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State and gun club at odds over use of land

One of the primary reasons landlords in St. Charles give for evicting tenants is because those tenants allowed the conditions of their properties to deteriorate. While avoiding causing damage to a property is typically a primary responsibility of a tenant, the landlord also bears some of the burden maintaining its current state. In fact, as a counter to claims that they let their rented or leased properties fall into disrepair, many renters will claim that their landlords allowed (or even contributed to) conditions becoming poor in order to justify an eviction. In such cases, only a review of the actions of both sides may determine whose claim is valid. 

One might assume a state agency of being a reliable and trustworthy landlord, yet that claim is being disputed in a case between the state of Pennsylvania and a local gun club. The club leases acreage in one of the state's parks to use as a shooting range. Yet state officials say that they developed concerns over the club's use of the land after an anonymous tip came in claiming that the levels of lead on the property were unsafe (the club maintains that subsequent testing disproved this claim). Still, the club submitted proposals to clean up the land, which were rejected only after the state had come in and removed acres of timber (which was supposedly in violation of the lease agreement) without taking precautions to prevent decontamination. With the rejection came notice that the club was expected to bear the full cost of the cleanup prior to its eviction. The club has since filed a temporary injunction to stop the eviction. 

This case illustrates how complex eviction cases may become. Those needing assistance with them may be wise to seek the services of a skilled attorney. 

Source: "Judge orders negotiations between state and Centre County gun club in eviction dispute" Beauge, John, Mar. 15, 2018

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