For Rent: About this series

An investigation into the city’s rental industry revealed several problems plaguing certain apartment buildings and the neighborhoods that surround them.

In examining the issues facing Nashua’s rental community, The Telegraph spent months digging through hundreds of rental property files at three city departments and interviewing officials in each department, as well as local landlords and tenants.

The effort uncovered a variety of problems, including:

n Illegal apartments with unchecked construction and wiring.

n Long-term staff shortages at the city code department resulting in limited enforcement and limited record keeping of enforcement actions.

n A city fire department smoke alarm testing program at multifamily properties frozen because of budget cuts and staffing issues.

n Bedbugs – a serious health threat for tenants and an expensive problem for property owners.

n Landlords struggling to maintain properties among rising evictions and vacancies.

n Troubled tenants ruining properties and spoiling neighborhoods.

A slow economy and the steady demise of the city’s manufacturing industry hasn’t helped matters, either, according to property owners, who claim they spend more time filing eviction paperwork in courts and fixing tenant-damaged properties than ever before.

In the worst cases, entire neighborhoods suffer.