Two-family housing offers needed option
I was distressed by the suggestion of a Sept. 9 letter writer that the solution to absentee landlords flipping properties is to convert two-family homes into single-family dwellings. I am the owner occupant of a two-family home. I live on a street that is nearly all owner-occupied two-family homes. The homeowners range from young couples starting out, to families, to retired adults. Our neighborhood is well-kept and safe. To imply that the owners of single-family homes take better care of their property than we do is outrageous.
To address the issue of absentee landlords, lawmakers should pass legislation to expand the regulations for home upkeep and the housing standards for Section-8 or public assistance payments to landlords. More importantly, properly fund enforcement efforts for those regulations. Just enforcing current regulations consistently and in a timely fashion would make a huge difference.
In our community, we have our own way of handling the landlords who let their property slide. Phone calls to 311 about every issue we see – unmowed grass, broken windows, garbage on the property and/or questionable tenants. Community pressure about a property means faster action. Responsible landlords step up to the plate and get things done. The others promptly put the property up for sale and move on.
I am also wondering where the writer thinks all the renting tenants should be living. Not everyone wants to (or can) be a homeowner. Not everyone wants to reside in an overpriced loft or high rise. Maybe renters want a little more space and a yard for their kids. Maybe people new to the city might like the idea of “try before you buy” in a certain area. Maybe an extended family would like to live together in the same house. Two-family housing provides an option that builds community and strengthens our neighborhoods.
Maria Patrick Oakley