I want to comment on the story in Thursday’s Herald about the residents of Washburn Towers who had to move after being denied lease renewals. This was the culmination of complaints by residents about door openers, among other matters.

This issue reminded me of a letter I submitted last year about landlords and their abuse of real estate in our city. You might recall that I called for a watchdog system of some kind, including licensing and inspections. For some unknown reason, some landlords do no maintenance, just collecting rents, while the structure deteriorates.

 Well, no surprise! Nothing has been done about the suggestion. Hello, city commissioners and zoning.

I know there is an increasing number of properties on the delinquent tax list that the city now has on its demolition list. What a pity. It makes so much more sense to encourage renovations and maintenance rather than creating an ever-increasing inventory of vacant lots. Coincidentally, I am renovating two of my rentals recently vacated. I choose to do this to have continuing rental income rather than having them slip into a non-inhabital condition, defaulting to the city.

Now, add to that the abuse of the elderly at a property apparently mismanaged. It is obvious to most that by Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules that entry and hallway doors must have electronic openers for the wheelchair-bound and the feeble. The question is: Would it have been better to have periodic inspections of the Washburn Towers, avoiding lease/moving issues involving the elderly? Imagine the impact if a knowledgeable inspector were to point out needed repairs at rental homes/apartments before they become major, expensive ones.

Wake up, city commissioners! Improved properties bring in more taxes than vacant lots do. Add to that the legal and demolition costs followed by zero tax income from city-owned land.

It ain’t rocket science!

— Richard Warren,