Some 750 rental property owners received the one-page letter, along with a registration form and new fee schedule, said Nikki Burton of the Tupelo Development Services Department.
The ordinance, adopted earlier this month by the City Council, requires rental property owners to pay an annual $25-per-unit registration fee and submit to housing inspections every two years. Landlords who keep utilities in their own name will get inspected every six months.
Each of the first two inspections are free, but owners who repeatedly fail them must pay $100 to $400 for subsequent visits. After the fifth consecutive failure, landlords will be brought to court.
Inspections also will be required anytime a unit changes tenants.
Landlords who fail to register will be fined $350 per unit. Those who register late also face a $10-per-unit penalty for each month they're past due.
The Development Services Department said last month it would alert all rental property owners of the changes by mail.
"We mailed a letter to everyone in our database," Burton said, acknowledging that some landlords might have slipped through the cracks.
"There probably are some, but I don't think it's a lot," she said. "We were within 10 percent of having all rental units in our database."
Tupelo has approximately 5,100 rental units, according to the most recent census.
The program aims to clean up blighted rental property - which accounts for about one-third of all housing in Tupelo - and improve the general health of all neighborhoods. Proponents also hope it will decrease the overall percentage of rental units and encourage more home ownership, which stabilizes a community.
It's the second version of the original program launched in January 2007. That version charged landlords $10 a year if they owned one to three units, $30 annually for four to 10 units, and $100 annually if they owned more than 10.
Landlords who already have paid those fees for the current fiscal year will be exempt from the new fee schedule until Oct. 1.
"The fees have changed, that's going to be the most obvious thing," Burton said. "And the rental property, now we have the right to inspect it every time a tenant changes."
The new ordinance will generate roughly $125,000 annually through registration fees. The funds will help offset the cost of an additional code enforcement officer, bringing Tupelo's total to three. That officer already has been hired.
The rest of the money will go into the city's general fund.