Rental license program gets another hearingLandlords will get another chance to plead their concerns over Superior’s rental license requirements before the council’s License and Fees Committee.
By: Shelley Nelson, The Daily Telegram
Landlords will get another chance to plead their concerns over Superior’s rental license requirements before the council’s License and Fees Committee.
City councilors were slated to discuss exempting federally subsidized housing from city inspection, as it’s already inspected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The committee ended up recommending terminating the city program because exempting hundreds of those rental units would create a revenue shortfall in the fee-based city program. But the matter was scheduled for discussion without providing adequate notice, City Attorney Frog Prell concluded. He recommended the council refer the matter back to committee so people with an interest in maintaining the city license and inspection program could fully address the issue.
“I’m definitely in favor of the license program and inspections,” said Gary Shaver, a Superior landlord. “It levels the playing field for all of us.”
Like other landlords, however, he has concerns about the ordinance as it was written and adopted.
While other city licenses are issued and paid for on an annual basis, landlords are subject to licensing on a three-year cycle, he said. In addition, the ordinance outlines penalties for anyone who fails to license properties in such a way that if two friends or an unmarried couple decided to live in a home owned by one of the individuals, the property would have to be licensed, he said. The ordinance only allows people to forgo the license if they are cohabitating with immediate family.
Landlord Marty Curtiss, who launched a landlord association following the adoption of the latest rental license and inspection program, asked that items originally on the agenda be discussed.
“They might not need to be discussed if you decide to cancel the program, but if you don’t cancel the program, we should also discuss them then,” Curtiss said.
No time has been set for the committee meeting. The council is considering a special committee session to address the issue as soon as possible. Had the council killed the program Tuesday night, landlords who hadn’t paid their licensing fees, due April 1, would have been off the hook, while those who had paid the fee for the current cycle would be eligible for a refund. However, because the council is unlikely to act before the deadline, landlords could be subject to penalties if they fail to license their properties by the April 1 deadline.
Council President Ed Anderson said collecting those fees only to return them later is going to create a lot of work for the city; the council concurred that landlords would have to follow the law as it stands. Where the council may have discretion is whether to charge a penalty, Anderson said.
Prell recommended landlords pay the fee to avoid exposing themselves to the risk of penalty. After all, while the committee voted to terminate rental license requirements, if the council reverses that recommendation, landlords would have already met their obligation under the program as it stands.
Contact Shelley Nelson at (715) 395-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org