storage container pushed against one wall, and a lamp that almost falls to the floor. The room has flooded so often that the tenant has covered his floor with a brown tarp. A tarp also hangs from the ceiling—a defense against water leaking from the bathroom above.

Believe it or not, Hilton can make life even more uncomfortable for his tenants. In February, he was convicted in Municipal Court on criminal charges of "harassing or retaliating against a tenant" after an illegal lock-out. (See "Dear Landlord: Go to Jail," 3/12.) Before sentencing, prosecutors submitted a half-dozen other police reports in which Hilton was described as either locking tenants out or forcing them out through such methods as removing the doors to their rooms. Describing one victim who came home to find all his belongings confiscated, a police officer wrote, "In short, Mr Turner lost everything he owned on 5-20-94." The judge in the most recent case hit Hilton with two days in jail—a sentence tenant advocates believe is the first of its kind. Hilton has appealed.

Oddly enough, Hilton is being represented at appeal—as he was at trial—by a public defender. Jim Crane, administrator of the King County Office of Public Defense, says that this is the third time his office has provided counsel for Hilton, who somehow finessed Public Defense's screening process. "We're in the process of investigating his assets," he says. Then he adds, "It's difficult to obtain information about Mr. Hilton." It turns out that tax records show his properties—which together have an assessed value of $1.7 million—as belonging to limited partnerships, each named after its street address. Tracing the tax history on eight properties, you learn that Hilton bought them all, then transferred their titles to the limited partnerships. In some cases, he has transferred them back and forth between himself, the limited partnerships, and his parents. A search of state partnership and incorporation records uncovers papers for seven of the nine Hilton properties—one of them his own apparent residence—and lists Hilton as a general partner for all seven, with ownership shares ranging from 10 percent to 13 percent.

And where does Hilton live himself? Tax records reveal that in 1991 he bought a $285,000 house in tony Clyde Hill, which he subsequently put into a limited partnership—and which, given its price and location, seems an unlikely rental.

A day after I talked with Crane, he called back to say that the Office of Public Defense has sent Hilton a promissory note requesting payment for the cost of his attorney (who will continue to represent his appeal). "At least he will no longer be getting a public defender in these matters," Crane says.

HUGH AND DRAKE SISLEY, AND KEITH GILBERT

To say that Keith Gilbert has a shady past is something of an understatement. In the 1980s, when he lived in Idaho, he was convicted of 35 counts of welfare fraud and state-income-tax evasion. While he was lying to the government, according to court documents, Gilbert was also whipping up hate as a member of the Aryan Nation, which he left to form his own white supremacist organization. He had a particular objection to an adoption agency that sometimes placed minority kids with white parents. In July 1982, he almost ran down a black adopted child—one of several incidents that earned him a federal conviction for violating the Fair Housing Act.

It is best to keep Gilbert's record in mind when you hear him declare that he's not a property manager for brothers Hugh and Drake Sisley, as is widely believed, but an agent for a nonprofit, religious "residents' club." And his ties to the far right, which he denies, make sense in light of his tendency to use lawsuits, the way the militia use liens, as a form of harassment—employed, in Gilbert's case, against tenants and city officials who give him problems. In the words of one city official, Gilbert and the Sisleys like to "run roughshod over people constantly."

Make no mistake: The Sisleys were noteworthy slumlords long before Gilbert came on the scene in the early 1990s. Between the two of them, the brothers own a $14 million empire of 55 properties in the Roosevelt District, with Hugh owning the most. Their holdings tend to be former single-family homes converted into boarding or shared houses, many of which are run independently of Gilbert.

Walking around the neighborhood, you can often spot the buildings owned by the Sisleys by their peeling paint, rickety steps, and yards full of debris. And judging from records of the city Department of Construction and Land Use, which enforces housing code, their interiors are no better. Over the years, DCLU has talked to or written the Sisleys about violations 84 times.

A recent county District Court lawsuit against Drake Sisley indicates the kinds of problems tenants face. In February 1996, Michael Goodall and Tracy Nelson arranged to move with their 1-year-old baby into a basement apartment in a Drake Sisley house (not operated by Gilbert), at 1207 NE 55th Street. Their first day there, according to their legal pleadings, they found that the locks on the door hadn't been changed, the dishwasher and refrigerator were broken, and there was a "large" rat infestation. Their second day, a bathroom toilet erupted, flooding the apartment with water.

Drake Sisley—who also runs a hardware store and periodically runs for City Council—reacted by giving his tenants some rat traps and vacuuming up the water but leaving most of the problems unrepaired. On May 1, in a letter hinting at desperation, the couple informed their landlord that they would be moving out if he didn't take action. "We were able to kill 8 rats but now they are no longer going to the traps and they seem to be multiplying," reads the letter. Finally they packed their things and demanded a refund on their deposit and pre-paid rent—a demand that ultimately led them to court.

Reached by phone,Sisley blames his tenants. "They complained about all the things they prevented me from doing," he says, claiming that they moved in before the lease began. (Goodall and Nelson say that was part of the arrangement.) And he denies that other problems existed: "There was never any evidence that there were any rats in the building."

With letters from additional tenants saying otherwise, the judge found for Goodall and Nelson, awarding them $8,300, including legal fees. Sisley has appealed the judgment and has yet to pay up.

Attorney Patrick Manley, who represented the couple and admits to being something of a cult figure for taking Sisley on, believes that his case is unusual: Tenants generally can't find attorneys, because there's little money to be made in awards.

Then, when it comes to the Sisleys, there's also the intimidation factor. The brothers—particularly Hugh—tend to strike back at anyone who challenges them, be they tenants, attorneys, or city officials. Clay Thompson, a DCLU inspector, recalls his first dealing with Hugh Sisley some eight years ago when he came out to one property to find that Sisley had dug up a sewer line, leaving a rank open pit. Thompson issued an emergency violation order to fill the pit. "The next thing I know, I'm being sued for trespassing and violating the rights of tenants," he says. In the years that followed, he says, "It seemed that every time I issued a notice of violation, along would come a lawsuit." None have yet been successful, but they have been what Thompson calls a "nuisance"; even frivolous lawsuits gobble up time and money.

Gilbert, who has elevated the lawsuit-as-harassment to a high art, has proven enormously ingenious at flouting landlord-tenant law. In 1994, the 59-year-old former convict registered incorporation records with the secretary of state for "Acme Residents Club," described in its charter as an organization devoted to "providing services which include but are not limited to decent and affordable housing."

A portly man with a fuzzy gray beard and long ponytail who walks with a cane, Gilbert takes a reasonable tone as he gives a tour of some Acme buildings. (He claims he can't recall how many there are.) "These houses are in deplorable condition," he concedes after unabashedly showing off cracked floors, moldy ceilings, and grease-covered walls. But he portrays himself as trying to clean up buildings that were in even worse shape before Acme took them over; many, he says, are former drug houses. "Whatever money we get, we put back into the buildings."

He also says that Acme is trying to help its residents—many of whom are disabled, prison parolees, or former alcohol and drug addicts. "We function a little like how Oxford House works," he says, referring to the national chain of group homes for former addicts. The people who live in his house, therefore, are "members" or "guests" (not tenants) who pay a "membership fee" (not rent) that allows them to live in an Acme building. As for the religious component, Gilbert says it is nondenominational. "We advocate that people have faith," he says.

Some tenants do feel that, with his willingness to shelter all comers, Gilbert has done them a service. One woman released last month from prison says that Gilbert (and several people who work with him) took her in when few others would. "Knowing the position I was in, for them to reach out and help me means a great deal." Gilbert also let her hold off on paying rent until she got her first paycheck from a new job.

On the other hand, she continues, "they do need to put a little more work into the buildings. In a way I feel like they're taking advantage of people who can't complain and who have nowhere else to go. They can also raise the rent. My room is half the size of other rooms in the house, and my rent [at $350] is $50 to $70 more."

What's more, Gilbert apparently feels that if you're a "guest," you can be evicted at will, you cannot give permission for housing inspectors to enter the property, and you have no right to expect such amenities as a lock on your door—or even a door at all.

A lawsuit in federal court ties together several such cases. Twice, according to his own legal pleadings, Gilbert locked out people that city officials considered to be tenants. And Gilbert once removed what DCLU called the entry door to an apartment (Gilbert says it was a door to an interior passageway), ostensibly to paint the door jamb.

An array of city officials sanctioned him for such behavior: Prosecutors charged him with "harassing or retaliating against a tenant" for one lock-out; DCLU issued an emergency order to replace the missing door.

Gilbert's response in November 1994 was to file a federal lawsuit. Representing himself, as is his custom, he named seemingly everyone he could think of, including City Attorney Mark Sidran, the entire City Council, several DCLU inspectors, and a police officer. The charge: racketeering. By his reasoning, the conspiracy against him violated his right "not be made a real estate property owner against his wishes because such property ownership would violate the beliefs of the plaintiff which prohibit such property ownership." He says he is a "Nazarite," an archaic term used once by ancient Christians and Hebrews.

Gilbert also says that he is too poor to afford legal filing fees, that he is disabled with chronic bronchitis, that he is both black and Cajun. Indeed, in the federal suit and elsewhere, he claims racial discrimination by city officials.

The court ultimately proved unimpressed with Gilbert's claims. In two separate recommendations to the court considering motions to dismiss the case, US Magistrate Judge Philip Sweigert attacked Gilbert's credibility. At one point taking up Gilbert's claim to be both black and Cajun, Sweigert noted that Cajuns are descendants of the Acadians, mostly French immigrants who settled in Louisiana. "It goes without saying that the Acadians were white," Sweigert wrote. More important, he concluded, "It appears that the purpose of this incorporation [of Acme Residents Club] as a fraternal organization is to avoid the application of landlord-tenant laws."

US Judge John Coughenour dismissed the case last December, and Gilbert has appealed.

While this kind of case drains government resources, perhaps Gilbert's sneakiest legal trick is to file for a protection order against tenants, even though such orders are supposed to be used exclusively for domestic violence. Gilbert employed such a tack against Taavi McMahon, one of several roommates who shared a five-bedroom house owned by Hugh Sisley, at 6515 NE 16th Avenue.

The roommates had no contact with Gilbert or Acme Residents Club until August 1996. According to McMahon, a 29-year-old employment counselor for the non-profit Downtown Human Services Council, Gilbert burst into the house with several large men and gave the roommates three options: They could join Acme Residents Club, which would raise their rent from $195 to $315 a month, they could sign a paper saying they would move out in three days, or they could leave that night.

Things got heated, particularly between Gilbert and McMahon. "I was just incredibly amazed that somebody could just walk into your house and tell you you can't live there," McMahon says. He and his roommates called the police, who helped them stay put for the time being.

Two days later, however, as the roommates geared up to fight in court to remain in the house, Gilbert filed a protection order against McMahon, claiming that the two were roommates. In a system vulnerable to abuse, the courts grant temporary protection orders without giving the accused any chance for rebuttal. Like everyone named on such an order, McMahon had to move out of his home until a hearing could be held. "I had to stay with friends and couch-surf," he says. When a hearing was held five days later, a judge dismissed the order.

The case has turned into a sprawling legal fight of suits and countersuits involving McMahon, his former roommates, Gilbert, and Hugh Sisley. Gilbert claims that Sisley asked him if he wanted the house as an Acme site after a longtime resident there moved out. He also claims to have thought that resident had been the sole occupant of the five-bedroom house. "Once I found out people were living there, I gave them an opportunity to stay in the building," he says, in reference to his effort to sign people up as Acme members. As for his claim of domestic violence at the hands of a "roommate": "I was in the process of moving in." Gilbert and Sisley also claim, in a charge filed in federal court, that McMahon and his roommates damaged the house intentionally, in order to discriminate against Gilbert as a disabled person.

Assume for a moment that Gilbert is exercising his imaginative powers again, and that his dealing with the roommates was merely a ploy to raise the rent. The question remains: Why didn't he or Sisley merely inform the roommates that rent was going up, as is perfectly legal? For that matter, why do they appear unconcerned about rent with some tenants and singularly demanding with others? Why do they pursue draining, no-chance legal suits? It gets to the mystifying matter of what motivates Gilbert and the Sisleys. Judging by their legal briefs, DCLU inspector Carlee Casey notes that they all seem to share a firm belief in property rights that entitle them to do anything they want on land they own. To this end, they may see thumbing their noses at landlord-tenant law as fighting the good fight against intrusive government authority. "As perverse as it sounds, I think it's a principled stance," Casey says. "I really feel that they believe they're a kind of outlaw."

Related Links and information:

The Washington state Tenants Union - be sure to sign up for the mailing list

http://www.tenantsunion.org/index.html

National Fair Housing's Advocate Online

http://www.fairhousing.com/

 
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