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LETTERS: Apartment inspections will only drive up rents in Waco

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No on inspections

When I read the “Waco eyes apartment inspections” article in the June 11 edition, I had to immediately sit down and write something in response to this. I was shocked, appalled and angered about the overreach that is picking up steam with the city council and how badly this would affect the rental market in Waco.

As a longtime landlord this is exactly the type of overreach the city of Waco does not need to do. In fact, if you want to see fewer rental properties in the city now and in the future, implementing regular inspections will do just that. And the rentals that will be here will be more expensive.

So trying to help the lower income people in the city will have the opposite effect, because you will be adding more costs, processes and rules to owning rentals. Who do you think will ultimately end up paying for this? With the COVID-19 pandemic a lot of small mom-and-pop owners (which is in the majority of rental property owners) were put out of business due to extreme ideas like this. But in this case it was telling them they couldn’t evict people who were living in their property for free because of COVID-19.

It is obvious to me that the people planning this don’t own rental properties. If they did they wouldn’t be “giddy” about more regulations or saying ridiculous things like, “I don’t think it’s an and intrusion on private property rights. It looks like a great solution to make sure the units are at least habitable.” Trust me, if your property isn’t habitable, no one will want to live in it. People are very picky these days.

Renters can and do call in and complain to the city already for issues that require the city to come out and inspect properties. Often times these are bogus calls. I can’t tell you how many times when someone is late on rent or is getting evicted for non-payment that this is exactly what they would do. They would call the city to complain about something being broken or not working. If they were really vindictive, they would be the ones who actually did the damage to what they were calling in about. And you could really get yourself in a pickle for something you didn’t do wrong. It is a tough business to own and manage rentals. Most landlords keep up their properties and maintain them well. They want and try very hard to do right by others. This is their retirement plan or extra income source.

There is a process in place now for properties with issues and anyone can contact the city about this and file a complaint, and it will be investigated. This system works fairly well. I would encourage the city to improve on this process rather that create an entirely new system that will have a lot of unintended expenses and consequences. It will ultimately make the rental market worse and cause fewer people to want to do business here.

Look around the city. Rentals are being remodeled and made nicer everywhere you look. The system isn’t broken, so please don’t try to fix it.

Scott Smith,



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