CROWN POINT | Officials on Monday overcame objections from landlords to adopt the city's first ever regulations of rental housing.
"You made history here tonight," Crown Point Mayor David Uran told the City Council.
The 25-page ordinance was adopted after a public hearing at which landlords and their representatives objected to a measure they said places too big a burden on landlords.
"We don't believe there's adequate tenant responsibility," said Phil Barbercheck, who spoke to city officials on behalf of several local landlords.
City officials defended the ordinance, which they said took months to craft and is based on state law and similar measures in other communities.
"A lot of passion went into this, for the love of the city," said Councilman Robert Clemons, R-2nd, and a member of the council committee that wrote the measure.
The 25-page ordinance calls for annual registration and inspection of rental units and sets a registration/inspection fee of $50 per building and $20 per rental unit in a building.
The ordinance also requires landlords to furnish up-to-date tenant lists and sets penalties for violations of the regulations.
Representatives of the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors and of the Indianapolis-based Indiana Apartment Association said they were troubled by the amount of the registration and inspection fees, among other issues in the ordinance, and asked that a final decision be delayed.
"The fees need to be reasonable," said Lynne Sullivan, president of the apartment association.
Councilwoman Carol Drasga, R-5th, said the city could not delay.
"The problem is right now we have nothing," on the books governing rental housing. With the ordinance, "we have a functioning tool," she said.
Councilman Mark Schweitzer, R-At large, who helped write the ordinance, asked the landlords "to trust the government a little bit" when it comes to carrying out the regulations.
"I'm asking you to take a leap of faith," Schweitzer said.