The state senate says renters who refuse to pay and refuse to move out should be considered criminals.       Landlords lose a lot of money waiting for deadbeat renters to get out of their properties including the costs of a lawyer to file ouster proceedings in court.  But even after the eviction order is issues, some renters will not leave.

Senator Kevin Engler of Farmington has won senate approval of his plan to put deadbeats in jail for as much as six months and fine them as much as $500. 

Engler says many people think landlords are rich, but many of them are small business people who are put into financial jeopardy when renters don’t leave and months without rent payments while the landlord runs up legal bills trying to get them out. He says the renters are “essentially stealing” from the landlord by staying and not paying.

He says his bill  puts some teeth in the law, although they’re just baby teeth. The bill has been sent to the House. Five weeks are left in the session for the bill to be sent to the governor.

AUDIO: Senate debate 22:06