City Moving Forward With Landlord Registry

WEHT News 25   April 11, 2011 EVANSVILLE

The city of Evansville is looking to improve its relationship with area landlords and help crack down on blighted properties.

Evansville City council voted to start the voluntary rental registry to identify landlords and property managers who are in compliance with city code and those who are not.

Monte Fetter has been in the rental business in Evansville for more than 20 years and says managing properties in this market can be tough.

"It's not a matter of mean landlords not fixing properties, it's an economic situation. They just don't have the cash."

He says over time expenses like property taxes have increased but rent has stayed the same.

At a cost of $10 per unit, he says there are benefits of registering your property with the city.

"With that you get a $3000 work permit for each unit. You get a limited license to do a lot of your own work on the property," says Fetter, President of Fetter Properties.

For the past year Fetter and other property managers have worked on improving their relationship with the city and code enforcement, even forming the Property Owners and Managers Association of Evansville.

Fetter says the registry will increase trust between the city and landlords.

"Our big benefit from this is it will give us a line of communication with property managers who we normally aren't in contact with," says Neighborhood Inspections Supervisor Ron Beane.

He says when a bank forecloses on a property it often hires a management company to oversee the property. When maintenance issues come up, inspectors only know to send notification to the bank which could take several days. He says it could impose even more violations if there is a time limit on repairs.

He says the registry will speed up communication.

"We want to improve the housing stock for the city of Evansville. We wanted to improve the condition of homes that people are living in," says Beane.

He says the registry will make that possible.

Landlords can sign up for the registry on May 16th at the Building Commission Office.

In the meantime, Fetter encourages landlords to attend the next association meeting, Tuesday April 19th at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library.