Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Student Speaks about the Rental Market

The following message from a WWU student came as a comment to one of my recent posts. I thought it was interesting enough to be highlighted in a blog entry.

"Hi Dick. I'm a WWU student and I'd like you to hear what happened to the house I live in with 4 other guys. In August of 2006, I rented a nice 3 bedroom house with 2 other guys. It was great, we had plenty of space and our place looked like every other house on the block. In August 2007, our lease was up, and our landlord (LAKEWAY REALTY), informed us that the house was being converted to a 5 bedroom and our rent was going up if we stayed. We agreed to stay and find two more guys. In late August they converted the dining room and front room into bedrooms. This year our garage is full of junk because we lost the common space. We have to park 5 cars outside. If the girls are over we have 7 cars. We have one garbage can that is always overflowing. We run out of hot water every morning. This sucks. We did not want to live like this. Some greedy landlord is ruining the neighborhood for an extra $600 a month. I'm tired of people blaming us. I know the neigbors (sic) hate it. The problem is the landlord. I wish the City would crack down."

I have heard similar - and admittedly anecdotal - stories from other sources. My comments on the rental market can be found by clicking here and here.


Anonymous said...

It is often the students who are occupying these illegal rooming houses that are being blamed, but it is really a larger issue.Your conduct as you interact with your neighbors and your willingness to keep the noise down and the trash picked up will help how people view you.But the fact that your landlords are renting a 3 bedroom house as a 5 bedroom house is something that should be taken to the City Planning Department. Just go down and fill out a Code Enforcement Request. Establish proof that there are 5 renters because Lakeway Realty is forcing it.Put Lakeway Reality on the spot.
If your zoning in your neighborhood is single family, the Planning Department is required to
follow-up. Put some pressure on the issue. Have your friends do the same. Be a part of the solution.If the tenants in these kinds of living arrangments stand up and challenge the city and the university and push for more housing with better living conditions at reasonable rates we may get to resolution sooner.

zonemaven said...

Dear Anonymous,

I wish it were as easy as filling out the Code Enforcement form. I and many others have done this time and time again, to no avail. And therein lies the problem. If Planning declares your complaint "valid" (the criteria are not published) they send a letter to the owner. The owner responds by sending in a lease with three names on it. Those other 3-4 people who seem to be living in the house are probably just visitors. No matter that there are 6-7 cars at the house every morning and that they reappear each evening. I've provided photos, license numbers, logs of car appearances but all for naught. Now that the city has been ordered by the council to develop an enforcement program, we may see progress. All that being said, by all means, make the complaint so that the city realizes the extent of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Student government at Western should meet with Western Washingtion University authorities to work out requirements for landlords that want to rent to students. Students should be protected by all means.