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Seattle Landlords Got A New Boss

If you’re a homeowner and decide to rent your home down the road, you just got a new boss.  That new boss is the City Of Seattle.  City Council is expect to pass legislation that would require landlords to get their rentals inspected.  They will need to register with the city (pay their fees) and hire a private home inspector to go through their rentals for repairs.  The scarcity of the bill that pushing it through is the inspection of mold and safety issues.  However, we all know it’s a way for the city to build up more revenue.  Lots of money is changing hands with this bill.  You have the city fees (old and all future rentals all pay registration fees).  You have the repair fees and I assure you that private home inspectors will happen to find every little change that needs to happen (it’s in their best interest financially).  Then you have the sales tax revenue generated on those “must have” rental repairs they fill are necessary.  The City Council says it’s not about the money… it’s about the safety.  Sounds like legal corruption to me personally.

The bill is backed by the Tenants Union of Washington.  We all know anything to do with Unions is about the money so we know their agenda. On their website they claim this bill is “the closest we have ever come in over twenty years in the fight for healthy homes for all in Seattle.” I guess they think money grows on trees.  They say they fight for “healthy and safe homes”.  They forgot to add at the dime of everyone else or by any way possible.

As a rental owner, the way the program works is pretty shady. First you must register with the city.  If you don’t register you’ll pay a fine.  It’s going to be monitored through your utility bills.  You then need to pay an inspector to come out from a private company whose sole purpose is to find problems with your rental.  Maybe it’s code violations, maybe its water damage, maybe you didn’t mow the lawn, maybe your roof could leak over the winter. Who knows really.  It could be nothing but most likely thousands of dollars depending on how much the private inspector needs the money or if his car payment is late that month.  After that is done, you need to get the repairs fixed and if you’re late doing that it’s going to cost you a $150 PER DAY fine.

I have seen this game played in several businesses now and it always leads to the same conclusion.  The owner is at the mercy of the City.  They’re always holding a carrot in front of your nose just to make sure you are aware of who is the real boss here.  It’s a power trip when it comes to licenses and they are always looking over your shoulder.  Typically the people telling you how to do things are people who have no experience, never been in your field, and think they know better then you how to run your business (or rental).  That is the reality and how this game is played.  It will also be how this new program is going to work.

The sad thing about this bill, the Seattle City Council, and the government is that they think they need and must “help” everyone.  Business owners, landlords, drivers, etc just want to be left alone.  Nobody (read all the comments on the Seattle times or news tribune about this bill) likes being told what to do or how to do it better by someone who has never done it themselves.  I know the only thing I want from the Government is to be left alone.  Just quite trying to “help” me.  It’s easy to pass bills like this because most people will never be financially sound enough to have a rental, probably are broke or near it most months, feel bad, or just don’t care about about others because it doesn’t and never will effect them.  I compare it to the 1% paying for everyone else.  It’s great for elections also….Why would the majority 99% care about the rich paying a little extra to help everyone else.  Sad but true.

Regarding this new legislation. I understand there are many slumlords out there.  Compared to the masses of landlords that number is low, however (like %10).  I guess we need the 90% to be burdened and pay the city extra and support the inspectors businesses just to fix the bad 10%?  Do you think renters are stupid and won’t leave if they don’t have heat or see mold where their kids play?  Seriously! We have laws about rental and tenants already in place to handle bad landlords and these situations.  You got mold in your rental and you didn’t see it when you did the initial walk through the rental, MOVE OUT, it’s unsafe and you have that right by law already.  The heating doesn’t work? MOVE OUT you’re all ready protected by law.  Good landlords don’t need to pay all the fees and have all the worries by these new bosses who know it all.  Yet they should pay the price also?  Registration fees each year and private inspectors looking to make money for their own business are not going to come out and work for free you know.

Another item to consider is that many rentals are supported income for the elderly.  They paid off and worked hard for an extra home/rental many years ago and the failed programs like social security don’t provide enough to live on. They are no bad landlords they are just getting by with the property taxes, insurance, and higher costs of home ownership. Again, if their rentals are not safe to live in, then by law the tenant can move out.  These laws are already in place to protect people. We don’t need to be hurting the elderly financially – they’re struggling enough and worked damn hard to have an extra rental.  In addition, these homes or rentals are 50 years old – you know how much it’s going to cost them to get repairs by their new inspector bosses. Some new doors with locks will cost more than what they’ll make the whole month in rent.  This program just causes more harm than good.  It’s way worse than anything a robber could do to them an alley somewhere.

It appears many of the Seattle news agencies have reported on this.  The comments from people are ALL negative and don’t support it.  Most describe it as I do above with Government getting bigger and continuing “helping” everyone to fill their pockets because they can’t manage a city financially.  Do they really have to try to “help” with everything and everyone all the time.  It’ seems like everything is “helped” someway by the Government now.  Everyone is expecting a helping hand, living rent free in luxury apartments, health care, cell phones etc the list goes on and on.

You have to understand there are many angles not discussed here such as pushing out the old who purchased 50 years ago for the new apartment luxury condos.  They bill causes more damage to the 90% of people who worked hard and paid the price to have that rental/s only to get a new boss to come in and bankrupt them (or force them to sell) because they simply don’t have the money for all the “must repair or fined” repairs that the inspector thinks the elderly in retirement really has.

This is a horrible bill and I don’t believe it’s really been examined fully to move forward into law. We already have laws in place we don’t need to have more bosses in our lives who think they know it all and dangling the carrot over our heads.  Just back off and let people live how they want too.  Perhaps they can experience the little bit of freedom that is left in this country.

Having lived in the Pacific Northwest his entire life, Jeff understands and delivers a different perspective about politics. Even though many may disagree with his language and writing style, you can't debate his passion for the Seattle area and his committment to a better society.

3 Comments

  1. We don’t need any more rules and controls and expense. It will just put a bunch of people on the city payroll to tell us how to rent our little house. Any tenant dumb enough to move in a place with mold and leaky roofs is beyond help. The tenants don’t know it yet but the Tenants Union is not helping them at all. In the long run they wont have nice little single family homes to rent. The union wants your dues and nothing more. Hope enough people complain to stop this stupidity in its tracks.

  2. Shame, double shame. How can you even consider something like that. You are just creating a big mess for everyone, even the tenants. There not be any little single family dwellings for rent anymore. Little kids wont have a chance of a yard. Old folks cant have a little garden. It will be nothing but high rise bird cages. My little rental has been paid for for 40 years. It is all the income I have besides my social security check and a very small check from Boeing. Of course it would not pass an inspection your hired inspectors woud send out (and charge me for). It is nice and clean, has a bathfitter bath, new circuit breaker, new water line from meter etc. There is no mold, there are no cockroaches, there has never been an accident, never a fire, never a complaint. I have paid my taxes on time every time. You nearly ruined me a couple years ago when you tried to do away with all houses by saying our houses are “tear downs” and zoned the property as 8 unit condo’s. Of course I fought and lost but hey it gave your assessors, and prosecuting attorneys work and a person pays for their own time and the ones fighting us. Now it seems after owning it for 34 years you need some more money and what better way to get it than by dreaming up a regristration fee. Wow that will generate some money for you guys to squander away. Then we can pay for an inspector who is paid to find something wrong. Then if we fight it you can fine us for each day. I thought our alley was bad. Open drug sales, a few shootings, a rape or two but I tell you those guys don’t do me half as much harm as you council members are trying to do. You probably say, gee sell it. Yeah right. You don’t’ give a rats behind for mold or anything else, you have some big developers in your pocket or something and can screw our property right from under us. Again shame.

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