After an 18 month long effort to develop a strategy for improving the condition of rental properties in the city, a new plan approved by city council on Dec. 13, is set to go into effect Jan. 13.
The three-part plan includes enforcement of Montgomery County’s already existing rental registration program, exterior-only inspections, and an education component offered in conjunction with the rental industry, according to Greg Gaines, planning director.
In the new program, all owners of residential rental property within the city will be required to register their properties with the Montgomery County Auditor, as currently required by Ohio Revised Code, no later than June 30, 2017. The form can be found at: http://www.mcohio.org/document_center/Auditor/Residential_Rental_Registration_Form.pdf
Failure to register by June 30, 2017, will result in a $150 late fee being assessed by the city, and possibly a criminal complaint being filed, penalties being imposed by the municipal court, and/or the rental unit being ordered condemned.
After registration, the city’s neighborhood enforcement inspector will conduct a full inspection of the exterior of all residential rental units in the city, as well as the interior common areas of multi-family rental buildings such as hallways, stairways, shared storage areas, and laundry rooms. The inspections will occur once every two years after the initial inspection.
“This inspection will require permission for the city inspector to access the side and rear yards of the property,” Gaines said. “If violations are found, the owner will be given an opportunity to correct them. If upon re-inspection the violations are not corrected, an $87 re-inspection fee will be assessed.”
Owners who fail two consecutive inspections will also be required to attend an educational training session provided and facilitated by the rental industry, according to Gaines.
Any other interior inspections would only be conducted upon request, or if probable cause as a result of the exterior inspection, Gaines said.
Bob Bobbit, a code enforcement officer, will manage the program, serve as the city liaison to the rental industry, and act as an ombudsman for landlords and tenants.
“According to feedback from our citizen surveys, the deteriorating condition of rental properties is an issue that our residents want us to tackle,” Gaines said. “We’ve worked diligently to find a solution that is acceptable to all parties involved.”
“In this plan, we are confident that we can implement this program, without incurring an inordinate amount of additional costs to the city’s already depleted general fund budget,” he said.
Approximately 42 percent or 2,503 of the city’s 5,946 total households in 2015 were rentals, according to a market analysis done by Market Metric$ LLC. According to city statistics from 2012 to 2015, 65 percent of all local code violations came from rental properties.
Gaines said the city’s previous attempts to enforce current code regulations have been hindered by the time and resources required to locate the owners of rental properties which have fallen into disrepair.
Approximately 80 percent of the city’s rental properties are owned by landlords who live outside of the city.
For more information, call Bob Bobbit, code enforcement officer, at (937) 859-5184.