The new ordinance up for a vote tonight would require the licensing of rental property owners and managers. It's in hopes of rooting out troublesome tenants and keep absent landlords accountable.
However, in some 11th hour negotiations, the ordinance has been amended to drop the $10 licensing registration fee. The amended ordinance would have no fee for a landlord to register but comes with a $100 a day penalty if the landlord doesn't register before a given deadline.
By doing so, the City Council may be able to bypass House Bill 1313. As it stands now, the house bill would outlaw licensing practices for rental property owners, among other things, if the bill is passed and signed into law.
It's a stepping stone to achieving the American Dream. But lately, rental properties have been a stepping stone to controversy.
The division stems from a new ordinance that would require rental property owners and managers to get a license.
Many business ventures in the City of Evansville already require a license. Say, for example, you wanted to run a hotdog stand outside the Ford Center. That's a $25 annual licensing fee. If you wanted to run a horse-drawn carriage business, that's $25 as well. But as of right now, there is no fee and no license requirement to own rental property in the City of Evansville.
Proponents of the ordinance say it's necessary because of how many people are affected by rental properties. More than 40% of Evansville's total population rents. Furthermore, proponents say the ordinance say it would help the Evansville Police Department to be more efficient in it's investigations.
As of now, officers often spend days, if not weeks, searching for an absent landlord. Those landlords often hide behind LLCs, officials say, and don't have a vested interest in the community.
Opponents of the bill, including POMA President Monte Fetter, say the crafting of the ordinance lacked transparency. Proponents dispute that by saying EPD and dozens of neighborhood associations held informational meetings on the ordinance as well as the Crime Free Multi Housing Program.
Fetter also worries the ordinance would just be a starting point for the City Council to potentially raise the license fee in the future.
This is a developing story. We'll have more coming up on Eyewitness News at 9 and 10.