It is time for Bellingham to recognize the need for inspection of rental properties. We believe current ordinances and enforcement measures are inadequate to deal with the problems that a slumlord presents in an otherwise safe and healthy neighborhood.
We live on Mason Street in the Sehome neighborhood, where most property owners take good care of their homes or rental units. But one absentee landlord apparently doesn't care. The place is a mess, with weeds growing tall in the front and back yards, litter and empty beer cans all over the "lawn," garbage, including mattress, piled up in the back. The tenants have even posted a sign out front, "The Slum." We called the landlord several times, to no avail. Our neighbor spoke to him and still got nowhere.
We do not know what the conditions are on the inside, but we do know how many vehicles are parked in the backyard and assume the many occupants run the greatest risk in terms of health and safety.
And what has the city done about this so far? Not enough to make any difference. A neighbor called a while ago, an inspector came out, and declared the problem "not so bad."
We called the same department a few days ago and have yet to even get an inspection done.
Problem properties like this should not be allowed to degrade a neighborhood.
Something different has to be done to address this problem throughout the city.
Jon and Jane Shaughnessy