I am referring, of course, to Mao’s mass executions of landlords.
I am aware that the later leader of the PRC has a life that is drenched in blood, but when I read about Houston landlords demanding rent for flooded homes, I have an insight into why the peasants might be inclined to support such a policy:
Rocio Fuentes weighed up the cost of getting some new sofas for her new apartment in Pasadena, Texas, and decided the family budget could just about stretch to it. Just one month after moving in, Hurricane Harvey swept through and the Fuenteses were left not only with the ruined furniture but also an ongoing rental demand for a dwelling they had to flee.
But while everything has changed for this family, they are still expected to pay for their abandoned home.
“Our landlords say we have to pay rent and late fees and every day it is going up,” Fuentes said. “We are paying rent for somewhere we can’t live in. They said ‘you aren’t the only ones in this situation’, but what are we supposed to do? We don’t have any money. We don’t have anything.”
An acute housing crisis is starting to grip thousands of other families in south-east Texas as the floodwaters ebb away, with a death toll put at 60 on Monday. More than 180,000 houses in the Houston area have been badly damaged, with only a fraction of occupants owning any flood insurance. And under Texas law, rent must still be paid on damaged dwellings, unless they are deemed completely uninhabitable.
Under the Texas property code, if a rental premises is “totally unusable” due to an external disaster then either the landlord or tenant can terminate the lease through written notice. But if the property is “partially unusable” because of a disaster, a tenant may only get a reduction in rent determined by a county or district court.
We need to send Jimmy “The Rent is Too Damn High” McMillan down there to kick some landlord butt.