In an attempt to control "nuisance" houses, usually those where students live and have loud parties and bother neighbors, the Bellingham City Council is considering a licensing law for landlords.
If you own a rental in Bellingham you might want to attend the meeting on Monday, December 7, 2009 at 7 PM in the Bellingham City Council chambers. You can also submit written comments prior to the meeting.
This law is not just limited to landlords with a certain number of rental units but to anyone with a rental property in Bellingham. So if this law were to take effect, and you own one home and rent it out you'll need to be licensed. There will be inspection requirements not only to check for health and safety issues to ensure compliance with the rule that states that not more than three unrelated persons may live in the same house.
There are many people who believe this law is unnecessary and stricter enforcement of present laws is all that is required.
Other cities that have implemented similar licensing laws have an initial licensing fee which may be as much as $1500 with an annual inspection of rental units of $150 per unit. Penalties for failure to get a license could be as much as $1000-$5000 and up to 90 days in jail. And as far as nuisance calls go if the city receives three of them the landlords license may be revoked and the property may not be used as a rental.
Do you think these fees will come out of the landlords pockets, I don't think so, I think they will be passed along to tenants increasing rents in the area.
So maybe you should attend the meeting even if your tenant.