Students to benefit from Rental Rehab Program, city official says

Program would mitigate safety risks, alleviate housing crisis

· Feb 8, 2024 Tweet

Housing for rent on N Randall Ave.
Paige Valley/The Badger Herald

The City of Madison announced the Rental Rehab Program to aid local rental housing owners in improving their properties, according to the City of Madison website.

The program offers property owners who charge no higher than the fair market rents low-cost loans of up to $200,000, depending on the size of their properties, according to the City of Madison website. These investments are intended to prevent deterioration of buildings, minimize safety hazards and extend the longevity of aging properties.

Director of Madison’s Community Development office Jim O’Keefe said the Rental Rehab Program is primarily focused on smaller properties scattered across the Madison area, many of which are close to campus or are otherwise accessible to students, Keefe said. The owners of these properties would be able to mitigate safety risks for their tenants — including University of Wisconsin students — and provide motivation to further improve their premises.

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“[Property owners] know that they will have ready renters, whether [or not] they improve the condition of their properties,” Keefe said. “This provides and hopefully convinces some of those property owners that it’s worth doing.”

Keefe said the program acknowledges both the need for housing and the poor current state of many properties. The  requirement for owners to charge no more than the fair market rents is an attempt to alleviate the affordable housing crisis while improving the quality of the properties themselves.

Director of Madison’s Planning, Community and Economic Development Department Matt Wachter said Madison is not intending to profit from the loans provided by the program and expects a high percentage of loans repaid. The various renovation efforts that would stem from the Rental Rehab Program would also improve working shortages in various construction companies.

“This is more than just a housing issue,” Wachter said. “It’s definitely tied into our broader economy.”

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This article was published Feb 8, 2024 at 8:46 pm and last updated Feb 9, 2024 at 6:25 pm

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