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Want to upgrade city housing? Lower landlord costs

Several residents talk about the city's plan to demolish six buildings at Gilmor Homes public housing project. (Baltimore Sun video)

While Baltimore is seeking ways to improve and increase affordable housing in the city (“A step toward safe, affordable housing in Baltimore,” Jan. 22), it would do well to consider why the cost of housing is high and how that might be addressed.

A major expense for the landlord is property taxes. Baltimore’s property tax rate is 2.248 percent. The editorial mentions Minneapolis, where the rate is 1.17 percent. The rate in Baltimore County is 1.1 percent. In addition, in most cases, the water bill is the responsibility of the landlord. The cost of water is not so easily comparable, but anyone who pays water bills in Baltimore knows it has become a major expense.

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While we’d all like to see Baltimore be more attractive and livable, I don’t know if adding the expense of inspections to smaller apartment houses will make a difference in the quality of most rentals as opposed to the current system of complaint-driven inspection, but it will increase the cost of doing business and thereby increase the cost of rent charged.

Denise Cellinese, Baltimore

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