Letter to the editor: Crowded housing

To the editor:

My husband and I own our modest home but live near a swath of rental houses.

Within the last week, we both noticed an extraordinary number of people moving into these rentals, making it one of the most car-occupied streets in our neighborhood. None of the young people we saw wore masks or were practicing any distancing.

Unfortunately, code enforcement of over-occupancy, such as we suspect, is complaint-driven and, given the scope of responsibilities our city code enforcement office has, it’s a low priority given the amount of time it takes to enforce such limits.

However, because of the highly contagious nature of this coronavirus, we also contacted the local health department with this question: Given the lack of cooperation by tenants who know they are breaking the law, how will we deal with an outbreak at these rentals if we don’t know who is living there?

My husband and I are both elderly and immuno-compromised, as are several other residents in our neighborhood, not to mention families who also live nearby. As neighbors who know each other, we already practice safe distancing, wear masks and wash hands. But it seems dangerous to us to ignore the significant consequences to permanent residents posed by tenants more concerned with lower rent costs than human health.

We hope there will be an opportunity here for both the code enforcement and the health department to meet with the city’s landlord association to request their cooperation in discouraging over-occupancy in these rental houses.

Deborah Snyder,



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