Editor’s note: Out of respect for the mayor, we are publishing this as it was submitted to us, without edit or comment. While this column has already been published elsewhere, it was not provided to us until after it was released.
On a warm summer day travelling throughout our community anyone can notice an increase in For Rent or For Sale signs. People moving in and out bring about change. We are an ever-changing community. According to the April 1, 2020 Census the population of Ferguson has decreased from the April 1, 2010 Census.
The For Rent and For Sale signs have citizens wondering ‘who is going to be my new neighbor?’ Will our new neighbors have children or are they going to be seniors? A lot of questions are going through citizens’ minds. The truth of the matter is that all of us are concerned with the For Rent and For Sale signs.
Housing rentals and/or sales must stay in tune with preserving our neighborhoods with quality housing for promoting homeownership and increasing the property value of each house. Living next door to a nuisance property or an abandoned property creates a hardship for residents and the neighborhood. Neighborhoods that are plagued with too many abandon houses and nuisance properties are rapidly heading in the direction of a downward spiral. Maintenance of properties, enforcement of building codes, and drug prevention, are critical factors that aid in the sustainability, beautification and stabilization of the community.
There is an influx in our community from out of state investors, many of whom don’t seem to have the community’s best interests at heart. They are landlords, but are often more commonly referred to as speculators. While many speculators are engaged in real estate transactions that are not detrimental to the communities in which they are doing business, such is not the case with the particular group of speculators that I’m referring to. Members of the latter group often acquire housing that is abandoned or in foreclosure. Typically, they make minimal or no repairs to the properties prior to renting them to renters on whom they have done little or no screening. Once their properties are rented, such speculators collect rents, but often fail to adequately maintain the properties. They may have multiple renters in succession moving in and out of the houses. Yet, the properties continue to decline and become eyesores in the neighborhoods. Eventually, they may end up vacant and abandoned again and the cycle is repeated.
Many individuals and families purchase housing to create homes where they can put down roots for a secure quality of life and/or where they can raise their children. Neighbors welcome all residents to their neighborhoods hoping that all will continue to bring value and share the common goal of a safe and inviting place to live. When new neighbors move into a community, it is always nice when they are warmly welcomed by the existing residents.
Yet, we find out sometimes there are different outcomes. Landlords must be held accountable for the tenants that they plant in neighborhoods. Of course, we are welcome landlords who are reputable and want to Ibe a part of the growth of our community. However, there are other landlords who don’t share the same value system and who are not interested in the development of the community. Such landlords don’t keep up their properties and are not selective of the tenants who they rent their houses to. Behavior of this sort starts a crack in the public safety and welfare of the neighbors and the experiences are not good for anyone.
Mayor Ella Jones