Other Voices: ‘Good Landlord’ ordinance is vital for the community
I am both a resident and landlord on North Church Street in Grass Valley and I support the “Good Landlord” ordinance.
There are a few property owners who are not concerned about the impact of their rentals on the neighborhood. All laws are created to have some control over the few who harm society. This is a problem with a three-way solution. The police department will have to do a good job of documenting calls, tenants will be made aware that their actions have consequences and landlords cannot simply shrug their shoulders.
I attended the first reading of this ordinance and was impressed by Chief Foster’s research and suggestions. An example: on a voluntary basis landlords (or property managers) can be contacted when a disturbance or other type of police call has been made on their rental property, a reasonable and practical solution for alerting tenants and landlords about potential problems.
One of the property owners at the meeting suggested that having such an ordinance could be referred to in rental agreements and potentially head off problems. Chief Foster also stated that, in his research, only one landlord was fined for non-compliance of the ordinance. (I cannot remember the name of the town.)
The problems on North Church Street are not new. My involvement began following a second summer of frustration with aggressively inconsiderate party makers, a petition was circulated and signed by about 30 residents of this little area of North Church and Doris Streets which are one block from downtown Grass Valley. The petition was presented to the City Council; improvements have been gained, Chief Foster provided increased patrols, and one landlord (who attended the meetings) has cleaned up his place.
I called the owner of the property rented to folks who cared not that they were awake and loud at 1, 2 or 3 a.m., that there is traffic in and out, that I witnessed people vomiting, and committing other illegal acts on the back deck.
The owner said things like, “I will talk to them” or “I don’t live there so I don’t know what is going on.” I gave up on calling her.
The folks who benefit most from this ordinance are the quiet tenants who do not call the police for fear of retaliation and do not wish (or cannot afford) to move from this mostly quiet and pretty little street.
Landlords like myself will benefit from increased property values and having attractive rentals. The cynical part of me says … The city council does not care about North Church Street and we who live here, keep blighted areas confined to a few streets and let the police deal with the problems.
I choose to not be cynical; I do believe Chief Foster (and his police department), the city council members and the vast majority of tenants and landlords care about their neighbors in this beautiful little Gold Mining town.
Bring the landlords to the table. It is their tenants who affect our quality of life.
Diane Chayra lives in Grass Valley.
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