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    In the summer of 1999, I put out a challenge to landlords and leaders of rental owner associations around the country to see if their associations would be interested in helping improve the image of landlords. I proposed a LANDLORDS IMPROVE AMERICA DAY, where members of various local landlord associations could work to improve a property or properties in their area in some way. This would all be done on the same day by landlords representing associations nationwide, and our website would work to publicize this as a national event.

    Sometimes I get a letter from a reader to my publication Mr. Landlord or this website who suggests that I no longer use the term landlord in my newsletter or on my website. They say the word has too many negative connotations. I say, instead of using a different word, lets improve the image of landlords. If we could take steps to improve our image and gain publicity at the same time, perhaps we can:

    1) Change the tide of legislation against landlords because legislatures and local government will not be as quick to see us as the bad guys with very little voice in our communities,

    2) Improve relations between owners and residents, so residents won't see us as the bad guys,

    3) Encourage landlords to join local rental owner associations because they too see the positive image being created by good guy landlords in their community.

    4) Strengthen relations with police, housing authorities and other community leaders and organizations who are willing to work with good guys making a difference in the community....

    The benefits can be endless. But the question I have is; "Are landlords and leaders of rental owner associations ready to do more than just talk about improving the image of landlords?" That first year three landlords responded to this challenge. The 9th Annual Landlords Improve America Day has been announced, the date will be the THIRD SATURDAY IN OCTOBER. That makes the next date - October 17, 2009.

    There have been groups that participated in the past, (one of which has been doing good guy work for several years), under a general "Make A Difference" theme. They will now also be able to tie into our theme to add greater publicity for improving the image of landlords. Likewise, if your group has done community work in past years, I encourage you to coordinate this year's doings (if possible) at the same time of the year we are promoting this national LANDLORDS IMPROVE AMERICA DAY.

    The goal is to have several associations across the country participating in this national event each year. One of the first groups that participated the first year the event was held was the Freeport Area, (IL) Landlord Association, who decided not to just sit around and complain about the image of landlords or simply suggest to change the name we call ourselves. Board members and association officers of the Freeport Landlords led by example. The following is an excerpt from one of the associations publication promoting their first year's event:

    How would you like the opportunity to dispel the Snidely Whiplash Image landlords have? You know Snidely, he's that dark, sinister-looking character. You know the image I mean. Don't you show up to collect rents in your Jaguar with your big black cape and long curly mustache?

    On the third Saturday of October the Freeport Area Landlord Association will be joining in the 1st Annual Landlords Improve America Day. Landlords Improve America Day is the brain child of Jeffrey Taylor; you may know him better as Mr. Landlord. Mr. Landlord has urged associations to give back to their communities (as a way to improve our image) -- to pick a project and devote a few hours to clean up or improve a property. We encourage all of our members to join the board in devoting a few hours to improving the Community Policing Substation on Liberty Street. You know the place. You can't miss it. It's the building that needs a lot of everything! Bring your willingness to help, skills, tools, cleaning supplies, rakes and lets get to work. Cheerleaders welcome.... Please join the FALA officers and board members as we show our appreciation to the men and woman of the Freeport Police Department. See you on Liberty Street. Look for the FALA sign in the front yard and all your FALA friends, hard at work. I'll bring the donuts. See you there.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    2002 saw the Shawnee County (KS) Landlords Association participate in the LANDLORDS IMPROVE AMERICA day for their second year in a row. The following is an excerpt from association's publications promoting their event last year. I'm sharing this information to show the actual steps the association took to get the involvement, support and assistance of their members and the community to improve their city.

    (Newsletter's September issue)
    Tom Beneka (association's representative) sent a letter on August 8, to each of the Presidents of each of Topeka's Neighborhood Improvement Associations and Neighborhood Associations, inviting them to submit an application form for a needy homeowner who would like to have their single story home painted.

    All materials and labor will be provided free of charge by the Shawnee County Landlords' Association and applications are due by September 14. At the September monthly meeting, I will ask Tom to discuss the applications that have been received and will ask the Board of Directors to select the house to be painted by the association volunteers on the Second Annual Landlords Improve Topeka Day. Please plan to participate in this project to give something back to the community.

    (October's Newsletter Issue)
    Following the letter and application form sent to the Presidents of each of Topeka's Neighborhood Improvement Associations and Neighborhood Associations, inviting them to submit an application form for a needy homeowner who would like to have their single story home painted, there was a total of 16 applications submitted for consideration. This is in comparison to only three homes last year.

    Tom Benaka and Patt DeLapp drove by each of the 16 homes and ranked them from one to ten in terms of how badly they needed to be painted. The home at 232 SE Chandler received the highest ranking, and was selected by the association's Board of Directors as the association's choice for painting on our 2nd Annual Landlords Improve Topeka Day on Saturday, October 19, 2002.

    You may recall that the home at 1438 SW Polk was selected last year for painting and other repair work by the association. Please come to our next monthly meeting and look at the photos of this home that were taken before work commenced and after the project was completed.

    I want to encourage all association members to participate in any way that they can to this worthy endeavor and thereby give something back to our community. I anticipate that the work will begin at approximately 8:am. Please contact Tom Benaka by email if you will be able to participate on this special project.

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    2003. We have received an email from an association making plans to participate in Landlords Improve America 2003. Below is the excerpt from the association leader sent to us in January 2003.

    Hi Jeffrey!
    I can't believe I didn't see this webpage sooner! My husband is the President of our organization and I was just elected Secretary. We were supposed to have a Christmas party, canceled that, decided to have a February Fling but this idea is much better. Have an Improve America Day with a picnic following. Here in Central, NY, I would not want to do October, never know what the weather is going to bring. A spring May or June day would be better. We want to do accomplish all the goals you mention. Most landlords around here have a bad name, mostly because of student housing and the lack of property maintenance. And some are slumlords who deserve to be called that as they don't take care of their places. My husband and I want to bring our organization to the level where potential tenants call us first. But, we have 30 members, only 10 or so show up to the meetings or get involved in anything. Up to now, the last few years have just been a social gathering, we need change! Noreen Parrell-Kokinda

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


    I am so glad to report how the Shawnee County Landlords' Association has continued the tradition and have held their Annual Landlord's Improve Topeka Day. This year it was held on October 30, 2004. Tom Beneka, one of those spearheading their association's involvement in the Landlord's Improve America Day (and one of the biggest supporters of the national Landlord Improve America Day) expressed disappointment in the fact that did not aggressively promote the Landlord's Improve America Day as we have had in the past. We are however, committed to promoting the event in the future and are still working to improve the image of landlords. And we are extremely proud of groups like the Shawnee County Landlord's Association for continuing their efforts to improve America and Landlords.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I am glad to report how the Baltimore Real Estate Investors Association has continued the tradition and are taking part in this year's Annual Landlord's Improve America Day. The following press release was shared by that group.

    "Landlords Improve America Day"
    The third Saturday in October is here! "Give back," "improve the Investor's image," or just "spruce up your curb appeal," however you label it, organizing or participating in a community project can be very satisfying.

    Baltimore City, Maryland has a City wide Fall Cleanup coinciding: Sat. Oct. 18th. How convenient!!!!

    One Landlord in the Glen Oaks and Leithwalk Elementary School Area of Baltimore City, (zip code 21239), is asking all Property Owners and members of BREIA, MAREIA, WINGS and SWINGERS, etc. to commit some time and resources this week! Suggestions: organize a block effort, new trash and recycling cans, adopt a bus stop, network, supply refreshments to a group of volunteers, take before and after photos, lead "search and destroy mission" to disrupt mosquito, mouse, and rat harborages.

    Heather Berlett,
    Baltimore Real Estate Investors Association

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    To Association Leaders: Please let me know if you or members of your association may be able to do something to coincide with the Ninth Annual Landlords Improve America Day, (third Saturday of October) scheduled for October 17, 2009. Bring the subject up at one of your association's meeting. As this website promotes this as a "national" event, I would like to know which groups may be moving in the same direction and may be willing to do even a "little" project on the third weekend in October so that I can mention the names of participating associations in news releases and on our webpages. Please give me the full and correct name for your association and contact name and phone number and/or email address, so that our website visitors can find out more about your association. Contact me:

    Working with others to change the image of landlords,

    Jeffrey Taylor



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