City Council members were not ready this morning to vote on changes to the Residential Housing Rental Permit Program, which was the city's 2007 effort to crack down on slumlords.
Landlords sued the city over various parts of the legislation, and the judge in the case has asked the parties to work out an agreement. Councilman Bill Peduto says responsible landlords are unfortunately protecting irresponsible landlords when they oppose the city's reasonable efforts to preserve neighborhoods. Peduto says some owners have used city properties as ATMs for so long without being required to meet certain standards, they see anything the city does to protect its neighborhoods as an infringement on their property rights, which they think should trump others' quality of life.
Peduto says problem properties are more likely to make people give up on living in the city than property taxes or issues of public safety and school quality.
Among other things, the city's law department wants Council to reduce the registration fee from $12 per unit each year to $12 every two years.Since representatives of the law department could not answer many questions without jeopardizing pending litigation, Council voted to take up the topic in a private Executive Session.