Preserving housing stock is the city’s responsibility


          Sometimes in Hamtramck it’s two steps forward and one step back.

          Such was the case a couple of weeks ago when a toughened up ordinance was presented to the city council to help preserve the city’s rental housing stock. The new ordinance would have required homeowners who live in a house with a rental dwelling to have that dwelling inspected.

          The point was to make sure that all potential rental dwellings meet the bare minimum housing codes.

          But there were some on city council who didn’t like that idea.

          Councilmember Anam Miah took the lead on this issue, and rejected that requirement for fear that it would place a financial hardship on homeowners. Normally we agree with Miah on issues, but on this one we beg to differ.

          Miah suggested that if homeowners use their additional rental dwellings for the immediate family to live in, no inspection should be required.

          While that may be the popular thing to do, it’s not the right thing. Why in the world would anyone allow their family members to live in potentially sub-standard housing?

          And if you can’t afford to fix up your house, why are you a homeowner to begin with?

          Owning a home has a number of responsibilities, and one of the key responsibilities is being able to bring it up to code.

          Hamtramck needs to preserve and improve its housing stock. That’s one of the reasons this city is attractive to live in. Making exceptions to that rule is merely pandering to voters.

          Doing the responsible thing as a city official is showing leadership – and sometimes leadership isn’t the most popular thing to do.

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