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Council Members Want to License Rental Properties

City passes controversial new interior property maintenance code

A program for licensing all of Kent's rental properties will soon be up for discussion by city administrators and members of .

Members of council voted this week to have city administrators study a potential plan for licensing all of Kent's rental properties and present that plan to council at a future meeting.

Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer, who asked council to vote on the issue, did not put a deadline on when city staff have to make the presentation.

"I think it’s time we license rental properties," Councilwoman Tracy Wallach said. "Other college towns in Ohio have licensing on rental properties."

The vote to have city administrators study such a plan passed 5-4 with council members Jack Amrhein, Garret Ferrara, Shaffer, Roger Sidoti and Wallach voting for it at Wednesday's meeting. Council members Mike DeLeone, John Kuhar, Robin Turner and Wayne Wilson voted against the licensing program study.

The city has a program through the that issues licenses to rooming houses, which house two or more unrelated people, but the program does not encompass all rental properties in Kent.

The vote to have city administrators study the licensing program came minutes after another close vote on a controversial interior property maintenance code that council earlier this month. The new interior maintenance code applies to both rental properties and owner-occupied houses.

Councilman John Kuhar said he was opposed to the new interior maintenance code because there are already regulations in place, both on the local and state level, to protect tenants of rental properties.

"It's an invasion of privacy and it’s an invasion of your personal property rights," Kuhar said. "If I’m renting a single family home or I’m renting a duplex, I’m renting the privacy of that."

City officials, however, said at the committee meeting earlier in March that the tenants would have to invite city inspectors in and that city officials can't just enter a property at will.

Shaffer said she believes safety outweighs privacy in this situation.

"The city staff gave a very impassioned and that convinced me to my satisfaction that this was the appropriate route to take," she said. "If we do have abuses I believe we can take another look at it."

Kuhar, Turner, Wallach and Wilson voted against adopting the interior maintenance code. Shaffer, Amrhein, Ferrara, Sidoti and DeLeone voted to adopt the new interior maintenance code, which takes effect immediately.

Laurel Myers Hurst March 30, 2012 at 12:27 PM
This ordinance should have never passed council if it includes owner-occupied properties. License and inspect rental properties if you must, but citizens have the right to privacy in their own homes! Thank you to Mr. Kuhar, my new council person, for supporting property rights in this instance. All citizens still have the right to refuse city employees entry to their homes, right? At large council, don't expect an invitation to my living room if you show up on the doorstep campaigning (sorry, nothing personal...).
Chris (Kit) Myers March 30, 2012 at 02:07 PM
This ordinance is all backwards. Children and the elderly in private homes are subject to the health and safety dangers moreso than tenants living in rentals. Tenants have recourse via the State of Ohio Landlord/Tenant Law and City of Kent ordinances. My tenants have those protections. ALL tenants have those protections. Children and the elderly in private homes cannot leave a home where the person in control can't even bother to buy smoke alarms which are only about fifteen bucks apiece. They are stuck! Where are they to go? Out on the street? Privacy be damned! ALL private homes should be licensed and inspected at the very least once a year. Take the lead, city council! Make Kent safe for EVERYONE.
Deborah March 30, 2012 at 05:14 PM
What is wrong with you people! Here we go again, with City Council sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong. Pretty soon we will have to have a license to walk on the sidewalk! Every time you let the city into our lives they take away another right. This potential new ordinance will eventually let the city worm their way into non rental homes. Is that what you want? Not in my backyard! City council stop thinking of just the almighty $. I for one have had enough of the city telling me what to do. If renters have a problem with the home or apt. they rent, then they need to complain. Not all landlords are slumlords. City Council stop micro-managing our lives!
bill budner March 30, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Shaffer said she believes safety outweighs privacy in this situation. WRONG safety never outweighs privacy. privacy in the home is a right not a privilege.
John Williams March 30, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Deborah, Yes if this passes, we will all need a license to poop on our own toilets in our owner occupied properties.
Laurel Myers Hurst March 30, 2012 at 09:02 PM
According to the reports, the interior maintenance ordinance HAS passed. The third reading and vote was Wednesday night (the rental licensing ordinance is the next to be considered and eventually voted upon). There was "brief" discussion about removing the private residence clause from the ordinance at the 1st or 2nd reading; that consideration was not acted upon. So far as I understand, the interior maintenance code includes private residences. >>>Deborah said, "This potential new ordinance will eventually let the city worm their way into non rental homes. Is that what you want?" It has already happened because the ordinance is a done deal. If we wanted the ordinance stopped or re-written, we had six weeks (during the period of the three readings in council chambers) to contact our council-person and the three at-large council persons. I recommend we all keep the council members' phone numbers in our phones and their e-mail addresses in our contacts and make our voice heard the first time we hear something we cheer or jeer :). Here's how: http://kentohio.org/gov2/council.asp. It's not too late to appeal for a repeal of the ordinance; just arrive at council chambers 15 minutes before the meeting to sign up to address the council personally.
Chris (Kit) Myers March 31, 2012 at 12:02 AM
What is the matter with some of you people? Don't you understand that private homes can have health and safety issues the same as rental properties; things over which children and the elderly have no control? I would think homeowners would welcome mandatory inspections at, say, a meager cost of fifty bucks a year, for peace of mind. Why didn't people know about the far-reaching implications of the international code? Because as far as I can recollect the Record-Courier never mentioned that private homes were involved. The next snowfall I am going to tour the city and turn in private homes where the walk is not shoveled. I am going to turn in private homes where there is a beer can in the front yard. I am going to turn in private homes with peeling paint, corroded gutter or peeling paint, or an uneven sidewalk. I am going to turn you in until you storm council chambers. You are like sheep walking to slaughter. Hate me if you want, but if you wake up to what the utopian society council members have in store for you, it will be worth it.
Chris (Kit) Myers March 31, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Spread the word. Perhaps a recall election is in order. They must be voted out of office. Now! Would you be willing to participate in a recall petition drive? I am sure we can get enough people willing to do so. Even if they decide to rescind it, for me it is too late. This time they have really shown their true colors. They must go. They must go.
Richard April 01, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I agree fully. GET CITY COUNCIL OUT OF OFFICE!!! Except for the guy from Ward 1. I like him.
Chris (Kit) Myers April 01, 2012 at 11:33 PM
R-C editorial this morning did not mention that this VERY intrusive ordinance applies to private homes. It further states that it is nothing radical. But I guess if nosing around in people's homes was good enough for the gestapo, it is good enough for the citizens of Kent. I mean, why not? Right? Please tell everybody you know about it and urge them to read the ordinance. Maybe people don't care.
Chris (Kit) Myers April 02, 2012 at 01:01 AM
I am wrong, The banner headline story in Friday's R-C mentioned that the ordinance applies to owner-occupied homes.
Laurel Myers Hurst April 02, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Sonia, it's posted in the council minutes (if the clerk is up-to-date...she had been running about 9 mos behind (!?!), but that has improved...just checked, she's a month behind: http://kentohio.org/gov2/minutes.asp). I agree the ordinance should be front and center in the Tree City Bulletin.
NOEL BLANKENSHIP April 02, 2012 at 04:16 PM
An ANONYMOUS CALL, accusing me of multiple FELONIES, was apparently "reasonable cause" and I was investigated by various agencies and Police.... More than once was I accused. And investigated. .... And the Accuser?....Scott free. And your INTERIOR Inspectors are free, too! ...not legally accountable! ...How 'bout that, folks? YOU are responsible, but your Inspectors are NOT! FYI, "...reasonable cause..." is ALL that's required for entry into your home. ....What if someone accuses you, anonymously, of bad wiring, ....or a "pot farm" in your basement. (Is anyone mad at you? ..for ANYTHING?) And once inside your HOME, the inspector has a wide-open door to cite ($100.00 per day) you for ANYTHING s/he deems... Read just one page of this code and contact your council member w/ your opinion of it. Take a few deep breaths before you call 'em.... If you're not angry, you're just not paying attention to this massive government intrusion. PLEASE get a copy (Ask for ALL 4-500(?) pages!!) and read page one! The first sentence says "....all structures" ..."...all premises.." and, to paraphrase, "...ANYTHING ELSE inspectors deem relevant....!..." ....Wow. I wish I were joking, but I'm not. WELCOME TO KENT, COMRADE HOMEOWNER! Is this what Kent homeowners want? If not, get your copy of this intrusive, UNCONSTITUTIONAL code. If you agree, call your council member and demand REPEAL of this odious, coercive law. Noel M. Blankenship

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