My part of Mid-City seems to have two types of absentee landlords: bad and worse. The worse landlords have not done much to their properties since the flood, except to gut them. They are nowhere near habitable. The bad landlords have “fixed up” their properties and rented them out. However, whether they are truly habitable or not is another question. The people across the street from me have no electricity. The people around the corner have no gas (and thus no hot water). Note that these tenants are paying rent, and at rates typically double what they paid pre-Katrina. Note also that these tenants are hard-working people without disposable income, and often without a strong command of the English language. Is it legal to charge rent for a place without basic utilities? What can we do to deal with these landlords and help out our neighbors?

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