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Landlords protest Councilman Greg Landsman's proposal for rental inspection pilot program

Initial inspection would cost $100 per unit
Posted at 6:37 PM, Oct 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-28 21:29:56-04

CINCINNATI — Some landlords say a proposal to prevent evictions in Cincinnati could cost them big bucks.

As part of what he calls "a comprehensive approach" to prevent evictions, City Councilmember Greg Landsman has proposed a rental inspection pilot program aimed at ensuring all rental units are safe and up to code.

Some landlords say the cost of the program - $100 per unit for the initial inspection - is unfair and will hurt small local landlords.

Landsman said that’s not the intention and most landlords won’t be affected.

But Karen Domine of Eden Park Realtors said most of their buildings are old and could be picked apart for code violations.

“You can do peeling paint. It could be a broken window. It could be a broken switch plate cover. All kinds of little things,” Domine said.

“I have over 100 units” said another landlord, Joanne Hall. “They’re not all in this neighborhood, but that’s $10,000 out of my budget just to look.”

The pilot targets three neighborhoods - CUF (Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview) along with Avondale and East Price Hill.

Besides the $100 initial inspection cost, fines and further inspections could follow if code violations aren’t addressed. Hall said that would increase the cost of housing or force landlords to sell.

“The money has to come for the fees associated with the registration of each rental property of each unit and also the inspection fees,” Hall said.

Landsman said only properties that have a history of major safety issues will be part of the program.

“There is a serious or substantive issue or safety related and it hasn’t been resolved in over a year,” he said.

In addition, property owners would have time to address issues before being forced to pay the inspection fee.

“Even after that if there is a work plan to get those issue resolved, we want those dollars to be used to invest in the property,” Landsman said.

But Hall was not convinced.

“There’s other ways to make safe affordable housing than targeting the landlord with these fines and fees just for being a landlord,” Hall said.

The inspection program is just one part of Landsman’s proposal to prevent evictions, which was presented for the first time to committee on Monday. It will go to full council vote on Wednesday.