Thursday, February 2, 2006

Squatter's Rights - Not Quite

Update: According to today's Kentucky Kernel, the UK campus newspaper (I can't find the article on-line), Ms. McDonald was in year 2 of a 5-year lease on the building. While I still believe that Ms. McDonald is too vocal about requesting compensation for "her business", she is certainly owed damages for the breaking of her lease, especially since eminient domain wasn't used to buy the property.

I'll renew my opinion that Ms. McDonald needs to own her property before feeling a sense of ownership.

I think I've said here before that I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky. While I was on campus, I only had one apartment, which was on Conn Terrace Drive. I am still amazed that the landlord didn't evict me a couple of times. :) The SuperAmerica store on South Limestone had a lunchtime cafeteria with the best barbeque pork in Lexington. I'd get it and mac & cheese at least twice a week on the way to class. It helped make me the man (or at least 30 pounds of the man ;) ) I am today.

When Milady and I got engaged, we moved away, but Conn Terrace has retained a special place in my heart. Even 12 years later, Milady dreams she's calling me at the apartment and can't get through.

Unfortunately, you can't go home again. UK bought my old apartment, and every other building on that side of Conn Terrace and the street behind it. They've torn all of the old houses down ahead of the construction of the new parking garage for the Chandler Medical Center.

There is an old building at the corner of Transcript and South Limestone that held several businesses. The Dutch Mill Cafe was famous for being a lunch place that two old ladys ran in the late 80s and early 90s (never did get to eat there). Wheel Liquor was a mainstay there, and several other restaurants and businesses gave the place a try. The last place to close there was PJ's Barber Shop. The Herald-MisLeader had an article about her in the paper a couple of days ago. Miss McDonald rented her place from the building owner, who recently sold out to UK for over $600k. I can understand one's attachment to a place one's rented for 19 years, but PJ has been unusually bitter these last two weeks. I've seen several signs in front of her place complaining about UK, and then this quote from the story:

The university acquired the building from owner Frances Fresh for $650,000, according to Fayette Circuit Court records. McDonald says she now is seeking an agreement with Fresh on compensation for the loss of her business.

She wants to be compensated because her landlord sold out? A renter wants to be paid! No, no, no, a thousand times no! She was a renter, not a sqatter.

If you lease, you don't own. That's pretty simple. Miss McDonald was offered (I hope) fair rental rates each of those 19 years that she was i n her place. A renter doesn't get any rights to a place just by sitting in a place for a bunch of years. Frances Fresh sure didn't get any extra from UK because Miss McDonald was in the building; if anything, UK would have prefered the building empty from the start.

It is a serious sign of an entitlement society where a renter can get upset that a landlord has a different use for the building. Miss McDonald needs to apologize to UK and to Miss Fresh, and buy her next cutting shop if she wants to control what happens to the property.

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