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Housing availability a major issue in Ashland election

Home prices rising and less rentals available are creating an important issue for this year's election in Ashland. (KTVL/Will Maetzold)

ASHLAND, Ore. -- Rising home costs and less rental properties are available in Ashland. It's a trend that's been continuing and a hot topic for those running the city government open positions.

Two candidates for Ashland City Council, Dennis Slattery and Doug Burns, both said there needs to be changes made in the city to make housing more available.

"We frankly need to find a way to get more apartments built that are easily rentable along those lines," Slattery said.

Burns has other ideas about how to make apartments more easily available.

"Setup where the management companies have to be licensed," he said. "Every year they have to renew their license. We make some money off the licensing fees. There's a set of things they have to meet to do business here."

Both of these candidates also having personal experiences with either themselves or people they know struggling with rentals. Slattery is a professor at Southern Oregon University and said students graduating are having a hard time finding housing.

"There's just a range of affordable that we're having a problem with right now so we need to get into why that is and then find some cures for that," he said.

Burns said he had a problem with management companies not paying him after he's moved out of an apartment.

"The rental management companies, property management companies have been brutal," he said. "They've disobeyed the law on returning within 31 days tenants' security deposits and any prepaid rent."

Home prices are 67-percent higher than the rest of the country in Ashland and the vacancy rate for rentals in between one and two percent.

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