HURON — Final reading of an ordinance establishing rental housing provisions after a year of study has been delayed at least two weeks after the attorney for landlords of 200 units said his clients have concerns and questions.
Kent Shelton asked the City Commission for a short deferment, saying the landlords wanted to offer their input.
“That’s all they’re asking for at this point in time,” he said.
Mayor David McGirr questioned why the landlords were coming forward at this late date, saying that the city has had five separate public hearings as drafts of the proposed guidelines were revised.
“They would have had to have their heads in the sand not to have heard about this,” McGirr said.
Commissioner Dale Schneider added that he was “flabbergasted” that the landlords waited until now to voice concerns.
But as they understand the language, the landlords said they would be evicting tenants because they would not be in compliance with the regulations.
Some of the guidelines are unreasonable and would require rental property owners to abide by higher standards than other residences, Shelton said.
However, he said he thinks the landlords would agree with most of the provisions, but have questions about the language in some of them.
As to why they waited, he said he didn’t think they understood the gravity of the new regulations. He said they want to work with the commission in coming up with doable guidelines.
The language was modeled after rental housing ordinances in Vermillion and has been watered down considerably from where it started, the mayor said.
He said he would not want to see it watered down to the level where it would not be effective.
Throughout the hearing process, only a couple landlords showed up to offer their input, he said.
The provisions are among those brought to the attention of the commission by the fire chief and building inspector in terms of what they are seeing in Huron. For example, there have been fires in four homes because people were using space heaters.
The ordinance also covers other health and safety issues, and sets out requirements for not only landlords but tenants.
McGirr said the building inspector has indicated he is more interested in issuing warnings than writing citations for violations.
During the drafting process, the city also worked with James Valley Housing and the Huron Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
The proposed ordinance also calls for regular inspections and has a fee schedule.
A separate resolution on the fee structure will also be considered in two weeks.
(More City Commission action in Wednesday’s paper.)
For the complete article see the 02-12-2013 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-12-2013 paper.
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