Some in the community are advocating a rooming house ordinance. Now, this is where the issue becomes targeted at a select group of residents and landlords. This is where prejudice, profiling and discrimination are running amuck and I feel that my rights are being threatened because of a few irresponsible landlords.

The real reason why this rooming house ordinance has been proposed in the first place is quite transparent: to drive students out of the College Area. Some would prefer the sign on Montezuma Road to read: Welcome to the College Area: No College Students Allowed! The intent of this rooming house ordinance is not based on American civil rights principles as it harms many innocent students as well as the landlords who fulfill the dire need to house them. Since when is “student” a bad word? Out of the 35,000 students at SDSU, I would guess that less than 15 percent have caused all of this distress. The majority of students are here to learn to become valuable citizens and should not be treated as guilty until proven innocent! If some residents are so anti-student, one wonders why they chose to live just blocks away from a major university in the first place. The College Area is not a retirement community.

At any rate, the rooming house ordinance is doomed to fail. Not only would this ordinance be extremely expensive for the city to attempt to enforce, but it would not achieve its objective because the objective is wrong, both legally and morally. The rooming house ordinance is a thinly disguised agenda to drive students out of the neighborhoods and undermine our investments. Landlords will continue to rent to students regardless. Students will still need to band together in groups since many can’t afford to live any other way. There are thousands of these students in need of housing and they aren’t going to disappear. They need housing! It is the city’s obligation now to accommodate them.

The rooming house ordinance would only force landlords to re-design their leases. For me, master leases can be worse than individual rental agreements. They hinder my ability to keep students in check. I lose control of my common area maintenance rights and have less involvement with the internal affairs of the house. I am not able to enter except for limited reasons and then only with advanced notice. I cannot pick and choose each tenant as easily. It is difficult to evict one bad tenant in a master lease arrangement. A rooming house ordinance would actually put management into the hands of the students as they now would have greater autonomy over sublets, visitors, so-called house-guests and so forth. In an effort to save money they are likely to bring in even more roommates without my knowledge. Further, a rooming house ordinance sets a climate of antagonism towards landlords. We are a vital part of the solution! We should all be on the same team.

— DIANE MILBER

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