Council discusses next step in rental dwelling license ordinance

By: 
Patrick Fisher, The New Prague Times

A presentation on information concerning a possible rental dwelling license ordinance became a discussion during the New Prague City Council’s Monday, Oct. 21, meeting.

The information city staff collected was 15 calls to the Planning and Building Department from April 1 through September 30 of this year. Those calls were varied and included calls about conditions in rental units by tenants, complaints about rental units having long grass or refuse on the properties and other miscellaneous items. City Planning Director Ken Ondich noted that tenants do not always identify themselves or leave addresses.

There were also calls to the New Prague Police Department over a six month period. Out of 1,628 calls for service, 370 were from rental units, although there wasn’t additional manual analysis of the types of calls.

According to a memo city staff does not believe the data sheds any new light on the discussion of whether or not to implement a licensing ordinance to conduct rental unit inspections. Staff does believe there is a need for an ordinance to take the burden off rental tenants and to proactively ensure they have a safe place to live and ensure quality rental units.

Ondich said he was not expecting action, but city staff was looking for direction.

City attorney Scott Riggs of the firm Kennedy & Graven suggested a possible ordinance would give city staff another tool to use, but not something that would be a burden to landlords.

The council discussed rights of tenants. Ondich noted some tenants sometimes decide not to use them.

Two owners of rental property at the meeting were Joe Lambrecht and Craig Sindelar. Lambrecht said that if landlords had to pay any fees connected to the proposed ordinance, those would be passed down to the renter. He noted that some renters don’t want...

To see more on this story pick up the October 24, 2019 print edition of The New Prague Times. 

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