North Dakota Oil Boom: Slumlords Forcing Seniors Out Of Residences

Lois Sinnes, 82 was planning on living out the rest of her life, in the same community she grew up in. However, due to the oil boom in North Dakota, she was forced to move out by a greedy slumlord, who tripled her rent.

Sinnes is now living 230 miles away, after her landlord almost tripled, her $700 a month rent. What kind of person would force an 82-year-old woman, to leave the community she grew up in? A person who is a greedy, money-loving scumbag, who lets the mighty dollar rule his or her life, ignoring the effect it has on those, who can’t afford the exorbitant rent being charged. This landlord even had the nerve, to charge a $2,000 security deposit, to clients already living in the apartments.

There could still be a happy ending for Sennes, since she owns mineral rights, in the area and could sell those rights to drillers. She says she will return one way or the other, since she will be buried in town next to her husband. For right now, she is living in a town 230 miles away and doesn’t know what the future holds.

Some two bedroom apartments, in the area, are being rented for $2,000 a month. An ordinary mobile home is on the market for $149,500.  There is not nearly enough housing, for the influx of oil workers, so some workers are living in their cars and tents.

Compassionate Landlord

Mayo Miller 80, is fortunate that her landlord hasn’t raised her rent. She is paying $550 a month and delivers her rent check in person to thank her landlord, who is showing that there are some compassionate landlords left in the area.

It is good to know that money is not what drives her landlord. Otherwise, her landlord would be gouging the renters, like the slumlords who couldn’t care any less than they do, about the seniors being forced to leave their residences. Her landlord who realizes, not everyone is getting rich off the oil boom, could be charging Miller $3,000 a month for the apartment, but is doing the right thing, by letting her stay in her apartment.

Oil Boom Providing Jobs

The oil boom is providing jobs to thousands of workers, who are moving into the area. That is the main positive of the oil boom. However there is a huge negative, in that the oil boom encourages price gouging, knowing that the oil workers are being well-paid. Their gouging is not hurting the oil workers, once they get a few paychecks in the bank, but the people living on fixed incomes are seeing their dreams, of living their golden years peacefully,  in their hometown, being shattered by unscrupulous landlords.

To Gouge Or Not To Gouge?

Decisions are being made everyday, in the oil patch area. Landlords are having to decide, whether to do the right thing or join the crowd and start gouging their tenants, to inflate their bank accounts.

Senior Citizens Making Tough Decisions

The senior citizens and other tenants are having to make life-changing decisions, like finding a place to live, in another city or state, knowing their lives will not end the way they planned. Instead they are the victims of an oil boom, that creates job, but also creates victims of that oil boom.

Some of these landlords may later regret driving these senior citizens, from their residences, but it won’t make things any better, for the residents who are now living hundreds of miles away, from the hometown that they grew up in.





Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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