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Landlords Say Problem is Homeowners

take aimMansfield, Ohio landlords aren’t protecting those who rent out run-down properties. They just want the city’s new blight initiative to include homeowners.

City planners have been moving forward a plan to counteract declining neighborhoods. But so far, the bulk of the measures proposed–including increased inspection fees, registration fees and fines, are aimed at rental housing, with landlords shouldering much of the expense.

Yet a local apartment association told reporters that many of the offending properties are owned by banks or simply abandoned. Even owner-occupied homes are to blame for deteriorating curb appeal.

Landlords argue that if anything, occupied rentals are helping because those properties are being cared for.

Still the zoning committee is studying other cities with landlord registration programs as a possible solution to blight, according to the news report.

Local landlords complain that duplicate inspections may be required between different agencies, and that the cost of these inspections is significant on a city-wide basis, barring landlords from making needed improvements to the properties.

Perhaps the biggest concern is the delay involved waiting for an inspection, which can increase vacancies.

Landlords suggest a more targeted approach, such as a “blight fine” for any dilapidated housing, whether it is a rental, abandoned, or a private home.

But officials say they will continue to focus on blight enforcement against rental property owners, particularly those who purchase multiple properties.

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  • Linda

    I can’t agree with this article more. My community just initiated an inspection ordinance. Of course, our elected officials blame the rental properties for causing our blight problem. I believe it is about the money. A tax increase without calling it a tax increase. The landlords are an easy target.

  • Shannon

    As the owner of several multi-family buildings in New Jersey, I have to agree that the assessments by various public agencys, rent control and state / federal tax structures are putting a tremdendous overhead cost burden on property owners. The overhead prevents the owners from making repairs and many much needed improvements. The government needs to wake up and take a holistic view of the problems surrounding blight.

  • Rajeev Kumar

    This article would also be 100% correct if the name of the town were changed to Addison, IL. So many single family homes are bought by immigrants who then bring multiple families or polygamous ones and run down the neighborhood. But we apartment building owners are the only ones who get blamed.

    My town pursues CRIMINAL charges against landlords and building managers for code violations. They mayor brags at village hall meetings that he is “having slumlords arrested every week and convicted 100% of the time!”

    I run a beautiful building that is fully secured, pursues background checks, is beautifully maintained, and there is virtually no overcrowding in my building (minus a few nice illegal immigrant families who have been grandfathered in because they lived here before we started background checking). We have the nicest of the three inspectors and that helps. But we constantly feel the heat and receive all kinds of ridiculous demands, such as threats that we will be sued by the village if we do not add a sprinkler system to a 40 year-old building that is built of solid concrete!

    We have upgraded our units and our tenants. Most of us landlords want a better community. I personally have destroyed a wannabe gang of middle school punks, armed only with my brain and my camera. We all want to bring in more prestigious jobs that will bring more money and better tenants into the area. We do not want to see our life investments go to hell, which they would if our community became an F-grade ghetto. I’ll bet most on this site would say the same.

    Our mayor is attending regional meetings with other mayors and promoting his inspection system as a way to ‘remove the slumlords’ while generating tremendous revenue. He is given a thunderous applause and treated as the guest of honor. In other words, this practice will only increase. Brace yourselves…

  • Bill

    In our city a study was done, and the vast majority of the substandard homes were owner-occupied

  • Paul

    What can we as a landlord to counter this injustice?


  • jbateni

    landlords are perceived as having money so the fees, etc. will be attached to them. When I complained of drug dealing in our neighborhood the police said it was the landlords responsibility. They would send marked cars and expect to find drug dealers. They did put an undercover officer in one apartment who sat on the sidewalk pretending to sleep wearing police black shoes and a hoodie. He was so easy to spot. I sold out as I could not deal with the lack of law enforcement.

  • Tony

    The housing inspection program here caused an adverse effect. They are now closing down (and selling) 3 elementary schools due to the lack of students. And there are now more empty houses then ever before. If you don’t pass the inspection they condemn your house and if repairs are not made within 90 days they will bull-doze it. Almost a year after the program started the city is now condemning houses for almost everything and anything.

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