LIMA — A proposed landlord registry for the city of Lima is dead in the water, for the time being.
In an abbreviated meeting Monday, Lima City Council’s Neighborhood Concerns Committee voted unanimously to defeat a proposal submitted by city administration to create a registry for landlords with properties in the city.
In the original proposal, landlords would have to pay an annual cost of $25 per rental unit, along with an annual $75 per unit fee for inspections of both the interior and exterior of each property. In August, Lima Community Development Director Susan Crotty estimated that the fees would generate more than $766,000 annually to pay for the inspectors needed to handle the extra workload of inspecting each of the nearly 7,700 rental units in the city.
While this registry was intended, according to administration officials, to address the issue of substandard and dilapidated rental housing, several landlords spoke out against the proposal, prompting 3rd Ward Councilman Jesse Lowe II to assemble a committee comprised of both advocates and opponents of the registry to determine alternatives.
“I’ve had the opportunity to talk to quite a few individuals, and in a nutshell, quite a few feel this is unfair,” he said. “In the beginning, I wasn’t for this, and that really hasn’t changed because I haven’t seen anything brought to us that’s better. The new committee that was formed has not even contacted me in any way, shape, fashion or form.”
After Lowe proposed to defeat the proposal, 1st Ward Councilman Todd Gordon and 2nd Ward Councilman Sam McLean joined Lowe in voting it down. Lowe said that any proposal should cover the entire city rather than just targeting landlords.
“They would have had to recoup their money some other way, and of course, they’d have to put it through rent,” Lowe said. “That’s just the bottom line.”
Lowe also said the city can already address rental quality concerns through better applying the code enforcement rules already on the books.
“We just need code enforcement to enforce,” he said. “You can look at an exterior of a house and pretty much tell what’s going on. If landlords are doing the right thing, they wouldn’t be opposed to code enforcement coming in. So we, as councilmen, didn’t really see what the issue was outside of it being a money maker for the administration, and that’s not fair to the public.”
Lowe did acknowledge the possibility that a registry proposal could be resubmitted by the administration next year.