In the 21 July 2009 print edition of the Western Front there appeared an advertisement for homes for rent near WWU. (Click on the image at left) My assumption is that since the ad appeared in the student newspaper, the target population was the student body, i.e., those looking for lodging for the coming year. On 29 July 2009, I visited the website, www.ebenalrents.com, and found 17 four and five bedroom single family homes for rent. Most of the homes are owned by Huntco, LLC and
Unless students have already visited the Viking Union (VU) rental listing website or the bulletin board at the VU, there is little expectation that they will be aware of the city codes on illegal rooming houses. Much to its credit, The VU has taken steps to inform students of limitations on rentals. Dean Ted Pratt and VU Facilities Director Jim Schuster were instrumental in placing warning notices on the VU bulletin boards and the VU on-line rental housing list.
On the other hand, the management of the Western Front has not responded to any of my efforts to have them remove from the newspaper advertising for single family rentals which are problematic with respect to violating the municipal code that bars rooming houses in single family neighborhoods. I even received an email request early this year from Carolyn Nielsen, the faculty advisor to the Western Front, asking me to remove her from my Zonemaven mailing list so that she could give priority to the “so much” student emails she receives. I complied with her request but I cannot help but think of the thousands of students who remain clueless about rental advertising in the Front since she lacks information which might help in her advisory capacity.
It is time the Western Front and Ebenal clean up their rental advertising. At a minimum each rental ad should contain the caveat on the limit of unrelated renters. If the Front or Ebenal needs a reference, here is the relevant code portion: “ Title 20 LAND USE DEVELOPMENT, Chapter 08 DEFINITIONS, 20.08.020 - SPECIFIC DEFINITIONS -F. 1. Family: One or more persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption, or not more than 3 unrelated persons, living together within a single dwelling unit. For purposes of this definition children with familial status within the meaning of Title 42 United States Code, Section 3602(k) and individuals with disabilities within the meaning of Title 42 United States Code, Section 3602(h) will not be counted as unrelated persons. "Adult family homes," as defined by RCW 70.128.175, are included within the definition of "family." Facilities housing individuals who are incarcerated as the result of a conviction or other court order shall not be included within this definition.”