Sweeping changes coming to rent policies under Section 8 | Letter
February 6, 2013 · 2:34 PM
All landlords, or potential landlords, should be aware that the city has been quietly moving towards mandating that you must accept Section 8 vouchers.
And from what I hear, these can be good for helping folks pay for housing and they can be good for some landlords – particularly larger apartment complexes. I have listened to those with experience who state that there is perhaps new difficulty with the Section 8 housing vouchers in that move-out damage by a tenant is no longer part of the program.
Often those who qualify for Section 8, by definition, may not be able to pay for any damage. And there may be a host of other problems - particularly for those renting a single home or condo, or a small number of units wherein they cannot absorb the cost of their tenant’s “wear and tear” when there is no damage deposit.
What about homeowners associations that require damage deposits or move in fees when units are leased? Does a landlord now have to pay the association a damage deposit, fee (etc.) out of their own pocket in order to fulfill their obligation to accept Section 8 tenants? What about the cost of homeowners association rules infractions? Generally those are billed back to the tenant. There does not appear to be a provision for covering these costs with the Section 8 program.
So again, a small scale landlord will be paying these fines for their tenant. This will cause homeowners associations chaos since the whole reason for rules and fines is to make the tenants (owners and renters) incentivized to follow the rules.
So would citizens expect that the city council could enact a massive change in city laws without outreach, public input, or a vote, or anything? Would citizens expect their city to dictate who they must accept as tenants? Again, without notifying the public that they were changing the laws?
The council asked city staff to conduct outreach on this issue. They made that request in November. It appears a select group of folks were given advance invitation. Those who had spoken against this type of mandate in prior years claim to have heard NOTHING about the meeting.
There were only two attendees who are property owners or landlords from Kirkland. What was the city’s outreach? (An email to a small email list just 26 hours before the meeting). So, Kirkland, where is the outreach? Where is the public process? Do we have a government that just enacts laws that impact tens of thousands of citizens and businesses whenever someone “in power” gets the itch to change something? Come on. This type of behavior needs to change.
Karen Levenson, Kirkland