Thursday, May 27, 2004

DeWine offers plan to crack down on landlord violations

Inspection proposal drops Pepper's idea of registering all rental owners

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Councilman Pat DeWine introduced a measure Wednesday to make it easier to crack down on absentee landlords who have repeated building code violations.

The proposal mirrors one submitted by Councilman David Pepper a month ago, minus "the bureaucracy and red tape," DeWine said. The only notable difference is the absence of a provision requiring mandatory registration for all rental property owners.

"I'm borrowing the best of Mr. Pepper's motion and getting rid of the bureaucracy," DeWine said. "We can do a lot to alleviate the problem without the cost and bureaucracy for other (rental property owners) who are not a problem."

DeWine said that, instead of requiring all rental property owners to register in a database, his proposal would call for owners to clearly display a contact information sheet prominently on all of their properties. The contact sheet should list the owner's name, management company, local contact and a phone number.

The measure also calls for the city administration to work with the Code Enforcement Response Team to compile a list of the worst rental property owners in the city. The administration will then appoint at least one citywide repeap-offender inspector for problem rental properties.

The inspector would conduct twice-a-year inspections of all the top violators on the list. Property owners would be removed from the list when they have been in compliance for 12 months.

DeWine said he hopes to have the proposal ready for a vote by the time council breaks for the summer in June.

Pepper said he has no objection to working with DeWine. However, Pepper said registering property owners would give the legislation some teeth.

"We have some properties that we want to sue right now, but we can't because we don't know who to sue," Pepper said. "I think we can do this in a way that will not trouble anyone except those who don't want to be identified."


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