Public will have opportunity to talk about proposed rental property inspection ordinance in New Albany again Tuesday

By New Albany News-Exchange

New Albany aldermen have discussed the possibility of creating an ordinance that would set minimum standards for rental housing for the past two years, but that process may finally be nearing fruition.

A public hearing on the latest draft of the proposed ordinance is set for Tuesday, March 6, at 5:30 as part of the city board’s regular monthly meeting.

The current version has been described as “watered down” from earlier versions but New Albany landlords still contend parts of it are unfair.

The avowed purpose of the ordinance is “to protect the citizens of the City from sub-standard rental housing (houses, duplexes, apartments, mobile homes, modular homes, etc.).”

Charges that some rental property has not been maintained to livable standards in various parts of the city have been a continuing issue for years and that and related problems have led to the forming of groups such as the Historic Northside Neighborhood Association in the past.

The definition of what constitutes substandard conditions has not been seriously challenged by property owners.

Discussion next Tuesday will more likely be on which circumstances would allow the city code enforcement officer to enter and inspect rental property (especially against the landlord’s wishes), the cost and number of required permits for occupancy landlords would have to obtain from the city, as well as how often, registration fees, and the time frame for inspections, required repairs and subsequent city approval.

Some property owners have expressed concern that the city could cost them money by holding up approval for an extended time, saying that while some tenants may stay for years, in other cases rental housing may see four or five sets of tenants in a year. In the latter case, delayed approval could cut income drastically.

Aldermen have contended that responsible landlords should have nothing to worry about since their property would easily pass any inspection and they also are more likely to have long-term tenants.

Both sides have said responsible property owners should not be penalized because of the actions of less-responsible landlords.

Copies of the proposed ordinance are available at City Hall for members of the public to read.

Aldermen could vote on the ordinance Tuesday but if they decide further modification is needed that will delay the process and likely require another public hearing.