Landlords, renters all part of community

Editor,

In response to a letter in the June 13 edition of The Times-Independent, I take issue with [the writers’] assertion that “long-term renters tend to destroy the property and stop paying rent after a few months.”

I have been living in various long-term rental situations for the last 12 years. Renting a living situation is a respectable and (usually) more affordable way of securing a home for yourself, and many renters treat their rentals as such: a home.

The [writers] seem to complain that their hands are tied by needing income from their property, and the only way they can do it is by offering themselves up to the cruel masters of long-term tenants. I have observed that mutual respect goes a long way in most relationships, including that of landlord and tenant. If I was seeking a rental, and a potential landlord exhibited the distaste I found in [the writers’] letter, I would wonder why they chose to manage rental property in the first place. It’s like a hairdresser who loathes touching people’s hair, or a beekeeper who despises insects: why bother?

I know the answer to this question: Tourism money is hard to turn down. But looking at land and development potential as a resource to be maximized, and divorcing from the ways it affects a community, is one of the reasons we have a town that many feel is becoming less and less friendly to actually live in.

The [writers] sound like they feel attacked, saying that although they may appear “wealthy, when actually they are just trying to make mortgage payments, taxes and insurance.” They go on to say that without more accommodations, people will be “taking advantage” of showering at the pool and sleeping in their cars.

I urge property owners who feel similarly to remember that people renting rooms or sleeping in their cars are also, largely, trying to make ends meet. Homeownership is less accessible than it used to be, especially in this area, and long-term or seasonal renting is a fact of life for many people nowadays.

What if property owners and renters saw themselves both as community members who wanted the same thing, namely, a way to have a stable home and make a living in this beautiful valley? We have to start by respecting each other.

– Sam Newman
Moab