Rental regulations topic up again

Just over a year after a previous attempt to pass a rental ordinance for the city of New Albany failed, the board of aldermen is expected to once again discuss the topic at Tuesday’s board meeting.

At the meeting, it is likely that the board will consider setting a public hearing regarding a recent proposal set forth by Johnny Anderson, aldermen for the city’s second ward.
Anderson said Monday that he has given a copy of the proposal to the board’s other four members, as well as Mayor Tim Kent.
Under Anderson’s proposal, all buildings within the city limits that are rented or intended to be rented for “human occupancy” would be subject to inspection both inside and out by the city’s newly-created code enforcement officer.
According to the proposal, the code enforcement officer would have the authority of a law enforcement officer and would be charged with inspecting all rental property suspected of having sub-standard conditions.  
These conditions would include any lack of or improper plumbing fixtures, heating facilities, electrical lighting, ventilation or sewage disposal, among others.  
In addition, the code enforcement officer would inspect for any structural hazards, involving deteriorated foundations, flooring, roof or ceilings, as well as faulty protection from outside weather conditions.
Other potential violations would include allowing the occupation of residents beyond the number for which the dwelling was designed or intended.
Under the proposal as it exists now, the code enforcement officer would have the authority to make an inspection whenever he or she “has reasonable cause” the structure’s conditions present potential hazards to current or future occupants.  This reasonable cause would include either a request by the landlord, tenant or by the officer’s “visual observation.”  The officer would have to present proper credentials and request entry and, should the building be unoccupied, would make an effort to contact the property owner.
Should entry be refused, the officer could take recourse provided by law to request entry.
If the property is not occupied, an inspection would be required before it could be rented to another occupant.  The owner would also be required to apply for an occupancy permit from the city for each dwelling.
According to the proposal, should violations be found at a dwelling, the code enforcement officer would make a written report and would provide a copy of it to the landlord and occupant.  The landlord would then be required to repair conditions not in compliance before a certificate of occupancy can be issued by the offer.
The board will meet at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday evening at the city hall.

About Chris Elkins

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