CP meeting gets heated over rental ordinance
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent June 4, 2012 9:54PM
Updated: June 4, 2012 10:05PM
CROWN POINT — A rental unit registration and inspection ordinance passed Monday despite opposition by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors and the Indiana Apartment Association and a request by the latter to delay approval.
The ordinance has been in the works for almost a year but under consideration for many more, stemming from resident concerns raised in public forums, Mayor David Uran said.
The ordinance will require landlords to annually register their buildings for a fee of $50 and each individual apartment for an additional $20 each and then allow city inspectors to conduct annual inspections of each unit.
While most landlords follow the rules, the ordinance is designed will help the city deal with those who do not.
“If you’re in violation you should be worried,” Uran said.
Pat Pullara, chief operating officer for GNIAR, said the group cannot support the ordinance as it is currently presented.
“We understand the city needs and enforcement mechanism,” Pullara said.
However, the group opposes annual inspections of properties after the initial registration and inspection where no complaints or violations are reported. The group also finds the fees to be excessive.
Concern also centered around language in the ordinance that calls for stiff fines and the potential revocation of a landlords right to rent when there are three criminal complaints emanating from one unit.
Landlord Phil Barbercheck agreed. Barbercheck owns a number of rental properties in the city. He said while he agrees with some provisions of the ordinance, others are out of step. Barbercheck said the ordinance does not do enough to hold tenants responsible for violations they create. After the meeting he also questioned how officials logistically can manage inspecting the estimated 2,500 rental units in the city each year.
Lynne Sullivan, president of the Indiana Apartment Association, said the ordinance creates another level of government and potentially infringes on the rights of tenants.
Councilwoman Carol Drasga, R-5, said it was important to get some enforcement mechanism on the books where one currently does not exist.
“The problem is right now we have nothing. If it’s perfection you’re looking for you’re not going to find it,” she said.