I recently read the letter James Gatton wrote to The Sun in response to Stefanie Deluca's letter to the editor. Mr . Gatton's letter ("Section 8 housing is a nightmare for landlords," May 12) could be no further from the truth.
First, it does not take two months for a landlord to get the necessary Section 8 approvals. Usually from the time you turn in the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA), have the inspection and then have a signed lease is a total of 14-to-20 days. This process only take this long to prevent fraud — the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) makes sure the house is properly registered, there are no vacant building notices and all permits have been closed out and finalized. The only way it would take longer to process a tenant would be if the landlord was not prepared and failed the first inspection.
Secondly, it is not possible for a Section 8 inspector to come out to the house and cite you for a violation and immediately cut off your rental payments. The process does not work like that. The unit is scheduled for an annual inspection. Then, if the inspector cites you for violations, you will receive a list of repairs in about 7-to-10 days with a new reinspection date 30-to-45 days later. Only when you fail the reinspection would your rental payments be cut off.
Most landlords fail reinspection lists for three reasons. They don't follow up with the people they hire to do the work, the landlord himself does shoddy work, or the landlord just doesn't know how to read a list and follow directions. To complete a Section 8 repair list is really quite simple, things I learned in 4th or 5th grade — follow directions and complete the list.
Finally, Mr. Gatton stated he could not get the stove knob locally and he had to special order it and it took a very long time. This is just more embellished statements by Mr. Gatton. Home Depot and Lowe's both sell two universal knob kits that have fit every appliance I needed it to in the last 13 years. In addition. both online universal parts web sites send parts out with in 48 hours.
The bottom line is Mr. Gatton has one or all of the following problems. He is not familiar with the Section 8 program process which, if your a landlord in the Section 8 program, you should attend one of the landlord workshops HABC holds every month to learn more about it. He does not know how to read a reinspection list. He did not complete the list by the date required. Or he completed shoddy work on the stove knob, and it was failed for not being safe. The statements he made are just not possible and have never happened to me in 13 years working with HABC. He should not blame the staff at HABC for his personal mistakes.
Tom Karle, BaltimoreCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun