Heads Up: Shifting focus to GF rental market

Heads Up is a weekly column that previews upcoming Grand Forks city government meetings.

It’s the fifth week of the month, which means the Grand Forks City Council is taking a breather from its normal meeting schedule.

So instead of talking about what its members are doing, I’ll talShifting focusk more about what I’ve been up to this past week.

After completing a series on home ownership last year, it was obvious to me we need to take a look at the other side of the coin: renting.

The state of the rental market was a hot subject when the city’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Housing met last year to determine and suggest solutions to some of the city’s housing issues.

Grand Forks residents sounded off back in October about how much the renting market needs to change in forums hosted by Engage the Forks, a website you should really check out.

“We have a serious rental problem in our community,” wrote user Kristi M2. “There are very few places that I would rent; those I would are absolutely not affordable.”

Other users agreed.

“We have a shortage of attractive apartments in quality shape and affordable rent,” Tom F5 wrote. “The quality apartments we have; the rent costs more then a mortgage payment.”

Affordability, vacancy rates, a lack of apartments for certain populations, the “evil” student renters, a surge of new apartments … my colleagues and I checking into it the main gripes about the market.

I’ve been interviewing experts, but I’m still looking for people in the trenches who are hunting or perhaps just settled into a place after a long search. If you’re interested in telling your story or know someone with a story I should hear, check out an earlier plea I posted on the blog.

Stayed tuned for the series, which is hitting newsstands in mid-August.

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