I read in the Jan. 29 Bellingham Herald that some people in the rental licensing debate seem to think a big, bureaucratic solution is needed to solve the many problems landlords and tenants now face in Bellingham.
This is really just another form of consumer protection. We solved a similar problem regarding the safety of our processed foods 100 years ago. We buy food with confidence now because we know the FDA has inspected just enough random samples to keep food processors honest, at almost no cost per item we buy. Licensing landlords would have the same small impact on individual renters.
Safe and healthy rental housing should be as normal (and easy to enforce) as safe foods. Do inspections prevent every bad outcome? Of course not, but having no system would be as disastrous in the food industry as it is now in rental housing here in Bellingham.
If you are concerned about this issue and can't attend Jack Weiss' hearing on Monday, Feb. 11, invite both sides to your next neighborhood meeting. That's the best way to find out how to best protect your neighborhood's property values.
Better housing for everyone will enhance property values for everyone.