AMS skips Golden Cockroach Award

Landlords got a break Wednesday when the AMS didn’t hand out its Golden Cockroach Award at the Municipal Affairs Commission’s annual ceremony recognizing the best and worst student landlords.

Commissioner Kaitlyn Young inspected a house Monday she considered giving the Golden Cockroach award to, but the landlord wasn’t aware of all of the house’s problems.

“Because of the effect of this award and how public it is, we didn’t feel it was responsible to give out an award that we didn’t really have enough justification for,” she said.

Young said there were 31 nominations in total this year—22 for the Key to the Ghetto and nine for the Golden Cockroach awards.

Kingston landlord Phil Lam won the award two years in a row for substandard student rental properties.

“I don’t want everyone to think that the housing problem is solved,” Young said. “There are lots of landlords out there who deserve this award; we just need to be able to get the nominations for them.”

Young said she thinks the Golden Cockroach Award should be continued because it holds landlords accountable for maintaining property standards.

“If this was the last year we did the award, next year we’d be experiencing some of the same problems,” she said. “As long as we keep housing issues out there as something really important, I think we’re making progress.”

Landlord Robert Reed received this year’s Key to the Ghetto award.

Reed, who owns about a dozen properties in Kingston, said maintaining a quality house for students is a win-win situation

“It’s a two-way street. If we’re responsive to their needs, they keep the house in good condition.”

Reed said an important part of his work is making sure his properties maintain their value.

“If there are problems with the house, we need to fix them to make sure we maintain the integrity of the house and make sure our tenants are comfortable and not worrying about housing issues while they work at their studies.”

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