HOME OWNERS, RENTERS, AND SQUEAKY WHEELS

Wikimedia [PD]

Wikimedia [PD]

It’s not uncommon for house-shoppers to steer clear of a neighborhood with a lot of renters. The perception is that renters “don’t care” about maintaining a safe and friendly neighborhood. Do they not care? Or do they not feel they have the right to care?

This little study demonstrates that, while renters are just as inconvenienced as owners are by  potholes, dead streetlights, and other degenerative diseases of a city, they are far less likely to complain about them.

Homeowners in Boston are three times more likely to file a complaint than renters, although renters outnumber owners two-to-one. And because 80% of the complaints address problems within two blocks of the citizen’s residence, the issues are likely to be the sort of things that impact renters and owners equally.

There is something magical about writing a property-tax check, I think. It feels like a direct purchase of city services, and entitles the homeowner to question the value of those services.

While renters most assuredly pay property taxes, they do so indirectly, handing the money to their landlords. Does that disconnect renters from their local government? That’s hard to say. But this study says that renters either don’t object to driving around potholes, or don’t believe anybody cares.

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