December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Program would tighten rules for landlords

ELYRIA — City officials are taking a look at a program that will help keep track of landlords in the city and provide for more thorough checks of their property.
“We are proposing a program for landlords to have to register their property with the city and to provide a contact phone number so that we can reach them 24 hours a day in case of an emergency or for code issues,” Assistant Safety Service Director Gerald Klein said.
The program also would incorporate exterior inspections for all of the city’s rental properties, Klein said. The city would like to add interior inspections to the program, but that would require more man-hours than the building department can currently handle.
“In the future, we would like to do interior inspections, but at this time we are thinking about piggybacking another plan onto this program for point of sale inspections,” Klein said. “At that time, the inspectors would view the interior and the buyer and the seller could work out a compliance schedule.”
The city currently does inspections in targeted areas, but it does not require those landlords to register their properties.
 The target area includes all of the property between the east and west branches of the Black River and a smaller portion near the northwest corner of the city, near the railroad tracks.
The program, which arose from discussions during the 2015 planning process, still is in the developmental stages and likely won’t be put forth to the public for a few months, Klein said.
“It’s an important program because we need to improve the quality of housing in our community and one way to do that is rental inspections,”  said Chris Baker, executive director of the South Elyria Neighborhood Development group and Elyria 2015 Executive Committee member. “Just because someone is poor and can only afford to rent for $450 a month doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a clean and safe place to live.”
Contact Joe Medici at 329-7152 or jmedici@chroniclet.com.