September 1, 2014

Elyria
Clear
73°F
test

Lorain mayor pushing for a ‘slum tenant’ law

LORAIN — Mayor John Romoser is drafting legislation that would force renters to assume some of the costs that have traditionally burdened only landlords.

Calling it a “tenant responsibility” ordinance, Romoser hopes to see renters pay for things like excessive water bills, high trash collection costs and excessive damage to the structure upon moving out.

He also wants the city to start fining renters for tall grass violations if the renters are obligated to mow their own lawn as part of the signed lease agreement.

“Everyone keeps hollering about how bad our housing looks, and everyone only wants to blame the landlord,” said Romoser, who is a landlord himself with 11 units in Lorain. “That’s sometimes valid, but tenants are also part of the problem.”

Landlords can barely afford to take care of their properties because they’re constantly trying to clean up after their tenants, he said.

Simple problems, like tenants who forget to turn a faucet off for days at a time or those who constantly throw away large items, are costing landlords a fortune, he said.

“You hear a lot about slum landlords,” he said. “What I’m talking about here are slum tenants.”

Details about how tenants would be held accountable have not been finalized, but Romoser said he would like to see jail time for those who don’t follow through.

Romoser said he plans on speaking with members of the Lake Erie Landlord Association, as well as the city’s building and law departments, to discuss how to make the ordinance viable.

Joe Kinder, past president and current member of the Lake Erie Landlord Association, said the proposed ordinance would not only help landlords, it would keep properties from falling into disrepair.

“When a citation is issued to a landlord because of something a tenant did, that’s like giving a parking ticket to the owner of a property because someone parked his car in front of your building,” Kinder said. “Let’s make the responsible party be responsible.”

Romoser hopes to introduce this legislation before the end of the month, so even if he isn’t elected today it could still be in place, if approved by Council.

Contact Adam Wright at 563-6257 or awright@chroniclet.com.