Monday, September 19, 2011

Western Front Notes Failure of Rental Licensing to Pass

Just after the Bellingham City Council voted not to initiate a process to develop a rental licensing and inspection ordinance in the city, the WWU student newspaper, the Western Front, published this brief editorial comment on 30 June.

“Rental revamp would have protected tenants...
On June 20, the Bellingham City Council voted against a motion to require rental licensing and an inspection program for rental properties. These inspections would make sure rental properties were safe to live in.

Councilmember Terry Bornemann said the cost of the inspections would come with a fee, which the rental agencies would pass onto their tenants.

In an environment where 18,000 residents live in rental houses and apartments, there needs to be a way for renters to be protected. The small cost for inspections is minuscule to ensure that unsafe living conditions in Bellingham diminish.

If the main concern of the Bellingham City Council is the cost being passed onto tenants, then they should create a regulation to make sure it won’t happen. Stricter inspections and a zero-tolerance policy could make rental agencies change their practices when dealing with tenants."

The Associated Students (the student governing body) approved a resolution supporting rental licensing and inspections last year. (Click here to read that resolution)The Western Front is also previously on record in support of such legislation. (Click here to read that editorial)

The student body is becoming more aware of the manner in which they are placed at risk by substandard housing. Perhaps they can persuade the City Council of the same during the coming academic year.

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