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How To Spot A Slumlord From A Mile Away

Thankfully, most landlords care about the condition of their properties and make good faith efforts to make repairs, fix water leaks and control vermin such as cockroaches, bed bugs, rats and mice. However, there are many landlords who just don't care. They buy old beat-up buildings not to fix them, but to suck as much cash as they can out of their tenants while ignoring much needed repairs. That's the definition of a slumlord - a landlord who values money over the health and safety of the families who live in their buildings. 

With this sharp dose of reality in mind, it's important to have a clear idea of how to spot a slumlord. Look for these signs and stay away!

Are we underestimating the impact of toxic exposure?

During the last 30 years, scientists have been extensively studying the effects of toxins in terms of causing disease and death. What they have found may change our entire view of what is an acceptable amount of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and pollutants. These studies have produced results that indicate that low-level exposure actually has a greater risk for developing an illness or dying. This means that even minimal exposure to lead has the potential to cause some very serious side effects.

Many studies have shown that lead exposure results in lower intelligent quotient (IQ) levels. What many of these studies do not show is that low-level exposure often accounts for the greatest rate of change in IQ levels. At higher levels, the rate of change in IQ levels decreases. Even though people have taken steps all across the country to decrease blood lead levels, lead exposure still contributes to a major loss in IQ points every year.

Lead Paint Makers Must Pay To Clean Up Homes, Court Rules

In what many are calling a victory for California consumers, a state appeals court has ruled that lead paint companies are responsible for the cost of cleaning up homes containing the dangerous toxin.

The ruling is the latest round in a lawsuit involving three companies -- ConAgra, NL Industries and Sherwin-Williams. Attorneys for several cities and counties in California that sued argued that the companies' aggressive marketing of lead paint, which they knew was highly toxic to young children, has created a public nuisance that threatens the health of California's children to this day. Since the 1950s or even earlier, paint companies have known the risks, but they continued to market their potentially deadly products containing lead.

Harm caused by lead poisoning is often irreversible

If you have a child who ingested lead, you may notice symptoms of lead poisoning. Sometimes, it can take many years before these signs become noticeable. While some places, like Western Youth Services, can provide therapies your child needs, in reality, the effects of lead poisoning are irreversible. This does not mean you should give up, but it does mean that you and your child might have a long road ahead to develop coping mechanisms that will allow him or her to lead a productive and fulfilling life.

These therapies often come with a large price tag that make them difficult to afford. But, if your child was exposed to lead because of your South Los Angeles landlord's failure to provide a safe living environment, then you might be able to file a claim for damages. In other words, you should fight for the treatment your child needs as a result of lead poisoning. It will be important to learn more about the symptoms and treatment of lead poisoning.

What happens when your rental unit has a cockroach problem?

For many people, cockroaches are a source of squeamishness and even horror. They multiply quickly, hide in all kinds of places and create an unsanitary living space. If you've seen even a single cockroach in your rental, chances are there are many more.

Dealing with cockroach infestations generally requires expensive professional help. Once you advise your landlord of a serious issue, like a cockroach infestation, he or she should take steps to correct the issue within a reasonable timeframe. If they don't, you may have to explore your options for moving out or getting your rental unit treated for the bugs. You have the right to a habitable space if you're paying rent.

Ethnic names and housing discrimination: An unacceptable pairing

One of the most pervasive forms of discrimination that individuals with many different types of heritage may experience is finding themselves put on the bottom of a list of applicants simply because of the nature of their name. This might happen in job applications, and is prevalent in many rental property experiences.

This experience is far too common, and one that many individuals throughout America may never recognize until it happens to someone they know. National Public Radio (NPR) recently presented this frustrating experience in a piece on a couple living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who struggled to get rental properties to return calls after the husband left messages about seeking a rental, including his Hispanic name.

Bedbugs: A quick primer for renters

The thought of bedbugs can make your skin crawl. Many different stories have been in the news about people who go to movie theaters or hotels and come home with these tiny critters that make you itch madly. Those stories might lead to your avoiding the areas where bedbugs could live.

But, have you thought about what you would do if you find out that you have bedbugs at home? This is a disheartening and difficult situation to live with. Here are some points that you need to know about bedbugs:

Tips to avoid renting from a slumlord

Finding an affordable place to live in Los Angeles can be difficult, especially when you want to find an apartment that is nice, located in a good neighborhood and does not require too long a commute to work. Another important aspect of choosing the right rental is the landlord.

When you are paying to rent an apartment, you will have certain expectations of your landlord or property manager. For example, you expect that he or she will sufficiently maintain the property, fix the bathroom if you have a leaky faucet or ensure that the building is up to code. Unfortunately, it is easy to end up with a landlord that does not live up to this end of the rental agreement. By following the tips below, you can identify if your potential landlord is actually a slumlord before you sign your next rental agreement.

Your landlord has obligations

When an individual or company rents out residential property, the landlord has certain obligations. For example, if you are renting an apartment in Los Angeles, it must be "habitable." Also, while you are renting the property, your landlord is responsible for making necessary repairs and normal maintenance in order to keep the property livable.

In 1941, California passed laws that force landlords to keep residential rental property in a condition that is fit for each tenant's use. To find out more about your landlord's responsibilities, read further.

Lead poisoning: Diagnosis and treatment

Lead poisoning is a serious health concern that requires immediate medical attention. Although it's best to avoid this altogether, if you or your loved one is dealing with lead poisoning it's good to know that there are treatment options to consider.

If you have any reason to believe that you (or your child) has lead poisoning, ask your doctor for more information. He or she can run a blood test to determine if you're at risk.

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