Mark Hayward's City Matters: Building owner says it's not easy being a landlord
Manchester landlord Hsiu Chang texts from his phone while waiting to show a vacant apartment to tenants. (MARK HAYWARD / UNION LEADER)
She lives at 215 Wilson St., a three-story tenement building owned by Formosa LLC. There are the cockroaches and bedbugs, but her latest gripe is the trash dumped in a narrow alley beside her building. The day before she spoke, workers threw old carpeting and tacking strips — the short nails still sticking out of them — in the alley.
“I think he does the best he can with all his properties. I think he needs to get more help,” Chad said.
Hsiu (pronounced Show) Chang is one of four landlords singled out earlier this month by Granite State Organizing Project in a report that raises alarms about unsafe, unhealthy, substandard apartments in the city.
Project Director Sara Jane Knoy said Chang and the other landlords buy properties in bad shape. They undertake minimal repairs, so they end up with tenants who have no desire to care for the property.
Chang is an immigrant from Taiwan who went through Manchester schools and has degrees in communications and biology from Vanderbilt University. He’s obviously a hard worker.
Chang’s parents live in Bedford, and he has an apartment in Somerville, Mass. He drives a Prius. He said the family has a Mercedes, but it’s a 2004 model, purchased when they could afford it. He can’t afford health care, he said, but he said he’s not sure how much money he made last year.
Between the city’s inspection process and “simple economics,” the system works, Chang said.
• He said he undertakes whatever repairs come up during city inspections, which take place once every three years.
• Insects aren’t so easy. Whenever a tenant complains to the city, he has to hire an exterminator.
Granite State Organizing Project wants a tougher inspection process — tighter standards, higher fines, more inspectors and annual inspections for problem properties.
“If he’s not going to do it,” she said, “the city should come and do it, or he shouldn’t be able to own properties.”
Mark Hayward’s City Matters runs Thursdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader and UnionLeader.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Rival NH Republican caucus seeks own voice - 30
- Jasper censure cites 'breach of trust' - 0
- Starting Jan. 1, NH elderly and disabled have more protection - 0
- GOP committee: Censure Speaker for Dems' help in winning post - 38
- Drone legislation again to get NH House attention - 0
- Funding to Planned Parenthood jumps three-fold in two years - 2
- State GOP chairman Horn will seek another term - 0
- O'Brien backers will lead committees for new Speaker - 2
- Jasper taps Douglas as House counsel - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Police say man swung ax at ex - 0
- Celtics dominate Orlando - 0
- Bruins hold on in Minnesota, beat Wild in OT - 0
- Andreoff hat trick paces Monarchs - 0
- Board of Ed finds in favor of Goffstown; Dunbarton plans Supreme Court appeal - 0
- More theft-related charges for Raymond woman - 0
- Derry Administrator opposes council goal of cutting Derry tax rate - 0
- Thursday meeting to address Windham water project concerns - 0
- Derry takes steps to improve rundown buildings - 0
Police arrest pair after bullets fly
Jeb takes a dip: First Flavor of the Week
Charles M. Arlinghaus: Read these books, OK?
NH reacts to thaw with Cuba
Power Plays: BANANAS and NH's energy needs
Police: Man endangered child after overdose