Council addresses landlord registry in meeting

LIMA — Lima City Council met for a council of the whole committee meeting Monday evening to review the potential landlord registration. According to a previous article in The Lima News, if approved the landlord registry would require landowners to register their rental properties.

The debate is not new, as the topic of landlord registries was presented over five years ago.

Council members shared their opinions of why the registry was either important or not helpful in the issue of rental properties.

“In the 10 years I have been here the rental industry has not gotten better,” Third Ward Councilor Carla Thompson said. “People have not gotten nicer. There are more homeless people and more people struggling.”

Thompson shared that the registry was potentially a way to hold landlords accountable.

Council President John Nixon discussed enforcing the registry.

“The practical side of the whole thing is the ability to enforce and monitor this,” Nixon said.

In a recent meeting, President Nixon recommended a registry to landlords with no costs and mandated inspections only after multiple violations within a six-month or one-year time period.

”I don’t have all the same issues every ward has but rentals are the biggest issue in my opinion where people just have fits with rentals,” Fourth Ward Councilor Peggy Ehora said. “It is not because they are rentals but everything that comes about (from the rentals). We have to start somewhere and this (draft legislation) is asking for registration that is all it’s asking for.”

On Monday evening, the council presented another draft of the registry. Eighth Ward Councilor Jon Neeper presented questions about the draft, the inspection process and potential liability.

”I think we are opening up ourselves to liability if one landlord says you only inspected my property once but other landlords three times,” Neeper said. “There should be some measure of consistency. My question also is what happens to the tenants if properties are deemed uninhabitable? Do those tenants live on the street?”

The council concluded the meeting with the decision to make changes to the draft before creating the ordinance for a determining vote.

Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.