Bangor officials are working to decide on the next steps to take to address a number of problems facing the city’s housing supply, including rising rents and some poor-quality units, particularly for low-income renters.
Those steps could include launching a formal inspection program for rental properties, releasing inspection records on a public registry so potential renters know the quality of each unit, and taking legal action against landlords who don’t address code violations.
Those were some of the highest-priority recommendations in a housing report the city published this spring after months of meetings by a task force that included city officials, residents, landlords, housing developers and others.
The task force identified numerous concerns with the city’s housing market, including an aging rental stock, deteriorating housing conditions, rising rents for a population with relatively stagnant wages and a lack of accountability for landlords. The group said the problems have become “unacceptable for a community, like Bangor, that values quality of life and livable housing in desirable neighborhoods.”
The group made a series of recommendations for accomplishing five broad goals: improving the housing stock, making it more affordable, housing the city’s most vulnerable populations, changing zoning in ways that could encourage affordable housing development and working with private groups.
Some landlords have expressed concern that the new initiatives could amount to “government overreach,” but officials have “heard that and respect that,” according to Jason Bird, a member of the task force and the housing development director at the social services organization Penquis.