By Mid-City Messenger
Candidates from City Council Districts A and B races have been establishing their platforms for weeks, whether through general forums, neighborhood organizations or meet-and-greets. But on Wednesday, a select few were given the chance to expound on their strategies to combat rising housing costs and dilapidated rental properties.
The forum was sponsored by the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance and Providence Community Housing, and focused solely on housing costs, long-time resident displacement and crippling rental properties.
City Council District A candidates Aylin Maklansky and Tilman Hardy both said they’d support new ordinances that required basic health and safety inspections for rental properties. Joe Giarusso was invited by could not attend due to a scheduling conflict, organizers said.
Maklansky referenced existing code enforcement mechanisms that allow for inspections both inside and outside of a property, and proposed mediation to smooth landlord-tenant disputes. Often what prevents tenants from addressing housing problems is fear of retaliation, court costs and loss of their homes, Maklansky said.
“Mediation is a way for landlords and tenants to address issues at a much lower cost and without a court,” she said.
Hardy agreed that inspections are vital, but argued that landlords should be able to opt out of city inspections if they provide their own inspections by nationally certified inspectors. Those who list their rental properties with real estate agencies should also be allowed to opt out, since it’s usually required by the agency, Hardy said.
Much of the city’s residential stock lies within District A, and both candidates were pressed on how they’d attract affordable housing to the area – especially since “some” neighborhoods are resistant to low-income facilities, Paulson said.
Hardy said he’d continue to incentivize developments and update energy codes to provide for more low-income housing. The low-income housing credit has drawn more affordable developments to the city, but Hardy argued there should be more for project developers.
“I know its something we don’t want to do, but I can assure you that when developers purchase a property they’re in it to make a return,” Hardy said.
Maklansky argued District A has some of the most diverse housing options in the city, partially due to zoning districts created by city council. Homes run from expensive to affordable all the way from the river to the lake, and people can live close to their homes, she added.
To read what District B candidates had to say about keeping homes affordable, visit our sister site Mid-City Messenger.