The City Council there sparked protests by local landlords by proposing a “nuisance” law that makes landlords liable for tenants’ bad behavior. Under the measure, landlords could be charged for police or emergency calls to a rental property — even if the landlord was a victim.
While the ink has not yet dried on the final draft of the proposal, the nuisance law did pass City Council last week, over the objections of local landlords, realtors, lawyers and housing advocates.
Even the ACLU filed an objection to the nuisance law, citing fears that it will drive up housing costs for the poor and intimidate domestic violence victims, would may be afraid to call police for fear of being evicted.
There also is talk of making criminal background checks mandatory — a step that most landlords say they are already implementing. Last week, the city scheduled a public hearing on that idea, and more.
City officials announced they are considering a mandatory landlord training program, presumably to teach property owners how to rein in crime in rental properties.
Landlords who commented on this newest proposal have pointed out that only a small percentage of properties are experiencing problems, so making every landlord go through elementary training is overkill. Some landlords suggest such a training program should be reserved as penance for those who are actually violating the housing code.
One proposal under consideration would require that mandatory classes be held annually. While there is no specific outline of what these classes would entail — or how much they would cost the landlords — one thing remains clear: Cedar Rapids appears to be moving ever closer to forcing landlords to guarantee that tenants will never act badly — a burden that no other business owners are facing.
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