Rental registration ordinance possible in Hobart

2014-05-10T19:30:00Z 2014-05-10T21:07:20Z Rental registration ordinance possible in HobartChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

HOBART | Landlords of residential rental properties might be asked to register with the city.

The City Council is contemplating an ordinance which would establish registration requirements.

Councilman David Vinzant said the measure would determine who is operating each residential rental property in Hobart.

Councilman Pete Mendez said city officials can obtain property owner information from tax records available through the Lake County website.

Vinzant said he understands owner information is available there, but the owner of a residence and the person who operates a rental property could be different.

"We need to know who is running the building," Vinzant said.

Having a database of landlords of residential rental properties could be especially useful for code enforcement personnel in Hobart, but the city doesn't set out to create inspection requirements for rental properties through the proposed ordinance.

Mendez said registration requirements also could help Hobart officials ensure owners of rental properties aren't receiving homestead exemptions.

If an ordinance is adopted, it could be difficult to notify some landlords of the new measure, Vinzant said.

The city's first strategy to inform them of the ordinance could be through sewer bills, he said.

If the city were to charge landlords a registration fee, it would be a small one to cover administrative costs, Vinzant said.

Effective June 30, an annual rental registration fee charged by government entities can't be more than $5, according to state law.

Councilman Matt Claussen said the city would work with landlords during the registration process, but he suggested fines could be assessed if landlords fail to register their rental properties with Hobart.

The amount of possible fines hasn't been established.

Although no official action has been taken on the proposed ordinance, councilmen will continue discussing the matter during an Ordinance Committee meeting next month.

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