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Reader's view: Better-paying jobs will ease rental housing problem

The unaffordable rental housing topic seems to take center stage on a regular basis. The reasoning for high rents seems to be that supply and demand have dictated high rents and regardless of that issue landlords need to lower rents so rent becomes more affordable? That is like telling landlords their property-tax statements will print out lower tax bills so landlords can afford to charge less. I guess if real estate taxes were reduced then maybe rents could go down or maybe the landlords could afford to reinvest in their product? Either way, the tenant would benefit from lower real estate taxes.

Even Mayor Don Ness was quoted in the News Tribune’s editorial of April 14, “Our View: Skepticism abounds over container homes,” stating, “We need to force these folks (slum landlords) to either improve their properties and/or lower their rents.”

Other towns in Minnesota are much more affordable. How can that be? Obviously the other towns are able to charge less for rental housing. Well, if you look at rental rates, it is not true that a two-bedroom apartment is cheaper in Rochester, Minn., or in Minneapolis, but it is true that it is more affordable. How can that be? Simple, the real issue in Duluth is that we need more jobs, better-paying jobs and more people working. Duluth will no longer be the region’s most unaffordable rental housing market if we just get people working. It sounds simple to me.

Joe Kleiman