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Dear ARA Landlords,
What a whirlwind that past year has been! It was our first year as an officially organized Landlord group and we did A LOT for being “first-timers.”
· We were able to “slim down” and/or eliminate several very harmful items from the proposed Chapter 13 – so that the new Ames Rental Code is much better than it could have been!
· We have created a common voice for landlords in Ames that is both acknowledged and respected.
· We joined forces with other landlords associations throughout the State in lobbying for less arduous codes and support forthcoming legislation that would severely limit individual city government rights to impose more restrictive ordinances on landlord than those already in place on the state level.
· We have created a cohesive group of landlords all fighting to preserve both our rights and the collective rights of our tenants (especially in the form of affordable housing). PS – Welcome to our most recent member: Hunziker Property Management.
· We have established working relationships with our many of our council members and have their support on many key items that remain serious hurdles in our everyday businesses.
· We have held several “general meetings” for both informative and goal-setting reasons. (Who can forget when a couple hundred of us showed up to a city council meeting wearing white shirts?)
· We created a uniform appeal sheet meeting the city’s criteria so we can appeal inspection items without hesitation. (I hope everyone is using it!)
· We started a website with a landlord login that provides access to a myriad of forms and valuable rental-related information for ARA members.
· We organized as an official nonprofit organization, so your membership dues are tax deductible.
Looking back, we really have accomplished some great things. But, there are still many monumental and serious problems to overcome.
· The city originally stated that appealing to the PMAB is free, but has begun to “spot” charge for appeals. The city council informed us that the rental inspections division wasn’t receiving appeals so had to reason to believe anything was a problem for landlords; and further that the division welcomed our feedback and appeals. We MUST have the right to question a decision with fear of a financial hit.
· The battle over plumbing continues (especially S traps) and needs our attention. It will take more than a couple of landlords to get this city action repealed. We need everyone so our voices will be loud enough to rise above political rhetoric.
· The city continues to offer financial incentives to individuals willing to buy a current rental and convert it to owner occupied. If the goal is to improve homes in Ames, why can’t a landlord apply for funds to improvement those same properties? If the goal is to eliminate rentals in residential neighborhoods, we challenge the city of Ames to come out and say that.
· The restrictions being placed on properties trying to enter the rental housing market for the first time are in many cases completely cost prohibitive. A 1910 building will never be a 2009 building. Let’s keep the history in our cities architecture in-tact.
· Properties that hold a current LOC (and have had a current LOC for many decades) are now being inspection under the new chapter 13. The reports have been frightening. Some reports are coming in requiring over $10K – $15K of repairs to maintain rental status. This is not acceptable!
So, with a mix of emotions (thrilled with the progress we’ve made and overwhelmed with the problems that still exist), we thank you for your continued participation with the Ames Rental Association. Even if we were to only solve one problem this coming year, it would same most of you more money than the cost of membership, including “the big guys.” But, we aim to do better than that. Let’s keep up the momentum and make even more progress this year towards making Ames a rental-friendly city for landlords, neighborhoods, and citizens.
The Ames Rental Association
Kelli Excell, Dan Craig, David Keller, Paula Shriver, Jim Gunning, Lad Grove, Chuck Winkleblack, Mike Frisk, Dale Vanderschaff, and Stacy Woodward