8 comments

  • Jonah, I completely agree with you. I myself working as a young parent who is attending school and working a full time job that pays just a dollar over minimim wage am flabbergasted at the housing scheme in Bellingham. I would like to point out the reality of most people who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths, the hard working mothers, fathers, students, who are barely struggling to get by. The truth of it all is that Washington’s cost of living is outrageous compared to the wages given for many entry level or non experienced individuals as we all start off to be. Bob Oso, as you so mentioned, renting to students will leave an impact on rentals but for anyone deciding to go in that path should have already outweighed the pros and cons. Should you want more reliable renter funds by renting to students, one should keep in mind the consequences of such action and it is solemnly up to the landlord’s discretion. Also, it should be noted that damage and normal wear and tear is to be expected of any rental unit and stating that a certain group does any more or less based off age groups or anything else would be foolish. Argumentably, it all comes down to the quality of people a landlord is allowing to rent. There needs to be changes done to Bellingham all around and I believe once done, would be a ripple effect.

  • Oops, forgot a 1 on the math above. After 4 years each individual student will have spent about $16,000 on rent. (This can be as much as $24,000 depending on the rate and lease). So the landlords make $64,000 just off of rent on a rat infested basement every 4 years per student. Figure they have multiple floors and properties, now with DADUs/ADUs on them too (you know like council members April Barker and Dan Hammill had illegally, until they voted in their own favor to make them legal recently), and each landlord can easily be making $128,000 to $256,000 per property on student rentals every 4 years. And they still can’t maintain them?! And we have no system to fine them with?! And we think our council members/mayor care about ethics, minorities, the poor, the homeless, etc. while they let this go on?! Time to wake up. Landlords in Bellingham are crooks being enabled by a corrupt government to steal from the bottom 90%. You know, like the baby-boomers always have. Steal from our grand kids and burn the Earth, is their business model. Sounds to me like it’s not the “noisy” students that are unappreciative, their landlords probably did the same when they were young after all, sound like the greedy landlords think they’re doing the students and families they are fleecing a favor and don’t appreciate their students, families, or community that overpays them every month.

  • Greedy landlords are solely to blame for higher rents. They can choose not to rip everyone off if they want to. Remember Fiat currency, and the economy are ultimately made up concepts. High rents, property taxes, and housing prices also increase homelessness and need to balanced out by taxing the wealthy more. Which is fair. With that said, rent control and public housing would actually lead to a long term solution to the problem. If you don’t hear a mayoral candidate pushing for rent control and a lot more public housing, they are NOT a progressive and you should NOT vote for them!
    While the Bellingham Home Fund is a big step in the right direction, it falls short in key areas like helping homeless couples and especailly the 80% of homeless people that happen to be male. This is probably intentional as our mayor and most of the county and city council members are landlords.
    Oh, and Bob, considering how bad landlords are ripping off students on rents, while giving them slum apartments to live in, even if a landlord has to hire someone to do a few inexpensive drywall patches and replaces some carpet after a student rents from them for 4 years and pays them around 6 grand for it a crappy, broken down, basement apartment where they live like rats together with crappy infrastructure and overpriced utilities on top of it all, it’s obvious that the do nothings in Bellingham are at the top and are mostly landlords. Talk about a raging sense of entitlement from our landlords. Do you really believe that you have a right to not only rip off the students, but also tell them exactly how to live their lives on top of it? For most of our wealthy, entitled, landlords the answer is yes. (Remember, this includes most of your council members.) All of who need to pay more in taxes themselves before taking more from the poor and middle class in rent. Housing is, after all, a necessity.
    One final thing, most of the landlords that are bitching about “noisy kids” while taking their money, bought their homes at 1/8th of the price they are now in the not too distant past. They are simply stealing from the community. Not providing the benevolent services they think they are. WWU can help by building a lot more, good, apartment based, solar powered, student housing.
    Ask your upper echelon at WWU to fund it. With their obscene salaries, they can afford it. Or even better, why don’t we fine landlords for renting out broken properties and put that towards student housing.

  • The hubris of these landlords is pathetic, to think that it is unavoidable or inevitable to have a market like this, that so strongly favors their interests, while making it impossible for families and working people to live. It should be illegal and seen as immoral for people to have so much while others have nothing.

  • There is also a surge of people retiring in the Puget Sound area, along with a steady increase in the ability to work remotely. These factors are creating significant pressure on the Bellingham housing market. People that have worked their whole lives in the PS area want to be close to their life-long connections without living in the chaos of the Seattle area. We need to start talking about housing as a human right and remove the for-profit incentives to create shortages and limit individuals owning more than two houses in a single community.

    • Yeah. Remove the profit initiative and see how many houses and apartments get built. I take it you are not an economics student, that is for sure. THAT WILL NOT WORK. Plus, limiting how much a person can own? That’s never gonna happen. Not here, anyhow. What’s the next solution of yours? Maybe that someone has to stay where they were born forever and live with Mommy and Daddy until those folks die?

  • Great article! Finding housing was difficult enough when I lived in town.. periodically I check the rent on an apartment I used to have in the Sehome area, and the rent has gone up about $300 in 4 years.

  • Renting to young students who have NO idea how to care for property, do not want to do ANY maintenance on a place, are trashy and sloppy and noisy and have NO clue how to get along with neighbours might just be some of the other reasons that they have to pay so much. Rent for 8-9 months then spend 2 months worth of rent to FIX the place after ignorant and clueless kids screw the place up… well, you get what you ask for!

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