Friday, October 15, 2010

The 300 Foot Rule, or How the City of Duluth Is Helping Me to Lose My House to Foreclosure

To those who haven't ever lived in Duluth, Minnesota, I must explain it first. The 300 foot rule is a regulation passed a few years ago by the City of Duluth that impedes any kind of leasing of a dwelling in a large region around campus when there's another leasing inside a 300 foot radius from it.

It means that, in the case of my house (picture on the side), which is currently for sale in Duluth, I've been impeded by the rule to rent it not only to students but to single families too. By the way, renting to students wouldn't be economical to me. Things look a little bit more absurd considered that my house is located in a single-family only street, 10 minutes away from campus.

The house is probably going to foreclosure soon due to lack of buyers. I don't think this is going to help the City of Duluth neither the homeowners in the neighborhoods affected, which by the way may one day find themselves in the same conundrum. In other words, the solution that the City found for its law enforcement problem was to transfer its cost to the citizens that need to sell or rent a house in a sour market.

More interesting is the fact that the city warns me ex ante that my house is going to be policed and I'm going to be fined if I defy the rule. Well, if I'm going to be policed anyway, wouldn't it be more logical for the city instead to make sure that students don't party or that the houses are rented only to single families?

What amazes me the most however is the fact that it was exactly in America where I couldn't exercise my property rights to such an extent for the first time in my entire life.


Meghan said...

I forclosed on my house due to the 300' restriction. It sucks yea, but you'll get beyond it. In the end, it's just a house. :)

Pedro H. Albuquerque said...

Thanks for your kind words...