Do rent to own homes cause more nuisance complaints? That’s what Tona Gillispie from the Highland Park Neighborhood Association thinks. The Mankato City Council has passed an ordinance limiting the number of licenses to less than 25% of total units, which mirrors a similar rule passed in the college town of Winona.
“I look out my window and I’ve got five rentals looking at me,” complained Gillispie. “We want to retain the integrity of our single-family neighborhood. That’s what it was developed for in the first place.” She argues that rental homes in Highland Park account for 19% of the properties but cause half the nuisance complaints.
However, other urban planners say the new rule “will close doors to the elderly and the working poor.” Statistically speaking, the average buyers of rent to own homes have poor credit scores, lower income and fewer savings built up. However, there are many respectable, law-abiding families or seniors who fell into this category following the mortgage crisis and the economic stagnation.
There may be other ways to maintain the integrity of a neighborhood, without attracting riff-raff. In other rent to own real estate markets, sellers run criminal background checks prior to renting or require a $2,000 – $3,000 initial deposit to ensure the buyer’s commitment. Additionally, some of the problem may very well be that these homes are JUST for rent, without the lease purchase option added on.
Investors are slow to convert rental houses into rent to own homes because that means more paperwork and finagling for them, as well as less money. Since so many college students reside in Highland Park, it’s no surprise that many of these “nuisance complaints” are coming from rowdy students looking to party hard and take no responsibility for the upkeep of the house. By encouraging more rent to own homes programs, more families will move in or students will take better care of their abode, knowing that they may own it when their lease purchase term is up.