Concerned about landlord licensing

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 30, 2014 

Tenants and landlords take note, I believe the city is weeks away from a landlord licensing law.

Sold as a "low cost," "low impact," "not affecting many people" law, I believe it's anything but. Every person renting property will be touched by it.

The law goes far beyond the stated issues of health and safety. I believe landlords will be subject to substantial regulatory rules, fines and penalties. Any noncompliance can cost landlords the right to rent their property and require tenants to be moved out at substantial cost.

A landlord must annually register each rental property and pay fees. Legal, compliance and administrative costs to operate will skyrocket.

Inspection of units is mandatory when asked. Paying inspection fees and fixing all problems found is required to continue renting.

Landlords and tenants must allow entry to their property without probable cause. Tenants cannot refuse entry for inspection, subject to fines and legal enforcement.

Existing rentals not allowed in an area by zoning must register and then will be eliminated as a rental option (college area rentals take note). This includes units that for decades have been used as low-cost alternatives by many students.

Already high rents will do nothing but go up under this proposed law and low-cost units will disappear, by necessity.

Stay silent at your own peril -- City Council is in session.

Lew Stevenson

Bellingham

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