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An Update: West Carrollton Property Inspection Proposal | By: Fellow GDREIA Members

Update: West Carrollton Property Inspection Proposal
West Carrollton City Council is expected to again consider a controversial rental property inspection proposal during its next regular meeting, scheduled for Tuesday evening, November 8 – election day.
The West Carrollton Board of Zoning Appeals recommended passage of a version of the legislation to city council in July, following public testimony, most of which was opposed to the measure.
If enacted, new language would be added to the city’s property maintenance code. It would require all property owners to obtain city licenses before offering property for rent and would impose a requirement for periodic inspections of rental units. A recent version set the annual landlord license fee at $30 per unit. Properties with serious code violations would require a mandatory re-inspection after repairs and payment of an $87 re-inspection fee.
City officials have said the fees should raise $70,000 each year – enough to hire two part-time code enforcement inspectors. The only other municipalities in Montgomery County that have housing inspection requirements (Oakwood and Centerville) fund their inspection programs from general revenues and do not require landlord licenses.
The Greater Dayton Real Estate Investors Association and the Greater Dayton Apartment Association have voiced strenuous opposition to the licensing and inspection proposal – citing both its cost and its mandatory intrusion into tenants’ homes. In addition, since the mandatory periodic inspections are now proposed once every five years for rental units, multi-family property owners have pointed out the cumulative cost of annual fees per inspection: for a four-unit property, the fee would be $30 per unit = $120 annually X 5 years = $600. That brings the cost of the once-in-five-years mandatory inspection to $150 per unit.
Investment property interests expect to challenge the West Carrollton inspection program in court should it be approved. The Columbus-based 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a conservative public interest group, is said to be paying close attention. That’s the group that sued the city of Portsmouth, Ohio over a similar ordinance last year and obtained a favorable ruling in federal court.
West Carrollton law director Lori Denlinger has told West Carrollton Council the proposed program has been tailored to avoid the legal challenge that derailed the Portsmouth rental inspection ordinance – but lawyers representing property owners say the West Carrollton proposal may be vulnerable to challenge on other grounds. Prime among them, they say, is the fact that the housing inspection requirement targets landlords and tenants -- while leaving owner-occupants alone.

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