Rental Housing ordinance public hearing set for Jan. 15

By Joseph McCain The Winston County Journal

The Louisville Board of Alderman will seek public input on a proposed Rental Housing Ordinance on Tuesday, January 15 at 5:00 p.m. The ordinance is a beginning point for a program to address blighted rental housing conditions in the city limits. The ordinance would establish a permit fee on all rental units in the city, whether they are apartment or single-family houses.

The ordinance makes it unlawful for any person to rent, let or lease any dwelling within the city without obtaining a license and having an inspection of the property.

Under the recommendations of the program, a $2 month rental fee would be added to the utility bill of the property. All rental properties in the city would have to be registered with the city on an annual basis. No fee would apply to the registering of properties.

Although, certain fines would also be imposed for violators of the ordinance including up to $10 for late fee for registering late and a penalty of $350 for failing to register a property.

The ordinance also establishes a resident agent, which requires property owners who live more than 60 miles from the city to designate a person to receive inspection notices, correspondence and telephone calls from the city in the event of an emergency regarding the property.

The rental permit and registration would be approved for a unit upon the rental unit passing code inspection, with a 30-day permit being issued if the inspector believes the landlord or owner can get the property compliant within that time. Those who either fail an inspection or fail to make the necessary fixes to bring the property within compliance could have their registration revoked and would be unable to rent the property or receive utilities until it was in compliance. The inspection would be held when the renter applies for utilities or every change of occupancy if the landlord retains utilities.

According to the 2010 census, there are more than 1,000 rental units in the city.

The income from the fees could possibly make the code enforcement staff a self-sustaining entity.