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Consider the Tenant

August 09, 1992

As a renter who has more than once suffered the distress of having a house sold out from under me, I applaud Ellen James Martin's advice on selling rental property ("Tips to Sell House That Had Been Rented," July 19), that encourages taking into consideration the tenant.

But I must register a protest to the commonly held idea she expresses that rental property is usually in poorer condition than owner-occupied property because "there's no pride of ownership on the part of tenants." Rental property is often in poor shape because landlords don't do the minimum maintenance they do on their own houses 1) because they do not live there themselves and 2) because they only care about their profits, which regular maintenance eats into.

I have been a renter all my life, and with the way the real estate industry and greedy speculators have inflated the market in California, I will probably remain one--like a very large segment of California society. I, like most renters I know, do take pride in the places I live and have often improved them at my own expense. There is only a certain amount that even excellent tenants can be expected to do, however.

So let's leave off this idea that renters are people who are too careless and slovenly to take care of the places they live in. We're discriminated against enough already economically by all those who got theirs in the '70s and didn't care about the rest of us.

While we're at it, let's bring back the renter's tax credit for ALL renters, not just the low-income. I'm tired of helping pay my landlord's taxes with none of his deductions.

GAYLE M. KIDDER

San Diego

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