November 1, 2014

Elyria
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Rental registry program advances in Elyria

ELYRIA — An impromptu proposal from City Council President Mike Lotko finally got Council to make some headway on establishing a rental registration program in the city.

His pitch nixes the idea of interior and exterior inspections of rental dwellings in the city, and instead calls for property owners to tell city officials who they are and how to find them. Several department leaders have said that has been an issue when an emergency arises at a home and they have no idea who owns the property.

Lotko, D-at large, who also is a landlord, brought the proposal to fellow Council members Tuesday night during a joint Finance and Community Development Committee meeting. He said his biennial program would start Jan. 1 and it will give property owners 90 days to register rental homes with the city.

“We need the name, address and phone number of the owner,” Lotko said. “We need that for the safety and health of the community so the police, health or fire departments know who to contact in the event of an emergency.”

A property owner would pay a flat fee based on the number of properties he or she owns — one to four properties would be $25, five to 49 is $50 and 50 or more is $100. Lotko said per-unit fees would not be needed because the information is basic data entry. Registration would go through the Building Department and cross-checked with the Utilities Department to identify landlords who do not comply.

Councilman Vic Stewart, D-at large, also head of the Finance Committee, said the proposal, which will go to full Council for a vote Monday, is a start. By separating the registration and inspection of properties, the issue can move forward while Council continues to discuss if more should be done.

“We are starting here,” he said. “We know at the end of the day not everyone is going to be happy, but it’s a start.”

Lotko said he came up with the proposal after speaking with landlords, real estate agents and property owners in town.

“No matter what option they had, we weren’t going to get the bad landlords that are causing the problems,” Lotko said. “They are not coming to the meetings because they are not going to comply with any program we put together.”

A $100 fine is being proposed for not registering.

Mayor Holly Brinda said she heard Lotko’s proposal for the first time Tuesday.

“We would have liked some kind of heads-up because we will be the ones who have to implement any proposed program,” she said.

“But we embrace any movement forward. This is a first step and hopefully we can move rapidly toward a more aggressive program that includes interior and exterior inspections.”

Brinda is steadfast in her belief a more aggressive rental registration program is needed if the city wants to see its housing stock rebound. That sentiment is shared by Councilman Mark Jessie, D-3rd Ward.

In recent weeks, Jessie has been the lone Council member championing extensive property inspections. He said visiting homes in Elyria as well as other comparable cities with well-established programs — Lakewood, Cleveland Heights and South Euclid — led him to believe those who rent in the city need more support to ensure homes are up to code.

Lotko said that can be achieved with stricter code enforcement citywide.

“The Building Department should be more aggressive with all property owners regardless if they own rental units or live in their homes,” he said. “It can be complaint driven, but also they can get out there and do their jobs and see what is going on.”

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


  • bROWNS77

    What does that fee get me?
    Sounds like it is a fine for trying to invest in this city.
    Fee’s are for services performed, am I wrong?

    • Sis Delish

      Call it Accurately: Lotko & Co. Slush Fund.

    • Stan K

      If your rental properties are in economically depressed areas,then you are probably not investing anything.More than likely your property is part of the problem.Rundown and condemned properties only hurt the city and overall property value.

      • bROWNS77

        Yeah, abbe and 113 . People are so quick to comment, lmao. My other ones lose value because of lazy home owners with peeling paint, junk in there yard, and tarps on there roof. My houses are best ones on the street.
        The whole city is economically depressed, are you blind

        • bROWNS77

          @ Stan K , hurt my feelings a lil bit there boss.
          You mowing your grass, cleaning up your yard and taking the tarp off your roof ?
          Where do you live?

  • Starryeyes63

    They sure as H**** know who owns the properties when taxes are due.

    • Sis Delish

      Lotko and crew will argue that the County doesn’t share its Data…

  • Sis Delish

    Dear Mr. Lotko. It is apparent from your One-Upmanship theatrics of donating $1,001.00 to The Mayor’s Biggest Challenge, that you are flush with Cash.

    Here’s a Counter-proposal to your newest City Slush fund: You Raise the Funds for Your Rental Program Just Like you are doing for The Mayor’s Fireworks Fund.

    Both Programs can be said to benefit All citizens of the City you Rule over, correct?

    Now, get a New Thermometer going on the Council Website, and set a dynamic Goal Date (one that moves until the goal is met) and begin asking ALL citizens to pony up for your newest Slush Fund.

    It can be YOUR Biggest Challenge! Good Luck, and please, no Cash donations… they tend to get miscounted.

  • Tom

    I’m confused… the county auditor’s website has all of that information…

  • SniperFire

    ‘A property owner would pay a flat fee based on the number of properties he or she owns ‘

    Wrong. The renter will pay for it. Plus all mandated upgrades.

  • golfingirl

    Lotko said. “They are not coming to the meetings because they are not going to comply with any program we put together,” in reference to the “bad” landlords.

    So why put together any program?

    You have already acknowledged it will not work

  • GreatRedeemer

    ” but also they can get out there and do their jobs and see what is going on.””
    Simple no

  • Mark B

    This is nothing more than a New Back Door tax on Property owners , Brinda said it herself. As soon as the City needs some cash for a pet project , the fee’s will be raised . If you Make someone in the city unhappy , guess who will be coming to slap you with code violations , who knows and the possibility that you could be forced out of your own home.

  • Arietta Sullivan

    i feel it’s a good idea. i’m a renter and,at times,you can’t see what hasn’t been repaired in awhile until it’s too late&you have to go through a lot to get,the problem/s fixed for what you are paying for every month to a landlord.if i’m meeting up with half the contract then they can too.

    • Sis Delish

      How would you feel if, as a result of this New Slush Fund, your Landlord wrote you advising of a Change in your Lease whereby he now can come in and inspect his property arbitrarily, and charge you a fee for doing so, over and above what you currently pay in Rent to cover his cost of complying with this useless law?

      • Arietta Sullivan

        true

    • Pablo Jones

      But this new change you still won’t know what hasn’t been inspected because there is no inspection. Congratulations your rent has increased and nothing has changed.

      Besides even if your water heater hasn’t been replaced in a while, but it is still working it won’t get changed out. If the city did inspect your water heater and it was working they wouldn’t tell the owner to replace it. And there will still be a chance a week later the water heater will go out on you. Inspections won’t catch that type of stuff, and what they may catch are minor things that require work that is very involved, which means you would have to move out.

  • bROWNS77

    Maybe then can inspect used cars before a resident makes a purchase too!

  • Poester

    Sometimes on the county auditor’s website the landlord’s contact address is the same as the address of the rental, creating a problem trying to locate the landlord.

  • Stan K

    Lotko is a landlord who does not agree with interior/exterior inspections.So one can only assume through the proposal Lotko made,that he is an offender and has properties that might not pass inspections.