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Written by Tracy W
(9/18/2007 4:06 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Repairs to the Deane parsonage (letter 31), penned by Maisy
I think the reason for the rule was a thing economists grandly call "incentive compatibility". "Incentive compatibility" means providing people with incentives that mean they serve some other purpose.
In the case of a parsonage, the former minister is the one who has owned (or maybe more precisely, leased) it for the last x number of years, and is therefore the one in a position to do all the little ongoing jobs of maintenance a house requires. If they could instead leave all these jobs to their successor, the temptation for many people would be to do that, and in the process the house could degrade considerably. Modern-day leases generally include an obligation on the tenant to make the property good again at the end of the leasehold, and the arguments for doing so make sense when applied to parsonages as well.
I actually thought there was a general rule requiring that repairs be made. In chapter 6 of MP there's a reference to Mrs Norris and Mr Grant that runs Dr. Grant and Mrs. Norris were seldom good friends; their acquaintance had begun in dilapidations, and a copy of MP I was reading (sadly in a library book that is no longer to hand) explained the dilapidations as part of this obligation to repair.
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