In 2018, our City of Lakewood will force rental property owners into a game of financial Russian roulette.
This article contains both fact and fiction.
I can hear the news. City of Lakewood, Washington Bills 64-Year-Old Landlord $2,880,000 For Police Services. The article would go on to say that the City of Lakewood confiscated the landlord’s entire retirement life-savings.
This circle of dismay started in 2018 when the City of Lakewood forced the landlord to sign up for their new Residential Rental Inspection Program. While the landlord was fully cooperative with the city, his tenant was not.
The tenant refused to be treated like a common criminal. Actually, the renter pointed out that in Lakewood, criminals have more rights than renters. As Lakewood’s inspection team attempted to bully their way into the renter’s home, he barricaded the front door.
If Lakewood wants to enter a criminal’s home, the City has to obtain a warrant from a judge. If Lakewood wants to enter a renter’s home, all they have to do is intimidate and bully the landlord and renter with the threat of rental licensee revocation.
The tenant refused to give up his Fourth Amendment Rights. Lakewood tried to explain that they had developed a new tricky end-run to nullify the tenant’s rights. Lakewood told the tenant he had no rights, but the renter would not listen.
Remember, the landlord was fully cooperative. He gave the City a front door key and the confidential code to the burglar alarm. He provided the City the tenant’s name, date of birth, place of employment and Social Security Number. The landlord provided maximum cooperation even though his actions and disclosures made him complicit with the city in violating the tenant’s right to privacy.
Shots were fired. Police responded. SWAT was brought in. Black Hawk helicopters were hovering. This was bigger than the 51 day Waco, Texas siege. There were TV cameras, a full team of crack The Suburban Times reporters, along with a strong contingent of local citizen curiosity seekers. Oh, someone spotted Dave Anderson in the crowd standing behind the yellow Police tape.
Sixty days passed and the tenant never gave up. The Lakewood rental inspection team ended up burning the house to the ground. One citizen died and seven were injured. Sound familiar?
The landlord learned something the hard way. When he signed up for the mandatory Residential Rental Inspection Program, the fine print included Lakewood City Clause 5.60.050E which dictated that any law enforcement expense generated by a mandatory rental inspection “shall be borne by the licensee”.
After the City of Lakewood stripped him of his life savings, the elderly landlord became homeless. He could not even afford to live in one of Lakewood’s Residential Rental Inspection Program qualified low-,income apartments with the spiffy 3 color gold seal of safe habitation sticker affixed to the front door.
The old broken down landlord can be seen shuffling around the city pushing a stolen red shopping cart.
Displayed on the side of his shopping cart are two large colorful signs announcing that he is running for Lakewood City Council. He wants to bring back private property rights and the Fourth Amendment to Lakewood Citizens.
Could my fictional account ever come to pass? You tell me. Read section 5.60.050E / Employment of Law Enforcement Officers which can be found in the new City of Lakewood Ordinance. I have cut and pasted the entire section word for word below.
City of Lakewood Residential Rental Inspection Plan provision underlined and in bold print follows:
5.60.050 Employment of Law Enforcement Officers.
In the event it becomes necessary for the City to require that a licensee secure the services of one or more law enforcement officer(s) to properly enforce the applicable laws, rules and regulations and to maintain order in the Rental-housing Complex, all expense for such service shall be borne by the licensee, and it is his duty to secure the services of such officer or officers at a level prescribed by the City and as are deemed by the City to be necessary to preserve order and enforce the rules and regulations prescribed in this Title, the City Code and State law. Failure to comply with this requirement, if imposed by the City, will result in revocation of the business license in the manner prescribed by the City Code. (Ord. 255 § 1 (part), 2001; Ord. 219 § 1 (part), 1999.)
With this clause in force, a rental property owner cannot afford to own investment property in the City of Lakewood.
If a private citizen decides to purchase or continue to own investment property in Lakewood on or after the year 2018, the Residential Rental Inspection Program will make property ownership like playing financial Russian Roulette. By owning Lakewood rental property, the landlord will be putting the gun to his own head. The City of Lakewood will decide how many rounds, if any, to load into the gun. Once the Russian Roulette game is set, our Lakewood City Council and Lakewood City staff will pull the trigger.
Good luck Lakewood landlords. It is my hope that my FICTION does not become your FACT, but if it does, know that the City of Lakewood is poised to destroy you and your family for the rest of your life based on the actions of your tenant.
If I am wrong and the city is right, then would it not make as much sense for Lakewood to start charging domestic violence victims for police services?