Backs Bellingham rental ordinance


The Bellingham City Council is slowly moving toward what I believe to be a much needed ordinance to ensure the health and safety of the tens of thousands of renters. About 10,000 of these renters are students from WWU, WCC and BTC who, because of the transient nature of their renting, become vulnerable to landlords who know that in a tight rental market few complaints will be made. Bellingham has an aging stock of rental units that have never been inspected. Already over the past several years, six rental house fires can be attributed to poor condition of these units. So far nobody has been killed but several have been severely injured. Opponents claim that inspections of rentals will increase costs to renters, however, landlords have never been hesitant in raising rents over the years just because the market was tight and therefore increasing profits was easy. Opponents also act as if the proposed ordinance was an assault on their constitutional right of privacy. This is an egregious distortion of the notion of privacy when landlords offer a product, the rental, on the open market to a customer, the renter, for a price. We need an ordinance on rental health and safety now!

Richard Conoboy


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