To the Editor: BG landlord: Code enforcement does more harm than good
Written by Brad Waltz   
Wednesday, 22 July 2009 08:40
The city has been busy. They should be proud, especially our two code enforcement chaps.
Every landlord in town is scared, I'm not. I have one house I rented, and I'm selling it. I bought it for $72,000 invested thousands, employed several, when I finished it appraised for $210,000. Surly one of the best most expensive homes in the ward. It's now 2100 sq. ft. four bed three full bath.  
I got caught committing the heinous crime of having more than three unrelated people living there and was fined by the city, $45,000.
So, I am out of business, never rehabbing a home in this town again, never buying a home in this town again. In four years I turned $319,000 worth of homes into $715,000. I increased the tax base and employed local craftsman. I was a net asset to this town; I did more to improve it than two rent-a-cops w/three cars at a cost approaching $200,000 ever will. I likely made enough for this town to employ the two clowns that ran me out of business.
But, it's the law, no more than three unrelated may occupy any house!
I claim in this letter that law does more harm than good.
The law artificially benefits investors. The market is artificially altered; more homes are now needed by fewer kids. Where four could live, now only three can. The investors that could afford to buy homes have; squeezing out homeowners, presumably better neighbors. This dumb law also then makes it more expensive for students to go to school here, a factor in these difficult times.
But now times are tough, enrollment is down (this may be a factor?) more homes are vacant longer, and investors aren't selling them. They hang onto them, rent may be lowered, but that has a negative effect on property prices. There are deals now but with the economy nobody can afford them, except investors.
So here we sit, two bullies driving around like they make a difference enforcing a law that hurts BG in a real way with the backing of a bunch of do nothing Eastside busy-bodies. There's laws against littering, vandalizing, parking on the lawn and loud parties.
One last aside; when my tenants got caught, first it was solely because I put a for rent sign out. That's like finding fresh tracks to these two. Secondly, my tenants were taken to the police station, forced to sign affidavits swearing they would not tell me I was caught. That way my $500/ day fine kept on, for six weeks. These girls were traumatized, they've never been question by police before, one later told me she cried for three days. They moved on now, graduated, and with some pretty good stories to tell their friends contemplating a place to go to college.
Oh and this falls vote for a tax increase in BG, I'm voting NO, but I do have a nifty idea on how to clear 200 grand from the budget!
Brad Waltz
Bowling Green
 

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