Thursday, June 19, 2014
Samish Neighborhood Supports Rental Registration and Inspection
The Samish Neighborhood delivered a letter to the city council earlier this week that announced the neighborhood's support for legislation to register and inspect rental housing. The text of the letter follows below. The city council is tentatively set to discuss rental health and safety on July 7th.
Samish Neighborhood Association
P.O. Box 1551
Bellingham, WA 98227
RE: Rental Housing Regulation
June 16, 2014
To Bellingham City Council Members,
The Samish Neighborhood Association Board would like to express its support of the City of Bellingham for considering proposals to reform the regulation of rental units to ensure the health and safety of renters.
First is the need for regulating rental housing, which should be classified as a business, through licensing or registration with concomitant inspection of units. Rental businesses should be controlled in a way that protects the tenants while maintaining the character and integrity of all neighborhoods. Licensing or registering these businesses would ensure that the city has an effective enforcement tool and that minimum standards for safety and health are met.
Second, we strongly recommend changing BMC Title 20 to alter code violations to make them civil infractions instead of criminal misdemeanors. Many nuisance issues are not criminal problems. We believe the city will save significant time and resources addressing them at the civil level allowing for more rigorous and uniform enforcement.
As the Board of the Samish Neighborhood Association, we encourage you to move quickly on these important issues addressing residential rentals to promote the welfare of tenants in all neighborhoods throughout the city.
You can help support the tens of thousands of tenants in Bellingham by writing to the mayor (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to the city council at (email@example.com). Tell them that the rental industry is a business and, as such, should be regulated for health and safety issues just as restaurants and hotels. That means registration and periodic inspections.