MERRILLVILLE | Town leaders are unsure if potential state legislation would affect plans to amend Merrillville's rental registration rules.
Merrillville has developed a proposed measure that would make two changes to a rental registration ordinance adopted by the Town Council last year, Town Administrator Howard Fink said.
The amendment would reduce the annual $100 fee landlords pay for each of their rental units to $50 per unit, Fink said. Another change would remove language indicating funds from fees collected would go to the Police Department, he said.
House Bill 1313 would prohibit municipalities without a rental registration ordinance from enacting one until at least July 1, 2014.
Communities that already have adopted such ordinances couldn't increase associated fees if the proposal becomes law.
Fink said it's unclear if the town's proposed changes would be allowed if House Bill 1313 becomes law.
The council intends to proceed with plans to consider approving the ordinance amendments on first reading during the panel's Tuesday meeting. If approved next week, the council could adopt the measure March 12.
Fink said landlords who already paid $100 for each of their rental units in 2012 would receive a credit for fees due in 2013 if the council adopts the proposed changes.
He said funds generated from the registration fees would be used only for costs reasonably related to the enforcement of the town's rental ordinance.
Town leaders said the rental ordinance is intended to ensure there are adequate living standards at rental properties in town. It also established procedure for Merrillville to inspect rental units if the town receives complaints about them.