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Rights for Renters

The struggling economy, and the troubled housing market, have certainly made their mark in many parts of the US. Once-comfortable families, contented couples and independent singles, have found themselves in the tragic position of losing their homes and seeking alternative accommodations. This has resulted in an increase in the number of rental properties in many areas, some as the direct result of losing mortgagees, others due to simple economics of supply and demand.

But with an ever increasing number of people turning to rental accommodation in the wake of the foreclosure crisis, some regions are seeing a thriving trade in the provision of unlawful dwellings. Poor maintenance, overcrowding, and illegally constructed apartments are all contributing to the concerns of city leaders throughout the country. Without proper regulation and tenant protection, it is feared that many Americans could succumb to living in perilously poor conditions, thanks to unscrupulous landlords.

Of course, many of the concerned Councils who are introducing measures, or at least discussing ways in which they can ensure a level of health and safety for renters, are meeting opposition from many private landlords. They claim that the extra cost of registering their properties, and submitting to official inspections, will only create a burden that will be passed on to struggling low-income tenants, in rent increases. Some of the criticism that has been leveled at the architects of these rental ordinance schemes, implies that they are simply money-making initiatives for cash-strapped councils.

In the California city of Santa Cruz, the local council has just passed an ordinance that is aimed at securing a level of rented housing that will meet a minimum standard for human habitation. The Program, which will come into effect in January 2011, will identify substandard, or unsafe accommodations throughout the city. Over half of all the residents in Santa Cruz are currently renters. The ordinance will require that all owners or operators of residential rental units, register with the City. Those who do not qualify for the Self-Certification Program will be inspected on an annual basis.

During the inspection, the owner or manager must be present, while attendance by tenants is optional. Inspectors will be looking for health and safety violations including unsanitary conditions, overcrowding, and ensuring that structures meet with all relevant housing and zoning codes.

While some landlords may eschew the introduction of such measures, others are more than happy to comply with clear legislation that protects the well being of tenants, and ultimately their income. The stereotypical image of impoverished students, immigrants, and the terminally unemployed, as the sole denizens of poor rented housing could become a thing of the past without this kind of legislation. As the rate of foreclosed homes increases, the number of Americans seeking safe, affordable and convenient rental accommodation will surely grow, and with it, the need for a blanket protection that will benefit every renter.

Everything you need to know about Santa Cruz real estate is right here at Lauren Spencer, Coldwell Banker Realtor will be glad to answer your questions about homes in Capitola CA.

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