Rental Companies are Bad for Ranlo

Property ownership in Ranlo is being taken away from the people who live in Ranlo. I had anecdotally suspected this was the case watching the houses sold near me. It felt as if every house that sold had a For Rent sign on the lawn in a month after it was sold. Looking at the houses in the Gaston County GIS that sold this year confirmed my suspicions. 142 residential properties changed hands. Out of those 41 list a corporation as the owner. Thats almost a third of the houses sold in Ranlo that are now owned by a faceless corporation that doesn’t have a stake in the good of Ranlo except on its impact on their profits.

Driving around Ranlo, you see houses in need of upkeep or have the bare minimum of upkeep- lawns in need of mowing; flower beds full of weeds not flowers; dirt and mold on the siding. Right next door to those houses you see a house with a well maintained lawn, beautiful flower beds, and nice lawn ornaments. If you check who owns the house that has had maintenance neglected, its inevitably a rental corporation. Why don’t they care about the condition of their investment? They clearly don’t care about the impact it has on the homeowners of Ranlo. Their neglect not only drives down property values but could potentially create hazards for their neighbors. Snakes, mice, and other pests make their nests in the neglected lawns and will move on to the neighboring houses at some point. I would like to make it clear that this doesn’t apply to all rentals. In many cases, the renter goes above and beyond and cares more than corporate owner does and makes the property beautiful.

These problems are only going to grow worse with the current housing market. These faceless corporations outbid families who want to make Ranlo their home when houses go on the market. I understand why the sellers accept the offer. Its tough to turn down the extra 15% cash offer that can benefit you and your family when you are selling your home. The families that end up renting these homes after they are sold have no choice but to pay inflated rents because when they try and purchase a home, they get outbid by some company in California or Arizona.

If I was elected Commissioner, I’d propose several ordinances to help alleviate this issue. The primary one would be an ordinance limiting the amount of rental properties within the Ranlo limits. I would also push for greater code enforcement and application of penalties for non compliance. I would also propose an ordinance that requires rental companies to obtain a surety bond to cover any potential fines or remediation that Ranlo performs on their behalf.

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