Jennifer wrote: ↑
11 Jun 2014, 11:04
Hmm. So I found this old thread, and wondered "What, if anything, happened regarding that proposed fine on absentee landlords?" So I did a bit o'Googling. Apparently it became the law and is inspiring other cities to do the same:
http://valley.newhavenindependent.org/a ... landlords/
Ansonia Alderman Patrick Henri wants the city to adopt a new law to combat blight and residential rental properties he says put undue demand on city schools and other services.
Henri, who represents the Sixth Ward, views the problem as an abundance of rental properties owned by people who don’t live in Ansonia.
“Generally speaking,” Henri said during the Board of Aldermen’s regular meeting last week while bringing up the idea of a new law, “If somebody doesn’t live in a home, it’s not going to be kept up.”
An “absentee landlord business license.”
Henri summed up his proposal like this: “If you don’t live on (a) property (you want to rent), there’s some kind of fee, you get inspected, if it doesn’t meet blight or whatever other kind of regulations, then you don’t rent.”
Uh -- doesn't Ansonia (sort of a suburb of New Haven, IIRC; in grad school I briefly dated a guy who lived there, and IIRC many of the younger and lower-paid faculty lived in Ansonia as well) already
have regulations and habitability standards for rentals, whether absentee-owned or not? I'm quite sure it does, along with every other municipality in Connecticut: you want to rent out a residential place, it must meet certain standards regardless of whether you live on the premises.
He said the program would help combat blight and, in the long run, help to keep the costs of city services down.
“If you live in a one-family home, the services you require for that one family are for one family,” Henri said during last week’s meeting. “But if there’s a two-, three-, four-, six-family home, you have the potential for that many more uses for city services, not to mention the schools,” Henri said. “We know the schools are overcrowded.”
Henri said having fewer rental properties in town will help ease that overcrowding.
“We need to get away from the trend of having rental properties, absentee rental properties,” he said, adding later: “I would love if we could just start eliminating multi-family homes and replacing them with single-family homes. That’s probably way down the road, but we have to start somewhere.”
Ah-ha! J'ACCUSE! Yep, it's all just a bid to get rid of housing that poor people
(pray forgive my utterance of so offensive a term) might be able to afford. In addition to kicking away a possible ladder low-income folks might climb to middle-class stability; my old plan "Maybe I could save enough to buy a multi-family, live in one unit and rent out the rest, and climb my way into financial security ....." eeew, no, that's the kind of situation he'd like to start eliminating.
On the other hand -- a few months ago I saw an article in my local (NoVa) newspaper. (Remember, I live in what's considered the outermost suburbs of DC, in an area undergoing a massive population/building boom -- Jeff and I hadn't even lived here four months before we could point to certain buildings and say "See that? I remember when it wasn't anything but an empty field.") There's a largish plot of land in my town, and I guess there's some controversy surrounding it, based on the notion "The city will only allow office, business or industrial buildings there, but the developer wants to build residential units." The mayor and some city council members were quoted in the paper speaking AGAINST allowing residential construction, basically saying "If we have more residents, we'll have to provide more services to them, and that's a net loss for us."
And the hell of it is -- at least for those residents who have or intend to have at least one child who will attend the public school system -- the mayor and city council are right: they do
cost the city money, and for the most part do NOT pay enough tax to cover it. And I'd guess Ansonia, Connecticut, has it worse -- unless the state has radically changed its tax law recently, property tax is the main revenue source for CT municipalities; sales and income tax only go to the state. I don't know the specifics of Virginia municipal funding, but I'm pretty sure that in addition to property tax, cities can also collect a share of sales taxes as well; the cost of running the city isn't borne entirely by property owners.
Still, what Ansonia and New Britain are doing is SLEAZY. Wonder how long it'll be until their respective City Councils form yet another
Task Force to debate the issue "Why, oh why, is housing so unaffordable in our fair city?"