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Raleigh to crack down on landlords

Posted June 17, 2008

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— To eliminate rundown rental housing that becomes a haven for crime, the City Council on Tuesday tentatively approved new fees and regulations for landlords.

Changes to the city's Probationary Rental Occupancy Permit, or PROP, ordinance could go into effect in January if the council gives final approval to the proposal next month.

Under the proposed changes, landlords would have to register every rental property in Raleigh with city inspectors. The registration fee would be $30 for the first rental unit in a building and $10 for each extra unit in that building or complex.

Failure to register could lead to fines of up to $2,000 per month.

Tenants could be fined $100 for noise or nuisance violations, and some crimes they commit could be held against the landlord's permit, under the proposal. The crimes include prostitution, possession of stolen goods, weapons and liquor offenses and gambling violations.

Landlords who receive several violations could be fined and be forced to attend management classes.

The city initially adopted the PROP ordinance three years ago, and the Raleigh Police Department pushed for tougher regulations to crack down on bad landlords.

City Councilman James West said the new rules unfairly target poor neighborhoods.

"It will create a sour taste in the mouth of some people," West said.

Councilman Philip Isley also voted against the changes, calling the registration fees "a tax on tenants."

Colin Crossman, government affairs director for the Triangle Apartment Association, predicted landlords would pass the fees onto tenants through higher rents.

"If you raise property taxes, it gets passed onto the tenant. In addition, this fee structure will be passed onto the tenant," Crossman said.

City officials estimated the fees would raise about $775,000, which would be used to hire people to enforce the new rules.

Mayor Charles Meeker said he thinks the changes will help curb crime.

"When there are criminal violations or party violations at a rental property, ultimately the landlord is responsible. What this does, it requires after two or three instances the landlord do something," Meeker said.

48 Comments

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  • momof2 Jun 18, 2008

    For those of you who agree with Meeker, WHAT? Are you kidding? I guess it is the full moon. Landlords are not God and can not control the actions of others. If so, we should be the ones running for President! (or mayor) The ones that are committing criminal offenses should be held accountable for their offenses, not innocent people. I thought that was why we had laws and ordinances and a judicial system. This is a needless tax to penalize landlords. Every homeowner, whether a landlord or not, should be responsible for maintaining their property. Hey, guess what? There are already nuisance laws that address this, non discriminately, for ALL homeowners. TPTB aren't able to enforce it. There are noise ordinance and criminal laws that apply to ALL citizens. I guess they aren't able to enforce that either and are trying to turn landlords into unpaid law enforcement. Lets hold the mayor responsible for the sins of all his Raleigh citizens. Let's put the shoe on his foot.

  • mindcrime Jun 18, 2008

    Actually, they do. As sovereign individuals we have the right to do and say whatever we want on our own property, as long as we don't violate anyone else's rights.

  • mindcrime Jun 18, 2008

    What a horrible idea, and abuse of governmental power. Arrest and punish people who violate the rights of others, anything else is an abuse. The idea that you can penalize, regulate, restrict, punish one person for what somebody else *might* do is abhorrent to a free society.

    What we need is to restore government to it's proper role of providing rule of law, protecting property rights and enforcing contracts, and get it out of everything else.

  • ncwebguy Jun 18, 2008

    I'm sorry most of you suck at math, but the "tax" is $30/year, less than $3/month. If someone increases their rent $50/month to cover a $30/year fee, I hope they never get a tenant. Pass the $3/month on to the tenant, but don't use it as an excuse to charge more just because the big bad city is hurting the poor defenseless slumlord. Please. If you can't get good tenants, you shouldn't own rental property. No one has the "right" to run a brothel, gin joint, or crack house out of their property and then blame the tenants.

    How does a tenant make a roof leak? How does someone make the connection between losing a job and having loud parties and smearing the walls with (deleted)?

    Anyone who disapproves of the job of their elected officials can vote for someone else. The majority has voted for Charles Meeker since 2001. Voters ran him *into* office, not out of town.

    If you don't live next to a bad renter, good for you. But don't make others suffer due to your good fortune.

  • Adelinthe Jun 18, 2008

    I guess if it takes the fees, then bring 'em on. Tired of living near the properties of slum landlords but can't afford to move anywhere else.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • SourCream Jun 18, 2008

    Pass on the fees then. I don't care. Make em pay for it. I rented for 12 years, and when I left, my landlord called me to thank me for improving his property and not being a bother.

    I had an incident only once, when I had a car that broke down on the property. I didn't move it for a year, and guess what? The landlord knocked on my door and said, "get rid of that car or I'll get rid of it for you."

    I sold it that weekend. I can't say the same for the occupants of 3 rental houses in my neighborhood. If the city can motivate landlords to better manage their property, then great. I'm for it.

    I think there have been some good points brought up, especially the part about the Owners getting something for their money, with access to a database for habitual offenders. Great compromise, but these people coming on screaming "another useless tax" aren't thinking the situation through enough. There's a real problem out there and I for one am glad the city is doing something about it.

  • Sue Donym Jun 18, 2008

    I agree with Ward of the State.

  • Sunkist Jun 18, 2008

    I agree 100% with this. All that's against it should go and live beside one of these Tenants and I gaurentee you would quickly want to help sign this Bill before January.

  • DickHefner Jun 18, 2008

    Meeker is wrong. Landlords are not ultimately responsible for their tenants actions the tenants are responsible for their actions. There are already laws in place to cover everything in place in the PROP oridinance and it's proposed changes. Why do we need another layer of government and more fees for people to pay?? The tenants will have those costs passed along to them.
    Meeker and most of the council are short sighted. We should fine some of the city council and the mayor for being less than desireable tenants. If they need good ideas on how to help landlords they should ask those with experience. Namely landlords and property managers. More regulation is not the solution. BOZO.

  • momof2 Jun 18, 2008

    Mayor Meeker and Thomas Crowder have it wrong...again. Should a landlord be responsible for the upkeep of their property? Yes, every homeowner whether a landlord or not should be held accountable for the maintenance of their property. However, should a landlord be held responsible for the actions of their tenants? NO! How can they control the actions of other human beings? If that were the case, then lets begin to hold law enforcment personally accountable for the criminal actions of others. Better yet, I propose a new ordinance. Mr. Mayor, as a resident of the City of Raleigh, I want to hold you accountable for the actions of the citizens of Raleigh. You should be fined for every law breaking citizen-from litterbugs to drug dealers to murderers. And every time a crime happens, you should be fined $100. After 3 offenses, you should attend mayor school or be forced to resign your position as mayor. I hope landlords and renters remember this at election time!

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