Archive for Wednesday, February 29, 2012

City wants more info on possible rental registration program fee increase

February 29, 2012


Lawrence city commissioners want more information about a possible fee increase after a city audit determined the city’s rental registration program is not paying for itself.

Commissioners also said they wanted a staff report on various scenarios that would allow the rental registration program to be expanded to cover more type of rental units.

Currently, the program only requires rental homes in single-family-zoned neighborhoods to be registered with the city. The program charges a $25 annual fee, and properties are inspected once every three years.

But City Auditor Michael Eglinski said the fee likely would have to be raised to more than $40 for the program to come close to covering its costs. He also said the program only covers about 10 percent of all the rental units in the city.

Commissioners made no decisions Tuesday but did ask staff to prepare a report for further discussion in the next several weeks.


Maddy Griffin 6 years, 1 month ago

Why does it only cover 10%? Are landlords not registering their rental property? Isn't there a penalty for that?

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

it's because all rental units (like apartment complexes) aren't part of the program

headdoctor 6 years, 1 month ago

Some of the single family homes are not licensed. The City uses ownership and utility information to track down rentals. I don't know if the city has wised up but there were ways to get around licensing the rental such as the landlord pays the utilities. There was also some contractual funny business that circumvented the rules.

JackMcKee 6 years, 1 month ago

Yep. Another scam some of these people are trying to pull is "rent to own" when they know damn good and well that there is zero chance that any of the people will follow through and buy the home. It's a scam transaction designed solely to foil the local rental regulations.

James Sneegas 6 years, 1 month ago

Sounds like selective inforcement to me?? Just think of the money the city could make if they could charge to inspect all rental properties, not just single family dwellings. Heck they could hire more people to inspect them, office help to do the paper work on them,and before you know it, a new bereaucracy is born. Then in a short time you know it it would be spending more money than it takes in and could raise taxes again and expand. Jeeeeeze! I'm tired of government feeding off the people.

cowboy 6 years, 1 month ago

complete waste of time , just cancel this program

Jay Lovett 6 years, 1 month ago

If this program would do something to counter the student slums along Tennessee and Kentucky Streets I would be for it. But, it looks like another city program designed by an idiot and ran by a larger group of idiots. If they could get their stuff together, we might see less of our youth getting hurt and dying after parties each weekend in the area of town with the biggest houses and the largest percent of rentals. 12 kids living together in a shabby old house, each paying 450$ a month and the city charges the landlord 25$. Sure looks like the landlord's have had an influence on this program.

svenway_park 6 years, 1 month ago

  • 10

Why have an inspection program and leave out the exact area that has the largest life/safety/health threats in town. It makes no sense.

cowboy 6 years, 1 month ago

jaybird , those properties do not get inspected , only homes in single family zoning , thats the joke of this whole program , after one inspection which is a basic cursory code inspection there is no reason to come out again. Its a typical city superstitious dance.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

It could be that too many landlords have friends downtown and some landlords could be employed at city hall and some landlords could be our elected officials.

One way to have an ordinance that special interests do not like is to not provide adequate funding thereby leaving the ordinance largely unenforceable.

Meanwhile the ordinance is on the books which provides the appearance. My guess the enforcement of this ordinance is left largely in the hands of residents who must call in a complaint. Then again without adequate staffing.....

Dan Blomgren 6 years, 1 month ago

'it could be' in other words you don't know.

'my guess' again you don't know what you are talking about

It's a shame that everyone has an opinion and the opportunity to express it.

majiktami 6 years, 1 month ago

Merril, I think you are right. I had to recently turn in a landlord for extreme neglegence on a property I lived in. I am very thankful there are rules and regulations and some kind of enforcement to protect renters and their rights. As a long time resident and renter, I have only had to file a formal complaint once.

somedude20 6 years, 1 month ago

Instead of charging more, wouldn't it be better to make the program more efficient? Seems like that is the problem with goverment programs, when they find that something is not making money, they raise prices....just look at fixing the problem because it did make money at one time or they would have set a higher price. I bet there are things that can be done so that a $15 increase is not needed.

But hey, what do I know......(that Chili's and Applebees are bland)

Gayla Bieker 6 years, 1 month ago

Get rid of the program--that's a thought.... With all the tons of apartment complexes around town you can't tell me that you're not making money....Give me a break. I'm am tired of the prices going up every time an organization starts having money problems. AS a landlord I think it's time that people start voicing their opinion more....I surely hope that rental houses aren't the only ones paying this $25 yrly fee, it better apply to Compton & Fritzel & any other large 8 plex, 24 plex, etc that they keep building and the city keeps approving.....

headdoctor 6 years, 1 month ago

This was a money loser from day one. Especially when they had more inspectors. The money brought in doesn't cover the cost of one inspector the vehicle they use or the office staff. That doesn't include anything for the City legal department, inspectors who have to be brought in from the code section lawyers or police use when there is a gross violation. They started with a little over 3000 rental homes. $75k plus a little doesn't put the City in the money making category.

wrldmkt 6 years, 1 month ago

This program was developed to target just a few small landlords -- its the biggest joke! You have to register a rental unit ONLY if its a single family in a single family zoned area. Thus, most of Oread does not have to register because a big % is zoned multi-family or other -- even though they appear to be single family homes. Duplexes, townhomes and apartment complexed do not fall under this requirement either.

A second problem with the program is that the inpections are not consistent and there is no overseeing of the inspector. There is a lot of politics and who you know in this department -- no transparency.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 1 month ago

welcome to the forum, Mr. & Mrs. Landlord

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 1 month ago

The only people who really oppose a citywide program are those landlords who have properties which need to have fire, safety, and health codes addressed. Their manufactured rage about "big government and all" fall on deaf ears.

What a novel concept.....actually inspecting some of those hovels in the area of Oread, instead of single family homes.

Heck, pay for the whole thing from the general fund. Having basic safe housing is just as important as filling pot-holes.

progressive_thinker 6 years, 1 month ago

I do not understand why the landlord of a dirty, cockroach infested, lead paint laden, slum house gets a competitive advantage from the city over the landlord of a safe, nicely kept home in a good neighborhood.

The purpose of the ordinance was not to improve safety in housing, and the city needs to admit it. The only purpose of the ordinance was quiet the complaining of a few residents of single family neighborhoods who ended up with a group of students living next to them.

Fair for one is fair for all. The city should apply it equally to all rental housing, or to none at all.

JackMcKee 6 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence slum lords. Just another unsavory part of the town. These people are one tiny rung higher than thieves and prostitutes. Lawrence is a lot like a sausage making plant. You really don't want to know what's going on behind those doors.

Charge the slumlords the fees to cover the costs they create.

wrldmkt 6 years, 1 month ago

ProgressiveThinker you nailed it! This never was about providing safe housing for renters. This was always about accommodating the needs of a few influential home-owners that had ties to the City Commission. A very tiny group of landlords was targetted.

+90% of the rentals do not have to register, get inspected or pay any fees.... but, the city can boast that they have a Rental Registration Program.

headdoctor 6 years, 1 month ago

Guess the licensed rental property landscape has sure changed since 2001. I could have sworn when they started this that they claimed there were over 3000 houses that needed licensed. From there own report there is only 1600. No wonder they are in the hole. Besides it being unfair that they let the multifamily remain unlicensed it seems the City has exempted several single family houses by changing the zoning. Even if there are really only 160 exempt why didn't they update the license law to include the zoning change from RS to PUD. Those houses are still in the city limits.

I really have to wonder what was the reason behind this bit of stupidity.

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