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Rental registration ordinance presented to Quincy city council

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QUINCY (WGEM) -- After months of being tabled, aldermen and citizens at Quincy's city council meeting finally got their first look at the long-awaited residential rental registration ordinance.

Residential-Rental-Ordinance

The ordinance is a registry that would require a direct mailing address, direct contact name, telephone number, and e-mail address for the owner. If the owner does not reside within fifty miles of the property, the ordinance states they must provide a name and 24-hour contact phone number.

Owners would also need to provide an insurance certificate for each property.

Initial registration is free for those who register their properties before the January 1, 2022, deadlines. Those who register after would have to pay a penalty of $250 for each property.

The ordinance also sets forth a number of circumstances that would trigger an inspection such as frequent violations of the Nuisance Ordinance and or Property Maintenance Code, properties not in compliance with registration requirements, lack of insurance and a complaint.

Anyone who would obstruct or resist an enforcement officer would be subject to penalties and enforcement officers would be immune from civil or criminal prosecution for reasonable, good faith entry upon a residential rental property while doing their duties.

Certain properties would be exempt from the ordinance including public housing owned by a governmental agency, rental units owned, managed or operated by an educational, religious, or medical institution, when units are used for the sole purpose of housing employees, students, clergy, patients, families of patients, or others directly related to the
institution as well as any rental units in a state licensed hospital, hospice, community care facility,
intermediate care facility, or nursing home.

The ordinance has evolved since it was first presented to the city council in June.

The previous version ordinance would require all owners to register their properties and complete a self-certification, which would verify their dwelling meets all the basic minimum habitability requirements, along with a 15 percent random annual inspection of properties.

Mayor Mike Troup said the changes have won over a number landlords who had concerns about the previous version, although there are some who still have worries.

"I think there's a concern, if we start with this, then what is going to happen in two, three years or down the road," he said.

But Troup said the revised ordinance has mechanisms in it to address those fears.

"It's a registration only," he said. "For the council to make any other approval, it would have to be two-thirds vote to make a change."

Multiple different people spoke in favor of the ordinance when it was presented in front of council, including Father Joe Zimmerman, chairman of the Safe and Livable Housing Committee.

"I think it's widely accepted that there are some rental units in Quincy that are in very bad shape," Zimmerman said.

He said the ordinance would have helped in the Welcome Inn situation.

"We knew it was a bad situation but that's an example, I don't know who the landlord was but they didn't do anything," he said.

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Blake Sammann

Blake Sammann is a reporter and weekend anchor at WGEM News.

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