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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.

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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