Voice of the People
City needs better regulation for rental properties
If anything comes out of Mayor Williams' time in office, I truly hope it is a system to license and inspect rental units within the City of Huntington. The current system of self-regulation simply isn't working. For every landlord who maintains a safe and well-maintained building, there are countless others who rent substandard and dilapidated housing that is both unsafe for tenants and a blight on its neighborhood.
It is unreasonable that so many Huntington landlords not only oppose the implementation of a system to require fire insurance claims to be used to clean up fire-damaged properties but at the same time oppose an inspection/compliance system to ensure they don't burn down in the first place.
Every winter, it seems like a house burns down every few days because a tenant was forced to use an improvised heating source, such as an oven, stove burners, or an excessive number of space heaters. And sadly, every year people die because the old houses, converted to apartments, typically have no working smoke alarms, as well as no means to evacuate second- and third-story apartments.
The current system is a tragedy in the making that costs lives and creates a blight on every single neighborhood in the city. If Huntington is going to have any kind of future, something must be done.