November 21, 2014

Partly cloudy

Elyria considers rental registry program

ELYRIA — City leaders think a rental licensing program that includes exterior and interior inspections is the only way to go if any real change to the city’s housing stock is to take hold.

City officials plan to recommend to City Council a program that includes per-unit registration fees and fines for not complying with property registration. It likely will be seen as a less-than-popular program among rental property owners in the city, but it is a necessary step to take, Mayor Holly Brinda said.

“If we want to truly make a positive difference in the housing stock, this is the direction to go,” she said. “We are never going to make everyone happy. So if we are going to implement something, we have to implement it in a way that truly makes a difference.”

The program that will be presented as the best option calls for inspections every three years and a fee ranging between $20 and $100 per unit per year depending on the number of units. Fees for non-compliance would be added to the tax duplicate and increase as time out of compliance grows.

The option is the most stringent of three options that will be presented to Council members Monday night during a joint Community Development and Finance Committee meeting.

The other two options include a status-quo stance and a less-stringent program that would require exterior-only inspections and a more modest fee schedule.

The conversation about whether Elyria should start a rental registration program has started and stopped many times in the past two years. The main reason: Council members can’t get on the same page on a plan to approve.

Council President Mike Lotko, D-at large, said he understands the need for exterior inspections but is less inclined to agree to a program calling for inspectors to go through the inside of a rental property.

The debatable points of a rental registration program are of great interest to the Lake Erie Landlord Association. The group, with about 500 landlords in its membership, including 40 percent with properties in Elyria, has been engaged in the conversation from the beginning.

Chuck Holtzman, who is on the organization’s legislative committee, has said the major concern of such a program would be good property owners being penalized for the actions of a few problem landlords.

Instead of creating a new layer of bureaucracy, Holtzman said the city should enforce existing codes and laws

However, Kevin Brubaker, senior official in the Elyria Building Department, said he has seen firsthand how a rental registration program could help the city’s housing stock. In recent weeks at the urging of Council, he has researched what other cities do and how they make such programs work.

Brubaker said pushing for exterior and interior inspections should not be seen as a negative.

“If the intent of the program is to promote life, health and safety for potential tenants and occupants of rental units, as per the Property Maintenance Code, we feel the exterior inspection only approach would not accomplish this and merely be superficial,” he said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

  • Sis Delish

    Fix Potholes before you cast Stones at Landlords, duh!

  • Starryeyes63

    Just another money making scheme for the city.

    • Mark B

      The City will loose money , they will have to hire 3 or 4 new inspectors on the Union Dole , Longevity Pay and the list goes on , it will cost more than it brings in .

  • SniperFire

    I guess they don’t care if rents get raised massively since most of Elyria renters are Section 8.

  • Donald Duck

    I live in the City of Elyria and as per living in the City I pay income taxes on earned income and in return i get services. I pay plate fees and in return get services. I pay taxes on my gas that go directly to the City. So I in a tech form am a renter as the City being my landlord. I getting pretty serious about breaking my lease with this City and moving out. They are not keeping up with taking care of the City which I live in. They are slum lords. The infrastructure of this City is getting so bad. Route 57 the gem of Elyria as I drive everyday is already get rough. Its 23 million dollars and 5 years old. Clevlend Street has gotten to the point that you cannot drive in the curb lane. I fail to ever see a police officer on road patrol anymore. The only thing I ever see in the State Patrol. I ask our Leaders. What the heck is going on?

  • John Boy

    I own no rentals, but I guess the building code is now only for landlords. Why can’t the building inspectors open their eyes when they are driving around the city and take notes of properties that are out of code and write tickets to have them fixed? Typical way for government to handle issues to make more laws and regulations instead of enforcing the ones that they have already

  • bROWNS77

    WOW! What about the homeowner’s whos properties look like crap?
    I charge $750 a month for rent for a 3 bedroom, pay out $113.00 in insurance,
    $120 a month in property taxes , $80 a month for water, $200 a month on the mortgage that leaves me with
    a total of $237 a month.
    Then I have to pay federal, state and local tax on that!
    Every time the tenant moves out I lose a month rent, have to repaint, repair, and clean.
    That’s not free and if they trash the place it can cost a couple thousand just to
    put in new flooring!

    They don’t pay rent YOUR judge gives them 3 months to vacate! Can’t do it by yourself, need a lawyer if your
    house is in an llc , that is way expensive!

    You want an extra $100?
    See you at the polls , I know how I am going to vote this time!

    Why not give an inspection if there is a complaint on ANY property?????

    Maybe I’ll start inspecting your roads, the garbage blowing everywhere down town, the street sweeping that is a waste and doesn’t do a thing, and all these businesses like the flower shop on west river WITH A PHONE NUMBER SPRAY PAINTED ON A FREAKING SHEET ON THE SIDE OF THE BUILDING!!!!!

    Get a grip you freeloading city of corruption!

    • SniperFire

      ‘WOW! What about the homeowner’s whos properties look like crap?’

      The Mayor of Little Detroit wishes to discriminate.

    • John Peshek

      As a former owner of rental property I agree with everything you say. How about they do something to help the landlords for once??? It is starting to feel like this country doesn’t want people to be able to earn a living for themselves.

  • SniperFire

    Once they become unprofitable to rent, they can be boarded up and used as meth labs until entire neighborhoods are eventually bulldozed. It is the Detroit model.

  • GreatRedeemer

    Really, Just get out and look around, heck in most cases you wont even have to get out of the car. While your on the street looking for violations please note the pot holes that the city does not know about. Lets do more with less not figure out ways to drive rents up in the city with the latest tax.

  • golfingirl

    The Lake Erie Landlord Association simply needs to unionize, then the Democrats running Elyria will never bother them again.

  • Simon Jester

    Democrats: “We’ll just raise the fee/tax/ whatever, and the cost will be covered!”

    Will these fools never understand that the cost will ultimately pushed off on the end user?

    ( Rhetorical question, the mayor is an idiot)

    • Sis Delish

      An investigation is needed to see if The Mayor or her staff own and Home Depot or Lowes stock. Might be a conflict of interests which is not permitted by the City Charter.

    • John Boy

      Not in the city of Lower Detroit and Lower Wayne County, one party rule has been an amazing success. A new McDonalds is being built downtown if that isn’t a sign of success what is?
      Don’t forgot to vote Democrat in the next election cycle, the Lori and Ted show need a a third democratic commissioner. Tom Williams expects us to pay for our own coffee, what kind of %$^* is that.

  • alreadyfedup1

    Look at it as if it were identification for voting. Wouldn’t it be “DISENFRANCHISING” to the poor for somewhere to live?

  • bluemoshoe

    You have landlords that work hard to make property look nice, yet you want to penalize all?? Joke!! What about homeowners? You have landlords that want to bring money into city instead of knocking houses down and loosing that money, but you can’t cause of political bs! Then you don’t even check property, just send bulldozers in which break pipes that cause more problems for neighbors, but who cares. Don’t you want the city to grow?? Just take, take. I’ll sell every house and buy houses elsewhere where I am appreciated for bringing income into city!
    Instead of sitting behind desks, go do your jobs!