C.P. rental housing rules advance to council on June 4

2012-05-16T21:03:00Z 2012-05-16T23:28:05Z C.P. rental housing rules advance to council on June 4By Susan Erler susan.erler@nwi.com, (219) 662-5336 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | A City Council committee on Wednesday wrapped up its work on proposed rules for rental housing in the city, but not before hearing objections from landlords.

The ordinance committee agreed to send the measure on to the full Crown Point City Council on June 4, where it will receive a public hearing before being put to a final vote.

The measure calls for all rental units to be registered and inspected and sets a registration/inspection fee of $50 per building plus $20 per rental unit in a building.

The ordinance troubled landlord Phil Barbercheck, who said he owns eight rental units in the city.

"We don't see a lot of responsibility on tenants," in the ordinance, Barbercheck said.  He called on officials to postpone a vote on the ordinance.

Mark Conover, a spokesman for the Indianapolis-based Indiana Apartment Association, said the organization also has concerns, including the amount of the fees and the requirement that registration be renewed annually.

"How does this ordinance fix the the issues you have in your community?" Conover asked.

Committee members defended their work on the measure, saying they've studied what other communities have done before crafting an ordinance suited to Crown Point and its approximately 2,500 rental units.

Councilman Mark Schweitzer, R-At large, also a volunteer firefighter, said he has seen firsthand what can happen when rental units are not registered and, therefore, unknown to emergency responders.

Firefighters last year entered what they believed was a single-family home only to find an apartment hidden behind a separate entrance.

"A person living there could have died of smoke inhalation," Schweitzer said.

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