The Bellingham City Council should consider the redundancy and costs of the residential rental licensing ordinance, hurting housing affordability.
The licensing idea began with nuisances in some neighborhoods and accelerated to a safe dwelling issue. The later could be prevented by strict enforceable nuisance ordinances. Insuring safety conditions many times is overseen by an authority or law followed by landlords and tenants.
Hundreds of dwellings are regularly inspected; the privately owned Section 8, emergency shelters, Bellingham Housing Authority’s, many apartments, condominiums and the Bellingham Fire Department inspects structures yearly.
With city’s inspectors following stringent building code requirements for residential construction for years, there should not be a safety issue. In 1927 the Uniformed Building Code was established by the International Council of Building Officials for building practices and updated every three years until 1997, known as the International Building Code. Why inspect homes built in the last 30 years?
In 2011 city planners presented an action plan recognizing barriers to affordable housing noting licensing and fees as a barrier. Clearly affordable housing is an issue.
A couple of bad apple locations (landlords and tenants) are creating a punishment city wide for good landlords and tenants where ultimately the tenant will pay.