Thursday, March 15, 2001

Lebanon wavers on rentals law

Property-inspections bill not dead

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A city councilman promised Wednesday to push forward in his effort to require rental-property inspections after council shelved legislation on it Tuesday night.

        The ordinance would have charged owners $50 to $100 per unit to have their property inspected by the city every time a new resident moves in. The idea was to ensure properties meet city standards.

        But dozens of Lebanon landlords turned out at Tuesday night's meeting to protest the ordinance, saying it would punish them — and their tenants — for problems caused by a minority of property owners.

        “Ultimately, costs will be passed on to tenants, and that's not fair to them,” owner Susan Nixon said.

        Landlords also were concerned they would lose money and potential tenants while waiting for inspections to be completed.

        A majority on council appeared swayed by their arguments, saying that while problem properties must be addressed, the proposed ordinance might not be the solution.

        “My concern is that good landlords — those who follow the rules — will bear the brunt,” Councilwoman Amy Brewer said. “The bad ones will find a way to circumvent the rules.”

        Councilman Mark Flick, sponsor of the legislation, said Wednesday he's going to reintroduce the ordinance — perhaps within a month — after staff reworks it.

        “I'm not deterred,” Mr. Flick said. “There were valid points made, and they have to be considered. But some people don't police themselves.”

        Councilman James Reinhard, however, said council should make sure existing remedies are adequately enforced and publicized first.

        “If it is found that there is no other place that's doing (inspections) — if the health department isn't doing its job, if HUD isn't doing its job — ... then we need to find out why and get those things fixed.”


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