Not time for dawdling

The months continue to roll by with no plan in place establishing minimum standards for rental housing in New Albany.

The latest episode, earlier this month, in the continuing saga involved the New Albany Board of Aldermen holding another public hearing on the rental issue, this time on an ordinance put forward by Ward Two Alderman Johnny Anderson.
During the hearing, attended mostly by owners of rental property, Anderson appeared less than enthusiastic about supporting his own proposal.
Some rental property owners complained about the proposed inspection process, which already had been tempered to make it easier for the city’s code enforcement officer to keep up with the work.
The rental ordinance proposal, and a similar one offered a year ago by Alderman Scott Dunnam and supported by Alderman Jeff Olson, would create standards that are minimal: water, a toilet, sink, bathtub or shower, heat and ventilation, electrical, protection from weather and the like.
Because New Albany has no minimum rental standards, we have a higher percentage of low-cost and low-quality rentals than many communities in our state. Sleazy rentals lead to more random crime, declining property values, deteriorating neighborhoods and a decline in the tax base.
The rental standards issue continues to languish. Perhaps the proposal needs a bit of tweaking, but that could be done in a day or two. This is not new ground; there are hundreds of ordinances around the country that get the job done for other cities.
It’s time to quit dawdling and pass a fair, but tough, ordinance. The vote should be unanimous and soon.