To the Editor:
What I already figured was going to happen - whether we wanted it or not - has come to pass. The group, Focus on Fairmont, got to the City Council and got us a new rental ordinance. This seems to be because other communities have it, we have to have it. While it may not be a burden in the short term, in the long term the do-gooders have added to Fairmont's woes.
Those of us fighting to survive in a nation where costs are skyrocketing while our fixed incomes are not will pay the price for these do-gooders sticking their noses in other people's business. And, in the long run, the housing in Fairmont will still look crappy.
The do-gooders got a year to work with the city before the views of the opposition were even considered. It left us scrambling at the last minute to put up a defense. While the ordinance was modified to bring in some of our views, let's face it, it was only after the decision was made to go forward with what is not needed that those views were added with a hope to make it more palatable. But it still stinks.
At the final meeting for the vote, it did not matter that a Sentinel editorial suggested we needed to wait; it did not matter that the local college head stated we have a shortage of rental homes and rooms, and this will just add to that and the costs that are already too high; it did not matter that some 500 to 600 petitions were presented against this ordinance.The decision was made before the meeting.
We have a shortage of rental properties in Fairmont. This ordinance will gradually add to that and drive up rental costs. Sure, the initial fees sound so reasonable, but before the first three years are up, this will change. Within the three-year period, they will soar, and those of us on fixed incomes will be expected to shoulder those unneeded costs, as landlords will pass on their costs. If I was a landlord, I would pass them on too.
Yes, we have some slum landlords in this town. I know I rented from one for eight years before I finally got out of that stinkhole. They slapped a coat of paint on it and, guess what: except for about four months in a year and a half, it is unrented now. They wanted too much for a dump, and while the place will probably pass an inspection, in the long term it will decline. But, hey, the outside doesn't look to bad, and that is what Focus on Fairmont wants.
I live next door to two "abandoned" homes. Not rentals, but no one is living in them and the yards are trashy. Another home is occupied but maybe next year the winter winds will topple it. And the paint - that house hasn't seen a coat of paint in perhaps 40 to 50 years - but this ordinance only goes after us renters and makes us pay and not after homes neglected by their non-occupant owners or owner occupied owners.
The other building on my block has been a rental, but after one bad tenant after another, the landlord is probably so broke. They will never be able to afford to make it rentable again.
But the nicest-looking structure on this part of the block is where I live in a triplex, and the city wants me to pay more and penalize me and my two neighbors.
Do-gooders of Focus on Fairmont - when city inspectors can walk through your homes with their little clipboards and determine whether you will be allowed to continue to live there, then and only then should you be sticking your noses in my home that I am fighting to be able to afford to stay in. I wonder if your house can pass the inspection. If mine doesn't and my landlord can't afford the upgrades, I am out on my butt - thanks, do-gooders.
Jack H. Hansen