It was on this night – August 10 – one year ago that “the public comment session about Federal Heights’ (Colorado) controversial rental inspection program was abruptly cut short ‘in the interest of public safety,’ according to City Manager Jacqueline Halburnt.”
A landlord, likening the mandatory inspections to government intrusions, said he “would not be silenced and would speak until he was arrested.”
It’s August which means this month is the one-year anniversary of the yet – but soon – to be implemented controversial Rental Housing Safety Program – Ordinance No. 644 – passed by the Lakewood (Washington) City Council.
It’s also this month of August that Lakewood plans for community outreach meetings to begin; information to be published online to include a “How To” video along with program FAQ’s; and the final, final revised version of the inspection checklist posted.
This month all identified taxpayers will be sent a postcard with information on how to register with an invitation to community trainings and directions to the website.
All this by way of the August 7 Council Agenda packet (p.174).
And all of this – information, outreach, postcards, videos, meetings and websites – could have been accomplished over a year ago – without all the intervening bruhaha – except that the City Council agreed with the recommendation of City Staff to opt out – then – of a “robust tenant/landlord outreach educational program” concerning what common sense would suggest was adequate – and current – state law as contained in the comprehensive Residential Landlord-Tenant Act.
Ironically, ‘robust’ means “straightforward and imbued with common sense.”
Also ironically, or perhaps typically, it was a night in July (July 5) last year when City Council was shown a March 16, 2016 news clip prepared by City Staff of – in the words of KIRO’s Investigative Reporter Jesse Jones – an “extremely rare case” involving a landlord/tenant complaint in the Laurel Gardens apartments located in the Woodbrook neighborhood-portion of Lakewood.
Even though, according to Jesse’s contact page, he will not investigate landlord/tenant complaints, he did this one.
And in this one – appropriately categorized under “News You Can Use” – Jesse wraps up his investigation by providing viewers – some 20,000 people ‘liking’ the story – how to get help and provides the link to the Landlord Tenant Law wherein all manner of options and remedies are available to tenants who find themselves in similar situations.
Lakewood didn’t show that part.
Abruptly eliminated – in the City version – from the actual KIRO presentation when aired live was Jones sharing with viewers what solutions were readily accessible.
However long it takes to say “If you want the best document on Landlord/Tenant Law check out the Northwest Justice Center” – as Jones did – Lakewood did not.
And now, a year later, now that the program has passed; now that the purchase of software to run the program (which has nearly tripled in cost since initially budgeted) has been made and is being dutifully installed; now that all the staff meetings – with many more to come – have been held; contracts signed, city-and-private inspectors identified:
Now, the educational component will be utilized.
Your ‘by-special-invitation-only’ postcard requesting the pleasure of your attendance to be informed is in the mail.