NTF issue paper: legwatch265.doc. 3-23.

During the last few legislative sessions, leftist state senators have passed bills that restrict and erode the rights of property-owning landlords. Joining them are liberal Omaha city council members who want to cripple the ability of local property owners to manage their properties in a reasonable and profitable manner. Not content with current restrictions, leftist senators during the present session of the legislature seek to pass into law additional bills that would seriously prevent private landlords from controlling relations with their tenants. All these bills are situated in the Judiciary Committee, headed by liberal Sen. Justin Wayne. This committee has a preponderance of liberal senators, so these bills likely will advance to the full legislature for a vote.

sponsored by Sen. George Dungan, would allow erasure of criminal actions against evicted tenants. A tenant can petition a trial court for clean slate relief under the following circumstances: Three years instead of 7 years or more have passed since an eviction judgment entered against a tenant and the writ for restitution of the premises executed. Or, tenant vacated the unit voluntarily prior to an entry of eviction judgment. In issuing an order for clean slate relief, the court would order all records relating to the eviction proceeding erased from the public record and prohibited for dissemination. A tenant could not face questioning about an eviction proceeding if the record sealed, and in an application for housing, a lease, employment, bonding, licensure, or education, a landlord could not consider a tenant prior eviction, if relief granted for such eviction. This bill would prevent honest landlords from screening out tenants who had caused problems with previous landlords, damaged property, or withheld criminal conviction information.
LB 187, offered by Sen. John Cavanaugh, would provide court-appointed attorneys to tenants facing eviction in Omaha and in primary class cities. A court would decide lawyer fees. County taxpayers would bear the cost. By July 1, 2024, the Supreme Court would provide guidelines establishing standards for all attorneys appointed to assist tenants. The Court periodically would review and maintain such standards. In a landlord complaint in an eviction proceeding, the summons must contain a statement in substantially the following form: “As a residential tenant, you have the right to representation by counsel in eviction proceedings. Counsel will be appointed to represent you, at no cost to you, at the beginning of eviction proceedings.” This bill would use taxpayer $$ to help deadbeat tenants remain in their rental units and cheat landlords out of their rent. Such tenants could continue to abuse the premises, causing landlords legal fees and other additional expense.
LB 248,
introduced by Sen. Tony Vargas, would force landlords to accept renters who wish to pay their rent with government welfare checks. The bill would establish a Landlord Guarantee Program that would reimburse landlords for unpaid rent or damages to premises with taxpayer $$. A limit of $5,000 per landlord and annual total of $50,000 from General Funds to the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) to provide grants to landlords as dictated in the bill. The EOC anticipates that it would require additional funding for the development and administration of the grant program to landlords. The estimated costs include a full-time employee for this purpose. Salary, benefits, and operations costs for the administration of this fund would total $75,936 for each fiscal year. LB 248 is another tax grab that would allow deadbeat renters to avoid paying owed rent and prohibit landlords from accepting only specific rent payments.
LB 270,
sponsored by Sen. Terrell McKinney, would require the City of Omaha, after condemning a rental property, to take responsibility to provide food, transportation, housing, moving expenses, and legal help to assist displaced residents. It will also require notification to tenants of code violations and condemnation decision at the same time as the landlord. All private landlords must replace lead pipes with modern ones. This bill would simply raid the city General Fund to aid hundreds and perhaps thousands of displaced tenants annually and force the city to become a welfare dispensary. Also, another expensive mandate on landlords.
LB 545,
introduced by Sen. Danielle Conrad, would allow evicted tenants additional time to vacate a rental unit and find another residence. Under current law, a writ, or document that authorizes an eviction, must reach a tenant within 10 days after an eviction judgement. LB 545 would offer tenants additional time by changing the language to state that a writ of restitution cannot reach a tenant until after 10 days post-eviction judgment. This bill would allow bad tenants to remain in the premises to cause physical damage and destruction.

Proponents of such legislation, like the NE ACLU and Women’s Fund of Omaha, push a socialist agenda, to create more subsidized housing options and fewer private ones, bolster bad tenant resistance, and promote their anti-racist housing schemes for social justice and gender equity.

If these bills pass in the Legislature, honest landlords will suffer increased restrictions on how they can manage their properties. A number of disgusted landlords will sell their properties, thus making fewer affordable rental units available to renters. The decrease in rental units will result in higher rents for current and prospective renters. Increased upkeep necessary to maintain property viability also will hike rent. Each of these bills already had a public hearing in the Judiciary Committee. If your state senator is on the Judiciary Committee, use the information above to lobby him/her to kill these bills in committee. If the bills advance out of committee, lobby your senator to VOTE NO on the legislature floor. Email netaxpayers@gmail.com for state senator contact information and join our NTF Legislature Watch Project.

Research, documentation, and analysis for this issue paper done by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom. This material copyrighted by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, with express prior permission granted for its use by other groups in the NE Conservative Coalition Network. 3-23. C

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