Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Western Students Talk of Dangers in Renting in Bellingham

Students are gearing up yet again this year in an attempt to get the City Council to listen and act on their complaints of mistreatment by landlords and of unsafe and unhealthy living conditions in rentals throughout the city.  On election eve, 5 October, students met to discuss the dangers of renting in Bellingham.  An account of their meeting was published in the student newspaper, the Western Front.  You can read that article by clicking here.

The departure of Stan Snapp and Seth Fleetwood from the council eliminates two voices that have consistently worked to slow down or stop an ordinance to license and inspect rentals in Bellingham.  The apparent election victory of Pinky Vargas and Roxanne Murphy will change that dynamic, however, it remains to be seen by how much.  Pinky's grasp of the issue is thin and Roxanne is operating with experience of a flawed rental licensing ordinance in Tacoma, WA.   You can read my assessment of their thoughts on rental inspections on NWCitizen by clicking here

The issue will come before the "new"  council again in 2014.  The proposal brought forth by Jack Weiss should be re-introduced but given a healthy dose of scrutiny.  The Mayor, who has been talking about a proposal during 2013, should bring that forward formally, too.  To date we have few specifics from her.  You can read about what we do know about both in my blog entry of 29 July entitled Rental Health and Safety Pushed into 2014.  Click here to read that entry.

The need for action is stunningly obvious to the student renters (10,000+/-).  The Mayor and the City Council should heed their voices.

No comments: