City Blames Landlords for Blight

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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