The Whatcom View column by Perry Eskridge implies that City Council is alone in proposing rental inspection. This is hardly the case. Support from neighborhood associations, testimony to council by David Finet of the Opportunity Council, and years of testimony from college and university students, all show that concern with the quality of rental housing comes from citizens and consumers alike. I believe only the rental industry continues to support the broken tenant-complaint system, which unfairly places the entire burden of consumer protection upon the individual tenant.
Unplanned costs of rental inspection will come from landlords who neglect routine maintenance and repairs, placing tenants at risk. Assuring the health and safety of rental housing is a cost of doing business, and this is not a cost from which any business that offers products or services to the public should be exempt. Where rental inspection has been initiated, in cities such as Seattle, the program has been demonstrated to meet a need and retained. I believe Bellingham also needs rental inspection. A year of inspections will provide the facts that make this clear.