Columbia Pushes Landlords to Register Properties

8 years 2 months 4 weeks ago Thursday, September 09 2010 Sep 9, 2010 Thursday, September 09, 2010 9:05:52 AM CDT September 09, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia Office of Neighborhood Services will lobby the city council Tuesday to start a program that would entice landlords to register any of their holdings. Called an "Amnesty Period" by the Office of Neighborhood Services, it would let landlords apply for registration without fear of prosecution from Oct. 1 through Nov. 15.

Before and after these dates, Columbia's punishment for owning an unregistered property was harsh.

The offender would get up to $500 in fines and up to three months in jail.

The Office of Neighborhood Services Director Leigh Britt says these registrations are necessary to maintain quality housing in Columbia.

"Many of the properties that our inspectors are looking at do have to be reinspected because there's some issue or some violation that has to be repaired," Britt said.

"Sometimes it could be something fairly normal, sometimes it's some big violation...We do plan to take the proper steps to prosecute when necessary," she added.

Assistant City Manager Tony St. Romaine echoed these sentiments.

"We're out there looking for these things through spot checks...spot checking ownership records against utility records.  We find [irregularities]all the time," he said.

The Columbia City Council must allow the Amnesty Period to take effect.  They will look at the idea this Tuesday night.

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