Members of the Jacksonville Landlord Association came away somewhat relieved last night after a public hearing in the Village of South Jacksonville.
The Village Board of Trustees held a public hearing to discuss a proposed ordinance that would require owners of rental property in the village to register the addresses of those properties and provide their contact information to the village.
President of the Jacksonville Landlord Association, Court Hager, and a few members spoke during the hearing and voiced concerns over the proposed ordinance. Hager said the association members felt the ordinance was very vague and possibly on overreach by the village.
Board of Trustees President Harry Jennings says the proposed ordinance is only a first draft intended for discussion and evaluation if it were needed.
“That really came about during the codification process. It’s not something where we said oh my gosh, we have this real tenant-landlord issue. It just came up as a sample ordinance in some other drafts we were looking at.
So that is why we invited them here for this hearing to hash it out and see if it is even something that we need. And if it is then what should be in it and what shouldn’t be in it.”
Jennings says the idea came about during the codification process as an ordinance other municipalities of similar size have on the books that the village was lacking and was suggested for discussion by former Chief of Police Tim Mann at that time.
Current Police Chief Eric Hansel says there are times during an emergency or routine police work where his department needs to contact a landlord and many times that contact information is not available.
The Board assured the landlords in attendance that no tenant information was being requested and registering the rental properties would not require any kind of a fee or inspection.
Jennings says the ordinance is simply a way to know who to contact when there is an issue with a property.
“Some basic contact information is what we are looking at probably. Just in there would be a repeating incident with a tenant, it would be easier for code or police department personnel to get in touch with that landlord.”
Hager said that although the association members present were not completely sold on the idea of the ordinance, they did see where the village was coming from in the need to be able to contact a property owner should there be an issue with a tenant or property such as storm damage or code violations.
The Board of Trustees will continue the review of the proposed ordinance and plan to rework the existing language and create a draft of the required form for review. Village Trustees also plan to attend a future JALA meeting for more discussion on the ordinance.