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Leetonia Council, landlords agree on rent rules

December 7, 2012
Morning Journal News

Village Council has reached an apparent resolution with rental property owners regarding a proposed renter registration ordinance presented last month.

At a Zoning Committee meeting Wednesday night attended by several rental property owners, council agreed to have Village Solicitor Walter Newton redraft the original ordinance and present it as a new one at a later meeting. Presented with the purpose of revealing occupants living in rental units in the village so that the tenants can be cited for zoning violations instead of the property owner, the redrafted ordinance will include several changes to appease the concerns of the landlords, who opposed the ordinance Zoning Inspector John Rydarowicz presented at the Nov. 21 meeting.

The new ordinance will no longer include a requirement to purchase insurance, eliminate the fourth-degree misdemeanor penalty for not registering tenants over the age of 18, only require a property agent for out-of-state owners and require the Zoning Department to issue renewal reminders to property owners.

The landlords responded at the last council meeting to the first reading of the ordinance in November with a letter from an attorney the group of owners solicited with intentions to challenge the ordinance if it passed as presented. The group did not like that rental property owners would have to purchase insurance when private and commercial property owners do not, that the owners would be required to open rental units to inspection and that a property agent would be required for owners residing 10 miles outside village limits. The group also took offense to council passing a first reading of the ordinance after allegedly previously agreeing to first discuss the matter with the landlords.

The redrafted ordinance will still require owners to pay a $15 registration fee and $10 annual renewal fee per property, list the occupants living in the units and make the units available for inspection when needed.

Newton noted that the fourth-degree penalty for owners not registering each resident over 18 was aimed at people who thumb their nose at the ordinance, but council agreed with property owner Dan Valentine, a former councilmember, that it would be too difficult for the property owner to stay in compliance and that the responsibility should be on the tenants to provide that information.

Newton also noted that the insurance requirement is being removed due to the fact that other property owners are not required to purchase insurance, not because the village is legally restricted from requiring it.

Kevin Howell can be reached at



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