The Daily Chronicle lays out today the arguments for and against licensing and inspection of rental properties.
There are four proposed laws before the council, but it’s the issue of licensing that has garnered the most attention and debate from aldermen, city officials, and landlords. City Manager Mark Biernacki has previously described it as being the linchpin of all the city’s efforts to improve the quality of its housing stock.
[Local realtor and landlord Dan] McClure said he believes a licensing program could be abused by the government in the future. Although he does not mind firefighters coming through his various properties to inspect them, McClure disagrees with the notion that expanding inspections would help.
“It just seems like a tremendous invasion of privacy of the tenant to me,” McClure said. “I don’t understand why they want to get involved with this.”
Good point, Mr. McClure. However, no interviews of tenants appeared in the article, so we’ll never know what they think.
But let’s move on to asking why city staff want licensing and inspection so badly that they’ve hired people to manage a licensing programs that didn’t exist and to do an end run around its own Housing Task Force.
You could argue that the main motivator is concern for tenants of very modest means and few options, but then I’d have to ask why none (save for a few students) were included as members of the Safe/Quality Housing Task Force.
You might also suspect that the plan represents a new revenue stream, and you probably wouldn’t be wrong- wrong.
But here’s an alternative theory: that the main point of pushing licensing and inspection so hard for so long is because a grand plan is involved, and that plan is the 2008 Amendment to the Central Redevelopment Area Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District. Read the rest of this entry