Alexandria’s property owners deserve our respect, not a public shaming session

Alexandria’s property owners deserve our respect, not a public shaming session

By Frank Fannon, Alexandria (File photo)

This present slate of city councilors has introduced many controversial and questionable policies as they approach the end of the second year of their three year term in office.

But City Councilor Justin Wilson’s recent suggestion to publicly shame property owners for raising rents by more than 5 percent a year is one of the most outrageous.

Virginia is one of 45 states that do not allow rent control laws. It is illegal for a local municipality to set rental rates or sales prices for private real estate. The City of Alexandria has a well-intended but unenforceable policy that requests landlords not to increase rents more than 5 percent a year.

Most property owners are sensible people who understand simple supply and demand economics. They can effectively adjust their rental and sales prices without government interference.

The idea of officials publicly shaming a few of Alexandria’s 43,000 property owners — who pay the majority of the taxes in this city — for raising rents more than 5 percent a year should be put to rest immediately.

The continual disregard of property owners by this city council is evident through excessive annual tax increases and threats of the use of eminent domain. Now they are considering publicly shaming their constituents for effectively managing their assets.

If you rent your property or sell your home this year in Alexandria and make a profit, you should not be ashamed of yourself. You should be proud of your successful investment, regardless of how some city councilors see it.