ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com)-- U.S. Senator Josh Hawley has introduced a legislation Monday aimed to crack down on landlords who don't uphold basic living standards for their tenants.
The legislation, named the Bad Landlord Database Act, comes after several complaints against T.E.H properties and Hawley touring one of the company's worst buildings alongside News 4.
Bridgeport Crossing Resident Holly David said raw sewage had been pumping into her basement for two months in November.
“Had I known all that from the beginning I would of never rented here,” David said. “All they’re doing is collecting our rent money and doing nothing with it."
After Hawley’s visit, tenants said they're desperate for any help they can get.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has now opened an investigation into the properties and Secretary Ben Carson has since said there will be “consequences” for TEH Realty.
The company has properties across St. Louis County, St. Louis City and Kansas City.
“Bad landlords have abused our housing system for too long and it’s happening right here in Missouri. They have taken advantage of tenants, failed to provide them the most basic living standards, forced them to live in squalor – all while demanding rent and bills continue to be paid," Hawley said. "And because their properties span jurisdictions, they have gotten away with it. It’s time we hold these scumbag landlords accountable. This legislation will be a major step forward in getting tenants and local communities the transparency and relief they deserve.”
The Bad Landlord Act will create a national database to give local housing officials information to ensure tenants are not victimized, require public housing authorities to report the landlords and any contracts terminated due to violations of Housing Assistance Payments contracts.
Legal Aid of Western Missouri and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas have also supported the bill, according to a press release.
Lucas called the bill a "welcome step to improve federal oversight of bad actor landlords."