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Task force to study rental problems

October 8, 2005

Two South Tempe residents are among 13 members of a task force studying the negative effects of rentals on city neighborhoods.

After the group’s initial meeting Sept. 27, member Tammy Billington said the emphasis so far, however, seems to be on areas other than South Tempe.

“The amount of rentals are extremely limited south of Elliot (Road),” said Billington. “The study leans heavily toward ASU property and the ASU student problem.”

Even so, Billington, who with her husband owns a number of rental properties in the area, feels the group can accomplish a great deal of good citywide.

“As a landlord I know some of the loopholes, and can help (correct) them,” she said.

Although she said rentals should be considered an asset to the community, it remains important for landlords to live up to their obligations to the neighborhoods in which rentals exist.

“I didn’t want this to be a vigilante type of group, but I do feel like I’m part of the community and that landlords should be held accountable.”

Her longtime experience with rental properties also will help guide her involvement, she said.

“After all, who better can see how to help than those who have been involved with it.”

Jim Delton, the other South Tempe delegate to the task force, also noted that the members’ primary focus thus far has been on “older, less costly houses that are more likely to be rentals” than in newer neighborhoods.

Some discussion at the opening meeting centered on what are termed ASU “party houses,” he said, noting however that the problem of upkeep is an issue even outside the ASU environment.

“People who are not keeping up the landscaping at rental properties create a problem, no matter where those properties may be,” he said.

Shauna Warner, neighborhood services director for the city of Tempe, said the task force will continue to review current practices and recommend new tools to combat the negative effects of rentals on neighborhoods.

She quoted Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman as saying that rental housing is a “critical issue for all Tempe residents” and that the city hopes to “improve, preserve and protect” Tempe neighborhoods.

Also serving on the group are Vice Mayor Mark Mitchell and Councilmember Ben Arredondo, who chairs the City Council’s Neighborhood Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee.





















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