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Rental moratorium wrong for changing economy

I'm writing in opposition to the rental mora-torium ordinance. There are problem rental and owner occupied properties in Bemidji. I sympathize with those that live near them. Another ordinance is not the answer, however.

Ordinances are in place that regulate: the number of parking spaces that are to be provided; the number of non-related people that can occupy a rental; noise and disturbances; that properties are in a habitable condition.

Ordinances aren't being enforced. If they were, these problems would disappear. The responsibility for their enforcement is the city's. Residents also need to take a role in reporting problems. We have to help keep all property owners and occupants accountable for their behavior and the upkeep of the properties.

These are tough times. Many have lost jobs and have had to move. Owners should have the right to rent their property without having to ask the city for permission.

Many homes have been foreclosed, are va-cant, and need major repairs. Investors would purchase these homes if they could rent them after the remodeling. They won't purchase if they have to have city permission to rent.

Families that have lost their homes need places to live. They cannot purchase, but could be good tenants. The moratorium would limit options.

Change is constant. Housing stock is getting older. Many neighborhoods have seen an increase in rentals.

The average family now prefers a newer home on a couple of acres a few miles from town. "In town" properties don't appeal to as many. That doesn't mean everyone will want to live out of town, but people's desires change. The council can't control that.

I struggle with the changes in our neighborhoods. It is the price paid for living in a growing community. You will see less of an investor/landlord influence now that the real estate market has softened. Without appreciation in prices, investors will focus on properties that cash flow.

Federal, state and local laws are necessary in today's society. All elected officials,need to realize that with every law passed or tax rais-ed, an individual's right and freedom is taken away. Too often politicians think that they know what is best for their constituents. In reality, the people know what is best for themselves.

Let the people, and the market place, make the decisions with regards to future rental housing in Bemidji and vote against this ordinance.

Mark Dickinson

Century 21 Dickinson Realtors