Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Knutson and Lilliquist Get It Right on Rental Home Licensing

Gene Knutson and Michael Lilliquist are correct in their assessments that now is the time for licensing of rentals in Bellingham. Michael suggested his support in a recent comment appearing on the NWCitizen site (click here to read that article with Michael’s comment) Michael states, in part, Licensing would be a funding mechanism precisely so that nuisance problems would be investigated and enforced by the City, not by neighbors. This would make it so that it is not neighbor against neighbor, which is what we have now. We are talking about trained civil employees of the Police Department following up on parking problems, noise and litter problems, and unsafe living conditions and fire code violations that threaten both tenants and neighbors.” Although the Zonemaven has always contended that nuisance violations are only a part of the totality regarding code enforcement in Bellingham, there is the additional problem of unwanted, uncontrolled and unregulated infill caused by illegal rooming houses. Zoning enforcement by nuisance control is nonsensical. A rental licensing program would serve as a tool to control both nuisances and adherence to zoning codes.

In the current Cascadia Weekly (click here), Gene indicates that the city will “have to go there (licensing)." He continues, “You know, when this first came up the landlords went ballistic. We had a meeting over at the ferry terminal [read the Zonemaven blog entry on this fiasco by clicking here] and everyone was yelling and screaming and hollering, but landlords are operating a business and I think we need to hold them accountable as business owners. I’m hearing a lot of horror stories out there from single-family neighborhoods that are impacted by this. In terms of the costs of addressing those concerns, we’ve heard anything from $250,000 to $500,000. But even if you added $25 per year on to the cost of a rental unit, we would probably generate enough money to put four or five inspectors on this issue.”


Gene is running for re-election, unopposed for his Ward 2 Council seat. Michael Lilliquist is a candidate for the Ward 6 Council seat. Both deserve your vote on November 3rd.

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