Rental units in the city should get a full safety inspection, and now all 18,000 rentals in the city may get a special placard that would tell tenants how to file a complaint against their landlord with City Hall.
On a 3-2 vote, Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday rejected a proposal that would have eliminated 38 of the 66 possible violations a landlord could be cited for under a proposed rental licensing and inspection program.
A majority of commissioners also agreed with a suggestion of City Commissioner Jeremy Farmer that would require each rental unit in the city to have posted somewhere in its interior a placard that provides a telephone number and other information on how to file a city complaint about living conditions in their rental units.
"We need an ordinance to protect the vulnerable and innocent in our community," Farmer said.
A majority of commissioners also rejected the idea of a sunset provision that would have automatically ended the new rental registration program at the end of 2017, unless the commission at that time reauthorized the program.
Tuesday's action did not formally create the new program, however. Instead staff members were directed to bring an ordinance back to the commission sometime in January for a vote. Commissioners voted 3-2 to direct staff to do so, with Mayor Mike Dever and Commissioner Mike Amyx voting against the proposal. Dever and Amyx had created the proposal that would have eliminated the 38 violations, and would have added the sunset provision.
In other news, commissioners also directed staff members to draft an ordinance that would increase city commissioner pay beginning after the April 2015 elections. The proposed salaries would be $20,000 for commissioners, up from $9,000 currently. The mayor would be paid $25,000, up from $10,000 currently. The raise would be the first for the commission since 1999.