Our Lakewood City Council is considering a program they call Rental Inspection Program which uses the acronym, RIP.
Let’s talk nomenclature. A more accurate and truthful descriptive term for RIP would be Ridiculous Inspection Program.
RIP targets and punishes a group of business individuals who are responsible for an impressive list of accomplishments and contributions that all benefit our city. The vast majority of these business people are in no way involved with slumlord properties. Applying the city RIP plan to this group of individuals is a ridiculous thing for our city to do.
TOP TEN INVESTOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS & CONTRIBUTIONS:
- Investors buy and maintain rental properties in our city. Chasing investors out of our city will create more vacant properties resulting in more homeless people prowling our streets and shops with their grocery buggies.
- Investors pay large amounts of real property taxes.
- Investors support our schools through their property tax payments.
- Investors provide homes to individuals, most of whom cannot afford to buy and maintain their own home.
- Investors spend money at Lakewood businesses such as Lakewood Hardware and Lowe’s where they buy carpet, nails, tools, plumbing fixtures, doors, lumber, plants, grass seed…
- Investors create jobs for people who want to work, such as painters, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, roofers and gardeners.
- Investors pay giant sums of sales and excise taxes.
- Investors pay for utilities and utility taxes.
- Investors lower our city’s homeless rate.
- Investors make Lakewood property management companies possible which brings jobs to our city.
Let’s talk numbers. The population for the City of Lakewood, as measured in 2014 equals 59,610 people. Renters comprise 54% of the population which equals 32,189 renters. It has been reported that we have somewhere between 13,000 and 14,000 rental units in Lakewood. Using 13,500 as the number, we have an average of 2.4 individuals living in each rental unit.
A minority of these renters live in slumlord managed properties. No one seems to know how many renters suffer from slumlord conditions. That number is an unknown mystery number. So the city uses the number 100%. The city plan punishes 100% of the property owners, 100% of the property management companies and 100% of the renters in their effort to solve a slumlord problem that relates to a small percentage of properties and renters. This makes as much sense as it does to give everyone chemotherapy when a few people are diagnosed with cancer.
As long as we are talking about ridiculous ideas, the city could consider a different kind of RIP where the acronym would stand for Renter Inspection Program.
Here is how the Renter Inspection Program could work. The city could complete an analysis and determine that investor property owners already make a huge positive contribution to our city as described above. Additionally the study would show that the vast majority of these property owners / managers are not slumlords. The study would further show that renters generally add very little to the city when compared to property owners. Based on these findings the city could direct their attack exclusively toward the renters instead of the investors and property managers.
First, we leave the investor property owners out of the city’s proposed Ridiculous Inspection Program. Secondly, we leave the property management companies out of the city’s proposed Ridiculous Inspection Program. The city then launches Renter Inspection Program
Charge each renter $50 X 2.4 renters X 13,500 rentals = $1,620,000. My plan creates more cash than the city’s originally projected $175,000 cash need. Now renters are finally making a contribution. Single people, married couples, people who abuse the term finance or fiancee, transgenders or just plain roommates will all be treated without discrimination. Each renter pays $50. Oh, let’s not be too ridiculous. Kids go free.
Set up a tiny hut the size of an old country outhouse right in front of Lakewood City Hall. You know, like those old absentee ballot huts. Renters drive through dropping $50 bills in the hut box until the city scores $1,620,000.
Next, the city sets up a website for renters with an official sounding title of City of Lakewood Renter Inspection Program. If a renter has a property condition complaint they cannot resolve with their property owner (landlord) or the property management company, they send an email notice to the city website.
Because the city is no longer dealing with 13,500 rental properties, but rather simply just a minority number of slumlord properties, there is no real need to spend 100 grand on a program manager or $30,000 on a new city car. Simply send an existing staff member like David Bugher out in an Uber to investigate the renter complaint.
The city then lowers the boom on the slumlord. The slumlord either complies or the city runs the slumlord out of the city.
Thus the problem is solved without messing with quality Lakewood business people who make up the majority of our investor property owners and property management companies.
I have used 935 words to express my opinion. I have designed a hat that sends the same message with just 11 words.
I believe my well designed ridiculous plan is as ridiculous as the city’s current plan, but under my plan the onus is on the renters, who after all are the individuals the city is wants to help
Disclosure: Just because I obviously have the requisite intellect, creativity, talent and problem solving skills that match those of our city council when it comes to designing giant ridiculous solutions for tiny infinitesimal problems, fear not that I will run for Lakewood City Council.