Ris­ing Sun dis­cusses rental prop­erty in­spec­tion or­di­nance

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

RIS­ING SUN — Ev­ery rental prop­erty as well as any prop­erty that changes hands within town lim­its would be sub­ject to an­nual in­spec­tions un­der an or­di­nance in­tro­duced Tues­day night.

The or­di­nance would add Rental and Re­sale In­spec­tions to the Ris­ing Sun Prop­erty Main­te­nance Code. Com­mis­sioner Brian Leis­hear, who read the leg­is­la­tion into the record at the town meet­ing, said the town is in the midst of a de­clin­ing trend in prop­erty val­ues, with 50 or more prop­er­ties be­ing sold an­nu­ally.

“The way the town looks, and with prop­er­ties that are safe, is part of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” Leis­hear said. “For­tu­nately, we have a lot of busi­nesses and res­i­dents who care about their prop­erty.”

How­ever, those that don’t are cast­ing a pall on the rest, he said. Robert Foard, a busi­ness­man in town with sev­eral rental prop­er­ties, agreed. He’s seen his prop­er­ties left in sham­bles, he told the board of town com­mis­sion­ers. That in­cluded ev­i­dence of drugs, elec­tri­cal theft and “hu­man fe­ces ev­ery­where.”

“Poorly main­tained prop­er­ties at­tract poorly-act­ing ten­ants,” he said.

If ap­proved, this or­di­nance would treat rental prop­er­ties like a busi­ness, which must be li­censed and in­spected, Leis­hear said.

“Land­lords are run­ning a busi­ness in town and like any other busi­ness, it should not be a detri­ment to the town. Al­though we have rental prop­er­ties that are good and ben­e­fi­cial to the hous­ing mar­ket, we clearly have some, if not many, that are neg­a­tively im­pact­ing the com­mu­nity,” he said Wed­nes­day.

Sep­a­rate from code en­force­ment, the town would hire a prop­erty main­te­nance in­spec­tor.

“The in­spec­tion would be per­formed by the in­spec­tor for com­pli­ance to gen­eral safety and prop­erty main­te­nance stan­dards, such as es­tab­lish­ing min­i­mum prop­erty main­te­nance stan­dards for ba­sic equip­ment and fa­cil­i­ties used for light, ven­ti­la­tion, heat­ing and san­i­ta­tion for rental units and premises and for safe and san­i­tary main­te­nance of rental units and premises; and min­i­mum re­quire­ments for rental units and premises for means of egress, fire pro­tec­tion sys­tems and other equip­ment and de­vices nec­es­sary for safety from fire,” Leis­hear said.

Perryville adopted sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion seven years ago, which re­quires rental hous­ing to be li­censed. At the re­quest of prop­erty own­ers who com­plained about nui­sance ten­ants, the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers there worked over a year on the mea­sure. It was ap­proved in July 2009 and went into ef­fect in Novem­ber that same year. Along with reg­is­ter­ing rental units, the law set liv­abil­ity stan­dards for rental hous­ing while re­quir­ing land­lords to po­lice their renters un­der the threat of hav­ing their reg­is­tra­tion re­voked af­ter three of­fi­cial warn­ings.

Ac­cord­ing to Leis­hear, Ris­ing Sun’s cur­rent sys­tem is re­ac­tionary and in­ef­fi­cient. Un­der the pro­posed or­di­nance, the town would have an or­ga­nized and sys­tem­atic ap­proach that would ben­e­fit both land­lord and ten­ant. In­cluded in the mea­sure is the for­ma­tion of an ad­vi­sory board com­prised of renters and prop­erty own­ers. This board would be the ju­di­ciary of the prop­erty main­te­nance code, giv­ing rul­ings on ap­peals to charges and vi­o­la­tions.

“It is an ef­fec­tive tool used by many com­mu­ni­ties to pro­tect and pro­mote the pub­lic health, safety and wel­fare of its cit­i­zens, to es­tab­lish rights and obli­ga­tions of own­ers and oc­cu­pants re­lat­ing to res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial rental units in the town, and to en­cour­age own­ers and oc­cu­pants to main­tain and im­prove the qual­ity of rental units within the com­mu­nity,” he said. “We are look­ing for rea­son­able solutions to rea­son­able is­sues.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.