I’m writing about the rental registration and inspection program recently approved by City Council. Those opposing the program claim it’s bad because it would cost landlords and raise rents. They must not know about the housing crisis.
Renters are so desperate that landlords have carte blanche to leave properties in poor condition. Because landlords aren’t upgrading 100-year-old single-pane windows and heating/ventilation systems, lower-income people are spending big on heating their homes every winter — and wasting energy. If lower-income people aren’t paying these energy bills personally, they’re getting grants from the Opportunity Council. In addition, the Opportunity Council is spending a lot on upgrading poorly insulated rentals with new furnaces; putting in kitchen and bathroom fans to prevent mold; and so on. That’s a lot of the public’s money going towards fixing landlords’ negligence.
And there are health problems created by substandard living conditions. Children and adults in black mold-infested environments developing asthma, allergies and respiratory problems. Not to mention the lead paint in some rentals. If these renters are on Medicaid, then once again, the public is footing the bill for problems created by substandard housing.
Why are we subsidizing slumlords?