ACAR Comments on Proposed Landlord Licensing & Rental Inspection Legislation in Fairlawn

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On Monday, October 20, 2014, ACAR CEO Sandy Naragon shared comments on proposed Ordinances 2014-073 (Landlord Licensing) and 2014-074 (Rental Inspections) during the Fairlawn City Council meeting.

The ACAR Government Affairs team reviewed the legislation after hearing from several members about its potential impact on private property rights in the City. Our review raised several red flags, which were verified by an analysis completed by the National Association of REALTORS® legal team of land use experts.

ACAR believes in a housing market that consists of safe, diverse and affordable homes, and in order to maintain a healthy market, government must play a role.  To that end, ACAR supports a local government’s authority to systematically inspect the exterior of all residential units located in that city’s jurisdiction, which helps protect the marketability of the entire neighborhood. 

In general, REALTOR® associations across the United States have found that rental licensing and inspection ordinances can discourage investment in communities and hinder affordable housing opportunities; infringe on private property rights of property investors; and often violate privacy rights of tenants – essentially discriminating against them and the landlord.

Depending on the legislation’s unidentified definition of “agent,” the proposed legislation could require that REALTORS® acting as intermediaries for a property owner have a landlord license and ensure that the certificate of inspection is obtained for rentals.  It also could have serious Fair Housing ramifications due to guidelines for tenant selection.

Other areas needing additional review by the City Council include obtaining data justifying the need for treating rental properties differently than any other residential property; clarification on the scope of the proposed inspection process; due process concerns for the proposed conciliation process; and many others including but not limited to the forfeiture of rental income for noncompliant landlords.

In addition to ACAR, several members of the association spoke about their personal experiences in the real estate industry and the impact they believe the proposed legislation would have on the market in Fairlawn.

Before the meeting concluded, Council President Russell Sharnsky announced that the proposed ordinances have been referred back to the Planning Committee for further review. ACAR and its Government Affairs Department will continue to monitor this situation.

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2 responses to “ACAR Comments on Proposed Landlord Licensing & Rental Inspection Legislation in Fairlawn

  1. Dwayne Helkowski says:

    I’m a Realtor with over 45 years experience. I have owned and rented residential property for my entire term. I feel government should not be infringing on investors or landlords. Inspection of suites is unreasonable, inspection fees are not warranted. I don’t support annual inspections or fees. We need smaller government not the government trying to micro manage every facet of our lives. Vote NO!!!!!!!!!

  2. Tom McCombs says:

    One of the driving forces behind these kinds of ordinances — besides the need for additional revenue — is the desire to find a way to hold someone responsible for the bad behavior of some tenants.

    The police do not have an effective way to control these behaviors so they want the housing providers to do it for them. Since housing providers do not have police powers they have to rely on civil procedures involving the courts to effect change using penalties such as fines or evictions.

    It has been very difficult to get the courts to support these efforts to control tenants. The individual judges or magistrates impose very strict requirements on housing providers which are difficult or impossible to satisfy. The result is that those who “do the crime” are not held liable for their actions.

    I believe that if the court system were more housing provider friendly many of these kinds of problems would go away.

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