by Duluth News Tribune
May 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm in Duluth News Tribune
An effort to amend Duluth’s city code could result in new restrictions on how many tenants will be allowed in conventional homes converted to rental properties.
Tags: Business, city of Duluth, Community, Duluth, Home, money 32 Comments »
Simply absurd! Duluth already struggles with a shortage of low-to-middle income housing which causes higher per-capita rental rates (simple economics of supply & demand) and now they want to ban “multi-family” conversions which would actually help to alleviate this problem? I understand that neighborhoods are changing and people don’t like it, but unfortunately the entire world is changing, whether we like it or not. Simply, Duluth now derives much of it livelihood from its impressive commitment to higher education (over 8,000 out-of-town students attend UMD every year), but this stance necessitates that Duluth have a larger proportion of multi-family housing than in the past. Take a pick, multi-family homes with students or vacant, dilapidated eyesores that the city may have to pay to tear down in the future (to save the neighborhood, lol). Personally, I believe that Landlords, like John Peterson, are actually saving some neighborhoods by investing in these old, neglected buildings while also providing an increase in available rental units. In this case, I think it’s better to embrace the future, rather than trying to prevent it without any hope of success.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 44 28
What makes you think these multi-tenant properties provide low to middle income housing? Do the math. The landlords charge per person/bedroom in these properties – typically $400 x 6 = $2400/month. A single person or family cannot compete with 6 families paying the rent which is making rental almost impossible for anyone but students. Families that have been renting in my neighborhood for years have been evicted by landlords. One family even offered to buy the property so they could stay but were turned down because of the enormous profit gained by renting per room. John Peterson is not saving anything but a big bunch of money right into his bank account. The student district being developed is a much better solution for all to co-exist in the area surrounding the campus.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 45 14
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Are you joking? You think these landlords are getting $400/month PER BEDROOM? Rent may be high here, but this is not New York or Chicago. I agree that it’s unfortunate that it’s getting more difficult to find affordable single-family housing, but why are they automatically more important than students? Also, many of these potential conversion properties are dilapidated, virtually uninhabitable, and often foreclosed properties that wouldn’t pass city rental codes in their present condition anyways.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 9 23
You, evidently, are not aware of what the standard rent in this area. Did anyone (DNT for example) wonder/question why Mr Peterson lives in Apple Valley but is investing heavily in student rental properties in Duluth? Here’s an ad from today to help you out – this one is $475 per bedroom:
$950 / 2br – Great 2+ Bedroom House Near UMD. Available June 1st!
Date: 2012-05-31, 8:34AM CDT
> Available June 1st!
> 2+ Bedroom + 1 Bathroom
> Huge Basement
> Hardwood Floors
> Views of Lake Superior
> Quiet Neighborhood
> Near Bus Line to Campus
> No Pets, Please
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 22 2
Nick, you’re right. Landlords shouldn’t get upwards of $400 per bedroom. Yet, that’s about the lowest price you can find on craigslist or anywhere else for that matter. Here’s a list of what I had to pay each month for housing in Duluth. And please note, you need to be frugal to be a Furgler. 😉
– $600+ per month, 4 people in a 2br (UMD)
– $280 per month plus all utilities, 5+ people in a 5br (slumlord – no deposit back)
– $387 per month plus electric, 2 people in a 2br (had to negotiate tirelessly with Shiprock to get my full deposit back)
– $313 per month plus all utilities, 4 people in a 4br (slumlord – less than half the deposit back)
– $300 per month plus all utilities, 5 people in a 4br (subleasing)
– $450 per month, efficiency by myself (actually got the deposit back)
– $325 per month, shared efficiency with partner
The only decent housing I rented was well outside the UMD area. All of the other multi-bedroom houses I’ve rented near college have been dumpy at best. E.g. stains on carpet, missing carpet, no insulation, crooked walls, falling ceilings, smell of mildew, flooding basements. This is why I love all the landlords playing the victim on here. You feel entitled (eh, there’s that word again) to massive returns on your investment, and you’re bringing down the standard of living for everybody else. No matter… if you’re anything like my current landlord, you’re glitzing it up in your Caribbean condo, paying your mortgage with the sweat off my back.
Hot debate. What do you think? 25 11
This city is just proving more and more why it is such a joke.
Hot debate. What do you think? 32 19
Everyone wants their money and the jobs they support by living here, yet no one wants them as neighbors. Things change, neighborhoods change, that’s part of life. Move on to more important city issues like trying to find money for lost casino revenue.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 34 19
I’ve said it before… This is a problem because UMD expanded year over year with no plans for dealing with the increased number of students. People seem surprised by the fact that students want to have a place to live and they can’t afford to buy so they rent. Even more surprising seems to be that students also want to live near campus. To top it off we have a city council that is not mentally equipped to understand the problem so we get a series of knee-jerk reactions to the problem. 300 Foot Rule, Off Street Parking rules, bedroom restrictions… How are they addressing the problem? The city council solution is to make landlords the bad guys and make owning rental property a zero sum business. Anyone surprised why Duluth is tagged as not being business friendly?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 42 12
Mr. Evans is right: Students ARE eroding family neighborhoods, the character of Duluth.
And urgent action is needed.
At one time, perhaps, students were civilized enough to co-occupy- and even contribute to the character of family neighborhoods.
But not anymore- unless we approve of children being raised in company of foul-mouth, littering, vandals who plague their streets and playgrounds with broken glass and graffiti.
Not to mention the extremely loud and disrespectful parties that have the whole family up, agitated late at night, wrecking hard-earned weekends.
As for those who have made investment decisions based on what they felt would be the complacency of local family home-owners: that’s business, and business is loaded with calculated risks.
Now it’s up to the council and concerned citizens to continue the good work of protecting Duluth’s valuable neighborhoods from transients.
Hot debate. What do you think? 19 27
If students are the problem, then the city needs to pass tougher legislation to stop the unruly behaviors i.e. charging landlords for police calls and disruptive tenants, and stricter enforcement of graffiti laws, public intoxication/urination, etc. The colleges are a substantial and vital portion of Duluth’s economy, so you might as well get used to their presence, because they are not going away.
Hot debate. What do you think? 23 12
Duluth has too many old large houses anyway. Time to tear thenm down, right clowncilors? They become money pits that a single family simply cannot support. For example one of my properties has an (approx) $9000.00 per year Comfort Systems utility bill for heat, water, sewer. This doesn’t not even begin to address taxes or upkeep. How many of you would want to buy a home like that? What is to become of the large old houses if nobody can afford to buy them? Might as well call the demolition companies now.
Hot debate. What do you think? 17 17
You didn’t mention how many square feet you $9,000 heat bill accommodates. That would put it in better perspective. If you have a $9,000 heat bill, why don’t you do something about it? Do you have a high efficiency furnace and proper insulation or are you just a slum lord passing on these expenses instead of doing something about it for your future tenants?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 25 8
How about enforcing existing laws that punish individuals for their actions? How about making it easier to get rid of problem tenants? It seems that every couple months, the council comes up with a new restriction that doesn’t address the issue of bad tenants, just slaps another restriction on property owners…
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 34 9
Right Ian. The clowncilors are spanking the landlords for a problem caused by tenant behavior. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to spank the tenants for being a problem? If a few tickets are issued to problem tenants, landlords are automatically compelled to take action by virtue of ordinances already on the books or risk losing their rental license.
Like or Dislike: 12 15
Like or Dislike: 7 13
Listen to the landlord class over here. Maybe tenants should reserve the right to evict bad landlords then too! 😉 I’ve had plenty of don’t-give-a-care-as-long-as-I-get-paid slumlords… Plus, most of you guys nickle and dime us out of our deposits too. And you do it because you know we won’t sue you for just $400 or so. There are even specific check-in, check-out forms that you people use just to con your tenants out of their deposit entirely. The whole practice is despicable, and you wonder why people don’t support you guys?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 29 12
Sounds like you were a bad tenant, Merv. I went to UMD for 4 years, and lived off campus for 3 of those years. I never once had a landlord not give my room mates and me all of our deposits back, and I had 3 different landlords.
Like or Dislike: 2 1
Duluth is a joke and so is Boyle. He’s just like his father was in Wisconsin. Anti-Business and a joke.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 12 22
its pretty sad that at a time when more homeowners have been entering the ranks of renters that our city finds ways to make rent even higher and rental properties harder to come by. Its things like this that make me wonder why im a liberal and not a conservative.
Like or Dislike: 15 6
An over abundance of students isn’t the problem of the City of Duluth. It’s a UMD problem that speculators are taking advantage of to make a lot of money. I understand the gentleman in the story is trying to protect his investors. But unless he told them something different, his investors understand they are speculators. As such, you win some, you lose some.
Like or Dislike: 13 6
Can they jack up the Kozy, move it to UMD, and then let students live in it?
Like or Dislike: 12 7
The City of Duluth should have zoning that is for single family residential. Housing in that area should only be owner occupied with no more than two none related individuals besides the owner, living there. Non-owner occupied housing should be limited to one family wherein all occupants are related. Rental housing, such as apartments or homes for non owner occupants should be in a separate residential zone. The City has lost control of its residential areas by allowing multi-tenant occupants in single family residential areas, and now it is a mess because the City has allowed investment of multi-tenant housing in single family residential areas. Legislation should be phased in over ten years to eliminate multi-tenant housing in single family residential areas, thus forcing the colleges and university to provide adequate housing for their students, or by the city changing its zoning from single family housing to multi-tenant housing within a certain radius of the colleges and university. More construction will be going on near the university and now is the time to get zoning fixed for the next 50 years.
Like or Dislike: 11 11
Sounds like a few residents are a little bitter about students not offering to shovel their sidewalks or mow the grass for them.
Hot debate. What do you think? 13 17
Heck we’d be happy if they’d just shovel and mow their own!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 29 6
lol u do realize its on the owner of the property to do these two things right??? The lazy cheap and out of town landlords are the ones that work writing into the lease that transfers the responsability to the renters. If my landlord had a lawnmover on my property i would mow and i do shovel ..and not just my own driveway (that i dont even get to park in btw) but the sidewalks for the whole block on my side of the street. Granted its mostly just so i can walk freely to and from my car, but i also work with handicapped people so i realize their are people who appreciate such gestures.
Like or Dislike: 8 1
Funny you should say that.. To be the good neighbor that I am, during the last big snow storm we had, I was out snowblowing my driveway and I noticed the 4 or 5 kids’ cars from the house across the street from me were stuck in their driveway, so I motored over there and took care of the snow around their vehicles for them… and then I even drove one of their cars out of the driveway since he couldn’t figure out how to get out of the indentations his tires had made and just kept spinning in place (rock the car, dude!). Anyway, after I snow-blowed their entire driveway for them, I mentioned that they should ‘pay it forward’ and spend some time working on their next door neighbor’s plow-bank, I even offered them the use of a couple shovels… they laughed and said that that was ‘their problem’. I nearly re-buried them all…
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 15 0
The City has another choice, and that is to make areas with any rental housing, completely zoned as multi-tenant housing. The City should also set strict standards for the maintenance of multi-tenant housing zones, grass and weeds must be kept lower than 6 inches, garbage cans cannot be left by the street more than 24 hours, and property must be maintained in working order, no peeling paint, etc., with fines added to the real estate tax bill. Anyone can file a complaint.
At this point it’ll be interesting to see what’s done once Woodland closes, and all that land – the school property as well as all the UMD property on the other side of the avenue – opens up. It’s a huge opportunity for dorm-style, SRO housing for students and graduates just starting out. Yes, about five years ago the student house across from us was terrible – never did we see the police on Vermilion Road in decades – they must’ve been there six times per semester. The last spring I was in Duluth the new students were so quiet I didn’t even notice them.
However, if the new housing district happens at Woodland, what will become of these now-ruined single family homes that nobody in their right mind would ever buy? Will they all end up being Section 8 rental or Center City Housing homes? Either way, no matter how ripped up those houses are, someone you don’t care for will be living in them. As long as someone can get $20 a month in rent, those houses aren’t going away and they certainly won’t sit empty.
Like or Dislike: 7 5
Let me get this straight – between Stauber’s moronic 300-foot rule, to the protected zone, to the moratorium, and now to this new hairbrained scheme? Councilors, please STOP!!! Why did someone not talk to UMD for input on this “problem” that UMD has created? If you live near UMD, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE STUDENTS LIVING BY YOU! WHAT IS WITH THESE PEOPLE WHO THINK THAT THEY ARE ENTITLED TO A QUIET, RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD WHILST LIVING NEXT TO UMD? Nonsense.
Yes, you can tell me about “quiet enjoyment,” and I agree that everyone is entitled to “quiet enjoyment.” However, if your rental neighbors are making too much noise, why not call the police? If they do not respond, why blame the landlords? Hasn’t the Duluth PD gotten its numbers back to where they were when Duluth’s population was 100,000 plus? And don’t they have a nice, beautiful, ridiculously expensive new headquarters close to UMD?? So response time should not be a problem. If it is, then your complaint should be with the police, not the landlords. Implementing Boyle’s plan will not evenly distribute renters across the city (do you really think students will want to live out west???) – it will simply drive up the price of rent. Another example of the council sticking it to the students.
Like or Dislike: 8 5
We need more apartment-style housing for UMD/CSS/LSC students, period.
Most of the housing being taken over is the nicer houses in the 21st Ave E area. The combination of a recession and the housing bubble has caused many of these houses to be sold to developers who turn them into rentals. These rentals are poorly maintained and the resale value plummets, meaning the owners are more likely to retain them and keep them as rentals rather than selling them because they make much more in rent.
None of that money goes back into the house to add insulation, update wiring, install more efficient heating solutions etc.
It is a downward spiral, which will eventually cause that area’s value to plummet further and cause more problems.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 16 1
A landlord will offer to rent his property for whatever he is able to get a tenant to pay. A tavern sells tap beers for what customers will pay. Ask too much and buyers will go elsewhere. By restricting the supply of rooms, Duluth will be forcing rental prices up as renters will have fewer choices. As demand increases, more investors will provide supply. There is nothing abstruse about any of this.
1. Students don’t want to live in apartments or townhomes. They want houses and want to have fun.
2. Rental properties have property tax rates that are much higher than owner occupied homes. This provides more money to the city, county, and state.
3. Restricting the number of bedrooms would allow me to buy smaller homes and increase the rent per bedroom. This rule will increase rent per room and make many more houses become valuable to landlords and investors. I look for homes that have layouts that are well suited for 5 bedrooms. Rent will go up even more due to restricted supply and increased demand and it will just make more homes suited for rentals even if they only have 3 or 4 bedrooms. The math will work even better. If this is the case, don’t expect that fewer homes in your neighborhood become rentals. You can expect almost every one to be a rental.
4. This is America, don’t any of you care about your rights as property owners?
5. Their are just a bunch of control freaks and complainers on here. Get used to student rentals. The alternatives are far worst. Detroit
Question? Whats to stop you from renting to a number of people regardless of how many bedrooms you have. It’s not like you can only rent a 2 bedroom apartment to 2 people.
Like or Dislike: 9 11
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