There is an article in the T-G written by Dawn Hankins about rental conditions being protested I can still remember when I first moved into Bedford County back in the 70's and my first "furnished" rental lasted one night. Actually, not even one night because I chose not to lay my head down, nor stay in the unit more than about 30 minutes while I walked through it and decided NOTHING could help me stay. I am sure the folks talking about some conditions today would echo my experience.
That said, I could not find anything else and was really tired of commuting from Murfreesboro when my job took about 12-18 hours of my day, 6+ days a week. Lucky for me, one of my co-workers found out about a house just outside of town. While much more expensive, it was worth it and I could afford it, so....
For those who can not afford it, I can truly empathize. Some of my problem was my urgency to move. The landlord did not have time to clean or make minor repairs but some of the issues were probably not going to be addressed at the low rental price I was getting.
Were they going to replace worn out furniture, like a bed that was hard to get out of because it sank in the center? Would they have reworked the insulation, caulk the windows and doors so my heating bill would be lower or bugs might be thwarted? Again, probably not at that price.
I doubt that most of our landlords WANT their tenants to live in a bad situation but it can sometimes be a tightrope to walk. If they fix it, they have to cover their costs and rent goes up. They are not doing this to break even, or at least probably aren't.
So what is a solution? One can legislate standards but do you try to regulate rental prices? If so, how do they do it fairly? Make it too tight and the rentals come off the market, get sold and still no one has a place to sleep. Isn't progress great?