Collaboration workgroup looks at new rules
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 01:01
Most landlords in Corvallis fulfill their legal obligations and provide tenants with a safe place to live. But over the years, neglectful and absentee landlords have been a problem in the city and new rules are being looked at by the Collaboration Corvallis neighborhood livability workgroup aiming to address the problem.
The workgroup has been looking at the adoption of a new property management code that would require all rental properties in the city to be inspected and for rental properties to be licensed by the city. The new licensing program would cost around $55 to $60 per unit, up from the $11 per unit already charged by the city.
“There are a lot of people abused by landlords, whether it is having to fight for a deposit or fighting against neglect the landlords have for the property,” said Drew Deatherage, ASOSU community affairs taskforce director.
Many local rental property owners have already voiced their concerns about the new licensing procedure, saying that licensing properties will impact their ability to make money off of the rentals, and that many times livability issues are caused by tenants and not necessarily by neglect from landlords.
The licensing program is looking at inspecting the units once every two to three years, with random inspections within the time period. Housing found not to meet habitability standards would be required by the city to comply or receive fines.
The proposal says that it hopes the program will help neighborhood livability by bringing properties that are found to be chronic nuisances into line, and by providing regular inspections to ensure that rental housing meets standards.
The proposal also says officials expect an estimated 30 percent of all rental units will not meet standards, and this will cause a temporary shortage in available housing in the city.
Both Deatherage and the proposal noted that similar programs have been implemented in other cities and are usually successful in making sure rental housing is compliant with codes.
Lexie Merrill, ASOSU executive director of community resources, sits on the neighborhood livability workgroup and is in favor of the new rules.
“If there was accountability for landlords to take care of their properties, then they would,” Merrill said. “Students move into rundown neglected properties and see it hasn’t been taken care of and so they have no incentive to maintain it.”
The Collaboration Corvallis neighborhood livability workgroup meets Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. at the Corvallis Public Library meeting room, 645 NW Monroe Ave. Residents and students are encouraged to attend to provide input and testimony.
Don Iler, editor-in-chief
On Twitter: @doniler