Bellingham City Council Approves Rental Inspections

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• In Bellingham, WWU,

One must catch one's breath!

The vote of the Bellingham City Council on Monday night is a stunning reversal of the consensus of the council from earlier this year, at which time only a weak rental registration program was under consideration. Much of the credit for the passage of this ordinance surely goes to the Western Washington University students who have worked hard over the past 4-5 years. They spoke the truth to the opposition (the landlords) whose arguments to defeat this measure were astoundingly repudiated by the 7-0 vote. No stronger message could have been sent.

Also in for thanks are council members Jack Weiss and Michael Lilliquist who worked hard behind the scenes to shepherd this measure to passage. Dozens of Bellingham citizens also worked diligently over the last 10 years to speak to the reality of renting in Bellingham.

Based on a meeting I had several weeks ago with our new planning director, Rick Sepler, I expect we will see rapid action in putting this measure into effect. Rick seems to me to be a no-nonsense manager who will meet deadlines and develop accurate information for the council. Nevertheless, we still need to be vigilant about a process that has yet to be developed to register rentals and then begin inspections in 2015.

Again, thanks to our City Council for this measure to ensure the health and safety of the tenants in Bellingham.

About Dick Conoboy

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Member since Jan 26, 2008

Dick Conoboy is a recovering civilian federal worker and military officer who was offered and accepted an all-expense paid, one year trip to Vietnam in 1968. He is a former Army [...]

Comments by Readers

Vince Biciunas

Dec 16, 2014

Thank YOU, Dick, for moving this vote on, and on, and on.
It was a herculean effort, and I am so pleased at your success.


Walter Haugen

Dec 17, 2014

Can I assume after this vote that the Bellingham City Council has decisively repudiated the “invisible hand of the market” nonsense?

I just read a review of “Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World” by Jeff Madrick (2014). The “invisible hand” is one of them (along with efficient markets, etc.). I also requested it from the Whatcom County Library System. I suggest others take a look at this book too.


Dick Conoboy

Dec 17, 2014


In the Army we used to say “Assumption is the mother of all f**k-ups”.  Time and time again I observed the direct and highly negative consequences of violating that maxim.


Walter Haugen

Dec 18, 2014

Dick - Correctomundo. It was a rhetorical question.

However, if there is no paradigm shift, it argues for some other driver in what seems to be a significant change in policy. My next question is whether there is some way the big developers can finesse this to their advantage. To steal a line from Warren Zevon, “Poor, poor, cynical me.”


Scott Wicklund

May 02, 2015

I will be passing the “NOTICE” I just received from the Rentals Program Specialist today to my four tenants.  While it is true that actual registration will be open July 1st—August 1st, it is just unfair to hold this information secret when my tenants shelters are unlikely to qualify.  I am also in a bind since passive failure to respond could be very expensive.  Others have said the same thing, but the days of the low cost rental are over.  No better proof is needed than the yellow card just received from .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).