After over two years of study and preparation, Councilman Steve Jennings has put forth his proposal for rental registration as a means of improving the quality of rental housing stock.
Mr. Jennings has long advocated registration, a concept that has surfaced before but was rejected as landlords feared cost and bureacracy and the heavy hand of City Hall.
The plan faces opposition from property owners, many of whom are local people, and not the absentee slumlords who are part of the dialogue on this issue.
Registration and inspection are part of a broader discussion on blighted property, but it is unclear to many how registration accomplishes the goal. Sixty percent of Watertown residents live in rental property.
From the WDT story, it seems the proposal faces a bumpy ride, but there is (or will be) editorial and establishment support for registration as this idea predated the Jennings campaign in 2013.
Registration was kept below the radar last year, I suspect because a galvanizing issue like this was problematic for candidates trying to not alienate the ownership class, who actually vote.
Mr. Jennings concern over the quality of housing stock is laudable, but there has never been a link explained about how this form of regulation in one community changes anything.
On the other hand, I have nothing to hide. I have two apartments. There. I am registered.