City Council Hears New Rental Ordinance Plan

By KBJR News 1

November 9, 2010 Updated Nov 9, 2010 at 12:36 AM CDT

DULUTH, MN (The Northland's NewsCenter) -- Taking a bite out of Duluth's rental problem: the City took an important step tonight as the first incarnation of its updated rental code debuted in front of the council.

The new plan — as it stands — is meant to help everyone: from tenants, to neighbors to landlords, but is only informational at this point.

"'... We're coming forth with rules that just provide a little more teeth," explained City Administrator Dave Montgomery summing up the possible new changes.

The plan calls for immediate increases to the city's three-year rental fees for single-family and multiple unit dwellings.

According to Montgomery, the purpose is to use the money to hire one additional city housing inspector along with a police officer to help enforcement.

Other proposed changes:

- Restricting the max number of tenants to the number of bedrooms
- A one-time conversion fee for homes being turned into rentals
- Restricting the number of tenants to the number of bedrooms in a home
- Possible $200 dollar inspection fees for for complaints
- T.B.D. penalties for failure to comply to the ordinance
- Additional parking fees for tenant spots that exceed current guidelines.

The city's plan was received favorably by some on the city council.

"I think it's going to help create more sustainable neighborhoods," said City Councilor Dan Hartman.

Hartman went on to expand his view:

" We've allowed people to convert their living rooms into bedrooms... We've allowed unlicensed landlords to continue renting because there haven't been any penalties. Now we're finally going to have some penalties for unlicensed rental properties."

As for implementing the new rental code, City Administrator Dave Montgomery said the target date is January 1, 2011.

During the transition period, the plan also states that no new rental licenses would be given out by the City of Duluth.

Written for the web by Matt Standal