Council Committee considers landlord registry

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)-Every landlord in Indianapolis may soon have to register their rental properties or face a fine.

Tuesday night members of the Rules & Public Policy Committee gathered to get input on a landlord registry.

The current proposal requires landlords to provide their contact information or that of a property manager if they are out of state. Landlords would pay a one time $5.00 fee and verify that they do not have delinquent taxes or un-remediated code violations.

They would also have to provide tenants with a copy of a Tenant Bill of Rights

Landlords said the registry the city wants to create in some ways already exists.

“Additional comments regarding the amendment,” said City-County Council President Maggie Smith

A City-County Council Committee meeting moved from the city county building to the fountain square area because of the expected turn-out for a controversial idea. The committee considering a new Indianapolis landlord registry. It would be the first of it’s kind in the city and something councilor Jeff Miller said is needed.

“The city absolutely does not know the number of rental properties we have,” Miller said.

Dozens of landlords showed up for the meeting. Some of them in favor of the idea.

“We do need a way to know where that guy that is in off shore someplace and responsible is and what we can do,” said Kathy of Indianapolis.

But others were not convinced. Curt Schilling has been a landlord for three years and said something like it already exists.

“If for example, you need to know who the property owner is,  that’s already public knowledge based on tax sales; any deeding of a property,” Schilling said.

Schilling said his two biggest challenges are finding qualified tenants and the proposed registry.

“The main reason that I think it’s a challenge is that they are not trying to use existing laws to do the same thing,” he said.

“While information on owners is out there, it could be hard to find, but there is no information on who’s renting,” said Miller.

Councilor Miller said the registry would ultimately help out landlords and the community.

Schilling disagreed. “it’s ultimately going to hurt the tax payer; me, the landlord who pays property taxes on multiple properties in the community.”

If the measure passes, Indianapolis landlords would have to register with the city by January 1st or face a $500 fine.

The committee did not take a vote Tuesday night. It was only up for discussion and review.

Councilors could consider the proposal at their next meeting, Tuesday, August 5th.

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