Vail Daily letter: Tough rental market | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Tough rental market

I've been looking for two months for a place to live. There have been two common problems that have now led me to live with my gracious friends until I find a place — I have a dog and raising prices to an unfair rate. It's been four years since moving to this valley, and it has gotten worse and worse each year.

My eyes search Craigslist four times a day and the Vail Daily every single day. It has become disheartening to see "NP" or "no pets" in every single ad. I almost want to reach out to every contact on the ad and ask them to just meet my very mild and loving dog, Tiger. Instead of just interviewing me for a property, how about a dog interview, too? Those cold, hard-lined letters or words will make any pet owner feel hopeless in the search for a rental: "NP" or "no pets."

There is a disease in this valley, and it's called HOA. HOAs and property management companies are taking over the Vail Valley one property at a time. Colorado mountain living is supposed to be conducive for a happy life for both the pet and pet owner with open space everywhere and little traffic compared to any urban area. Yes, I understand not everyone is responsible enough to own a pet and pick up after them. How about taking it case-by-case and not letting one bad apple ruin it for us all? But other problems have begun to arise in the Vail Valley that spawn from the common HOA and property management viruses that have begun to spread.

It's getting hard enough just to even find an affordable place to live. With the 2015 FIS Championships, which was a great event for all Vail Valley residents, and Vail receiving a bigger name, everyone has been raising their prices. Rentals are jumping from $1,950 a month to $2,400, or $3,200 to $3,900. Why? Because everyone else is doing it, and almost everyone has a bit of greed and selfishness in them, a sin recognized by any religion or nonbeliever. I have a good job, work freelance as a graphic designer/photographer/videographer and part-time as an adult league soccer supervisor in the winter, and still find it hard to justify these prices where one paycheck would barely, if at all, cover rent.

Much of my time is dedicated to SOS Outreach and we talk with the youth about integrity, compassion and wisdom, among other core values in our leadership workshops and program days. We teach them to have a voice in the community for positive change and social justice. Whether you follow Arn Menconi or not, he has some eye-opening opinions that should be taken under consideration. He still continues to push for social justices even though he is no longer with SOS Outreach; social justices like raising the minimum wage.

It would also help the cause if HOAs and property management companies would think realistically about the Vail population. Let's be clear: Much of the properties are worth the prices because they were built so nice in a convenient or great location. But many others are getting away with old construction, renovations that aren't parallel to their raised prices, and unreliable maintenance. Many of us are scrapping to survive and live here so that our quality of life remains intact. But it is very hard to justify living in a place for $1,000 a month just because everyone else is doing it and to know that these property owners are trying to take advantage of the market.

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So here is my voice, because it's been a frustrating process to find a place to live. The question is, does anyone care to hear it? I work hard and give myself to serving our youth and bettering our community. More so than most. Now, all I'm asking is for HOAs to allow pets on a case-by-case basis, and for property owners to quit raising your prices to an unfair rate.

Ben Dodd