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Raleigh Considering New Landlord Laws

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A small child warms herself underneath a blanket inside a home with no heat.
RALEIGH — When you rent a house or apartment you expectcertain basics like working bathrooms, a roof that doesn't leak, and heatin the winter. In Raleigh, part of that is missing.

The city has never before required landlords to provide heat, butthat's about to change.

Many renters in low cost housing use electric or gas stoves for heat. Raleigh did not have a law requiring landlords to provide heat untilTuesday.

"If the landlord cannot reach an agreement with the tenant where thattenant provides the heat," Raleigh City Councilman Paul Coble says, "thatlandlord cannot rent that building without putting heat in it."

Some council members said they found the proposal weak, and theirdifferences of opinion led to a heated debate.

"It's designed to protect the profits of the landlords who do notcurrently provide one of the most basic human needs," saysCouncilwoman Julie Shea Graw."

Coble believes the proposal is a liberal response. Graw says it's ahumane response. In the end, the tougher version failed.

For landlord M.H. Green, the new law will help protect the renterswhile leaving an option to keep rent down. Green believes providing theheat is more cost effective.

'If I don't put it in there, they're gonna overload the electricalcurrent," says Green. "They're gonna bring kerosene space heaters inhere, and all that's stuff's hazardous and it costs money."

andKerrie Hudzinski

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