With all the talk recently from the Planning Commission and the City Council about neighborhoods stepping up to the bar to sacrifice low density and livability in the struggle for housing affordability and availability, I think it is more than just to ask those who own over 50% of the housing stock in Bellingham to step up to that very bar. I mean that this time landlords do some stepping. However, since asking landlords to accept more density is like asking a child if she wants more ice cream, I propose that landlords, in the spirit of community, justice and equity, reduce the rents charged to their tenants by 10%.
The immediate effect would be to put into the hands of residents, i.e., tenants, ready cash that would be injected rapidly into the local economy. This creates an immediate boon to commerce while creating additional revenue to the city in the form of increased Business and Operation tax receipts. Moreover, at least 10% of the rental income that used to fly out of the city to absentee landlords, would be preserved here to boost local businesses.
Unfortunately, the City Council cannot require such a magnanimous and just gesture on the part of landlords, however, a well-worded and encouraging council resolution that passed unanimously might tend to weigh heavily on the consciences of those occupying landlordia. We also have several of our own council members-cum-landlords (Mr. Hammill and Ms Barker) who can light the way with a selfless demonstration of cutting by 10% the rents they charge to their own tenants.
Just looking through that equity lens.