The bare minimum

Asheville used to enforce a Minimum Housing Code. The main rule under that code was that periodic inspection of rental housing was required and that the rental units had to meet certain minimum standards. Such regulation has been found to have a very positive effect on housing quality and maintenance in other cities and it took a lot of effort by many people to fashion and institute that code here.shack

In 2002, Mayor Charles Worley led the effort to eliminate the MHC. A landlord himself and legal counsel for the Board of Realtors, he and other Council members adopted ideas assembled by a study commission composed of other landlords and rescinded the rule. Now we have a complaint-based system in which tenants must report problems to landlords who have 90 days to respond. If there is no response, the tenant must complain to the city which contacts the landlord who has 90 days to respond … do you see where this is going?

Required inspections don’t hurt responsible landlords, they push irresponsible landlords to do what’s right. Mayor Terry Bellamy was a Council member and voted against Worley and company. She said then that “We will revisit this issue.” I agree and will help Terry put that rule back in place.


One Response

  1. Well, that’s just astounding. I wonder what rationale the powers-that-be could offer to support the absence of minimum standards for landlords and shifting the policing to the often vulnerable renters. I wonder how many other NC cities the size of Asheville have such a minimum housing code.

    I know a young man who rents a place not far from the center of the city. The rental has no running water, except the 18″ that is running in the basement, and no heat except a couple small space heaters. I can imagine what would happen if he filed a complaint. I can imagine the medical problems he may be subject to with standing water in the basement.

    Robert McDonald, Ph.D.
    Asheville, NC

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