Goodbye affordable housing

By:  Diane Benjamin

Bloomington City Council – Monday night:

Landlords beware.  You will be paying more.  People living in your apartments aren’t capable of:

  1. Asking you to fix problems
  2. Moving to a better maintained apartment if you won’t
  3. Withholding rent until you fix problems
  4. Making repairs themselves and deducting the cost from rent
  5. Reporting you to government when all else fails shows 279 vacant apartments just in Bloomington.

Landlords obviously want their properties to decay while forcing high rents.  Sure.

This is from the packet for the Regular Council meeting-Page 299


Surely people are dying in their homes!  85% have life-safety concerns.  Mass slaughter by landlord!

The City currently has 1 rental inspector.  With salary and benefits she was paid $84,129.98 last year.  The City wants to hire another inspector, evidently for a little less since the projected expenses are not quite double:

rentThe only good news is that the government’s boot on the necks of landlords is expected to make a little money.  The bad news is the additional costs to landlords will be passed along to renters.

Funny how government never understands that when people are treated like they can’t take care of themselves, eventually they can’t.

Maybe that’s the purpose.


19 thoughts on “Goodbye affordable housing

  1. More intrusion into the privacy of the tenants. It’s another pain in the butt for tenants and landlords, serves no valuable purpose, just another control mechanism.

      1. Uhh, I still don’t see any reported deaths in your article. Unless you are you talking about the life-safety concern of which I chose to ignore. If I were a tenant of a rental I just wouldn’t want random inspectors in the privacy of my home for no good reason. I am perfectly capable of reporting irresponsible landlords and don’t need a big brother attitude from government to further stick their nose in my business. For those that are timid, the city could invoke a random inspection clause therefore not exposing the people who are easily intimidated.

        Instead, I think we should send inspectors into the homes of potted plant alderman to make sure they are not hooked up to some kind of tin foil hat mind control apparatuses controlled by the city managers office. Possibly there is a hum in their homes produced by a smart meter that continuously repeats in white noise, “I will obey David Hales. I will kiss the mayors ass. I will not say anything intelligent. I will not challenge the narrative. I will be pc. I will obey David Hales, I will kiss the mayors ass. I will not say anything intelligent. I will not challenge the narrative. I will be pc. I will obey David Hales. I will kiss the mayors ass….”

  2. WHAT are the QUALIFICATIONS to be ONE of these “inspectors” Does one have to be able to identify electrical problems, bad gas hook -ups, pest infestations, structural deficiencies? Do you have to climb a ladder, get on a roof? Check the basement? Or do you just have to look COOL while riding around in a white car with a CITY LOGO on it?

  3. I find it interesting that the council has no data regarding complaints against landlords or the nature of the violations being found. I think any logical person would want to know if it really is an issue that landlords in this area cannot maintain their properties. 85% seems very high given how many apartments are being rented or vacant. I bet most if not all are landlords that do not own a large amount of properties.

      1. Another theory I have–difficult to prove–is the large property owners can buy problem properties on the cheap. You could have a vacant property that is still subject to inspection and the property owner has to pay fines on top of trying to sell the property. In order to get out from under the fines and penalties, the problem landlord keeps slashing the price. New owner buys at a discount. They then can improve the building or tear it all down and make condos or high-end units. The rent is artificially high because they want tenants with high income. They get enough of the properties, they set the market. Then you get affordable housing and government subsidies. I think of the 85%, you may have 5-10% that is a major violation. I knew someone who had to move out of his apartment after it flooded and the landlord decided not to fix it. Not sure if a reasonable attempt was made by the landlord. I think those are more concerning then chipped paint and floor boards that squeak.

        1. Does anybody find it strange that Golf is on the agenda for the work session. Rumors abound they want to close Highland and build public housing on the property.

      2. Maybe Renner went golfing with Kim Jung Un and had a hole-in-one on each hole. Kim’s dad had famous whopper along those lines.

        Back to serious, I think they are very stubborn in even holding onto the course. The land is pretty good size. They could split the land in half and do a 9 hole course with the other half for apartments/condos/duplexes or mixed use. Or just sell to a private company. I think the reasoning to convert the land would be comical, ” you can only golf late March to middle of November. So the city is paying taxes on 5 months of non-use and not collecting fees. Let’s sell to Snyder so they can put a few 500k homes up.” No matter what, I fear some buyer will want incentives or tax breaks. The is the danger of government owning property like this in the first place.

      3. The Budget Task Force has had an obsession with closing the golf courses. If you look at the figures, the golf courses are a small part of the budget–like the downtown buy back. If Golf is an Enterprise Fund raise fees to match expenses–the Council’s philosophy of pay for use. Outsourcing will result in the same problems associated with the Coliseum.
        Highland seems to be the focus of the presentation at the Work Session.

        The Comprehensive Plan calls for “fill in” and green space. The “fill in” is supposed to be compatible with surrounding/existing use so low income housing could very well be part of the plan. Snyder should be the last person allowed to be involved with any more developments.

        I am just appalled that the city manager is hiring more bureaucrats prior to the budget proposal instead of looking for ways to reduce spending.

  4. This inspection process is “ordinance mandated.” Sometimes “well intentioned” actions have unintended consequences–the road to hell is paved with them. Many times i have heard the Council complain about State mandates and their cost to the city. Hypocrisy??

    Any property owner who is concerned about the condition of an adjacent building can complain to the city with no effect to the tenant. “Infestation” usually has to do with the hygiene of the tenants which should be directed to the Public Health Department by the other tenants, the landlord or building manager. One needs to keep in mind that the very poor renters may have to choose between food and cleaning supplies–cleaning supplies currently being taxed at 8.75%. There is no easy answer here. Government thinks invasion of privacy, adding fees and raising taxes are the only answers.

    The ordinance should be repealed thereby having no need for an additional inspector while saving the taxpayer money.

    1. The infestations are hard to get rid of. Insects in particular have made it their life’s goal to find a way into dwellings occupied by humans. There are landlords who like any dishonest person will fail to disclose such issues. But even those that do deal with them are fighting a losing battle sometimes. Unless you are using very strong pesticides you won’t make a dent.

      Maybe folks should be more vigilant in reporting issues lest our elected officials sense an opportunity to make money? I find myself shaking my head when I hear of cases were people say nothing and a situation gets worse or tragedy happens. If you know the smoke detectors are bad but you think the landlord will deal with it, then you are not making it safer.

  5. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST, IF they develop Highland, I’m ON IT! That place is a gold mine-literally! As a kid, a buddy and I hauled WAGON LOADS of old bottles out of there when they built the Highland Apartments-that area IS the old landfill, and there’s a regular plethora of old bottles there! Some were worth QUITE a bit, I still have a couple hundred ALL from ca 1900 Bloomington businesses! BUT, I also bet there’s a LOT of “Unknown ooze” there, and I WOULD NOT want a doghouse on the place, the fill even goes EAST of Main st toward the old Sinorak! Instead of hiring MORE inspectors, WHY don’t they just “shake down” the slum lords? They know WHO they are, I can think of 3 off the cuff!

    1. Hello Townie- do you happen to have any bottles from the Meyer Brewery in your collection? I am a descendent of the Meyer family and it would be great to have something tangible from those days. Haven’t seen any bottling equipment at sales around town. If you’d be willing to sell, I’d love to make an offer.


      First post, avid readers. Sorry not story related. Keep up the good fight all..

  6. Renner and the Lefties attitude:

    Section 8 housing–GOOD!! The “noble, downtrodden” poor. Trans-generational dependency. Roll out the welcome mat. MORE DEMOCRAT VOTERS!!!!!!!!

    Golfing–BAD!! Evil, white Republicans. Tax and harass them. (Because you can’t line them up along the walls of the CornCrib and machine gun them, Che Guevara style–their true, secret desire.

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