RALEIGH, N.C. — The city had a message Tuesday for all city employees who own residential property: keep your places ship-shape—or else.
In recent years, officials have cracking down on landlords. It turns out that there have been problems at properties that police Sgt. Tommy Newman owns in Southeast Raleigh—dozens of police calls at some homes, housing code violations at others.
One neighbor claimed “drug dealers and prostitutes hang out over there all the time” at the homes owned by the 23-year police department veteran.
City officials took the revelation as a wake-up call.
While it isn't against the law to own the property, City Manager Russell Allen will send out reminders to city employees about their responsibility to meet city laws.
“If they do not, there could be consequences that could warrant disciplinary action,” Allen said.
The city has an ordinance that holds landlords accountable for what happens on their property, and the City Council may include criminal violations under that. The City Council on Tuesday night referred the question to its Law and Public Safety Committee, and the panel's chair, Philip Isley, said it likely will come up at a Feb. 27 meeting.
The Raleigh Police Department was in the process of adding rental properties to its policy about what officers can do for off-duty employment, and now Chief Jane Perlov has sent out a letter requiring all police employees to submit information on properties they own.
Jim Sughrue, the department spokesman, said “Police officers are expected to maintain high standards in many regards and are expected to manage all their affairs to high standards, not to say anyone hasn't.”
Allen said the department is conducting a personnel investigation and the Inspections Department is following up on Newman's properties.
“If you own rental property, you simply must manage it in a reasonable fashion,” Mayor Charles Meeker said. “If you don't (do that), its not going to be long before this council and inspectors will make it very, very expensive for you to fail our ordinances.”