Archive for Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Property woes

July 26, 2005


To the editor:

Seems to me that no (or little) enforcement regarding the number of unrelated renters also is the main problem with rental property in all single-family zoned neighborhoods.

Without a substantial penalty for noncompliance, and no real effort to determine the number of renters, there is no reason for any landlord to comply. Many are thumbing their noses at the ordinance. I was told by a builder that he knows of landlords who not only have four, five (or more) renters in a single-family zone, but they have not even registered their rental property because there is no penalty if caught.

Partial solutions include:

1. All rental property be registered (multifamily included), and also their tenants.

2. Reduce unrelated renters in single-family zoned neighborhoods to two.

3. All rental property should provide off-street parking (not a graveled front yard).

4. Levy a 1 percent tax on all rental income to help offset police, fire and city infrastructure costs that unfairly burden businesses and homeowners.

Rental properties in central Lawrence single-family zones have eliminated over 50 percent of owner-occupied homes. There is no such thing as single-family zoned housing in Lawrence. All single-family zoning is multifamily zoning by de-facto. Rental "businesses" within single-family zones is the principal reason for over-priced housing in central Lawrence. Rental housing to unrelated renters in single-family zoning also is the single biggest reason for the demise of families and schools in central Lawrence, which is fast becoming a "student slum."

Sadly, central Lawrence has become undesirable for family living. Ask any Realtor.

Bob Blank,



Jamesaust 12 years, 11 months ago

Egads! Incompliance with an unenforceable regulation. What next? Demands from non-property owners for equal rights? The suggestions are interesting: 1. this is fine but it still doesn't tell you who is related to who. 2. probably couldn't survive legal challenge. what would be the basis for the city's authority? health & welfare? what's unhealthy about two unrelated adults and a foster child living together in a house? (probably lesbians - better run them off as "undesirable") 3. probably couldn't survive legal challenge. again, on what basis is the city enacting special rules for property rented by, let's say, a married couple with a kid versus owned by that same couple? All the difference in the world between health & safety for an apartment complex housing dozens if not hundreds versus a house with a "normal" number of people (related or not). 4. uh....what unfair burden? three unrelated people living in a house create no more burden than three related people.

What has happened in recent decades is what happens everywhere in America. Single families, rather than buy smaller, older, more cramped homes in a traditional area, buy larger, newer, shiney houses constructed on former cornfields on the edge of town when they can. The on-campus dormatories haven't become depopulated and with the rise of vehicle possession and apartments constructed all over the city I believe the concentration of students in Central Lawrence has, if anything, lessened even if the concentration of students PER HOUSE in increased, which is in turn a direct consequence of the outrageous cost of housing throughout the city.

As to "over priced" housing, I guess it depends on your perspective. Are you buying into the "over priced" market and finding it difficult to afford or are you selling out of the "over priced" market and laughing all the way to the bank? And how do we distinguish "over priced" from "more than I want to pay?" And since when does government intervene in a free market to play favorites with one side or the other?

The worst neighbors I ever had were in a neighborhood not far from campus. They were a family with three teenage children. I swear each person had to have had two cars each (not to mention the boat). People came by to visit and hangout at all hours. Nonetheless, they were related and so in the author's scheme that made it all okay. The city could enact and enforce a noise regulation for EVERYONE. The city could enact regulations governing the number of vehicles on the property for EVERYONE. But then I imagine those public servants would soon be removed from office. After all, its one thing to tell others how to use their property but god forbid anyone should tell us how to use our own.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 11 months ago

Some meth lab guys and girls bought a house in our neighborhood. It took 19 months to get rid of them. These folks were absolutely not good neighbors. They would blatantly harass neighbors (usually single women),drive crazy, shoot guns and when the cops would come they would stand back and yell obscene phrases at them. Usually the police would say they could not do anything because they did not witness whatever incident. But the DEA,KBI and both local law enforcement agencies had history with these people.

The police will not get excited about an ordinance without substance for it will only be waste of their time. It will receive little to no priority.

In contrast four unrelated college women lived across the street who were friendly and delightful as neighbors. When they partied there was never a problem.

kansaskev61 12 years, 11 months ago

If the landlords in Lawrence weren't so greedy and charged a decent rent then students wouldn't have double, triple or even quadruple up in their apartments just to meet the high rents and this would be a non issue. Greed and Avarice....isn't that on the City Seal?

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