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More on How to Research a Slumlord

5/27/2010 by Albert Lowe - No comments

 

Albert Lowe wrote such a useful comment on Andrea’s DIT article on How to Research a Slumlord, that I turned it into a post here.  Thanks, Albert!

 

slumlord networkI have a couple of other suggestions about acquiring public data.

 

1) Figure out the best way to acquire public information
2) Familiarize yourself with the physical space that houses public records

 

Any researcher should familiarize him/herself with the public records and their offices.  You may have the right to access public records, but let’s make it as easy as possible. Try visiting public offices (land records, tax records, planning records, court records, and housing inspection records are all maintained locally).  Find out the staff’s day-to-day practices.  They have to deal with jerks and entitled developers all of the time. Just being friendly, respectful and possibly flirty may go a long way before you threaten anyone with a lawsuit for denying you information.

 

Find out how these offices prefer to dispense information. They may have their own customized Public Records Act request forms or may require formal letters. If you need a quick and dirty form, try the Student Press Law Center.  They have a FREE Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) letter generator set up for each State in the U.S.  To start generating your own FOIA requests go to:

 

http://www.splc.org/foiletter.asp

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