New Montgomery law addresses disruptive rental properties - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

New Montgomery law addresses disruptive rental properties

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: Pixabay Images) (Source: Pixabay Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

At its last meeting, the Montgomery City Council passed Ordinance No. 77-2017. The law holds both owners and tenants responsible for prohibited conduct on rented residential property.

District 5 Councilman William Green introduced the ordinance to the council after, he said, a number of citizens complained about issues surrounding rented properties.

“I just got a call today about a house where people are shooting,” Green said. “You have people who are constantly shooting. You know exactly where they are. The police are over there 15 to 20 times. There’s nothing they can really do. You give them the name and the address, and they know everything about these people.”

Aside from police being able to make an arrest and criminal charges, their ability to relieve a problem like this in a neighborhood is limited, especially when residents are renting from landlords whose focus is on receiving rent payment.

“There are a lot of instances where people own a lot of houses, but they live out of town,” Green said. “They really don’t care. All they want to do is see the check clear, and they don’t really care what’s going on at the property.”

Green said, currently, the city is able to talk to the renter and reprimand them accordingly for violating city ordinances about things like noise complaints, fire code violations, altercations and criminal activity. However, when behavior continues, the only person with the power to remove renters from their homes are the landlords.

Green said putting landlords in position to be penalized if their renters violate rules will make them more likely to evict tenants who are causing issues for their communities.

“We are trying to close the gap,” Green said. “This is a law I think we needed. I get the calls all the time from people who are calling and begging for help. Hopefully, as we roll this out, this will be something that has an impact and will increase the quality of neighborhoods in Montgomery.”

When the ordinance was initially discussed in the work session preceding the vote, at least one member of the council was concerned about the wording of the ordinance, its legality and how enforceable it is. Green said no part of the ordinance supersedes any current laws regarding renter and landlord agreements.

Green also said all the ordinance does is give the city the ability to summon a landlord to municipal court if their tenant is in violation of city laws, a power the city did not have before. From there, a judge will have the ability to determine whether or not the situation can be classified as a nuisance to the community and whether the landowner should be held accountable.

The law will go into effect on Oct. 1. If a property owner is found to be responsible, by a judge, he/she can be fined anywhere from $1 to $500. Green said this is the first step for the city’s revitalization efforts with regards to how it handles and regulates the process of renting residential properties.

You can read the full text of the ordinance here:

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