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The City already has a building maintenance standard, called the International Property Management Code. It was adopted more than ten years ago. But you also have to ENFORCE a code for it to be meaningful, and the City is not doing that, as evidenced by Bev Bassett's comment above. The enforcement can come with fines, which help pay for the enforcement. But landlords who maintain their properties are not penalized as this proposal would do.

The City should shelve this process, and direct the staff to enforce the existing standards, and the adopt a fine schedule that will charge the scofflaw landlords for the costs of enforcement, but leave the quality landlords without additional charges.

I believe that this registration process, if implemented, will result in:

a) hundreds of rental units beintg withdrawn from the market;

b) higher rents to cover the costs of the program;


c) many of those rental units being sold to corporate investors, who have the lawyers to "do it right" and to "stand toe-to-toe" with the City when accused of doing it wrong. Corporate landlords charge 10% - 25% more than individual owner landlords, and keep rents "at market" more effectively, so more higher rents.

Markets work. Not perfectly, by any means, but they work. I'm an economist. It's my duty to believe this.

I owned three rental units in a recent millenium. The hassle of compliance was more than I wanted to manage, so I sold them off. I know that Bob Jacobs, Judy Bardin, and Walt Jorgensen all own rentals, and are considering either selling them or having them professionally managed. Either way, the current tenants will face higher rents or a need to move.

Somebody has to pay the costs of this program administration and the compliance costs. That someone is the renter.

In the case of energy efficiency, the investments do need to be recovered, but the utility bill savings will offset those costs. That should work out fine for everybody. But the admin costs of the registry will simply become additional costs that landlords recover from tenants.

The net income has to be there for the investor, or the rental property will cease to be a rental property. It's a lot of work to be a good landlord. Not everybody is up to the task. I sold my rentals years ago, and invested my retirement nest egg into boring mutual funds, because I wanted to devote my time to my career and my civic engagement.

This proposed program would simply hand over more of the rentals in our community to professional managers and corporate investors. People will pay more in rent.

Enforce the current law before adopting a new law.

From: Olympia City Council discusses the proposed rental registry program; Mayor Selby has reservations

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