"What we have is a concern that there are substandard conditions in a portion of our rental properties....It's not in the best interest of our city for the housing stock to be detiorating" said Alderman Greg Helding in response to those protesting an ordinance proposal which would allow or require city inspections of rental properties.
All righty then. Helding appears to be operating under the assumption that our housing stock is detiorating because city government has not been intrusive enough. If only government would step in and force the evil landlords to clean up, everything would be swell in the city of Racine.
The problem with scapegoating landlords is that it makes no sense. The problem is not landlords, it is politicians who espouse big government solutions to our problems.
Why would landlords want their investments to detiorate? Why don't landlords invest in their properties and make them beautiful?
Answer: Landlords don't want their properties to detiorate and they will only invest in their properties if they can recoup their investment with rent increases.
The problem is that in certain areas of Racine, people with the means to afford a nice home or a nice rental unit do not want to live there. Thus, a landlord that spends too much to update and improve his property will lose money because potential renters will not pay enough rent to recoup his investment.
Landlords operate under these conditions, they don't cause these conditions. Politicians have caused these conditions with excessive property tax rates. Over time, high taxes (and other factors) have caused residents to flee Racine, leaving a surplus of housing and a deficit of buyers. Landlords have stepped in to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.
The answer to this downward spiral is not more government, it is less government. If you want to reverse this trend, offer incentives for people to fix their properties via tax credits, lower tax rates, etc... that are regularly offered to the well connected developers.
Or scapegoat landlords, chase them out of town, and make the situation even worse.